If you liked the Christopher Nolan Batman movies but wished they were less grim, more outlandish, serialized into a TV show, and starring Ben "Ryan Atwood" McKenzie, you might like Gotham, Fox's stylish new drama set in an especially baroque, violent incarnation of Gotham City.

Bruce Wayne is just a kid, but his parents have already been murdered, and not-yet-commissioner James Gordon (McKenzie) is on the case. If you're a fan of the Batman universe, there are plenty of familiar faces: young Catwoman, young Penguin, and young Riddler are all getting their origin stories told on a weekly basis. Here's a little portrait of the Penguin as a young (sinister) man:

I like Gotham because it walks a line between taking its superhero world seriously (the child-kidnapping villains in the first few episodes are genuinely scary) and going the Joel Schumacher popcorn camp route (the villain in the third episode kills people by attaching them to weather balloons).


If you're a diehard Batman fan, the obviousness of the supporting characters like Ivy might annoy you (and if you're a meteorologist the whole balloon plot is just straight up silly). Gotham might end of veering too much into cheese-poofy silliness, but right now, I'm enjoying the balance of grittiness and pulp.

What I'm not enjoying is Adam "Seth Cohen" Brody's career trajectory. What the hell, man! Why does McKenz nab this lead role and you're...I don't even know what you're doing. Stay strong, Adam Brody. Your Brodynaissance will come.


Gotham airs on Fox, Fridays at 9/8 CST.