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Five Things to Watch For in Tonight's Gotham Premiere

Five Things to Watch For in Tonight's Gotham Premiere

By Tim Beedle Monday, September 22nd, 2014

We couldn’t begin to guess what your plans are for this morning or afternoon. But if you’re anything like us, we know where you’re spending tonight—Gotham.

Yes, it’s finally here. The eagerly awaited new series focusing on Gotham City in the years before Batman hit the scene debuts tonight on FOX. You’ve seen the trailers, clips and billboards. You’ve read the interviews and articles. But what can you actually expect to see when the show opens and the action unfolds? Well, we’re not about to ruin it, but we can give you a few things to watch for…

An Opening That Will Give You Chills

The first few minutes are crucial for any new show, and we’d imagine that with a show like Gotham, the pressure on the creative team to nail the opening act must be substantial. Well, clearly these guys thrive on pressure because Gotham grabs your attention from the opening frame with a sequence that elicits grins one moment and goosebumps the next. It wraps up with what’s arguably the most note-perfect Bruce Wayne origin scene we’ve seen onscreen so far. You’ve seen glimpses of it in the trailers, but seeing it play out is gripping, which is surprising since any good Batman fan knows what’s going to happen. It’s a testament to solid acting, writing, editing and cinematography. And speaking of the acting…

Top Notch Performances All Around

Much has been made of the Gotham cast, and for good reason. The acting on display all throughout the first episode is impressive. We’re not going to single any performances out—not because we’re afraid of playing favorites, but because we have no favorite. They’re all stellar. No one steals the spotlight and no one plays things over the top (we love ourselves some Nicholson and DeVito, but that’s not the approach Gotham’s taking). What we will say is that we were taken by some of the smaller moments between characters. Alfred’s quiet words of “tough love” to young Bruce as he walks him away from his parents’ murder scene. The weariness seen in Harvey Bullock’s eyes as he has a difficult conversation with his partner near the end of the episode. Oswald Cobblepot’s blend of awkwardness and ambition. Good stuff.

Impressive Depth When it Comes to Characters

The characters really drive the story in Gotham, so it’s not surprising that they’ve been up front and center in the show’s recent promo images. Everyone knows who Batman is, and most people know Jim Gordon, Alfred Pennyworth, Selina Kyle and Edward Nygma. But we’d like to call your attention to a few other characters in the cast: Crispus Allen, Renee Montoya and Captain Sarah Essen. They’re not included on and of the billboards or print ads and they’re probably not known to newer and more casual fans, but longtime DC Comics fans should know them well. These three cops round out the GCPD, giving the show a slightly more ensemble feel, while also paying tribute to two comic books that were clearly an influence, Gotham Central and Batman: Year One. Allen and Montoya played key roles in Gotham Central (a series we wrote about last week), while Essen was first introduced in Batman: Year One.

A New Look for Gotham City

Executive Producer Bruno Heller put a lot of thought into the look and feel of Gotham City, and it shows. It shares traits with iconic American cities such as New York and Chicago, while possessing an edge that delves just a bit into fantasy. As a result, Gotham manages to feel both familiar and new. We wrote about this in much greater detail here, but the short of it is that we’re already looking forward to where future episodes will take us. We’re also kind of dreading it because…well, it's…

A Dark and Visceral Story

There’s no two ways about it, Gotham is pretty dark. It’s setting the stage for why Gotham City needs a hero like Batman by giving us an up-close look at the corruption and crime found within its heart. It’s a thrilling, compelling and yes, violent ride. There are murders, beatings and more than a little blood. Is it too much for kids? Maybe some of the younger ones. But fans that enjoy a good two-fisted crime story will find quite a bit to love here.

So yes, it’s dark, but it’s not bleak. This isn’t a story without hope, and nowhere is that better exemplified than in the interactions between Jim Gordon and the young Bruce Wayne. The respect that develops early on between them, as well as Gordon’s line reminding Wayne that “there will be light,” plant the seeds for their later relationship and hint at how much they’ll eventually accomplish together.

Those are a few of the aspects that stood out to us, but we want to know what you think. Are you looking forward to the premiere? And if you’ve seen it, what did you think of the first episode? Leave your thoughts and comments below, and keep reading over the weeks and months ahead for much more from the world of Gotham.

Gotham airs Mondays at 8 p.m. (7 p.m. CST) on FOX.