Spoiler Alert: Gotham, Season 1, Episodes 1&2

My girlfriend and I watched the first episode of Gotham and honestly thought that would be all we’d see. It struck us at the time as simultaneously too soap opera-ish and too violent. It looked like how I imagine all shows on the CW look — too glossy to be as urban as it was laboring to appear. (You know, grainy footage of a nice neighborhood in the city is going to look more frightening than super sharp footage of a seedy neighborhood.) It layered on the “darkness” to convey how scary the big city of Gotham is, showed many frightening scenes, but all with perfectly made-up actors. Maybe that shit plays with a typical tv audience but it just bores me.

The episode quickly (too quickly?) introduced almost the entire Batman universe: the Waynes, Alfred, Harvey Bullock, Jim and Barbara Gordon, Selina Kyle, Ivy Pepper (the inexplicably renamed Pamela Isley), Oswald Cobblepot, Edward Nygma. Then it followed Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock (if you’re renaming characters, why not change this “Harvey” so he won’t be confused with the next one?) as they investigated the murder of the Waynes. I liked that the episode wrapped up one stage of the investigation. Even though we know it will continue through the season and series, it was nice to see the story of that episode resolve. We have enough cliffhangers on television.

So I thought that was it and then two things happened. 1) My friend Bryan initiated an email discussion about the episode and 2) I accidentally got hooked on Arrow. I put on Arrow to have a lunchtime diversion and by the end of the day, I’d watched 4 episodes.

So last night, we watched Episode 2 of Gotham. I’m not hooked yet but I’m willing to watch a few episodes to see how it develops. It was great to see something (his compassion and also a little craziness) from Bruce who was mostly just a prop in the first episode. Alfred continues to baffle me with his intensity and then cluelessness. The Alfreds we’re accustomed to are decisive problem-solvers. The plot of Episode 2, child abduction, was still creepy and dark and there was still a ton of gunplay for a mainstream television show, but I thought the episode worked really well. I’ll watch another…