Shows I’m Watching and You Should Too: Gotham

The fall TV season is back in full swing. Monday nights have seen the return of both Sleepy Hollow and The Blacklist, two highly entertaining shows, if you aren’t already watching them. Unfortunately Almost Human ended up being cut by Fox, but its replacement show in the 8pm time slot is actually quite good.

Gotham follows the early life of James Gordon right after he has become a detective in the Gotham City Police Department. Naturally, his first big case is to capture the killer of the very prominent Wayne family. Along the way he turns into something of a mentor for young Bruce Wayne and befriends or has to deal with a host of characters who will be familiar to any Batman fan.

Ben McKenzie is the lead, and he does a great job with the Jim Gordon character. While he is probably most well known for his time on The O.C., McKenzie also played a cop in the TV show Southland, so the role isn’t too far fetched for him. He is a solid leading man and provide a stable force for all of the crazy characters around him.

So far, for me, there are four really notable characters with recurring parts, other than Gordon. Donal Logue plays Harvey Bullock, Gordon’s corrupt partner. Logue has really stolen the show so far and is hilarious in the role. The way he and McKenzie play off each other is great, and the tension between Bullock and Gordon drives a lot of the show.

Gangster Fish Mooney, played by Jada Pinkett Smith, is also a fun character. A subordinate of Carmine Falcone, she is trying to make a power play of her own, and it seems that she may have had something to do with the Wayne’s murders. The other criminal who has had a major part in the story so far is the infamous Penguin, played by Robin Lord Taylor. Of course, he is not yet the criminal mastermind that we know he becomes, but Taylor portrays an amazing psychopathic character who we can already see has brains, ambition, ruthlessness, and a short temper that leads to something of a body count.

Finally, I think Sean Pertwee plays a very interesting take on Alfred. While I think we are all familiar with the kind and paternal view of Alfred as played by Michael Caine and others before him, Pertwee has been afforded the opportunity to play Alfred during the formative years of Bruce Wayne’s life, shortly after his parents’ death, a time that most of the movies and shows to date haven’t gone into in depth. Pertwee’s take on the character portrays him as a bit more rough, and while he is clearly caring, he isn’t afraid to put his foot down attempt to discipline the young heir.

I think the acting and style of the show, probably best captured with its sets and cinematography, are the strong points of the show. It is also interesting to see the origin stories of all of the famous heroes and villains of Gotham City. However, there is the prequel problem, in that we, the audience, already know how a lot of the characters turn out, and while it is fun to see how they get there, there isn’t too much surprise that can be thrown in.

I’ll be curious to see how the show handles this moving forward, and what wrinkles the writers can pull into the story to keep it fresh and interesting. But overall, I’m definitely enjoying this show so far, and I recommend it.

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