Fox’s Gotham Needs Cleaning Up

In the new Fall drama Gotham, FOX attempts to succeed in the superhero world where ABC failed.

Last year ABC aired Agents of Shield, a behind-the-scenes look at a superhero city minus the superheroes we know and love. The pilot didn’t intrigue me, and I never watched episode two. According to the ratings and the critics, the show didn’t get much better.

However, whereas ABC wanted to show the Avengers world without the Avengers, FOX instead wishes to show the Batman world origin story. Like bowling with the bumpers, FOX built itself a buffer for the season. You can’t stop watching after one episode; you need to see where Joker comes from!

The pilot episode was entertaining enough. It started with a flash and had a flurry of action to carry through the hour. However, I couldn’t help but be a bit distracted by the characters.

It wasn’t so much that the cavalcade of characters was disarming; it was the fact that the reveals seemed to overshadow the show itself.

It wasn’t so much that an orphan girl witnessed the Waynes’ murders; it was the fact that she was little Catwoman! How cute!

It wasn’t so much that the police forensics man had vital information pertaining to the murders; it was the fact that he enjoyed spinning yarns because he was young Riddler!



gotham screenshot

It’s still early, only one episode in after all. But my worry with Gotham is whether the show will still hold up when all the reveals have taken place. Will the story be good enough to carry itself on its own without using the Batman world as a crutch?

My other problems with the show are minor. Didn’t James Gordon come off a bit too pristine, like how he answered pre-Riddler’s riddle so fast and how a rookie cop silenced the entire police station to bring down that criminal who wanted his pills? And why did the plot gloss over Gordon’s return to his fiancée after his run-in with a meat locker? I wanted to know what he told her. Wouldn’t that have been the most telling conversation of the episode as to the man James is, even more so than admitting the truth to Bruce?

These problems are minor, even petty, especially for a new pilot.

It all comes back to the Batman world. If the story was exactly the same but in a different universe, would the show hold up? If pre-Penguin was just a creepy kid and Bruce was just a guy who grew up to be a vigilante and James Gordon became a police commissioner but not Commissioner Gordon, would anyone still be interested?

FOX bought itself some time because the audience will stick around for a while to see the rest of the reveals. But once the dust settles, the show needs to be good enough on its own. Let’s hope that ends up being the case. I don’t want pre-Poison Ivy’s dad to have died in vain.


Image and logo credits to,, and FOX


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