Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Not Batty

Be honest, kittens. What do you think of “Gotham” so far? Only two episodes into the new series, I’m not sure it’s entirely fair to make a snap judgment yet. Because there’s a lot I like about this new Batman prequel. The tone and style are both slick and familiar. This feels like the guy in the batsuit’s universe, even if he isn’t big enough to fit in those britches just yet. I decided to tune in for a couple of reasons. One, comic universes can be fun; and two, Det. Renee Montoya.

If you haven’t watched (or aren’t familiar with the Batverse) the set-up is still pretty simple. The city of Gotham is terribly corrupt. The mobsters have the cops in their pocket. Bruce Wayne watched his parents get killed in an alley and rookie Det. Jim Gordon vows to solve their murders. And Major Crime Unit Det. Montoya is a big old lesbian who used to date Jim Gordon’s fiancée. There, all caught up.

The trick of Gotham is to introduce a constellation of characters – The Penguin, The Riddler, Catwoman – before they became their famous monikers. Right now we’re paying a lot of attention to one Oswald Cobblepot, before he took to wearing top hats and monocle, and crime boss Paddy Doyle Carmine Falcone. We’re also getting a lot of bad ass bitch from one Fish Mooney. If you’re a D.C. Comics loyalist and like, Fish who?, you are not alone. This baddie was made up for the series and to give Jada Pinkett Smith gainful employment so she could try out a somewhat perplexing new speech pattern. Like, is it an accent, I really can’t figure it out. But, whatever, she looks great.

They’ve already set up a bit of a love triangle between Jim, his fiancée Barbara and Renee. I’d say it’s a step forward to have a lesbian character vying for the affection of the male lead’s girl. But it’s also one of those no-win situations. Here’s hoping they let Renee move on quickly and find an actually available love interest in the not-so distant future.

The show seems to be trying to straddle the line between camp and grittiness, which is to say it’s like they put Adam West and Chris Nolan in a blender and hit puree. It’s not fully one or the other right now, and imperfectly so. It is tending more toward the dark and throat slashy so far, with only a dash of the absurd. There is also a lot of yelling, from everyone. But time often helps smooth out these tonal problems.

Really, the main problem I have with “Gotham” so far is Jim Gordon himself. I understand that the entire premise is how a good man stays good in an evil world. But, damn, is he boring. I don’t think Ben Mckenzie is a bad actor, but so far he is doing a swell impersonation of a brick in a suit. But it’s not really his fault, because so far the only characteristic given to him is “Righteousness.” Snoozeville.

So, what do you think? All I know is they better give Det. Montoya more to do than look around skeptically and pine away for her ex-girlfriend. I mean, granted, it’s a fairly accurate representation of some favorite lesbian activities, but still.


Carmen SanDiego said...

I havent really liked any of the new shows this season, how to get away with murder being the exception.

LizFord said...

I think Jada Pinkett Smith is trying to sound like Eartha Kitt.