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I've finally posted my Tribune column on the season premiere of Gotham. HERE IT IS.

I was glad to see James Frain, as he seems to appear in every show I've been watching recently (White Queen, Grimm, Sleepy Hollow, Agent Carter, and Orphan Black). So at least I know I'm watching a geek TV show, if I had any doubts.

Don't forget The Cape!

OK, maybe you can forget The Cape.

He is everywhere. If anyone but me watched the short-lived TV show The Cape he played the main bad guy.

Oops!

I've finally posted my Tribune column on the season premiere of Gotham

You really had the Speculatron working overtime on that one. I'm impressed with the wide range of villains throughout Batman's history that it's familiar with, especially the more recent ones. I'm not positive that's a good thing, but it's a thing.

That's a lot of speculatin' going on, and it's hard to say how much is likely, because it depends on their intent. Would they really introduce their own versions of Ra's al Ghul, Deadshot and Vandal Savage when they're already involved in other DC shows on another network? Granted, Ra's was poached, but the rest were free agents, and the CW has called dibs. It looks pretty uncreative to use the same guys.

The age gap you mention is a concern for some of them. Selina works, and I think the Joker can. He seems like he's a fairly young guy, maybe 16-17, so being a few years older than Batman is okay. Harley being Barbara's age doesn't work so well. As I said earlier, I peg her for Magpie.

I don't know that the creators are thinking in terms of setting up prototype bad guys because their ages won't work, I think they may just go for it and let us worry about that. OTOH, they can't use up every well-known villain by Season Two if they intend to have a Season Five. I wonder if they do.

I like the idea that the Mad Hatter will show up. Those early, Dick Tracy-like obsessive wackos are what we need to see. They can justify the costumes and over-the-top bwah--ha-haing. "The Ogre" didn't really fit--he was just a good-looking serial killer, no costume, mask or anything Batman-like. 

Speaking of Season Five, the series is going to run into a problem with its Batman time versus real time, just like the comics do. Gordon sees Bruce and returns the next week to find he's a foot taller. Hmm. I think once Bruce is taller than Alfred, they may need to send him off to study in the Himalayans or whatever the hell they say he did by now. That might be better than having him sitting around the Manor giving the chairs steely looks.

I note you did not address Gordon's morals being on line with those of Penguin, Falcone and Loeb (Doing What's Best For The City By Putting Me in Charge). It ratchets up the problems I had with Gordon's ethics last year, and it's much like Selina's murder--there's no making up for some of this stuff.

OK, maybe you can forget The Cape.

I did not, in fact, see the Cape. I intended to, but the reviews were so mediocre it was gone before I had a chance. I get the feeling I didn't miss much. Meanwhile, since I have the first four seasons of True Blood on DVD (yard sales are great things) and am  looking for a chance to start in on it, I'm glad to know the series isn't Frainless, or I'd start to wonder what was wrong.

-- MSA 

Add to that the presence of Jerome Valeska (Cameron Monaghan), whose name sounds like "Joker" if you say it real fast,

I call shenanigans.

I had a related feeling with Harvey. This summer I was catching up on Vikings and watching the second season, in which Donal Logue played a warrior king. But I knew that after that season ended, he went on to a full-time major role in Gotham.

He also did a nice turn as a Civil War era Irish NYC ward boss in Copper, another cancelled-too-soon series (although IIRC his character didn't survive anyway).

Doctor Hmmm? said:

Add to that the presence of Jerome Valeska (Cameron Monaghan), whose name sounds like "Joker" if you say it real fast,

I call shenanigans.

And I agree! The column only has room for a single purpose usually, and the one I wrote for Gotham was just a variation on my usual Comics 101 for Newspaper Readers approach. I didn't have room to mention a lot of stuff I had in my notes, like the "Perfect Day" coincidence or Gordon's appalling moral choices. Also, I wanted to mention that Tigress' first name is, preposterously, Tabby -- she's a cat, get it? GET IT? -- but I never found a place to drop that particular bon mot.

I did mention that it's entirely possible our Joker isn't the Joker, just a red herring. I did a lot of Googling before I wrote the column, and Monaghan was called The Joker in about 90 percent of what I found -- but none of that 90 percent was official. The Hollywood Reporter and Variety called him The Joker, which is persuasive (since presumably they have real reporters who establish facts before reporting them), but Fox does not. In fact, Fox was very consistent in NOT calling him The Joker. Hmmm, as they say.

What I'd love is for the adventures of the Secret SIx Suicide Squad Maniax to do something traumatic to James Frain, making him him giggle uncontrollably and want to kill people in funny ways. The age thing is a problem here, too, but given Frain's acting chops that would be awesome. Plus, he's already got the purple suit.

My feelings about Deadshot, Ra's al Ghul and Vandal Savage mirror those of Mr. Silver Age. Based upon what we have seen (we haven't seen the contracts) it's hard to believe that Fox and the CW (CBS/Warner) would be that agreeable to sharing characters.  

I like the idea of Clayface, Firefly and Mr. Freeze appearing. Based upon their apparent no-super-powers leanings, I think we will see the original Clayface, the master of disguise. I would rather see the Court of Owls than yet another version of Ra's al Ghul.

I remember Fish Mooney auditioning a comedian in an early episode (was it the pilot?), and the Internet calling him “The Joker.” Me, I’m perfectly willing to accept Cameron Monaghan as a placeholder Joker… until the real thing comes along.

I finally watched the second season premiere of Gotham ... and I am done with this show.

I though I had missed something, with the show opening with Jim Gordon back in the bag, directing traffic, but I hadn't; Commissioner Loeb had busted him -- again!


There's a scene in an episode of The Wire where the mayor is meeting with the commissioner about a dumb officer who had roughed up a prominent minister. They needed a face-saving way to get rid of the guy without the rank-and-file cops getting upset over one of their own being sacrificed to appease political supporters (which, in the world of The Wire, is the way the world turns). The commissioner drops the Baltimore P.D. rules and regulations book on the desk and tells the mayor that if they can't find a reason to fire the guy in there, they don't know what they're doing.

The Baltimore P.D. in The Wire, however, looks like Starfleet Academy next to the Gotham P.D. in Gotham. They really couldn't contrive a reason to boot Gordon before now?

But when it finally happens, our noble crusader ... conspires with a mob boss to get the commissioner fired? And, to prove his bona fides with said mob boss, steals from a nightclub owner and shoots him dead?

How does Jim "I'm So Noble" Gordon go back to the police station and lord it over the cops who saw him fleing from the nightclub, clutching the money? Won't word of that circulate around the station house? Oh, yes, the Penguin says he'll take care of it. Meaning what? He'll bribe them into silence? Or he'll dump them in the harbor with Officer Cannonfodder?

Ai yi yi yi yi ...

And then there's Barbara -- don't they segregate the females from the males in prison?

And then there's Bruce and Alfred and the secret vault with the electronic lock on the door. Without the combination, Bruce can't open it ... so he smashes it with a hammer? And then decides to make a fertilizer bomb and blow it open? Didn't it occur to either of these guys to use simpler means, like a heavy-duty drill? Or a device to try all the combinations until it found the right one?

Okay, Bruce is a kid, he's stupid -- or rather, he hasn't lived long enough yet to know what he doesn't know. But Gordon? He hears a rationalization for being a crook from Bruce and goes with it? What's his excuse?

Oh, yeah, yeah, he's "cleaning up" the department. Which ought to mean doing something like, I don't know, investigating and finding evidence of wrongdoing that would support criminal charges, something he could take to the district attorney's office?

That's it. Have fun without me, guys -- I'm done.

I know the feeling. I either have to stop or just turn off my brain completely and accept what happens. I have the same problems you had, but I was hoping to work through them.

In this week's episode, Barbara walked into police HQ and got Gordon's attention, and he let her wander back out, without sounding the alarm. So she walked past multiple cops and wandered down a deserted alley, where Gordon ran after her.

It was a plan to lure Jim away while the Joker and his pals killed everyone in the precinct house, including the new commissioner.

I'm just speechless.

-- MSA

Mr. Silver Age said:

In this week's episode, Barbara walked into police HQ and got Gordon's attention, and he let her wander back out, without sounding the alarm. So she walked past multiple cops and wandered down a deserted alley, where Gordon ran after her.

It was a plan to lure Jim away while the Joker and his pals killed everyone in the precinct house, including the new commissioner.

I'm just speechless.

The Barbara who is an insane killer, the Barbara who was busted out of prison, that Barbara just walks into the precinct house? And nobody notices a known fugitive striding into the police station? And walking back out again? Nobody questions her or tries to stop her? Really?

bang head photo banghead.gif

I definitely ain't coming back. Thanks! You can watch it so I don't have to!

She tried to be unobtrusive, but Gordon saw her across the room standing beside some cops, and when she turned and walked out, again past multiple cops, he ran after her rather than calling out for someone to stop her.

The problem is that his reaction was important and expected. It was Babs' plan to lure him outside, so he wouldn't be slaughtered with all the other cops. So he has to explain why he wasn't there, making his unprofessional reaction paramount to the followup investigation (I presume someone will investigate this, unlike last year's cop-killing in the precinct house). So twice in two episodes, he's done unethical things that led to deaths. Not a great record for our hero.

The thing that really made me reach for the brain switch was when 13-year-old Bruce, along with his trusty butler, wandered into the precinct house after the slaughter and walked up to Gordon and hugged him. Apparently Gotham cops don't know how to rope off a crime scene, even when it's right at hand.

So yeah, either I watch it brain-dead and just say "It is what it is," or I stop. I'm watching too critically to enjoy it at this point.

-- MSA

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