Gotham binging on Netflix

GothamI’m a big Batman fan – I loved the comics, the animated series, the movies (even the questionably campy ones before the Christopher Nolan reboot) and everything in between. What can be more interesting than a guy with an extreme obsession with fighting crime, who also happens to have a lot of money? I actually gave Fox’s Gotham a chance back when it originally aired in late 2014. I watched the first 2 episodes and then I stopped.  I was confused – I loved Batman, but this show based on Batman doesn’t even have Batman. After binge watching Gotham on Netflix, I remembered what made Batman so great – its villains.

I originally started watching Gotham again for the background noise.  I’m studying 3D game design right now and I like to study with a movie I already watched or any movie/show I’m not really interested in, playing in the background. Gotham fell into the latter category. As I mentioned, it was something I gave a chance to before but never thought I would finish, or cared to finish, as it didn’t interest me. But eventually, while taking my eyes off my book during rest periods, the story was able to pull me in. I focused my full attention on finishing all 22 episodes in about 2 days.

Young Bruce Wayne, his parents being killed in an alleyway and Bruce’s inevitable descent into the borderline insane man fighting crime in a Halloween costume but armed with a very expensive military grade arsenal of toys– it’s a story many of us have already read or watched.  But Gotham is a bit different from your standard Batman affair. The Gotham story is not canon – at least I don’t think it is. I don’t think Poison Ivy, Cat Woman and Batman knew each other when they were children – otherwise I’m sure a very rich young man would help his friends out so they didn’t grow up leading a life of crime. You’ll start questioning how much of a coincidence it was that many of Batman’s characters and/or themes show up in one form or another. But if you take yourself out of the improbabilities and a lot of the cheap fan-service that Gotham tries to squeeze in every episode, the episodic stories and the over arching main plot is very interesting.

Young Bruce learning to beat up villains early in his life, with Alfred’s help.   Source: Netflix

 

Gotham introduced the younger version of many Batman villains – Selina Kyle/Cat Woman (Cameron Bicondova), Jonathan Crane/Scarecrow (Charlie Tahan) and Ivy Pepper/Poison Ivy (Clare Foley). But my favorite has to be a young Oswald Cobblepot (Penguin) played by Robin Lord Taylor. His rise from a simple Umbrella carrier for one of the most annoying Gotham characters, Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith), to an all out crime boss was an amazingly epic ride. I cheered for him when his plans go his way and I felt for him when he would fail. Penguin’s story and adventure was a lot more interesting than Bruce Wayne’s (David Mazouz) pint size detective training into Wayne Corp’s corruption and Taylor’s character is so much more developed than Benie McKenzie’s Jim Gordan – the show’s main character. They should have just named the show “Penguin and Friends.”

With the exception of some useless story arks, such as Fish Mooney’s departure then return to Gotham for no purpose at all, the villain origin stories are exceptional. Again – taking away any disbelief because many of these villains didn’t really become who they are until they were adults, the events that led to a character to become a villain will push you to watch one episode after the last. I highly recommend any Netflix subscriber to binge watch all the episodes. Now off to watch Season 2 on Hulu!

9 out of 10

Gotham
Gotham

Gotham’s main characters    Source: Netflix

Gotham Penguin

Robin Lord Taylor’s Penguin    Source: Netflix

 

 

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