See I’ve watched a lot of these superhero shows, and frankly, some of them are just plain bad. Filled with shoddy writing, mediocre acting, poor plotting and pacing, and cliched to the nines. Granted, I take it all a bit more seriously than most - I am a film geek, writer, and student of film theory. Fair enough. But at the same time I really like it when I can just sit down and really enjoy a series - really dig it you know? The problem here is that I actually have to be watching something of caliber in order to enjoy it as much as I’d like to.
So-far, Gotham has been exactly that sort of series. The writing is good overall, and in moments like the one in S2E2 where Alfred gives his amazing kippers speech (avoiding spoilers here), the writing and acting come together to create something utterly sublime. I mean oh-dear-lord-above. Such a confluence is almost enough to make me believe in the divine - certainly the divinity within a well-crafted script, embodied by an actor of poise and intensity, filmed by a DP who worked with the director to get just the right shot under just the right lighting, backed by a really fine set team. That sort of divinity I can believe in, because its effect is instantly noticeable on the screen.
Arrow, The Flash, Smallville, Daredevil, Agents of SHIELD - all these shows have moments I enjoyed. All of them, in the end, fall very short of being ‘art’ - a true experience of cognitive emotional value. An experience that lives in every fiber of your being, in the very essence of your soul. That sort of experience I usually only find in Kurosawa or Kubrick films. David Lynch’s Twin Peaks hits me on that level. I had been prepared for continued disappointment in Gotham - I had been prepared to find just another low-octane super-hero series that I could sink into like really nasty spreadable cheese. Something to watch after a long, hard day. And I found that in it, but instead of cheese-whip, I found a spread of winnimere, brie, and a collection of little cream-cheese and cucumber sandwiches. I found me some good eats. And I can say that I am not only satisfied and surprised, but honestly happy.
Who knows, I could get tired of it before long, or something could change behind the scenes and the quality could shift. But for the moment I’m going to relish this series one episode at a time, and I may even place it on my ‘need to rewatch’ list, which has gotten pretty damn slim in recent years.
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