Thursday, 16 October 2014

Batman without the Batman: the Gotham TV series

Finally watched Gotham last night and it’s … okay. Little more than an average police procedural, with lots of gratuitous name-dropping (or should that be bludgeoning?).
That pointy-nosed fellow with the umbrella was called ‘Oswald’ enough times (and then ‘Penguin’ a couple more just in case we missed the subtleties) that even someone who didn’t have a clue about the Batman universe (and why should they even be watching in the first place?) would be feeling over-informed.
A young girl with an obvious thing for plants declared “I’m Ivy!” in a clear, strong voice – just in case those at the back didn’t get it. Young Bruce Wayne – even though traumatised at witnessing his parents’ deaths – managed to give Jim Gordon a description of the murderer that was forensic in its detail. A young girl dressed in black – with an uncanny climbing ability – was the only one who wasn’t verbally identified, but her feeding a stray cat with stolen milk might just be a clue.
Everyone’s future characters were underlined in such lumpen, clumsy fashion that it felt like I was constantly being nudged violently in the ribs and winked at whilst the programme makers shouted “You get it?” loudly into both ears.
And why is Sean Pertwee talking in a lousy Mockney accent? Does he think he’s going to grow up into Michael Cain, or something?
In fact the most intriguing facet of the whole unsubtle shouting match was the physical resemblance shared by Alfred and Jim Gordon – I can’t believe it was accidental. Someone trying to say something about the two surrogate fathers in Bruce Wayne’s/Batman’s life?
It’s early days yet but at the moment the programme is managing to be arch whilst at the same time too much on the nose. I’ll keep watching, of course, in the hope that like Agents of SHIELD and Arrow it’ll grow stronger as the series progresses. Then again, it could be the next Smallville; that’s a depressing thought…

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