Tuesday, February 24, 2015


By Steve Herte

What’s it like to witness the gunning down of both your parents and suddenly find you’re the wealthiest orphan in the big city? Ask young Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz). How do you play two powerful gangster Dons against each other while trying to take over the night club belonging to a deadly, power-hungry Harpy? Ask Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor). When you’re the most brilliant mind in the entire corrupt Gotham police department and the only girl you love thinks you’re creepy, what do you do? Ask Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith). If you’re a young girl surviving on her instincts in the street and you’re the only witness to the Wayne murders, where do you go? Ask Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova). And if you’re the only honest cop in a lawless town run by mobsters and you have to buck the system daily just to keep your ideals and perform your duty, how do you maintain your optimism? Ask Detective James Gordon (Ben McKenzie).

Gotham is one of the most innovative, creative and fascinating series ever. It’s the prequel to end all prequels. Batman is decades in Wayne’s future. Robin and Batgirl aren’t even born yet. Catwoman is a child herself, as is “Poison” Ivy Pepper (Clare Foley). The Penguin is a boot-kissing lackey honing his criminal skills, the Riddler is an overlooked police department employee and Commissioner Gordon is a zealous detective trying to clean up his beloved Gotham. There is so much evil even the sky is never blue. Between Carmine Falcone (John Doman) and Sal Maroni (David Zayas), the town is carved up into territories and the mayor and police commissioner are both in their pockets. Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith) is just as ruthless as the two Dons and thinks it’s her time to take over.

Meanwhile, back at stately Wayne Manor, faithful butler Alfred Pennyworth (Sean Pertwee) finds himself a single parent to a young boy obsessed with solving his parents’ murders.

But crime never rests in Gotham. An inmate at Arkham Sanitorium escapes and uses electro-shock treatment to create a blindly loyal henchman to help him on his evil spree. A member of a support group for people with phobias starts murdering them one by one using their specific fears against them. An unknown vigilante kills people he deems as corrupt by attaching them to weather balloons. Even Gordon’s partner, Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) waivers between his love for Fish Mooney and what’s left of his righteousness.

Not only does Gotham hint at really being New York, it uses New York landmarks and then adds buildings via computer to fool the savvy viewer. It looks like New York, but it’s not. From moment one you’re caught up in the dire situation of a big city gone horribly wrong and line up behind Detective Gordon in his Sisyphean task of righting it. The woman he loves, Barbara Kean (Erin Richards) leaves him when he seriously neglects her for the pressures of his job. When he tries to expose top level misdoings, he gets demoted to security cop at Arkham Sanitorium where he meets his current fascination, Doctor Leslie Thompkins (Morena Baccarin). Where this will go is anyone’s guess.

The series is totally addictive. The acting is excellent – baddies are believably nasty and the good are few and far between, but recognizable. So far there have been 15 different directors and 24 writers creating engaging episodes that make you look forward to the next Monday evening at 8:00 pm on Fox. I know I do.

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