Noob Reviews: Gotham (Season 01)
Updated: Sep 13
Please be advised that during the review, I have tried to avoid a lot of spoilers. However, there may still be a few included helping explain specific points.
What is Gotham about?
Based on the DC Comic characters we all know and love, Gotham steps away from superheroes and supervillains and approaches Gotham from James (aka Jim) Gordon's point of view. The point of view of a police officer joining as a detective and rising to the heights of greatness. All the time faced with well known and much loved heroes and villains alike, as they begin to find themselves and form the personas we both love and loathe - for the first time. As they start out their careers in a pre-Batman Gotham.
What is the first season about?
Season 01 is heavily based around the structure of Gotham and bringing together a firm foundation on which to build the other seasons. Introducing us to the main characters, such as James Gordon, his partner Harvey Bullock and the criminal gangs that dominate Gotham (Carmine Falcone, Fish Mooney and Sal Maroni). And how Gotham operates. That being that from the police to the politicians, giant corporations to street gangs, everyone has a motive - and a self-interest. And with a few exceptions, a price at which they are willing to kill or slip into other assorted criminal activities.
Although many plots and subplots are running throughout the first season, some of the more influential or key storylines are:
James Gordon's exposure to Gotham and how he begins to process and deal with what he uncovers.
The fall of Oswald Cobblepot and rise of The Penguin.
The fight for the overall supremacy of Gotham's underworld between Falcone and Maroni.
The hunt for The Ogre, an infamous serial killer of women who has plagued Gotham for years.
The investigation into the death of the Waynes. And James' relationship with Bruce and Alfred.
As you would expect, across the twenty-two episode long first season there are many stories, some lasting the entire season and others a few episodes. They range from emotional dilemmas and struggles to cope with positions the various heroes, anti-heroes and villains find themselves in. To elaborate plans of controlling gangs, getting revenge or making a name for themselves by whatever means possible.
Without doing too many spoilers or letting slip too many storylines, whether you be a DC fan in general, Batman fan or action crime drama aficionado - Gotham will no doubt have something for all tastes.
Do you have a trailer to show us?
- The official trailer linked from Zavvi's YouTube channel -
You can also find the listing on Netflix here.
When did season one come out?
Season 01 was initially released in September 2014. The Gotham series, however, has run for a total of five years (a new season each year), with the last episodes for its fifth season, coming to screens in April 2019.
How many episodes are there in the first season?
There are twenty-two episodes in total for the first season, with each having an average run time of forty-two minutes. That is a whopping nine hundred and twenty-four minutes of showtime.
Who are some of the actors and actresses that we might know?
Ben McKenzie (James Gordon)
Donal Logue (Harvey Bullock)
Jada Pinkett Smith (Fish Mooney)
Robin Lord Taylor (Oswald Cobblepot)
Sean Pertwee (Alfred Pennyworth)
For a full cast listing, please see the official IMDB page here.
What did you think of Gotham (Season 01)?
Admittedly I am very late to the party on this one, as Gotham has been out for many years, been shown across many platforms and has eventually found a home (currently) on Netflix. In all honesty, I was nervous to watch Gotham. I love the DC universe, I love the Batman franchise and not all television adaptations of loved universes are done well. I couldn't bear the thought of Gotham, for want of a better term, sucking. But how I was wrong!
Gotham is a massive step away from all of the previous Batman adaptations which we know and love, it's taken from the point of view of James Gordon as he starts his career out as a detective for the Gotham City Police Department (GCPD) and sees him crossing paths with both 'normal' criminal elements such as street gangs and serial killers. As well as villains such as The Penguin and The Riddler, as they begin their own criminal careers. I found the series to handle this fantastically with some excellent human interest stories, a considerable amount of character development which really sucks you in as well as bringing the city of Gotham itself to life. The pacing, level of detail and storytelling is so well structured. And as seasons progress you will know locations, such as the Iceberg Lounge, Arkham Asylum and Blackgate Penitentiary. Characters from the graphic novels, games and films. And see well-documented events from different points of view. For example, Bruce Wayne experiencing his parent's murder first hand as a child. James Gordon acting as the hero as opposed to Batman. And Penguin's thirst for power against Fish.
As you might be able to tell from above, with the level of detail, and the bringing of both city and characters to life, the choreography, cinematography and even audio are fantastic. The set locations are stunning. The fight sequences (whether they be melee or gunfights) are energetic and fast-paced. And the audio is so crisp and clean, whether it be the voice acting or how the rain-drenched alleyways sound in the dead of night. Everything comes together to build an intriguing level of immersion.
Although I personally thoroughly enjoyed all of the first season, as will become evident in the rating I have given the first season, some of my favourite episodes were episode four when Penguin turns to Jim for help (this episode is called Arkham). Episode eight when Jim is thrown into a life or death situation in which a high-class businessman has people fight (and die) to earn a place in his company (this episode is called The Mask). And the entire Ogre storyline in which Jim decides to capture The Ogre, a serial killer who murders both women and police officer's families and loved ones. Something that has shrouded him in an unbreakable shield of fear. Until The Ogre kidnaps Barbara Kean (a lady who was once James' fiance).
When it comes to the characters, Ben McKenzie’s portrayal as a rough and rugged James Gordon is genuinely inspired. Whether he be fighting for his life, dealing with his hectic love life and relationship issues or navigating the minefield of Gotham’s underground, he does it so well. Robin Lord Taylor’s portrayal of The Penguin and Oswald Cobblepot is equally genius and genuinely gives me chills at times. And I loved... Just loved... The fact that Sean Pertwee appeared as Alfred the Butler. A hardcore special operations veteran who can be softly spoken or be putting down assailants threatening his charge (Bruce Wayne). I have been a massive fan of Sean Pertwee since Dog Soldiers and Event Horizon and love a considerable number of the roles he has done in his twenty-odd years of acting (to date).
What rating would you give Gotham (Season 01)?
I would rate Gotham's first season an outstanding 5 out of 5 bananas.
Gotham is a gripping high octane rollercoaster of storylines, emotions and character arcs that will leave you wanting more. Whether you are invested in a character, the entire city of Gotham, or looking to catch a glimpse of your favourite heroes and villains - Gotham has something for all. Although it has a few negative reviews about it floating around, I could not personally fault Gotham and would highly recommend it to DC fans and crime drama fans alike as something to give a watch.
Thank you very much for checking out the review. If you are interested in Gotham (Season 01) or any of its others - and would like to check it out for yourself, to form your own opinion. You can check it out here if you have a Netflix subscription. Or on many other viewing platforms too.