First off Im sorry I have been slacking lately. Haven’t caught up on many films. Will be back with a review of Black Mass very soon. However, thanks to my position at Cinelinx.com, I am getting more opportunities. Recently I received a copy of Gotham Season 1 on Blu Ray from the good people over at Warner Bros. so that I can review it for all the good peeps out there. You can read my official review of Gotham on Blu Ray right here: http://www.cinelinx.com/reviews/home-entertainment/gotham-season-1.html
Or read stay here for the MoneyMan Productions version.
The official synopsis of Fox’s newest superhero drama reads as “The story behind Commissioner James Gordon’s rise to prominence in Gotham City in the years before Batman’s arrival.” At first glance that sounds awesome. The initial set up and pilot was very fun and looked promising. However the story is much different than the official synopsis would have you think. Instead of focusing on its most interesting components, Gordon, Bullock, Penguin, and Edward Nygma, it tries to throw every possible Batman reference it can at you. Going so far as to become more centered on the young Bruce Wayne.
Gotham Season 1 stars Ben McKenzie, Donald Logue, David Mazouz, Robin Lord Taylor, Erin Richards, Zabryna Guevara, Sean Pertwee, Camren Bicondova, Cory Michael Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith, Victoria Cartagena, Andrew Stewart-Jones, John Doman, Morena Baccarin, and Nicholas D’Agosto. It was developed by Bruno Heller and distributed by Warner Bros Television.
Now it’s not to say Gotham is all bad. It has some very shining moments that keep me hanging on for dear life. In hopes that more of these moments will come through. The relationship and story behind young Detective Gordon and his hardened somewhat corrupt but good hearted partner Harvey Bullock is what the show needs to stay focused on. A crime drama in vain of Law & Order with these two at its center. That’s what we all thought we were getting. Season one has its ups and downs, with nearly every other episode alternating with awesome content to “hey look we have Batman and his villains!”
The story of season one follows Gordon and his rise in the ranks of the GCP fighting corruption. Corruption that includes the Commissioner in cahoots with a Mayor that works between local crime bosses Falcone and Maroni. As the war grows between these two, a young underboss Fish Mooney attempts to take control of the streets of Gotham, all while Oswald “Penguin” Cobblepot attempts to put himself in position to control Gotham. Meanwhile young Bruce Wayne tries to learn to be a man under the guidance of his legal guardian and butler Alfred Pennywise. While trying to learn the truth about the death of his parents he joins with Selina Kyle, damaged girl who lives on the streets. She tries to help Bruce all while not getting to close.
More focus needs to be placed on the characters that carry the show. Not just Gordon and Bullock. I would like to see more focus on Penguin, which they did early on, but trailed off as the season progressed. Nygma, who was used sparingly, but perfectly in the beginning, might have gotten a little over used toward the end. He is great as a minor supporting role if they keep that up. Camren Bicondova as Selina Kyle is the break out star of the show. She is so good, and probably my favorite part of the series.
Sound quality on the Blu ray is great. It is very crisp and clear, weather you are watching one or all of the 22 episodes, or the special features. Even on my rather out dated and not so state of the art sound system it was beautifully done. The score is very Batman-esq and matches the season perfectly. To get technical for you, Gotham Season 1 Blu Ray has a DTS-HS Master Audio 5.1 surround track. Basically perfect for any system. The city is brought to life through the scattered sounds and scores of the background that enthrall the listener as you watch.
The visuals are just as stunning as well. Gotham has a unique palette of color to it. It is very bold and cold, and makes the brighter moments really pop. In a stunning 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 video presentation, the entire series is beautifully shot and colored. It makes the city come to life; it makes the characters pop as if you were looking through your own front window watching these events unfold in front of your very own home.
The season is full of ups and downs, along with cameos from many many characters from Batman lure. As the DVD and Blu Ray of season 1 has hit the shelves now, and we gear up for Season 2 on September 21st. The DVD/Blu-ray is chocked full of extras that add to the viewing of Gotham. They include character development pieces, set designs, and how they truly brought the city of Gotham to life. The bulk of these extras are set in 4 featurettes that each breaks down into separate viewing chapters:
-Gotham: Designing the Fiction
-The Game of Cobblepot
-Gotham: A Legend Reborn
Another extra we are privileged to is presenting not only Gotham, but CWs the Flash and Arrow, as well as the now cancelled/possibly Arrow Resurrected Constantine, DC Comics Night at Comic Con is the entire Hall H panel from San Diego Comic Con 2014. See the stars of these shows express their excitement for their shows, and a look at what was set to come.
All in all, the Blu-ray/DVD of Gotham Season 1 is a fun experience given all these extras. They definitely add to the viewing of the show over all. However, given the shaky run of the show, and its story lines, and the not so exciting look at the season to come, you might hold off on this one. Let’s see how the series pans out before we decide this is a must have for the collectors of the world. Gotham gets a TV Jeebus Score of 3.5 with a bonus of .4 for Carmen Bicondova as Selina Kyle, and for the characters of Edward Nygma and Penguin.
The Jeebus Score explained
The Jeebus score is out of a possible 6 points. Films are giving a max of 1 point each for Acting, Entertainment, and Casting, and a max of .5 for Dialog, Cinematography, and Direction. There is also a possible bonus up to .5. Any film between 2.5 and 4 is considered a good film. 4-5 is a great film. Anything over 5 is an incredibly amazing film. To get a perfect score of 6 a film will pretty much have to be The Empire Strikes Back or The Godfather.