By Jason Strangis
It started as the most anticipated new TV series of the fall. And while Gotham began and ended on a strong note, the show for the most part has not lived up to these incredibly high expectations.
Yes there have been some very good episodes, such as the Pilot and the recent fall finale. Yet there have also been sub-par episodes that has kept Gotham from reaching its full potential. But there's still time to get this thing right, as new episodes are reported to be airing this January.
So here's a recap of the fall season, the good, bad and ugly:
In the lead role of the series, Ben McKenzie is solid and believable as Detective James Gordon. He's a man of strong principles and integrity, which isn't easy in a city as corrupt as Gotham. Since this is a show more centered around Gordon than anyone else, McKenzie has to carry much of the load which he does admirably.
In the role of a young Bruce Wayne, actor David Mazouz also holds up admirably. One of the best parts of the series is when Bruce and Selina Kyle (Carmen Bicondova) are paired up together. The duo share a special bond and connection, as evidenced by the midseason finale 'Lovecraft'. And while comic fans know they will become foes later as Batman and Catwoman, it's nice to see this interesting fresh take on their origin stories.
Another new take on a character is Alfred Pennyworth (Sean Pertwee), who in Gotham is more a kick-ass butler who is training Bruce to become tougher both mentally and physically. It looks like Alfred is helping and even encouraging Bruce to become the determined vigilante of the comics.
As for the main villains, that's been a hit-and-miss so far.
Jada Pinkett Smith adds a strong and much-needed female presence to the show as Lady Mobster Fish Mooney. While she may be going over-the-top at times, there's no doubting that the sexy and sassy Pinkett Smith seems to be relishing this villainess role with her devious plan to take down Carmine Falcone and become the ruler of Gotham's underworld.
Another scene-stealer is Cory Michael Smith's quirky portrayal of Edward Nygma. As a forensic crimes expert who helps Gordon and the GPD solve mysteries, Nygma is already showing signs of being the eccentric, egomaniacal and brilliant mind that eventually becomes the Riddler. Smith seems to be channeling Jim Carrey's 1995 performance as the Prince of Puzzles, perhaps over-the-top as well but memorable nonetheless.
On the negative side, however, is Robin Lord Taylor's annoying performance as Oswald Cobblepot. Honestly, Taylor just seems wrong for the part of the Penguin. He's too tall and doesn't really look the part (it would have helped to have a longer prosthetic nose). He clearly doesn't compare to Danny DeVito's deranged yet still sympathetic Penguin from Tim Burton's Batman Returns (1992).
As for other famous Batman villains, the Gotham TV show has shown us glimpses of a young Poison Ivy (this time her name is Ivy Pepper instead of Pamela Isley; another new take on the Batman mythology) and Harvey Dent (aka Two-Face). Soon there will be appearances of Dr. Leslie Thompkins (Morena Baccarin), who plays a key role in the comics.
When Season 1 resumes, will fans see untold origin stories of Harley Quinn, Scarecrow, and the greatest of all villains — the Joker? Let's all hope the second half of Season 1 is better than the start.
Jason Strangis is a freelance writer and longtime comic book collector currently based in Los Angeles. He loves attending comic book conventions, especially the larger ones such as San Diego, Chicago, and now Comikaze in L.A.