Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Gotham - "Cat"

There was a lot to be excited about for the second episode of Gotham entitled, "Selina Kyle."  After seeing the title to this episode last week I figured Gotham was going to give each budding character their moment in the sun (or moonlight this being Gotham City) let them have their own episode and allow the viewing audience their chance to get to know each character.

I was doubly excited to see the above frame because I thought Gotham was going to drop Easter eggs to the expanded DC universe and we'd get looks at future heroes as well as villains.   The picture above with the trident I surely thought was a nod to Arthur Curry aka Aquaman!

So did we get our early Catwoman story and a wink to Aquaman?

No and No.

Alas, the price to be paid for being a comic geek.  Over expectations.

Selina actually disappeared for much of this episode and when we did get to see her again she didn't disappoint.  She exhibited that streetwise resourcefulness we expect of her by eluding the cronies of the Dollmaker and facilitating the rescue of her fellow street urchins. 

What was disappointing was seeing her shed that guile with the "inappropriate touching" tact she used to see Jim Gordon.  How very tired was that.  I think I've seen this particular ruse by TV and movie "problem children" at least a dozen times.  Maybe two dozen.

It's a disservice to her future character.  Let's hope Gotham doesn't resort to similar tropes for the rest of its characters.

So what did I like?

Arkham References

Early on while Gordon and Bullock were having their usual battle of wits, an Arkham reference was dropped by Gordon and I thought to myself, "Cool, they're keeping the idea of Arkham Asylum alive for future use in the series.

But it didn't stop there.

Always look at the books my friends.  They are part of the set design for a reason.

The bottommost book in the above stack (Barbara's apartment) is titled, "Asylum of the Birds."  It immediately made me think of a future denizen of Arkham Asylum, "The Penguin."  We get our asylum reference and a bird reference.  It also makes one think once they get Arkham going in this series that Oswald Cobblepot may be its first inmate.

A third reference...

Thank you Alfred.  Our third Arkham reference comes our beloved butler when he exclaims to Jim Gordon, "It's bedlam, isn't it?"  Bedlam was the nickname given to St. Mary of Bethlelem, London.  An insane asylum from the early sixteenth century.  Bedlem was middle English for Bethlehem.  A nice tangential reference for where the future crazies of Gotham will end up.

Mommy Issues

This episode also gave a look into the psyches of our future villains.  Super heroes often have Daddy issues.  Maybe it's the mothers for villains.

We get a quick look into Selina's locket.  It was in the context of the memory of her mother.  The above look actually could be of two different women.  A mother and a grandmother perhaps?  Maybe even an adoptive mother with the birth mother.  Both lost to Selina?

Carol Kane (barely recognizable) played Oswald Cobblepot's mother.  Naturally she's blind to her sons development as she sees him as a good boy and even handsome to look at.  Ah, a mother's love.  And blindness.  If she only took a closer look.

What's this, a future mother?  Well, it's just a guess but they can do anything they want with the Fish Mooney character.  She belongs to Gotham alone.  But as a mother?  How about in relation to "Lazlo" who has been identified as Mooney's lover.  He may also be a....

Joker Tease!

He kind of looks like an early Joker doesn't he?  He certainly has the motivation to become the Joker after the beat down he took from Falcone's men.  Driven to crime and revenge at the behest of Fish Mooney?  Yes, it's a stretch, but one never knows. 

I suppose I could take it one step further and have Lazlo and Fish the parents of the future Joker.  That's one baby I wouldn't want to see.  Wouldn't that be a killing joke!

The first Joker tease of the episode came early on when a fellow cop took umbrage to Jim Gordon stepping on his shoes.  "Clown" he called him.  Get it?  Shoes, clown, clown shoes, the Joker.  The Clown Prince of Crime.  I'm not making this up.

Odds and Ends

 See the kids?  They are all standing around the hole that the Dollmaker's creepy henchman just fell into.  We see a lot of holes in this show and judging by the new Gotham teaser we are going to see a lot more.  Holes and sewers make me think of Killer Croc.  Methinks we'll see the early Croc in this series.  Look for him.

We get a good panning shot of the Gotham skyline again.  The Clocktower is visible and we also get a look at that mysterious building with the Z atop it.  What does it mean?  Seriously, does anyone know.  A Victor Zsasz reference?  Weren't Victor's parents rich?  I think he inherited their international industry or something.  I'll have to Google it.

Edward Nygma is back.  Seen "behind bars" perhaps.  Or maybe he is just a little "shady" considering he is seen through venetian blinds.

Last but not least, Bruce.

Inuring oneself to pain are we?  Getting too close to the flame Mothman?  Oops, I mean Batman.  Well, they're both urban legends.   The jury is still out on the future Batman.  Listening to heavy metal and scrawling demented pictures in a notebook?  Bruce is supposed to be sad and lonely not unhinged.

That comes later.

Here's a look at that new Gotham trailer.  Look for the holes!  (Oh, and Victor Zsasz is in it too.)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Gotham - Pilot

I had heard some criticism of the Gotham pilot on how there was just a bit too much "posing" or "posturing" from the Selina Kyle character.  What I didn't count on is that they would actually start the series with her.

A bit of a bold move considering Gotham is the story of the neophyte Jim Gordon and the nascent Batman.  I guess I should have sniffed out "set up" but I was too much into the big picture.

So what was the set up and pay off?

Myth Busters

So, Selina Kyle was there for the birth of the Batman.

That's a break with canon.  I'm an old school Batman guy and I go by ancient scripture.  I had also heard Gotham was going to take a few liberties with the Batman mythology.  

Do I have a problem with that?

No, I give up.  Seriously, you can teach this old dog some new tricks.  I live in the Geoff Johns era now so a little ret-con here and there is okay with me.  Especially when it is tied in nicely.  Catwoman is as much a creature of the night as Batman is so why not start their mutual paths together.

The only catch is we won't be able to see these two grow into adulthood together.  The show can't last that long!  Kids grow fast and Camren Bicondova (Selina) and David Mazouz (Bruce Wayne) will be looking a lot different in just a few short seasons.

Oh wait, that's when the spinoff starts.  (Kidding.  Or not.)

As for Selina's posturing, I get it, she's a cat.  All things feline.  Will it get to be a bit too much?  The kids got style (Stray Cat Strut) so let's give her a break for now.

Myth Busters Two

Barbara Kean is going to be Batgirl!??!!

Ha, no, no, no.  Pretty clever putting her in front of the clockworks though.  Barbara Gordon in the comics is Batgirl who eventually become Oracle, who eventually becomes Batgirl again. 

Barbara Gordon in the comics is also the wife of Commissioner Jim Gordon.

Confused?  Eh, that's the comics for you.  Pick your mythology.  Or time stream for that matter.

As Oracle, Barbara Gordon was in a wheelchair, crippled by the Joker.  Her secret lair was in the Gotham clock tower.  So, yes, a nice send up by the Gotham show.  Also in the comics "Babs" Gordon is the niece of Jim Gordon whom he adopts.  I'd actually like to see that happen here eventually.

It Got A Little Dusty In The Room

How many times have I see Batman's parents get murdered?  About a million.  But when young Bruce runs into the arms of Alfred, well, maybe I should vacuum more often.  (Geez, this keyboard is a little dusty too!)

Sean Pertwee seems to be playing Alfred a bit gruff and a little rough around the edges.  Almost a bit unschooled.  When Bruce calls him out at the time Jim Gordon offers his badge and mea culpa near the end I was surprised Alfred took the admonishment.  Hopefully, Alfred will have a few words with Master Wayne later on.  In some stories, Alfred is ex-SAS.  I can't see him being sassed by Bruce.  Perhaps it was forgiveable considering the sad circumstances.

So how was Ben McKenzie?  Good, I think.  His Jim Gordon either was or wasn't around for the Wayne murders in the comics so why not tie him in also?  Comforting young Bruce was a nice touch and the eventual confessional admitting they got the wrong guy was poignant too.

Going it alone was a rookie mistake but he does have trust issues. (Can you blame him.)

What was funny was seeing his partner getting stuck in the same predicament.  (Hmm, hanging upside down like a couple of bats.  Nice.)

Donal Logue's Bullock was good too.  Scuzzy, dirty, slimy, easily bought and a bit of a coward too.  Trying to weasel his way out of the Wayne murder investigation, how tawdry.

This brings us to one of the great sub plots or threads if you will of this show and that is, who killed the Waynes?  Or better yet, why?

We are introduced to Carmine Falcone, awesomely played by John Doman (also portraying a crime boss in Rizzoli and Isles.)  Washed up king pin Fish Mooney?  Hardly.  He knows something.  More than something.  This will drive our series as the season progresses and I think Gotham handled it very well. 

Odds and Ends

Speaking of Fish Mooney, when are we going to see her lose that wig?  I put the over under at 3 episodes.

As I said a couple of posts ago, Robin Taylor's Oswald Cobblepot is pure gold.  Such empathy, such sympathy and pathos too!  And he's a sniveling back biting coward to boot.  Eggcellent! (oops wrong character.)

Sharp eyes picked out the reflection of the Gotham Casino as the camera panned the city scape during the episode.  (Not me.)  What caught my eye was Oswald resurfacing from the icy depths of Gotham City Harbor.  In the comics the Penguin runs the Iceberg Casino in the harbor.  I bet he was inspired here.

Short shrift was paid to Eddie Nygma the future Riddler.  I like how he is working for the police, sifting through evidence and doling out riddles.  What was even better was the stunned look on his face when Gordon solved his last riddle.  Just a little psycho and that is a good thing.

Young Poison Ivy makes her entry.  She looks a little damaged.  Well, her awful father ends up being shot by the cops and her mother is a wreck.  That explains a few things.  At least she cares for her plants.  (Maybe she should work on the Willis Hypothesis on SyFy's Helix.)

The shaky cam leading Jim Gordon through a wind tunnel chase scene.  Awful.  Never do this again Gotham.

Joker Tease

They did tell us we were going to get a few of these.  Here's our first candidate.  Jon Beavers as The Comedian.  (Please tell me someone got my pun there.)  Do I buy it?  Nope!  Fun though.  Wouldn't we rather see The Joker as a child?  It would fit the context of this show.

Watch for psycho kids.

Same Bat time, Same Bat channel Gothamites!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Gotham - The Good Guys

After watching the above video, you come to realize how much "Gotham" will be relying on actor Ben McKenzie. 

McKenzie, best known for his work on "Southland" (or "The O.C." if that is your thing) is putting his "gritty" foot forward in his portrayal of Detective Jim Gordon.  Even in the interview parts of the video, McKenzie is keeping it low key and pensive as if some loathsome "ne'er do well" will spring out from behind some prop at behest of Fish Mooney.

Gotham likes to advertize itself as the birth of Batman and his evil pint sized companions.  Oh, not overtly, but will all know the show will feature the future Batman, Catwoman, Riddler, Penguin and others.  But if the viewing audience grows tired of the tykes and neophytes it will be McKenzie's Jim Gordon that will be left to carry the weight.

Donal Logue's Harvey Bullock is there to carry the water for Jim Gordon should he fail.  Or not.  Logue definitely has that street wise rough look that brooks no failure.  What are Logue's credentials?  Try "Copper", "Sons of Anarchy",  "Vikings" and "Law and Order SVU."

Ouch, it must hurt just to breath the air he's in.  Great casting as Harvey Bullock.

Here's  an actor I can personally vouch for, Sean Pertwee.  Pertwee did an excellent turn as Inspector Gareth Lastrade in CBS' "Elementary."  Pertwee played it both noble and craven.  As Lastrade, we saw the cunning double dealer that kept his head above the fray while underneath it all his hands were quite dirty.  Pertwee pulled off with aplomb.  I have no doubt as Alfred Pennyworth, the dignified and reliable butler to Bruce Wayne, that Pertwee will imbue his character with the resolve and courage that Alfred is known for.

Erin Richards plays the future Mrs Jim Gordon, Barbara Kean.  At least that's the way one of many mythologies portrays her.  I'm not too familiar with Richards acting career although apparently I've seen her in "Crossing Lines" and "Being Human" since I follow both shows. Let's hope she is not just another pretty face in this series. 

Is there anyone left?  Oh that's right.....

Young Master Bruce Wayne as portrayed by David Mazouz.  I have to admit I was a bit squeamish about this casting.  I thought Mazouz a bit of a light weight after his turn in "Touch."  I'm hoping to be proven wrong.  They certainly have his look right but seeing him squeal with anguish in the promos I was a bit taken aback.  Batman doesn't cry.

Okay, he's not Batman yet.  Far from it.  This isn't his show but like a billion other people we'll be watching him.

Don't pull a Jake Lloyd on us kid.

Gotham premiers Monday September 22nd (that's tomorrow as I write this) and I am very excited for it.  I hope my Sleepy Hollow high doesn't interfere with it all!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

There Will Be Light | GOTHAM

The Bat is back.

Well, almost.  The birth of the Bat is back and once again Batman returns to the small screen.  With this return I have been reinvigorated to dust the cobwebs off this site and begin anew.

So, to be more specific , we see the birth of the young Jim Gordon and his involvement with Gotham City.  Bruce Wayne is but a child and the series will start with the horrific murder of his parents.  This tragic event will forge an alliance that has gone down in pop culture and comic book history as one of the greatest partnerships in history.

But how much of this story do we need to know?

Catwoman as a child?  Poison Ivy also?  The Riddler and the Penguin?  All neophytes if not just children.  Gotham is an audacious undertaking.

Some of these figures I am sold on and others not quite as much.

Take Jada Pinkett Smith as "Fish Mooney."   A manufactured character to be sure.  Gotham will tell you they have to start somewhere.  None of Batman's adversaries are fully formed yet and crime never takes a holiday in Gotham.  Can Smith pull it off?  I'm not a big fan so the jury is out on this piece of casting.  She will have to convince me.

Gotham seems to have struck gold with the casting of Camren Bicondova as the young Selina Kyle.  Of course the question is, do we need a young Selina Kyle?  Bicondova has a natural onscreen intensity.  This should serve her well.  She'll no doubt act as a sounding board for the bereaved Bruce Wayne.  Should there be a chemistry?  Of course, let's just not take it too far.

 Additional gold was struck with the casting of Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot, aka, The Penguin.  Some fans may remember Taylor from The Walking Dead.  Oops, I don't, sorry!  None the less, we have a fully formed character here.   Better, perhaps, a sympathetic one at that.  Here is his teaser.


"Did anyone ever tell you, when you walk you look just like a penguin."  That has to sting.  And that open sore will linger.  Love this character so far.  (Note Taylor's character is often pictured in a tuxedo.)

Let's stick with the bad guys.

Enough with the gold metaphors, but Cory Michael Smith's, Edward Nygma, is no less striking.

Perhaps it is a saving grace that we see some of Batman's foes as underlings.  Not in their infancy like Catwoman or Poison Ivy, but as foot soldier paying their dues. 

And suffering for it.

Smith's Nygma, aka, The Riddler, looks to be a curious sort.  A bit of a puzzle.  That's good, he has big shoes to fill.

 Here's one I am worried about, Clare Foley as Ivy Pepper, aka, Poison Ivy.  Hmm, much like Catwoman the mature version of this character is highly sexualized.  Can this be translated as a mere waif?  She looks damaged but growing into the character that is known to be a seductress is a daunting task.  How will her interactions with the young Master Wayne be portrayed?  Will it be too creepy?

Lastly, "Gotham" has teased us with the introduction of the Joker.  In fact, it could any number of mysterious characters they intend on introducing.  Be careful Gotham this is dangerous territory.  The Joker has become an iconic character thanks to Heath Ledger.  Back in the day he was just one of many bad guys. Now he is the bad guy.  The polar opposite to Batman but also the other side of the coin. This is one piece of casting you can't fumble.

Next up, the good guys.