I am now holding out hope that Gotham follows Sons of Anarchy‘s lead. What has happened to my fall television?
Black screen, white letters: ‘Viewer Discretion Advised’.
Stern voiceover: ‘Gotham is filmed live alongside the men and women of Gotham City law enforcement. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, or if being pursued by anyone other than that golden boy Gordon.’
Symphonic string rendition of ‘Bad Boys’ plays.
That1 should be how every episode of Gotham begins. Not for the excitement it portends, nonono. Gotham should roll to the beat of COPS because law enforcement is the same on both shows. Crime presents itself, police become involved, investigation not required.
You think I jest, yet this episode a non-suspect villain-speeched to Bullock and Gordon. He was halfway through completely explaining the motivations and goals of the actual villain2 when I realized what was going on and I was still ahead of the GCPD. I sometimes wonder why those guys even bother to leave their awesomely-Gothic precinct and their awesomely awesome captain; when they bother to develop a lead it never pans out.3
Gotham is not a procedural, so perhaps we can forgive some its lack of good gumshoeing. Sans that structure, though, it’s still searching for whatever it’s going to be. Ask me what’s happened with its multiple lines of plot and my first response would be ‘eh, not much’ followed by a slowly remembered tumble of points, interesting and hackneyed alike. Without a stronger sense of self, something to guide the viewing experience, Gotham is fading into the background.
In a rather different vein, Sons of Anarchy suffered through a similar stretch where scenery was chewed and emotions were worn on faces instead of sleeves and all4 wondered why they were watching this grindhouse television. Then, maybe halfway through season 1, it turned a corner – the actors, the writers, the directors got on the same page. And it was awesome. It made its own wonderful sense in its own dirty, nasty corner of its reality.
Such can be the case with Gotham. Gawd I hope it becomes the case with Gotham. Right now Jada Pinkett Smith5 is the only person who consistently both gets what she’s doing and gets the scripts to take full advantage. What a glorious day it may someday be when Gotham‘s own dirty corner of its artfully and stylishly done reality gets everyone else on board.
- This! ↵
- Played well, especially in late-episode dramatic delivery by the sneakily good Daniel London. ↵
- I forgot – they didn’t even need to leave their chairs this episode; corporate lawyers looking to avoid bad publicity came to the precinct. ↵
- Many. Me. Whatever. ↵
- Want proof? Here’s your proof. ↵