The Best and Worst of Gotham: Episode One

Best: Batman universe is on TV

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I am a huge Batman fan, and when I heard about Gotham, I was pretty excited. Yes, it won’t have Batman in it, but at least it is the Batman universe, and the concept for the show is actually pretty awesome. Batman villains before they turned into what we know them as today? Awesome. Gordan rising through the ranks of the police force in a city that is losing the battle to organized crim? Awesome. There should be plenty of material to work with here.

Worst: Subtly was not this episodes strong suit

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There is a fine line between being so subtle that you confuse the general audience, and being so obvious it’s as if you’re whipping your metaphorical penis into people’s faces and slapping them repeatedly. Gotham chose to whip out its junk and hit the viewers repeatedly in this episode. It was like someone was at a party, name dropping all of the Batman villains they knew before they were famous.

“Oh I knew Poison Ivy years ago. She owned SO many plants. Penguin? Oh, I knew him years ago, he even broke his foot and he ended up waddling like a penguin when he walked. Catwoman? She liked to wear goggles and crawl around like a cat.”

Every turn you took, there they were, letting you know who to expect to see in the upcoming seasons. On one hand, you have to generate viewer interest by letting them know that some old favorites will play a role in this series. On the other hand, there is no reason they couldn’t have been more subtle about things. Like, that stand up comedian in the night club? Is he the future Joker? I would rather they take that approach, teasing us a bit about who might be who and keeping us guessing a bit.

Don’t have Mr. Freeze be some kid selling ice cream on the corner, always telling his friends how he wishes it would snow every day and how his favorite frozen treats are “Freezies”. WE GET IT.

Worst: The dialogue sounded like it was taken from a porn movie

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“A pearl necklace was found in my pizza. A pearl necklace like the one stolen from Martha Wayne. Would you like to try it on?”

I should never feel like “Ice to meet you” would fit right into a TV show, but that’s how bad it got at times. Often times they would also use CSI Miami like delivery on their lines to get to the next scene:

“Bad guys can’t be stopped.”

“I’ll stop them.”

“You’re crazy.”

“Crazy enough to try.”

“Try being sane!”

“Sane enough to be crazy.”

It just had this weird fucking cadence where it felt like Ben McKenzie (Gordon) was having a contest with Donal Logue (his partner, Harvey) about who could deliver a line with the most forced gravitas of all time. They could be talking about what they ate for dinner last night, and Ben McKenzie would gruffly utter “A burrito.” and then stare into the distance past the camera. It was off setting.

I also found it weird that Gordon talked to Bruce Wayne as if he was already Batman, talking to him about his dead parents killer still being alive, and asking for permission to hunt him down still. Dude, he’s like, 10 years old. You’re a grown ass man cop. Don’t ask “boy whose parents just got murdered” about what direction to take in your life and career. Geezus.

Worst: Pacing of the show

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Look, not every show needs to be slow. But not every show needs to fly along at super human speeds. Like, I don’t need Batman to copy Walking Dead, where Rick sits around for 55 minutes having a spirited debate with Carl about the benefits of eating bran regularly, before the last five minutes of the show descends into chaos as angry zombies break through the door.

What I would like, however, is for them to take their time in future episodes. Maybe it was because they wanted to fit a lot into the premiere episode, so everything got kind of rushed as they introduced character after character, but this episode flew along so quickly that it didn’t allow the audience to enjoy or soak up the atmosphere. It felt like the camera was fading to black in the middle of a 10 second scene before moving onto the next 5 second scene, before finally landing on a 30 second scene, in which they randomly decided to hate on Edward Nigma for being good at his job.

Worst: Forced bad ass moments

mooney

That’s Fish Mooney. They spent the most time on her as an established bad guy due to the fact most of the other Batman villains haven’t fully evolved into their future selves yet. It makes sense, and it’s smart to have someone established for Gordon to feud with.

The problem I had was their attempts to make her seem bad ass. There are plenty of ways they could have achieved this. It could have been through witty dialogue (there wasn’t), or it could have been through smart moves on her part (there weren’t). No, instead they decided to show how bad ass she was by hitting people with furniture.

Seriously, at one point she has Gordon in her office, and after Gordon takes out her two thugs, she whacks him with a vase or something (to be fair it could have been a lamp).

Then later on, she has a showdown with the soon to be Penguin, and hands him a knife, and turns her back on him, egging him on, as if to see what he might do. Penguin charges her with his butter knife, and she turns around and hits him with a chair. A god damn chair. Then starts beating him with said chair, thus breaking his foot, thus making him waddle like a penguin, etc etc.

I’m sorry, but if you want me to believe you became one of the cities most dangerous crime bosses, you’re going to have to show me how that was achieved through non furniture ways. As it stands now, it feels like she most likely took out her various enemies through throwing toasters at them, dropping couches on them, or possibly hitting them with a side table, but like, using the corner, so it cut them up and shit.

Give her a god damn tazer, that’s all I’m saying.

Worst: ROCK AND ROLL RIFFS, YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH

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I cant’ stress enough how much of an impact music can have on a movie or TV show. Inception is a huge example of just how much an impact sound can play in our viewing experience. Like, if they replaced the “wake up” song (Non, Je Regrette Rie) in Inception with “Call Me Maybe”, the tone of the scenes would have changed quite a bit.

The same goes for Gotham. Again, I don’t need everything to be on Christopher Nolan levels of Batman grittiness, but Gotham is a pretty shitty place to live, and not a lot of happy things happen there. In the shows current Gotham, people are getting murdered, the cops are crooked, and the city is slowly losing the battle to crime syndicates. It would be nice if the music choice was something a bit dramatic to kind of showcase the mood of the city.

Instead there were random guitar riffs and rock sound music interludes every five god damn minutes. Batman’s parents just got shot? Better have Gordon talk to young Wayne then ROCK AND ROLL RIFF to a scene of him at the police station. Did the Major Crimes Unit just dress down Harvey? ROCK AND ROLL RIFF TIME as they leave the diner.

It might seem like nitpicking to many, but the music sets the tone, and I would rather have no music, then random energetic rock music that sounds out of place.

Final Thoughts:

While I know this will come off as super negative, I am going to give Gotham all the time in the world to turn things around. I understand pilot episodes usually look nothing like what many shows turn into by the time season 2 rolls around, so I am hoping they find their groove and start adjusting some of the things they do on the show. It just felt like they tried to do way too much in this episode (for example, at one point during a Gordon chase scene, they randomly cut to a camera right in Gordon’s face, which is like, ok, awesome, you have an interesting camera angle to show off, but it wasn’t really needed at all) and as a result, everything felt forced.

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Roster Bot Rules

OK, so many of you have probably seen me tweet about Roster Bot, so much so that you probably wonder how much they pay me. For the record, they have not paid me at all  to do this, I just genuinely love their product (though they have given me a hat and a shirt which are pretty awesome, I won’t lie). They haven’t asked me to write this in any way (so if it gets taken down, assume they sued me).

Since I tweet about it so much, I thought I would tell you all just WHY I love it, so you can have an actual understanding of why I pimp them out so much, rather than just seeing me tweet their name every other week. While this might feel like some weird infomercial, I assure you I am gaining nothing from this, it’s just nice to support a product I really enjoy.

For a quick background on what it is, Roster Bot is a free team management tool that allows you to set up and run your rec sports teams super easy.

https://rosterbot.com/

Reasons why Roster Bot rules:

1) PEOPLE ARE LAZY

If you run a sports team of any kind, you know just how lazy people are. Perhaps the worst thing in the world for any team captain was collecting payments from everyone, mostly because people are surprisingly nimble at avoiding payment for as long as possible. Can’t play defense to save their life, but when it comes to payments, man can they move fast. It became an artful game of “Oh I forgot my cheque!” to “I had to pay my car insurance” to “a masked man robbed me at gunpoint and swore he would kill me if I revealed his identity.”

wheres-my-money-

What made this all go away was the creation of e-transfers. Why did this work you ask? Because it required as little effort as possible from one of the universes most laziest of people, that of the rec hockey league player. Going to a bank, taking out money, putting it in an envelope, and handing off said money? That’s a lot of work. Clicking a few buttons online to pay? That’s the sweet spot for effort.

Nestled in right behind collecting payments, trying to figure out who is going to show up to the next game is probably the second worst thing to deal with when running a team. So that is the first reason Roster Bot rules, because it takes the same philosophy behind e-payments, and applies that to running your team. It makes running your team shockingly easy. Running your team goes from feeling like Patrice Bergeron playing defense (exhausting), to Alex Ovechkin floating harmlessly in his own zone, watching someone shoot the puck 8 times before finally putting in the rebound on the ninth shot.

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“I was JUST about to stop him, I swear.”

I cannot stress how easy it is for people to confirm whether or not they will be showing up for a game on Roster Bot. The person who runs the team simply enters the team schedule into Roster Bot, and then players will get an e-mail at a set time before the game is to be played. The team members now just have to click “Yes” or “No” and that’s it. They’ve now announced their intentions. They have now completed the one thing they have to do to let you know if they’re going to play.

You don’t have to phone them. You don’t have to e-mail them personally. Roster Bot automatically e-mails people when events or games are coming up and asks them if they will be attending. No longer will you have to listen for 10 minutes as someone gives you a laundry list of reasons why they might or might not make the game on Saturday.

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It’s glorious. There are even options in Roster Bot to set up a set of “spares” on your team, so if the regulars don’t fill up enough spots on your team for a game, it will e-mail the spares and ask them if they can make the game. Again, this is amazing and takes out the awkward exchanges where you have to beg a spare to play for you when you both know he was the second choice. Roster Bot takes the awkward bullet for you! Nobody can get mad at Roster Bot.

2) IT’S FREE

You might be shocked I didn’t lead with that, but that’s because I truly wanted to underscore how lazy people are. But yes, being free is probably the biggest selling point. You don’t have to pay for the service, just sign up, and you’re good to go. They even have an ap for your phone now. Sweet sweet ap.

3) IT’S VERSATILE

You don’t just have to use it for games. You can use it for team BBQ’s, work events, or any other event that requires you to know the attendance.

4) IT IS AN UNFEELING MACHINE

As I alluded to earlier, Roster Bot is perfect for being the unfeeling, unflinching entity that has to inform people they can’t make the game. Every team has a guy who is notorious for not deciding if he’s going to make the game until the last minute. Well, Roster Bot will lock down your roster whenever you want, leaving that guy out in the cold. If he gets mad, he can’t scream at you, it wasn’t your fault, it was that naughty Roster Bots fault! You are merely a victim of the machine! Tell them this is how Skynet started and then hang up on them, happily going to your game with a full roster of confirmed people.

While this might seem like a joke, I assure you, it is not. Running a team can be a delicate balance of stroking egos, and trying not to murder people for not ****ing telling you if they will show up to a game. Roster Bot will walk in like a Terminator and take out anybody who does not follow the team rules.

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“I’ll let him know he can’t play tonight.”

5) THEY HAVE AN OFFICE DOG

Seriously, they do. And he’s awesome.

6) THEY ARE EXTREMELY APPROACHABLE

They truly seem like they want to make the best team management ap in the world. They are always open to ideas on how to improve it, and are constantly talking to people who use their product to see if there are ways they can better it. An example of this is the beer duty, or “refreshment duty” many teams employ. There was no function in Roster Bot for this initially, but they listened to the people, and are now adding that functionality. If you want something added to Roster Bot, odds are they will listen and try and see if it’s possible. (Assuming your request is reasonable. “Can you add the ability to make me score top corner more often” will not be looked at.)

7) THEY ARE GOING TO BE ON DRAGON’S DEN

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OK, I can’t excuse those awful jerseys (camo jerseys never work, come on Roster Bot, you’re better than that) but if you want to see them on TV, watch October 22nd.

https://rosterbot.com/press/rosterbot-enters-dragons-den/

8) BRET HEDICAN

Former NHL’r Bret Hedican is a co-founder of Roster Bot!

The last two reasons are not really a reason to use Roster Bot, I just thought they were interesting tid bits.

So to sum up, Roster Bot is free, Roster Bot is super easy to use, and Roster Bot has questionable taste in hockey jerseys. Honestly, joking aside, if you run a team, try using Roster Bot and you’ll discover pretty quickly how much it helps you to manage your roster. The Roster Bot team is a group of genuinely nice people that I want to see succeed, and that is why I always talk about their product.

The end!