Gotham season 1 Blu-ray Review
The sign of quality TV, just a mere decade ago, was judged solely on a week by week basis. Now TV shows can be judged on how they stand the test of time during a near day long binge. The yearlong effort by numerous writers, directors, and actors is quickly consumed by viewers within a day or two when it comes to TV shows these days. So when a binge becomes a strain on a viewer, it’s now a sign of a TV show in major need of some tweaking. But GOTHAM works better when it’s spread throughout a year.
GOTHAM is about 42 to 43 minutes long and is 22 episodes long. I’ll spare you some elementary school math and tell you that’s around 15 and a half hours. So GOTHAM is far from being a show that you can sit down and watch in one sad sitting. When you attempt the popular binge method, a lot of its flaws are magnified. It lacks a clear storytelling narrative. It draws you in, but pushes you away at the same time. It’s a show that you’re going to have to soldier up and take in for the long haul because 22 episodes is way too much for what little story its offering. For this review, I’m going to focus in on the first four episodes because I can tell you everything you’ll need to know about this show in that sample size.
GOTHAM, much like BATMAN: YEAR ONE by Frank Miller, is a story that starts out with a young Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) watching his parents murdered, but instead of solely following Wayne’s journey to becoming the Dark Knight, we watch a young Jim Gordon (McKenzie) begin his work with the corrupt Gotham City Police force. He’s trying to be a squeaky clean cop, but it doesn’t help that the mafia and other crime lords have their hands in every police officer’s pocket. Gordon quickly becomes assimilated with the rest of the cops when he’s asked to kill an informant, Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor), or better known as, the Penguin.
Instead of stooping down to everyone else’s level and killing the Penguin, Gordon lets Penguin live. Big mistake. Penguin comes back, hungry for blood and lusting for power. Penguin, a man who’s constantly plotting, aspires to become the criminal overlord of Gotham’s underbelly. His snitching in the first episode, as well as all his other double and triple crosses, are all towards something bigger and better. In Penguin’s way is an unnecessarily long list of scheming, backstabbing criminals, murderers and other future Gotham villains waiting to crack.
In fact, there are just way too many people moving around in GOTHAM. It’s a show that feels very crowded with our main hero, Gordon, getting lost in the fray. We meet Selina Kyle (Catwoman), Edward Nygma (The Riddler), Harvey Dent (Two-Face), Victor Zsasz, Ivy Pepper (Poison Ivy), Jerome (possibly the Joker?), and others. At times, it’s a real mess and it also seems to spend too much time winking at the camera. When GOTHAM focuses solely on Gordon and how he balances the insanity of the city he’s sworn to protect, it’s quite interesting. Gordon is battling with wanting to be a good cop, but he’s also coming to the realization that he has to do bad things to get anywhere.
GOTHAM is a show with a lot of potential. There are only a handful of episodes that really stand out while the others are contrived and confusing. Sometimes, just like the show’s plotlines, the character motivations are directionless. Fish Mooney (Smith), a character seemingly created for the TV show, is the writers at their worst. Smith manages to chew the scenery well, but her character just seems outlandish, stoic, serious, goofy, and unrealistic, sometimes all within the same episode. There can be a disorganized harmony if the writers of GOTHAM find the right chord, but I’m afraid 22 episodes is too much of a strain, even for some of TV’s best writers.
I don’t really partake in comic book TV shows because I get enough superhero stories at the movies, but DC really pushes the envelope more than Marvel would ever dream of. I’ve heard that the violence on Netflix’s DAREDEVIL is pretty brutal, but GOTHAM manages to be shockingly violent for a FOX program that airs fairly early in the evening. I think if GOTHAM quits focusing on the flash and glamour of being a violent, dumb comic TV show, it has the potential to relax and have a lot of fun. So if it can, then the first season of GOTHAM could be a worthwhile speed bump, albeit it a lengthy one.
Video: (1080p Widescreen 1:78:1) The dire world of GOTHAM is captured on this blu-ray. The picture quality is crystal clear.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) The city, it’s heroes and villains, and all the action are brought to life on this blu-ray. Dialogue, music, and sound effects are blended together without a single problem.
Gotham Invented (31:28): This is a three-part behind the scenes look at the TV show. The first one, Building Our Gotham, talks with producers about the unspoken character, the city of Gotham. The second part, Paving the Way for the Caped Crusader, takes a look at Batman’s origins as well as how the crime filled-city shapes and grows with Bruce Wayne. The final part, Fractured Villains of Gotham, breaks down the various villains featured in GOTHAM.
GOTHAM: Designing the Fiction (19:56): This is a look at the cinematography and production design that helps create GOTHAM’s bleak look. Also has time to take a look the costumes and props that are used for the show.
The Game of Cobblepot (26:25): A very lengthy feature about GOTHAM’s main villain, the Penguin. We hear from Robin Lord Taylor and others about the evolution of his character on the show and how much of his traits they plucked from the pages of the comic books.
GOTHAM: The Legend Reborn (21:37): This is an in-depth look at the creation of the TV show’s pilot. It’s very interesting look at what goes into a pilot, especially with a show that has so much to live up to, like GOTHAM
DC Comics Night: Comic-Con 2014 (29:31): A feature that pulls all the highlights from the Comic-Con panel that features the cast from the TV shows, GOTHAM, THE FLASH, CONSTANTINE, and ARROW
Character Profiles (15:29): This is a collection of miniature character biographies. It talks with the actors about their character backgrounds and how they evolve through the show. Characters include, Jim Gordon, Bruce Wayne and Alfred Pennyworth, Detective Harvey Bullock, Fish Mooney, Oswald Cobblepot, Dr. Leslie Thompkins, and an assortment of characters in one lump sum that they call, “Killer Characters”.
Gag Reel (4:55): A very out of place gag reel. Not necessarily funny after going over features about how deep and dark the show is.
Deleted Scenes: An array of forgettable deleted scenes from various episodes.