Over a month ago, I wrote a couple of articles highlighting new television shows that could potentially be great shows and should be ones to keep an eye on. Over the past week, a few of those shows have premiered stateside and so I thought it would be interesting to look at the pilot for a couple of them and analyse what I like/dislike about them and what the future could hold…
I’m going to try and look at Gotham independently of the Batman mythology. I’m not going to gripe about any way that Gotham may have strayed from it’s source material. Instead I’m going to look at it on it’s own merits.
The central dynamic at the centre of this show is obviously James Gordon and Harvey Bullock. One, the newbie cop who may have gotten more than he bargained for when he requested a transfer to Gotham. The other, a grizzled veteran of Gotham’s streets who has become cynical due to his exposure to the darkness that consumes Gotham. Ben McKenzie and Donal Logue are both pretty good in their respective roles but it’s too early to say if Mckenzie can pull off the ‘young cop tries to not let his dark job change who he is’. To be honest, it’s not a million miles away from what McKenzie did on Southland so he should be able to pull it off.
Elsewhere, most of the talk will revolve around the rogues that populate Gotham. It looks as if Fish Mooney (an original creation for the show), Carmine Falcone and Oswald Cobble pot (The Penguin) are going to be the focus of the first season. Although Selina Kyle (Catwoman) is probably going to be a presence in the young Bruce Wayne’s life. The pilot also features cameos by Edward Nygma (The Riddler), Ivy Pepper (Poison Ivy) and a Joker red herring. It’s crazy how many rogues the writers tried to cram into the pilot. I’m hoping it’s just a bit of stunt writing to bring in the fans and a lot of the villains will be put on the backburner for now to allow the more interesting ones to breathe. Right now, I’m mostly invested in Cobblepot and Falcone. Falcone obviously is the one who pulls the strings in Gotham and Cobblepot is the one with the ambition to try and slowly but surely take his place although I have my reservations about that final scene featuring Cobblepot which just seemed a bit out of the blue and could have been saved for later in the shows run.
I found the pilot a bit bland overall. There was nothing particularly exciting about it and it seemed to be a lot of fan service to try and bring the punters in. The pilot was slightly saved by the final scene featuring Gordon and Bullock which gave me a reason to come back the following week to see what comes next. I don’t hold out much hope for Fish Mooney. There is nothing particularly interesting about her right now and she is a bit over the top. I feel like I’ve seen this character too many times before but let’s hope she is fleshed out in the coming weeks.
What does the future hold for Gotham? It seems a lot of this season is going to revolve around the mob war that is brewing which will involve Falcone, Mooney and Cobblepot (Maybe Sal Maroni?). Elsewhere, I expect Gordon and Bullock will be given some tertiary Batman rogues to deal with on a weekly basis (Deadshot maybe?) alongside some newly created ones by the writers. Also Bruce Wayne is going to have his own C story each week I expect that will involve him and Catwoman presumably. Catwoman is perhaps going to be the one who teaches Bruce how to conquer his fear?
It’s a slow start for Gotham but there is potential here for something good.
If you’ve seen the trailer for Black-ish then you already know exactly what’s going to in the pilot which took some of the zing out my time watching it. Despite that, I am quite enthusiastic about where Black-ish can go from here.
Just to recap, Black-ish follows Dre, a successful African American businessman who has it all. He’s gone from nothing to have a big house, a loving family, great career and a walk in closet! But he is worried that through all this success, he as well as his family has lost what it means to be black and have forgotten their roots. The show follows Dre as he tries to regain his blackness and pass it on to his kids.
Admittedly the pilot is light on laughs and the first five minutes seems to be spent on making as many references to black culture and history as possible just to make sure the audience doesn’t forget the family are black. But once we’re past those gripes, the pilot settles down and let’s some of the characters breathe. It’s Dre, his father, wife and son who get most of the airtime as Dre’s son Andre Jr is the first case (or victim?) that is given the black treatment by his father. There’s three more kids in the family but they are minor presences right now so hopefully they’ll get more airtime in the coming weeks.
Anthony Anderson is likeable as Dre. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him in anything comedy wise before, so this is new to me. This is also my first time watching Laurence Fishburne in any comedy and it’s affirming to me that he has some good comedy chops!
Despite the pilot being low on laughs, I have a good feeling about this show. With it’s Modern Family lead in, I’m hoping Black-ish will find a big audience and not become a good show with no fans like Trophy Wife from last year.