Early Reviews to 'Gotham' Pilot: Solid & Well-Made Origin Story

Gotham Premiere Penguin Easter Eggs

Warner Bros. may be half a decade behind Marvel in launching a shared cinematic superhero universe based on the DC Comics properties the studio controls, but according to a supposedly leaked release schedule, the 2016 film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will launch not only the expected Justice League team-up, but also standalone films for Shazam and Wonder Woman, along with a Flash/Green Lantern team-up.

Such an ambitious design is heartening to fans, but we're still two full years out from the release of Zack Snyder's Man of Steel follow-upIn the meantime, the small screen DC adaptations will have to carry the banner forward: the CW's Arrow spinoff The Flash, NBC's Constantine and Fox's Gotham are all scheduled to premiere this fall.

For Batman fans, Gotham is the focal point. The Flash may tie-in and expand DC's television universe established by Arrow, but with Gotham's focus on the early years of stalwart Batman ally Jim Gordon,  it'll help fill the Bat-void for the next two years. The question is: will it be any good? Executive producer Bruno Heller is a TV veteran (RomeThe Mentalist), and the main cast is an engaging mix of familiar faces (Ben McKenzie, Jada Pinkett-Smith) and lesser known talent (Robin Taylor, Cory Michael Smith), but the tone of that first trailer felt a little… off.

We've heard a couple of positive reactions so far, but now audiences in New York and Los Angeles have attended screenings of the pilot and taken to Twitter to relay their impressions. We have some of these reactions below (courtesy of CBM).

The reactions here are universally positive overall, with L.A. Times critic Steven Zeitchik's reaction perhaps a good summary of the general overview:

Really dug the pilot of Fox's superhero origin story Gotham. Solid crime drama with many tantalizing hints of the mythology to come.

— Steven Zeitchik (@ZeitchikLAT) June 13, 2014

The AP's Alicia Rancilio was similarly impressed:

Just caught an advance screening of the #Gotham premiere. Loved it. So good. Excited for @ben_mckenzie and the rest of the cast.

— Alicia Rancilio (@aliciar) June 13, 2014

Variety's Laura PrudomCollider's Christina Radish, and The TV Addict's Tiffany Vogt echoed the same:

Cannot get over how great the cast of #Gotham is -- not a false note among them. Jada Pinkett Smith in particular just kills it.

— Laura Prudom (@LauInLA) June 13, 2014

Rest assured, #GOTHAM is everything that you want #GOTHAM to be. And .@robinlordtaylor is fantastic as Oswald Cobblepot (aka Penguin).

— Christina Radish (@ChristinaRadish) June 13, 2014

Fox's new TV series #Gotham topped expectations. Love it when new shows raise the bar. Fans will be very pleased.

— Tiffany Vogt (@TVWatchtower) June 13, 2014

Gotham Trailer 2014

Daniel Fienberg of HitFix provides perhaps the most balanced reaction to the Gotham pilot in these three tweets:

The proof will be in the Ep.7 or Ep.9 or E.11 of it, but FOX’s #Gotham is a really solid, well-made pilot.

— Daniel Fienberg (@HitFixDaniel) June 13, 2014

It’s well-cast, top-to-bottom, and the production values play higher in context than they have in the trailers. #Gotham

— Daniel Fienberg (@HitFixDaniel) June 13, 2014

I can’t shake the feeling that there are a lot of unfulfillable promises in #Gotham. But… good pilot.

— Daniel Fienberg (@HitFixDaniel) June 13, 2014

Fienberg addresses the Gotham trailer's seemingly unbalanced tone and oddly cheap-looking production design, but it sounds like the look and feel of the pilot is much more cohesive when viewed in its entirety. The notion of "unfulfilled promises" suggest that the show's first episode may have bitten off more than it could chew, and perhaps spends more time setting up multiple over-arcing storylines to the detriment of a focused, self-contained narrative.

Still, a pilot is a pilot, and given how easily a Batman-less prequel series about Gotham City could have flown off the rails (something many fans were likely wary of), these decidedly positive early reviews are a good sign.

It's still unknown (though extremely unlikely) if Gotham will tie in or cross over with Warner Bros.' larger Cinematic Universe, but as plot details, early set photos/footage and hotly anticipated casting announcements for Batman v Superman are revealed over time, Fox's prequel series will keep the world of Batman in the forefront of our awareness in the meantime.


Gotham will air Mondays on FOX beginning in the fall of 2014.

Source: CBM

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