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TV Review: Gotham - Season 1

     When I first heard they were making Gotham, I was quite excited.  Though Batman's story begins the same - with the murder of his parents, this really isn't the story of the Batman (yet anyway).

     It is the story of a city - the fictional Gotham City.  State?  Who knows?  It is bleak and over ridden by crime and corruption. It is ugly and bleak.  In comes Detective Jim Gordon played brilliantly by Ben McKenzie.  He is idealistic and became a cop for all the right reasons.  But he soon finds out that in Gotham, things just aren't that easy and criminals run the city.  He is partnered with Harvey Bullock played by Donal Logue.  Bullock knows how Gotham is and really has no intention of fighting the status quo and is frustrated by his partner's quest to make things better.

    Meanwhile the city is run by mob bosses who have carved up the city into their own territories.  Enter Oswald Cobblebot - "The Penguin" who has manipulation down to an art form as he plays them against each other, trying to carve his own path.  Playing Penguin is Robin Lord Taylor who takes the character and owns it.  I would say his performance is my favorite.  The villians are over the top at times - Jada Pinkett Smith is wonderful as Fish Maroney- and we see familiar names that will be future villians over time.  Power, control, money, insanity - the forces that drive these villians make them ruthless (and entertaining).

     Bruce Wayne and his not-so-nice (with lots of history yet to be explored) butler, Alfred Pennyworth are part of the story and we all know where that is heading.  Yet Bruce's interactions with the others is what will make him the man he becomes, he has to be there - just not the focus.

    There is tons of violence, betrayals, lies, crazies, corruption and so on.  There are also those who (reluctantly) stand up with Gordon to begin to fix things in this endless cesspool of a city.  Most of the storylines are engaging and move it all forward.  A few, such as Milo Ventimiglia's deranged serial killer and his kidnapping of Jim's ex-girlfriend Barbara made no sense and didnt seem to fit at all.  Sometimes the writer's seem to be still searching for their direction.

Yet the story is just beginning, characters are evolving and it keeps me wanting to see how it gets there.  Because Gotham is what makes Batman, without it, there would be no need for him.



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