Gotham (Pilot Review)

Before the rise of the Caped Crusader, Batman, there was Gotham! This new TV adaptation of the legendary stories from the murky, crime filled city streets of Gotham has finally hit our screens!

The series is set pre-Batman and opens with the classic story of the backstreet mugging which leaves Bruce Wayne (played by David Mazouz) orphaned after the murder of his parents Thomas and Martha. Enter James Gordon (played by Ben McKenzie) and his partner Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue). After a brief encounter with a Gotham hooligan at the local precinct, they are set the task to resolve the murder investigation, which, from the outset, they appear to do early on in the episode… however, not so much of a happy ending. Bruce Wayne with the help of his faithful butler, Alfred, played by Sean Pertwee, entrust James Gordon and co to continue the search.

As most first episodes of a new series, there is strong emphasis on setting the scene for the forthcoming season, and this includes briefly touching on all characters who will grow to become the villains we all love to hate.

From the outset you see a young Catwomen to be, walking the streets of Gotham committing petty pick pocketing crimes. Poison Ivy is the daughter of the first suspect accused of the Wayne killings; The Riddler is in the ranks seen to be helping the Police; there’s a bit part from a failed comedian, The Joker, and, probably the most intriguing character at this time, The Penguin.

Born Oswald Cobblepot and played by Robin Lord Taylor, the Penguin in the first insistence is a submissive ‘bitch’ of gangster kingpin Fish Mooney played by Will Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith.  Oswald gets an insight on a mobster underworld when he chooses to grass on Fish as a chess move to oust his leader… Fish is too smart for Oswald and he is dealt with by a smack around the legs with a chair.

Without giving too much away as seeing is believing, we see the police and mobsters give and take swipes at each other and the end of the episode sees Gordan and Cobblepot face to face at the end of a pier in Gotham – things don’t end well for Cobblepot but if they did we wouldn’t have the birth of The Super Villain, The Penguin.

This series, although in its early days is classy, fast paced and has the dark alternative aura that the world has come to know from everything Batman/Gotham City historically. I can only see it getting better which is evident from the preview of episode 2. This show is bringing in all the classic backgrounds and story lines from the classic comic books.

Stay tuned and unravel the dark past of an iconic city which paved the way to the most famous anti-hero of them all, Batman. I can’t wait for more! Gotham continues at 9pm Monday on Channel 5.

By Olly Hanks

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