Gotham (2014-)

A closer look at James Gordon and Gotham City.

Gotham takes us back in time to the beginning of Bruce Wayne’s story – the birth of Batman, when his parents are killed in cold blood in an alleyway. What is different about this show is it doesn’t follow Bruce like we’ve seen in the much admired Dark Knight trilogy.

“But it’s called Gotham”, I hear you cry. “It must be about Batman!”

That’s where I got a little sceptical too. It follows the most prominent ‘good’ cop in the infamous city – James Gordon as a young man who has just left the special forces and is ready to make a difference on the mean streets. After watching a couple of episodes, I must admit it grew on me.

The dark and gritty, yet lighthearted, tones that made Arrow so successful resonate here which makes me feel optimistic about where the storyline will take us.

We’re also introduced to the younger versions of some of the soon-to-be-Batman’s (but already seen) foes. Gotham reveals Catwoman, Ivy and The Penguin to us early and vividly so we have no doubt who they are. We see in their personalities if the harsh city life hadn’t failed them, they may not have turned into their villainous adult counterparts.

Fish Mooney, played by Jada Pinkett Smith, is a club owner and ambitious gangster created for this particular show. We can assume she will be taken on by the young Gordon long before Gotham has to invest in its Batsignal.

Gordon will be tested, not just by the flourishing criminal outfit but by the corrupt police force who must now be convinced he is one of them if he wishes to just stay alive. Working undercover in the police station and on the streets must be exhausting!

Along with his successful fiancée Barbara, Gordon must find a way to rid the city of all corruption on both sides of the law. We know this is a tall order – that’s the benefit of prequels. We already know the ending but I do suspect this show will have some unexpected twists up its sleeves.

You may be wondering if they’ve cut Master Wayne out entirely.

That would be quite unrealistic seeing as he’s now the most kid in the city. After Gordon drapes his coat over Bruce at the scene of his parents’ death they start to form a bond, aided by the much loved Alfred (Sean Pertwee holds his own in this role so far).

I’m not a comic book reader. I don’t know the original plot lines of some of the world’s favourite comic book characters and superheroes. But I know when stories have to be adapted to fit another medium and this works well for television.

Origin stories can sometimes be hit and miss but I’m hoping as he climbs the ranks of the GPD Gordon’s story will be a difficult, but more importantly interesting, journey to keep us engaged in the world of Gotham.

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