The concept behind FOX’s “Gotham” is really good: Viewers get to see what the city — that eventually spawns Batman — was like as before he dons the cowl. The city is just as important to the story of Batman as anything else — unless you are Joel Schumacher and think the city of Gotham is some all-night rave party.
So when FOX announced they were going to make a show about Gotham before Batman, myself and others were pretty excited. Again, the concept was good: Jim Gordon joins the Gotham PD and we get to see how the city crumbles and will be in need of a vigilante to fight back against the corruption that is eating the city alive.
Unfortunately, the show — right off the bat — had serious issues. They went with a weekly procedural format (hey, who is this wacky villain of the week? Balloonman? Seriously, I’ll never forgive this show for Balloonman). The focus in style was confused (you either go the Nolan dark, or the 60s camp humor, they don’t blend together). The dialog was rough and forced (“Hey Harvey, you a two-face or somethin’?” Not an exact quote, but not far off either). They shoe-horned in almost all of Batman’s rouges gallery (seriously, we don’t need lil’ Joker). They had no idea what to do with Fish Mooney (they just threw her on an island for some reason mid-season, then killed her off in the finale).
Yet, there was some glimmers of hope. When they went with arcs, the show shined a little brighter. Giving some background to the characters (Det. Bullock’s mini-origin story was fantastic). But the other issues bogged it down, so when it finally started getting in the swing of things, it was near the season finale. Also, Penguin was actually pretty entertaining throughout the season.
It’s good to know, now, that some of the people on the show saw these problems too. Ben McKenzie, who plays Det. Gordon, spoke with Entertainment Weekly recently and acknowledged that the format was not right for the first season.
“I think we made a mistake relatively early on in trying to introduce a villain and take care of that villain in one episode: catch them, send them to Arkham, do whatever,” McKenzie told the publication. “That was just a mistake. We should’ve never done it.”
He went on to add that with season two, not only are they dumping the procedural format, but looking deeper into the characters. “The audience really wants to understand who these people are and live with them, sit with them and enjoy them. Whether they’re evil or good, they are entertaining. So that’s what we’re doing in season two. [It’s] really kick ass. I think it’s exactly what the fans want to see.”
So it seems the series is heading toward a little darker path, and hopefully they can reign in some of the corny dialog and start looking into what makes these characters tick. Because if they don’t, I do not think I can handle sitting through another season of a show desperately in search of its footing.