So Gothams first, divisive season just came to an eventful conclusion on monday with its’ season finale, a finale which sort of summarized the season as a whole and from reviews I’ve read, it hasn’t been received too warmly.
The finale was a bit of a mish mash of characters, a lot of things happening and odd out of character behaviour, especially from Selina Kyle and a horror film style sequence with Barbara and Leslie Thompkins, we also saw Fish Mooney meeting her end, the culmination of the gang war between Maroni and Falcone and Bruce discovering a big secret.
The finale, while entertaining just felt rushed, as if the writers felt like all the plot arcs in the season needed to come to a screeching halt, most of the episode was good.. well the first half anyway, but things felt way too forced. The show has some great ideas and great iconic characters, Oswald Cobblepot again stole the show, surviving once again, proclaiming himself king of Gotham, Fish also met her end, a dramatic but somewhat cheesy end and detective Gordon established himself as being the driven force for justice we traditionally know him to be.
Season 1 overall was unbalanced but mostly enjoyable, the procedural elements to the first half of the season did feel predictable but the colourful, crazed characters brought spice to the show, making it different to your standard police drama. The way people talked and looked also added to the world of the show, reminding us that Gotham existed in this pseudo reality, that conveniently looks and seems a lot like New York City in the past but hey. Gothams obvious shortcomings came from poor characterization, future villains hinting at their future villain status, as well as characters that didn’t see to have any clear direction like Barbara Gordon. Though there were characters with definite, clear direction like Oswald Cobblepot, seeing his rise from lowly umbrella boy under Fish to wannabe crime kingpin was great, he was a big part of the season being so good and integral to a lot of the story as a sociopath, though not clearly evil or goo, simply out to win for himself.
For the most part, the characters I think are well written, Ben Mckenzie as James Gordon is fantastic and he plays off really well with (Donal Logue) Harvey Bullock, their escapades feeling like buddy cop comedy at times but never to the extreme, with the dark tone of the show always being balance with their funny dialogue and Penguins’ often funny entrances and dialogue. Gotham definitely improved as it went on, the 2nd half coming strong with a more serialized approach to it, the stronger episodes I felt, were the ones without Bruce and Selina and also, Allen and Montoya, where were they the whole 2nd half of the season?
The acting for season 1 was mostly on point with great performances from Ben Mckenzie, Donal Logue, Sean Pertwee and Jada Pinkett Smith, who a lot of viewers think hammed it up as Fish Mooney, though I think she played the role out quite well. And if anything, I wouldn’t criticize the show for the acting but for its’ lack of direction in the first half and its’ sporadic characterization, Gotham didn’t know what to do with all of its’ characters which was a shame, but it did really well with the major, integral ones. Touching on bigger problems in Gotham in the 2nd half of the season with poverty, Arkham Asylum, the gang war and so on was interesting, taking the drama way from a new psychopath of the week but as a whole, I enjoyed the season.
It didn’t exactly end on a strong note per se, characters did come and go somewhat, Montoya, Allen, Ivy, Harvey Dent (though I suppose he has a bigger role in season 2) and it definitely had some bad episodes but I would say that Gotham debuted with a solid, entertaining season. I am partial to comic book TV shows but I still wouldn’t watch a bad one and Gotham isn’t a bad show, it has a wealth of characters to still draw from and a lot of character development to do, so it should just get better from here on out. The show just needs to avoid the references and winks to future character statuses, stop having characters act out jut for entertainment and keep to the core focus of the show, it works as a cop drama with serialized elements and the setting itself is more than interesting enough to keep the show running for a while to come.
Season 1 was a very good first attempt at a Gotham type show and hopefully Fox will keep it running.