Fall TV First Impression: Fox's Gotham

Fall TV Preview GothamThe broadcast networks have more than two dozen shows debuting this fall, including a new Shondaland drama, Katherine Heigl‘s TV comeback, another NCIS and a Flash-y Arrow offshoot. To help you prep for it all, TVLine is offering First Impressions of the not-for-review pilots.

First up on our list….

PHOTOS Fall TV Preview: Your Guide to What’s New!

THE SHOW | Fox’s Gotham (Mondays at 8/7c, premiere date TBA)

THE COMPETITION | CBS’ The Big Bang Theory*/Mom, NBC’s The Voice, ABC’s Dancing With the Stars and The CW’s The Originals (*2 Broke Girls starts Oct. 27)

THE CAST | Ben McKenzie (Southland), Donal Logue (Sons of Anarchy), Jada Pinkett Smith (HawthoRNe), David Mazouz (Touch), Sean Pertwee (Elementary), Robin Lord Taylor, Camren Bicondova, Cory Michael Smith, Erin Richards (Being Human), Zabryna Guevara (Burn Notice) and Andrew Stewart-Jones

THE SET-UP |  Grizzled Gotham City police detective Harvey Bullock (Logue) is partnered with glass-half-full rookie/war hero Jim Gordon (McKenzie), just as a better class of criminals begins to maraud their metropolis.

RELATED Gotham‘s Ben McKenzie Ponders Jim Gordon’s Moral Sacrifices, Teases a Battle for Bruce Wayne’s Soul

THE FIRST IMPRESSION | Like ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Gotham‘s boon/burden is to co-opt a world immediately adjacent to that of a big screen franchise sans the services of said films’ Big Draw. But whereas Agent Coulson & Co. had only the occasional Avengers cameo to help them out of the gate, Gotham‘s bag of tricks is a bit deeper, including Those Who Would Be Penguin, Riddler, Catwoman and Poison Ivy. The pilot evokes a mildly Nolan-esque atmosphere that’s gray and removed in time (cops carry cell phones yet drive 1970s sedans) yet of course built on a TV budget. Yes, young Bruce Wayne is here, and the way he is folded into the bigger picture — Gordon vows to find who killed Gotham_pilot_Gotham_Cemetery_0717the lad’s parents — sets up a mystery that portends to loom large. The cast is solid: Bullock seems tailor-made for Logue, Pertwee promises a fresh/fiercer wrinkle on Alfred and the nascent nemeses all are rife with potential, while McKenzie’s challenge is to give us a noble cop who is at least partly as compelling as the colorful criminals circling him.

There are Easter eggs aplenty for Batfans — GPD brainiac Edward Nigma (Smith) frustrates colleagues by posing riddles, the way Bruce kneels besides his folks’ dead bodies frames them as a bat’s wings and a stand-up comic at least winks at another infamous prankster. A C-plot involving Gordon’s fiancée Barbara (Richards) needs to head somewhere interesting and fast; it was the one scene that arrested the pilot’s Bat-momentum.

THE TVLINE BOTTOM LINE | There is no fall series with greater built-in awareness than Gotham — an asset the show will very much need to capitalize on as it endeavors to grab an audience while vying with TV’s most watched comedy, two still-solid competition series and a fellow genre drama. I imagine it will open very well, settle (though hopefully not as sharply as S.H.I.E.L.D. did) and hopefully steady somewhere significantly above Almost Human numbers.

Watch a video preview for Gotham, then vote in our poll below.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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51 Comments
  1. tp says:

    Is there an article somewhere on this site about Fox canceling Hieroglyph? (I wish there was somewhere else to post this)

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      Our Search box actually works quite handily, upper right corner of screen.

      • Erin C says:

        ^^^ not sure that snarky-ness was totally necessary

        • Prish says:

          Ha ha, I wish someone had clued me into the search option, here. I’ve been posting, here, for years, and it took tons of scrolling through the hundreds of replies in the New Site Feedback article, every time I had an idea, to finally notice it.

      • JohnG says:

        Wow, don’t have to be an a$$ about it, especially as an editor. Leave that stuff to us.

  2. Dragonfly says:

    no, thank you for what you did to Almost Human will stick to Castle and S.H.I.E.L.D. Will not start a new show on Fox

    • Nate says:

      Here we go. Someone is being a little baby cause they cancelled a show. Welcome tv land dragonfly

      • Sue says:

        Hey, Nate, why denigrate Dragonfly for his opinion. He’s not being a baby; he’s stating his viewpoint. I’m having trouble deciding to watch new Fox shows for the same reason. Why would they spend money on Gotham when they wouldn’t on Almost Human. I’d rather not start another Fox show and be disappointed by an early cancellation. I’ll check out other channels…

        • swede700 says:

          THey aren’t the only station that does that. I, for one, didn’t watch Almost Human because it just didn’t look very good. Maybe dragonfly should have got more people to watch it.

    • Constantine666 says:

      Almost Human was good but Shield sucks.

      • SkyeWardFan says:

        Can’t really comment on AH except to say it obviously wasn’t doing well enough for TPTB at FOX. I’ll agree that the first half of SHIELD dragged a little, but the last half was amazing. I’m really looking forward to Gotham, but will wait and see how it goes.

    • Prish says:

      I loved Almost Human, Terra Nova and Lie to Me. I would have been the loser, not to have watched them. I’ll give Gotham a try, in the spirit of it’s better some good stuff, than none.

  3. wordsmith says:

    I have also seen the pilot and agree with pretty much everything that Matt says above. The look of the show is dark and moody, and the cast of villains is as cool and colorful as you could want.
    It feels slightly overcrowded with teaser-y cameos and unrelated subplots, but that’s probably more about the cram-everything-in nature of pilots rather than a problem with the series overall.

  4. Definitely the most exciting new drama for network TV.

  5. Tran says:

    Gotham is destined to be a breakout hit for Fox. Ben McKenzie was so great on Southland but wasn’t so great on The O.C. (Ben’s big breakout role).

    • Alex says:

      Oh, come ON. He made The O.C. what it was. Now, on Southland, he wasn’t so believable. That was not such good casting. But he totally sold Ryan Atwood.

  6. Shaun says:

    I didn’t know it was up against TBBT. As much as I like comic-based TV shows, going up against TBBT might as well be the nail on the coffin. I will watch it but because of the competition, I don’t think a lot of people will.

  7. John says:

    What did you think of the visuals?

  8. Not going to bother. It’s on FOX.

  9. webly3 says:

    Sure, Fox has angered fans before. But, I think this is going to be a very successful show. It looks much better than S.H.I.E.L.D.

    • Constantine666 says:

      Anything looks better than Shield. Shield moved to a new time this Fall because they don’t want to compete with NCIS and Flash.

  10. Zayne says:

    I’m going to watch it because it’s the Bat-universe but I’m already bracing for a heartbreaking cancellation. Without Kevin Reilly I fear for anything even remotely considered genre on this network.

  11. Gloria L. Tadaro says:

    Gotham looks intense, been a fan of Ben Mckenzie (Southland) and Donal Logue (Vikings) always wondered how Gotham became, this should work.

  12. wrstlgirl says:

    I’m all in :-)

  13. phoenix says:

    I guess it will all depend on whether Fox shows the episodes in the proper order or not.

  14. Jared says:

    Gotham and The Flash are probably the two dramas I look forward to the most this Fall.

  15. Drew says:

    This show looks really good. Even from the first teaser, I knew that SHIELD would have issues. It looks cheap and plastic, even with what I’m sure is a fairly nice budget. It never felt “real” in any way, from writing to casting, even wardrobe and locations are cartoonish.
    Gotham appears to have the “real” feeling down, despite its comic book nature (same with Arrow and what I’ve seen of The Flash). Quality visuals go a long way in selling a series.
    Casting also looks pretty solid here, though I found myself kinda wincing at the thought of Jada Pinkett Smith as a hardcore mob boss. One thing I learned from SHIELD is that bright red streaks in the hair of a woman of authority makes her seem like a middle school mean girl, rather than an intimidating powerful woman. But we will see how it turns out. I hope to be surprised by her.

  16. David says:

    Kind of wish Logue was going to stick around SVU. Benson wasn’t a good supervisor. But Gotham looks decent. Has to be better than Shield.

  17. Robert says:

    I will be perfectly honest my main reason for watching is to find out more about the first Barbara Gordon; since there is not much to speak of in terms of info the comic book universe. I also would like to know if the rumour of Bette Kane is in the series?

  18. Jenna says:

    Definitely my #1 show I am most anticipating. The cast is solid, and Donal Logue has become my favorite TV actor. Can’t wait!

  19. Joey Padron says:

    Glad the pilot for show got a good review from Matt. Excited to see show this fall.

  20. NP says:

    So looking forward to this but given what it’s up against, I’ll have to DVR it.

  21. Joey says:

    I don’t understand how a person wouldn’t be in. I mean, Donal Logue is great in pretty much everything.

  22. Patrick Maloney says:

    It saddens me that a show like Big Bang Theory could actually be considered as “competition” to shows that are actually good and don’t pander to the lowest denominator.

  23. Renee says:

    If only it wasn’t on Fox.

  24. meatwad says:

    Had zero interest in this show when it was first announced. But after reading articles on the cast and whatnot i’m pretty dang excited to see what they do. Ben carrying this show as the lead and what the tone of the show will be are my main concerns right now.

  25. herman1959 says:

    First, Matt thanks for doing this whole First Impressions project. With the networks, cable, and Hulu/Netflix/et al there are a brain-numbing amount of current and new shows to work through and a limited amount of time (for most people) to do so. Although I’m not really into Marvel, I will be watching Gotham because I’m getting into origin stories for shows I watched as a kid (like the new Star Wars movies), and the more I read the better this show sounds.

    • MC says:

      The characters in Gotham are from DC Comics, not from Marvel Comics.

      • herman1959 says:

        Thanks MC, but you proved my larger point: I’m not normally into comic-oriented (or whatever the “correct” term is) shows and know little about them. However, I am looking forward to watching Gotham as pure entertainment only – it’s a TV SHOW.

  26. Fido says:

    Wasn’t a big criticism of the Batman movie just how little Batman was actually in them, with most of the time being spent on the villains, and now we’ve got a tv series where Batman is not in it at all. That said, being a huge Batman fan, I’m in for the duration. :)

  27. Johanna says:

    Looks so good. So excited for david Mazouz as Bruce Wayne!! He’s such an amazing actor and I hope he is used as much as possible. He’s the reason people were attracted to the trailer. People will love the chemistry between ben mckenzie (Gordon)and mazouz (Bruce). Also , I hope this doesn’t turn into another boring cop procedural. It should be about the characters and character driven. There are already too many cop procedurals on TV. And this show and Storyline has the potential to be something really special and different. And if it turns into a cop procedural, it will be just one more. Also we won’t see all the characters we are excited for like Alfred, Bruce, Selina, Edward, and ivy.

  28. cycworker says:

    Another show I was going to skip, but the trailer has me intrigued. I’m an admitted wimp so it may be to violent for me. But I love Benjamin McKenzie, and I did grow up on the cartoons, so I have to at least check it out. I love origin stories. I would like it if they would give us the full background on how The Penguin, Riddler, Catwoman, Poison Ivy came to be.

  29. Ally Oop says:

    Like The Flash, Gotham looks good and I intend on watching the pilot but I’m not sure I’ll keep with it.

  30. Jack says:

    Up against TBBT the first few weeks? Auch, that’s gonna hurt. It could be dvr’d alot, but day-after ratings will not be so great…

  31. tvguesser says:

    I’m a little worried about this show being on FOX of all places. I do like the look of this show based on the trailer but I’m also a little worried that it will quickly become a little boring as we pretty much wish Batman was here. However if it finds a way to get our minds off Batman then maybe it can last more then one season.

  32. LegendsOfBatman says:

    Yep,Ive been in on this one since the first announcement. The trailer just proves what Ive been saying all along: Its going to be great; assuming it’s given the chance to succeed. Fox HAS to let it run its course, so we all see how things end up; and not a rushed ending to a cancelled series.
    Gotham has everything necessary to succeed. So, hopefully it does.

  33. Lily says:

    Donal Logue is the biggest idiot walking. I’d watch the show if it weren’t for him.