Monday, September 22, 2014

Fox's Gotham Begins/Sleepy Hollow Returns

Fox's "Gotham" is, as most know, a Batman prequel, with Detective Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) in the lead, abetted by his questionable partner, Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue). Gordon is reminiscent of Gary Oldman's version in the "Dark Knight" trilogy: compassionate, tough and particularly intolerant of corruption: an admirable, television feature in light of what most cable television prescribes. Yep, no sympathy for the devil here, and yet the devils do certainly rear their insidious heads in this ambitious prelude.

The first episode features fledgling versions of Catwoman (Carmen Bicondova), the Riddler (Corey Michael Smith), Poison Ivy (Clare Foley) and the Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor), with a pre-Two-Face Harvey Dent and Hugo Strange on the possible horizon.

Tragic, young Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) is also in the mix (how could he not be?), and one can naturally presume that the seedy workings of Gotham (and Wayne's steely thirst for justice) will only perpetuate the ultimate Dark Knight's rise. Of course, faithful Alfred Pennyworth (Sean Pertwee) will also be a recurring character, thus solidifying the Wayne legend. 

"Gotham" looks promising, even if it's more a standard cop show when compared to what we've come to expect from Batman lore. Still, it seems more honest than most recent (and often overly praised) crime series, implying at least some form of Steve Ditko distinction between good and bad. It also has a cool, no-nonsense "Mob City" sensibility to it, further distinguishing it from its current counterpart let's-root-for-criminals mush. Indeed, so far, so good. Let's see, though, if it can at least exceed "Birds of Prey'"s brevity, though that seems more than likely...

On the heels of "Gotham", Fox's "Sleepy Hollow" triumphantly returns. As you may recall, I was quite smitten by Season 1's surreal, parallel-realm finale (see Jan '14). The Season 2 premiere admirably continues the concept, with a supernatural key that links to Purgatory. Indeed, as evidence by the season kick-off, and for a loose Washington Irving knock-off, the series remains a fine, modern equivalent to "Kolchak: the Night Stalker", with a distinct (albeit revised) historically patriotic context.

It's also sure nice to see Ichabod (Tom Mison) and Abby (Nicole Beharie) back in investigative swing, and now with John Noble's Sin Eater, ersatz Henry Parrish, revealed as--whoops, maybe I shouldn't spoil it for those not yet in the know. I'm only hoping we'll get some Clancy Brown cameos this season. Such would be most welcome.

As far as monsters go, it's obvious more will appear this season, with the Headless Horseman, of course, remaining in the recurring forefront and the power-hungry Moloch in the driver's seat. Also, the series' perpetually autumnal atmosphere is lovingly reinstated: a perfect place for the otherworldly creatures to infiltrate.

I'm sensing a strong chance for renewal well in advance of the season close. Without question, this one appears destined for longevity.


  1. Now that "Gotham" is several episodes in, what do you think? I have to say, fine casting on Foxs' part...Robin Lord Taylor is superb.

  2. My goodness, Robin Lord Taylor has become a sensation as the yet-to-rise Penguin. He's at times sympathetic and yet when push comes to shove, downright dangerous and vile. His destiny is clear, so it's fascinating to see how he's gradually becoming a legend. I'm quite anxious (as I'm sure all viewers are) to see what he does next in the process of becoming Gotham's reigning crime king.

  3. Also, regarding "Gotham", I'm quite pleased by Bruce's development, particularly in the most recent episode aired, "Viper". I realize many parents probably won't allow their children to watch the series due to its mature content, but youngsters could nonetheless learn a lot from the youthful Batman-To-Be. Bruce's tenacity to define good from bad is nothing short of contagious and of course, ardently justified. His interactions with Alfred and Jim have been deeply engaging. I trust the show will continue to employ such admirable examples of conviction. As for "Sleepy Hollow", its ongoing monster parade remains satisfyingly prolific and atmospherically imaginative. I'm pleased as punch that the second season is actually rivaling its lofty expectations. It's a terrific show, with just the right macabre and historical mix.

  4. Harvey Dent has entered Gotham City, and all is right with the televised, comic-book world...for now. We shall see how it further unrolls.

  5. What do "Hell On Wheels" and "Gotham" now have in common? Christopher Heyerdahl!!! I couldn't be more elated!!!

    1. Well, so much for the Hugo Strange casting deal. I guess we were misled as I type this more than a year after the fact. So, BD Wong is Strange, or is that a mislead, too? You got me. That's one of the irritating things with "Gotham". Certain things are never established, only teased.

  6. Well, well, what do ya know? Julian "Warlock" Sands enters "Gotham" as the Scarecrow's daddy. How clever. As a big Sands fan, I'm most pleased with the casting!

  7. Caught the latest "Sleepy Hollow": "Spellcaster". Good episode. Enjoyed Johnathan Schaech's Warlock Kent character. Schaech has already more than made his mark on the fantasy/horror scene, and his "Sleepy Hollow" appearance was a most welcome addition. Hope his character returns to the series. (John Noble was back in action, as well; yet again, in absolute top form. I'm as pleased as punch!)

  8. Great season finale on "Sleepy Hollow", and as my readers know, I'm always a a sucker for the time-travel component. Some shockers in this installment, too, I dare say, but I won't spoil them here. Overall, a fine-dandy season. No Clancy Brown, though, but I guess he's made "Flash" his new guest-starring stomping ground. Anyway, it'll be interesting to see what direction the next season takes. Looks like we have a genuine evil-fighting league in the works here!

  9. Saw the "Gothan" season finale. Great to witness Oswald/Peng's rise to "King of Gotham", or at least something close to it. With Fish now out of the picture (at least for season two, or so we've been told via media sources), Penguin's villainy can finally shine. Also, I like the way Ed Nygma is going through his Norman Bates phase. The foundation for the Riddler has been set! I think we're in for a superb next season!