New show: “Gotham”
When: 8 p.m. Mondays on Fox
Cast: Benjamin McKenzie, Donal Logue, Jada Pinkett Smith, Robin Lord Taylor
Premise: It’s “Batman Begins” without Batman.
Let’s face it: Sometimes the dullest part of all the previous Batman incarnations was Batman himself. It’s the villains who are the most interesting characters. That’s what this enjoyable show gets right.
Young Bruce Wayne ( David Mazouz) has just watched his parents be gunned down in front of him, but he’s years away from donning his cape and cowl. Instead, the good guys here are represented by squeaky-clean young lawman James Gordon ( Benjamin McKenzie) and his police partner Harvey Bullock ( Donal Logue). And Bullock may not be that upstanding himself.
He’s a little too tight with the mobbed-up Fish Mooney ( Jada Pinkett Smith, clearly relishing her campy role).
A rogue’s gallery of villains before they were villains pop up. That teen jumping around buildings and stealing milk? She’ll grow up to be Catwoman. The girl named Ivy who likes growing plants? Yep, Poison Ivy. And the guy who works in the police station and tends to speak in questions? He’s the future Riddler, of course. (To hammer the point home, his name is Edward Nygma. “E. Nygma” for short.)
It’s the soon-to-be Penguin who makes the most memorable impression. Newcomer Robin Lord Taylor, with his beaked nose and ever-present umbrella, is perfect in the role.
Some superhero shows demand way too much fanboy knowledge from viewers. (Looking at you, “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”) Not so with “Gotham.” It’s an entertaining hour, whether you’re a newbie to this dark comic world or a DC Comics connoisseur from way back.
Staff writer Thad Ogburn