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Gotham’s pilot was pretty pilot-y

September 26, 2014

[Spoilers abound]

I will be the first person to admit that I am incapable of separating Gotham from the source material.  I spent so much time going, “Squee! Tiny Selina!” and “Squee! Tiny Ivy!” and “Squee!  Montoya!” and “Squee! Crispus Allen!” and “Squee! Penguin!” and “Squee! Riddler!” that I could not tell you if the episode itself was any good.  I can tell you what things I liked and didn’t like, though, because that’s how I roll.

The show is very well-cast.  Donal Logue is a great Bullock, younger than we’ve ever seen him before but you can immediately see the man he’ll become, especially if Gordon inspires him to the right side of the tracks.  Great Alfred, great Penguin, and Selina is so spot-on that I could just watch a camera follow her for 43 minutes a week.  I’d heard Jada Pinkett Smith “chewed the scenery” as Fish Mooney, but I disagree.  I thought she did an excellent job, especially as a character made up for the show.  You really want to see more of her, and where her ambition will lead.

On the more negative side of the casting: Nygma, I felt, looked too much like Penguin except in close-up or side view (that nose!), but he gave off that desperate need for attention that the character needs.  And once again, we’ve got a really boring lead in Ben McKenzie.  I was hoping we were past the “the hero is the most uninteresting person on the show” phase, but I guess not.  He was pretty blah, I have to say.  I get that Gordon doesn’t have all the charisma in the world or anything, but a little would be nice.  That time he put the moves on his fiancee?  Awkward.

Big, big like: Barbara Keane basically getting 52-era Kate Kane’s back story.  Wealthy socialite?  Check.  (I mean, did you see that apartment?  How put together she was?)  Used to be with Montoya and hid it?  Check.  This is like, intro Kate from Rucka’s run, but blonde and called Barbara.  Interesting stuff.  (My husband hates it, but I don’t care.  The chick has a thing for cops, okay?  Makes sense to me.)

Big dislike: What was up with some of the script?  It was almost like someone said, “Use SAT words; teach those kids watching something.”  The thing is, they’re so shoehorned in.  Allen says something like “Just keeping things collegial.”  Okay, so if he’s Big Word Guy, I can deal with that, but then Gordon calls Bullock “lackadaisical” and practically trips on the word.  I feel like there were two other instances too, of Big Word Syndrome, but I can’t recall them exactly.  I just remember cringing a bit.

Like: the feel.  It’s not quite Everytime, but it’s close.

Like: the impeccable politeness of tiny Bruce Wayne.

Like: the characterization of Alfred as not being as stiff-upper-lip-and-stiff-everything-else that we get, but not as “how are you even a butler?” as Michael Caine.

Dislike: I could’ve lived without seeing Bruce’s parents die AGAIN.  I think it’s time to either skip it, or do it differently.

Like: That the killer didn’t have to shoot the Waynes, but he did.  Mysterious!

Dislike: That everything felt more like set-up than plot.  It was almost boring if you didn’t have things to squee over.  I think a part of that was McKenzie’s performance though.

I’m definitely going to keep watching.  Pilots are pilots, and some pilots need to be more pilot-y than others, and honestly?  The only way I wouldn’t be watching this show is if it were Adam West-cheesy.  Nothing against the West; it was my favorite when I was very very little.  I’m just not into Batman-cheese anymore.  Actually, a combo like The Brave and the Bold wouldn’t work for me either.  I really can’t bring myself to care about a half-cheesy Batman either.  So, let me rephrase:  As long as they’re keeping it pretty dark, I’m in.  Unless they just can’t figure out how to sustain a prequel.  It could happen.

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