Holy pointless prequel, Batman! Gotham pilot not winning over critics

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Garfield minus Garfield? Hilarious. Batman minus Batman? Bullshit.

As Patton Oswald so brilliantly points out, prequels are inherently underwhelming. They’re filled with not-yet-awesome characters heading towards a future you already take for granted. Any surprises along the way smack of cheesy coincidence and transparent contrivance.

The new Fox crime drama Gotham promises to fall into that trap every week until its inevitable demise. Set in the Gotham City of Bruce Wayne’s childhood, the show is a cornucopia of Batman villains at a point in their lives when they’re not yet worthy of battling Batman, i.e., not yet worthy of being on TV.

How these villains came to be interesting and awesome is worth a scene, not a series.

Check out this review of the pilot episode by Comicbookresources.com:

You know there’s something off when the best thing about your Batman-based TV show is Jada Pinkett Smith’s newly-created character. […]

What we saw was a rushed, emotionally dull affair that is equal parts overcooked and underwhelming. In trying to service too many sub-plots, the hour leaves you unconvinced that you really need to see “Poison Ivy Begins: Age 8,” especially when it takes time away from exploring the trauma that brought Gordon and a young Bruce Wayne together.

It’s sad to see showrunner Bruno Heller, who created the brilliant HBO series Rome, wasted on derivative prequel crap like this. Especially since the criminal underworld plotlines on Rome were always the weakest part of the series.

Fox is betting the farm on Gotham being a hit. HTNP prediction: Gotham ratings crash throughout Season 1, a la Agents of SHIELD. The final numbers would be considered a smash on The CW alongside Arrow and Flash, but Fox demands more.

Fox > Fox Entertainment Group > 21st Century Fox (Rupert Murdoch, Chairman & CEO)

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  • natoslug

    Have they learned nothing from Game of Thrones? Without boobs and be headings, there’s no reason to tune in.

  • elvigy

    Totally agree. It’s not like there’s even the remote possibility that Bruce will die or even end up in a wheelchair. So kinda like, where’s the drama? Also, too, the linkys in the first sentence are set up as mailto: 🙂

  • Mahousu

    All of these links are coming out with mailto: tags attached to them.

  • Tom Shea

    Since I won’t watch this, and never watched Smallville, what was the key to THAT prequel’s success?

    • I didn’t watch Smallville either, but I’m going to guess it was timing. Fans of Lois & Clark were jonesing for a hit of Kal-El, and Smallville was close enough.

    • Hm, I like that question and might expand it into a full post as it gets closer to Gotham’s launch date. The short answer is:a) Smallville Season 1 was ranked #115 in the ratings, which made it the WB’s #2 show but still less watched than Fox’s That 80s Show (#104-tie), American Embassy (#104-tie), and Greg the Bunny (#94), all of which were considered disasters and cancelled.b) Most of the characters on Smallville did not have fixed fates. Chloe, Pete, Lana, Whitney, Martha, Jonathan, Lionel… really everyone in the opening credits except Clark and Lex (and later Lois) were not simply fulfilling destinies but living lives. Had the show crammed every familiar Superman character into the main cast from the start, it’s prequel-ness would have been a far more debilitating condition–potentially a fatal one. (The town of Smallville as a “world” for the show to take place in also had much more open-ended potential than Gotham City does. Smallville could have ended up a crime-ridden hellhole or paradise on Earth or been obliterated by a nuclear weapon over the course of Smallville; Gotham City will still be Gotham City when Batman comes around.)

      • Tom Shea

        Thank you. I am glad you liked the question. Please hire me for your most excellent television viewing site.

  • Mahousu

    “… prequels are inherently underwhelming …”Godfather Part II libel !!!1!!1!1!!!

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