TV Highlights this Week - - by Rob Wallis

Gotham – series premiere

Gotham – series premiere

If you’ve ever watched Batman – be it Nolan, Burton, or the Animated Series – and thought, “Man, this would be so much better without that guy in the pointy cowl swooping around”; well, you’re in luck.

Gotham takes us back to the dark days of DC’s most crime-ridden conurbation, before Bruce Wayne ever dreamed of taking out his issues on the city’s underclass (“Batman Gestates”, if you will). Though he appears in the series in a supporting role – immediately after the iconic murder of his parents – watched over by hard-man man-servant Alfred (Sean Pertwee), our hero in this instance is Detective James Gordon, future Commissioner and eventual Batman ally, played by Southland’s Ben McKenzie.

Partnered with the gruff and venal Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue), he sets out to clean up Gotham’s streets, accompanying along the way a host of familiar characters who will one day occupy the Dark Knight’s Rogues Gallery. For now, though, Gordon has his own problems to deal with. Among them is Oswald Cobblepot, a queasily well-mannered but ambitious mobster whose distinctive walk has led to a much-loathed nickname; Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova), a young feline-obsessed thief; and Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett-Smith), the beautiful yet psychopathic number two to Gotham’s chief crime boss.

Despite its ever-popular source material, Gotham can’t be content to coast on the future-memory of the Man Who Would Be Batman; still, with its distinct and moody visual and impressive performances, this new offshoot from The Mentalist’s Bruno Heller might just be able to stand on its own terms.

 Channel 5 – 9pm, Monday, October 13th

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Rob Wallis is a graduate of the London Film School and a recent member of the Online Film Critics Society. He also keeps a rarely updated, bare-bones blog, Of All the Film Blogs, (www.ofallthefilmblogs.blogspot.com). You can follow him on Twitter @robertmwallis.

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