Unrepentant Geeking: Saving Gotham?

Shaun looks at one of the more troubled major launches of the current TV season & shares his thoughts on where its going wrong.

About Shaun K

The video game discussion show where we introduce the debate and you continue it


  1. about time someone said it.
    I agree on most of your points. I think there are parts of the show I’ve enjoyed more than you have, scattered though they may be and will probably continue to watch for now.

  2. I wrote a midseason review a while back for the show, and in it I joked that Gotham almost seemed to be aiming for a character study of the city in the vein of The Wire or Treme rather than a traditional narrative, but that it didn’t have competent enough writing to pull it off. I wasn’t really being particularly serious in that particular analysis, but, the thing is, with the most recent episode it really is starting to feel like that is what the show aiming for. In my opinion, if the creators want to fix Gotham, they need to decide what it is ABOUT. Its focus needs to be reigned in and directed at a particular topic (or a few carefully chosen topics) as opposed to juggling various unrelated plot lines spread out across a broad swath of characters. Also, no one in the show should ever mention Balloonman ever again!

  3. The funny thing is that during that last part I actually was thinking of something dirty.

  4. I love Gotham. Yes, it’s spread thin, has a bit of tonal whiplash, and possibly the worst female lead I have ever seen in my life.
    It also has great actors with great chemistry, great writing within that chemistry, the ‘case of the week’ stories are usually fun and interesting, and a lot of great fun characters. (excluding Barbara, I hate her.) Gotham is it’s own thing and it’s very difficult to put it any one genre of entertainment, but that’s ok.
    I’m entertained consistently and am looking forward to the next episode. Hell, it’s become one of my favorite shows!

  5. Well, this is my second time watching one of your videos. This is because lately you keep reviewing things that I’m interested in. I actually like Gotham. True, I still need to see the last 4 episodes that I’ve missed but I overall like it… besides the Barbara subplots. Those always seem pointless and not as heavy as the other story lines when we could be focusing the actually interesting characters in the show. I have no more complaints. Well, I would like to see Gotham for about three more seasons: young Bruce, teen Bruce, before Batman Bruce and show over. If it goes any longer, then it won’t work.

  6. I have to laugh at people who make weblogs on a show that just started, and is pretty much well-liked by a large part of the Bat-fandom already. “Saving Gotham” – oh yes, because a nerdy 20-someting-guy on the internet knows more about how to make a successful TV series than a bunch of producers and directors, naturally.

  7. Shaun sorry to point this out but superpower was into in Gotham at Episode 5 with viper(early ver of venom) that give people Super strength and make them very hard to kill but die if the don’t take more viper.So this all superpower is not new in Gotham

    If the can take cat girl out of the series before it become more cheese the flash I be happy with Gotham more .

  8. Constantine struggles to hold on, while Fox over-extends a season for one of their shows. It’s a world gone mad.

  9. I like Gotham. When it started I was afraid the the show would drag it’s heels. If they gave us an actual Batman TV series, surely you wouldn’t complain about it having too many villains. If anything I want to see too much for the show to keep up.

    To be honest I didn’t care for the Nolan Batman Origin. First, It sacrificed a lot of potential fun, just to have it be what some people consider realistic. Second, the way I see it, Bruce’s reaction to his parents death was to make a promise only a child would believe he could keep, yet he never gives up on keeping it. Nolan’s Bruce was more of a lost soul who fell into a cult then did a 180 when he found out they wanted him to kill people. It was thrilling sure, it just seemed like instead of a lifetime of training for an impossible goal, he slacked off for the semester then crammed before his finals.

    Gotham’s Bruce is the version I want to see. He doesn’t come off as depressed or angry all the time, he’s just choosing a unique path and finding the faith to stick to it.

    I can give a separate reason for liking every villain their building up so far. Overall the writers seem to have hit a chord with the Batman I’ve wanted to see.

  10. Obvious fanboyism is obvious. I can tell you are a hardcore Batman fanboy, and i too love Batman, he’s one of my favorites. But at least i can see how television producers work with the material and budge they’re given.

    Gotham is still new, and it has a lot of good characters in it. And they are developing.

    Barbara is a bitch, don’t get me wrong, but she was so emotionally involved that, she wasn’t even thinking of the consequences, hence why Jim told her not to get involved with his work.
    And now, she’s a mess, living with her on again – off again lesbian lover.

    I for one hope this show keeps growing, but for anyone to just stab it without giving it a real chance are just obvious fanboys who are butthurt.

    As for the plot, while it does star Jim a lot, majority of the plot is centered the interconnections between the Wayne foundation, the mobsters and everyone who is involved.

    I particularly like Penguins character the most in this show, always entertaining.

    • I have to agree completely with you especially on the Penguin part, he feels like Danny Davito’s Penguin. I got my mothered hooked on the show but stopped watching because the only part that interested me were the mobsters, especially Cobblepot.

  11. I think the problem with the Gotham show is that it both wants the cake and eat the cake. It wants to drag out on how long it wants to wait to introduce Batman – yet it also really badly wants to have colorful supervillains in there, but not understanding how it contradicts itself to have that before Batman comes around.
    Idealistically, they would recast Bruce to be played by someone older by either season 2 or 3, and he’d start his journey into becoming Batman. Then when he becomes Batman, the creators can go crazy and do all the shit they seem to so badly want to be able to do.

    I personally think Gotham all things considered is a surprisingly well-written show. Especially in comparison to Arrow, since it avoids all that bullshit family drama and romance drama, keeping it to bare minimum and focusing more on issues related to crimes, as it should be. It feels like something that COULD have been taken out of comics. Well, minus nitpicks like that Alfred and Gordon are missing their mustaches, which admittedly bugs me. XP
    But yeah, we only need 2-3 seasons at most to establish Gotham getting fucked up to the point of needing Batman. They just need to make sure they know how to plan out the whole show, and not just take everything as it comes. It’s a risky gamble.

  12. Saw the first or second episode, was not impressed.
    Ideas to save this show…
    1. Kill Barbara – Sorry. I know,”women in refridgerators;” but going by your post, this woman isn’t adding anything to the show except a name for the fanboys to call-out. Just get rid of her already.
    2. The War – Pull the trigger on this big mob shoot-out and make sure Penguin is the last villian standing.
    3. Shift the focus to Bruce and Alfred.
    4. Maybe consider the anthology format – Each week a character gets a small share of the show to his/her own storyline. Bruce and Alfred one week, Gordon the next. The week after that, we give Bullock a half-hour and Selina two 15 minute segments. And so on/so forth.
    5. NO MORE SUPERVILLIANS – You know how bad an idea “the Electro-cutioner”is? It’s one I had before this show was on! That’s how bad it is.

  13. thank you! ive been having problems with the show since it started sadly. i do agree with most your points and do think securing a tone or focusing on a plotline would greatly help the show.

  14. The funniest part of this all is that Gordon doesn’t get there until two years before batman becomes batman in the comics.

  15. Personally I love Gotham, sure it has its flaws but I am willing to let it find its footing before writing it off.
    I think there will be more focus in the future, the series does seem that its headed somewhere big.

  16. After devoting 10 years of my life to Smallville, i’m wary of touching this with a ten foot pole, lest Bruce ends up getting possessed by a dead French witch and sporting a Kryptonian tramp stamp in season 4.

    Oh well, at least The Flash and Arrow are worth watching. SOOOOOO GOOOODDDD

  17. Gotham is so unfocused that it will be miraculous to me if they can actually pull together an honest to God plot by the end. Characterization is terribly inconsistent. Plots and subplots fight each other for screen time. Characters that we know are ultimately irrelevant right now keep appearing essentially to remind us who they will become. Good acting and decent set design and a few good ideas keep me from saying it’s impossible to save Gotham, but it’s unlikely.
    Also, aside from the 70’s Wonder Woman show, DC has basically failed at characterization of female characters outside of animation. Smallville, Birds of Prey, Arrow, The Flash, and Gotham all have at best passable and at worst awful female characters (and that’s not even mentioning the terrifyingly awful Wonder Woman pilot). DC’s barely gonna beat Marvel to the punch in terms of a female led comic movie, but Agent Carter proves that Marvel can at least do a female led story competently. No proof of that from DC yet.

  18. The show feels like average-y fan-fiction, the kind I would write. There are elements that work – I do love the portrayal of young Selina Kyle, that’s exactly how I imagined the character and Alfred’s a badass – but it has that whole “prequel trap” thing going on. The fates of all these characters are railroaded and we all know where they’re gonna end up, the way the premise is set up, the journey they take there can not be as interesting as what happens when they end up there. The age gap between Bruce and most of the major villains means the Batman of this universe will be fighting septuagenarians. Also, gosh darn is Jada Pinkett Smith terrible as all get-out.

  19. I really like Gotham, even though I agree with many of your points. Yes, the show does seem unfocused, but on the other hand I happen to enjoy seeing the different plot threads and how they intersect with one another. And while some of the characters do seem to exist only to create conflict (Barbara), I think it’s made up for by the other interesting, colorful characters out there. While they can occasionally be over the top (Fish), others are just really enjoyable (Bullock).

    I personally think that the lack of focus on a few characters is in the vein of the show, after all. It’s not called “The Jim Gordon Crimebusters Hour”. The main character in the show is right there in the title. It’s not so much about the people as it is about the world they live in. Well that’s my two cents anyway.

  20. screw you! Gotham is fun and is building up to something! still it shouldn’t go on more than 3 seasons!

  21. As far as opinions go, i guess i agree with what you said about the show, albeit partially. I like Gotham and despite its faults i do eagerly wait for the next episode. The show does suffer from some scriptual adhd, and that is a problem. As it stands the show’s best qualities are the cast and the atmosphere, however the tension is severely undercut because the episodes never stick in one place long enough for us to see the the build up. In the future i hope the show keeps with its theme of the nitty gritty in gotham city but hopefully with more focus.

  22. I tried to give it a shot too, but just ended up not caring about any of the characters. I didn’t mind the 32 different storylines, but even that couldn’t grip me because I didn’t care. The dialogue was clunky, the acting was high school par at best and the story just never seemed to go anywhere. I read people saying it’s supposed to be cheesy ON PURPOSE, yeah, because that’ll grip me. Either go all Dick Tracey, or don’t. Either go Pulp Comic or don’t. Either go The Following stupid, or don’t. I had to stop watching when I saw Harvey Dent as a 30+ year old (that just went too far). Even the Penguin, who everyone was praising, was getting old fast. “Oh look, he betrayed someone else. Oh look, he got caught like an idiot. Oh look, nothing will happen to him because we all know he grows up to be a major villain.” Sometimes I thought the show should have just been CALLED the Penguin. There was one possible cool scene where Zsasz (who of course is also 35 or so for some reason) tells all the cops to leave, just to show how corrupt it is there, is ruined by robotic extras and awkward directing. And geez, I won’t even rant about how bad Jada Smith is… oh boy. This could have easily been a very well done TV version of LA Confidential, but the writers, instead of picking a couple of apples off the tree, thought it’d be better to cut the whole thing down and put it in a blender. Did they really need to shove every character they read about on Batman’s wiki page in the first 3 episodes?

    How can batman fan boys even watch this when they dumb everything down to the brink of insanity?

  23. the first action I personally believe that they need to do, is start shipping Bruce off to his boarding schools, so that way we don’t have to focus on Batman becoming Batman for a long time! Because right now he’s 12, he doesn’t put on the costume until he’s at least 20! And considering that the writer has stated on multiple occasions that the final episode is him putting on the costume, he is shooting for at least eight seasons! Which is a miracle for any show to make. Next big problem is their introducing way too many of the members of the rogues gallery, I say drop cat woman and young poison ivy for a while. Or if you’re going to have to keep young cat woman, be working with Gordon on cases. Then pick which storyline you’re going to focus on. But considering how this guy is thinking I highly doubt it.

    I’m not watching the show for a lot of reasons! Mainly I’m having smallville flashbacks much like I need a vacation home in Arkham Asylum. And I know some people are saying the first few seasons of Superboy weren’t that bad. That’s true, if you ignore the problem that it slowly and surely became more and more about Superman encountering more and more of his villains before putting on the suit. Which is the exact same problem this show has. It’s too much determined to bring up the old villains that people recognize without understanding them. I was fine with the subjects of bringing in the penguin early on, being a low ranking grunt makes perfect sense for the guide to slowly climb the ladder and let’s face it a few seasons he could’ve killed the previous crime boss and taken over the runs. But this is season one and he’d already out of the gang and forced to try to take over! Which means there’s a big problem already in start. Namely whenever the show is all about meandering the other half is lightning speed! I wouldn’t be surprised if Harvey loses his face at the end of this season, literally and becomes two-faced the crime lord at the start of season two! Which is way too early for many reasons! And makes Batman look like he’s beating up a bunch of geriatrics.

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