Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Gotham - Pilot

Opening on the worst night of Bruce Wayne's (David Mazouz) life, Detective Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) and his new partner Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) catch the murder case involving the deaths of Gotham's most prominent citizens and the frightened young boy who was one of two witnesses to the crime. Desperately trying to create the grim feel of Christopher Nolan's recent films while featuring writing, acting, and dialogue better fitting a lazy afternoon soap opera than a much ballyhooed new primetime series, the "Pilot" of Gotham is sadly far, far removed from the far more interesting award-winning comic book tales of the GCPD by Ed Brubaker, Greg Rucka, and Michael Lark.

Neither McKenzie nor Logue are necessarily bad casting, but the writing does neither any favors. The supporting cast doesn't fare that much better, although Sean Pertwee offers possibilities as Alfred and Erin Richards steals more than one scene as Gordon's fiance Barbara. The choice to allow a young Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova) to witness the Waynes' murder is baffling, but then again so are many choices made here.

Although Bullock wants nothing to do with the pressure of closing such a high-profile double-murder, he's also in no mood to turn it over to Renee Montoya (Victoria Cartagena) and Crispus Allen (Andrew Stewart-Jones). Forced to keep both the case and his do-gooder partner, both of which he sees as unnecessary headaches, Bullock sets out with Gordon to solve the case which will make them both heroes (by taking down the wrong man for the crime) and introduce Gordon to the man (John Doman) who really runs Gotham.

Featuring a number of Bat-villains in small roles, the "Pilot" introduces us to Selina Kyle as teenage street thief, Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Taylor) as a mob flunkie, Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) who works for the police?, and a young girl named Ivy (Clare Foley) scared of her abusive father (Daniel Stewart Sherman) who certain members of both the police department and mob are all too willing to hang the murders of the Waynes on, despite his innocence. When Gordon begins stick his nose into a perfectly good frame job no one but Montoya and Allen are questioning, Bullock is forced to choose between his partner and his underworld contact (Jada Pinkett Smith) responsible for the frame.

My concerns for the writing aside, I'm not sure how the series plans to split focus between the lives of Bruce Wayne and James Gordon and develop each character separately. I assume Gordon would get the majority of screentime here, but the "Pilot" seems to suggest young Bruce Wayne isn't stepping back into the shadows any time soon despite being many years away from becoming the far more interesting character he will eventually grow into.

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