5.5/10 With “The Batman” dropping a month from now, I figured I would get hyped by watching the entirety of Fox’s “Gotham” which ran from 2014-2019. Decades ago, Fox, CBS, NBC, ABC, etc. ruled the airwaves with television content. Then came cable TV with FX, Showtime, Cinemax, AMC, etc. for the higher ends shows. Finally, HBO came along as well as Netflix and now all of the streaming services, of which there are too many to list. Whereas network TV once produced the biggest hits on television, now the streaming services have reigned supreme and most shows on basic network TV are the lowest budgeted, often containing laugh tracks and hardly produce anything worthwhile anymore. Every once in a while an exception comes along (“Limitless” lasted only one season but I enjoyed it) but overall you have to set your expectations lower for network TV. Keeping that in mind, “Gotham” is by no means a good show (if season one is the metric) and full of problems, but there is a cheesy, enjoyable time to be had if your expectations going in are that this is nowhere near the level of HBO, Paramount+ or Amazon Prime levels of quality. I was actually impressed by how much money they must have spent on this first season. Recreating Gotham City is no small feat and the production design and costume design teams do solid work here with their budgetary constraints. Gotham’s scope is adequately captured and the dark, seedy underbelly has some impressive set work for network TV. Ben McKenzie takes the lead as Jim Gordon and I’ve been a fan of his since I watched “The OC” back in high school. While he won’t be winning any Emmys or Oscars, he is an extremely likeable leading man and a strong protagonist who I enjoyed watching. David Mazouz is young but makes a convincing Bruce Wayne. Several of the actors put in solid work, even if certain characters are completely over the top, like Penguin for example, who looks like he just walked out of an audition for My Chemical Romance. He is probably the most annoying villain but gets the most screen time. So many Batman villains make an appearance, which ends up being both good and bad but when it comes to Scarecrow, this was the best use of the character I’ve ever seen (yes, even better than how Nolan used him in “Batman Begins”). This rendition of Scarecrow tackles adrenochrome, which if you’ve gone down the rabbit holes that I have on that subject matter, you will know is a terrifying and disturbing practice. To see it in the show was pretty ballsy to even acknowledge it. I also enjoyed that the show kept the violent, dark tones, instead of hamming it up like the Joel Schumacher movies did. As for what didn’t work, some of the actors are definitely over the top. Barbara Kean might be one of the worst characters I’ve ever seen in a television series…ever. Like any “CSI” or “Law & Order” episode, this season has 43 minutes to solve each crime before the following episode. Ways that the scripts cut corners to save time by our two leading detectives finding out relevant clues to solve the crimes are often idiotic, convenient and ridiculous. Storylines tend to never go more than two episodes at a time which brings me back to my complaint about the villains. While I appreciate a new take by having Bruce Wayne be a child and Jim Gordon be the central character, we get so many villains with barely any screen time. Villains are introduced and then gone two episodes later, as if the writers threw everything at the wall to see what would stick. While the waring mafia subplots continue through the entire season, there really is no main narrative. Just a new villain of the week every one or two episodes. I would have rather seen each season cover one or two villains and give them an entire season instead of two episode cameos. While the show was enjoyable to watch, you can definitely tell the quality is of network TV so your enjoyment of this season will hinge upon where your expectations are set. Keeping mine relatively low, I had fun with this first season but hope they make some much needed improvements in the seasons to come.

#PainAndWayne / #AFishMooneyOutOfWater / #BrashGordon / #DarkhamAsylum / #TheCobblepotCallingTheKettleBlack / #HomeFalcone

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