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September 23, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Gotham, the Batman prequel on which Fox is reportedly pinning its revival hopes and which made its debut Monday night, was greeted with polite applause by most TV critics today (Tuesday). The New York Times posted two reviews on its website. One, by Mike Hale, observed that left unanswered is the question of whether the producers will be able to continue "to pull off the trick of being credible as both a more or less straight-ahead crime drama (its essential structure) and a glossy comic-book adaptation (its marketing mandate)." Like several other critics, Hale’s colleague, Jeremy Egner, who oversees the Times‘s "ArtsBeat" blog, noted that an overabundance of clichés are included in the show’s recipe, but they probably won’t matter to viewers. "For a sizable portion of the TV audience," he writes, "this sort of diversion is televisual pizza: even the worst doesn’t taste all that bad and will do just fine after a hard day’s work." Laura Hudson in Wired magazine can’t overlook the clichés, however. (In fact her review is headlined, "There’s No Batman in Gotham, But There’s a Whole Lot of Clichés.") "The series opts for the bombast and broad strokes of superhero cliches," she writes, "and ends up feeling a bit like Smallville meets Dick Tracy." David Zurawik in the Baltimore Sun takes the middle ground. "At its worse, it’s wooden dialogue and one-dimensional characters is a comic book plot," he comments, then goes on to add, "But the kind of psychic and psychological energy that it has is rare for network TV. I’ll forgive a million sins for that." In fact, Lori Racki at the Chicago Sun-Times hails at as "the fall’s best new drama on broadcast television." Brian Moylan, writing in Britain’s Guardian (the series premieres in the U.K. in October), rhetorically asks, "How does the show compare to others in the genre?" Then replies, "Very well indeed." And Jonathan Bernstein in the London Telegraph remarks that, like Fargo, Bates Motel and Hannibal, Gotham arises from what he calls "fan fiction." He concludes his review this way: "How long before we’re asked to accept a Metropolis without Superman or a Sunnydale without Buffy? But even as I write those words I’m thinking, "’I would totally watch that." Fan fiction makes suckers of us all."