Gotham, The Balloonman, TV review: A guilty pleasure that’s more like Sin City than The Dark Knight

The Batman prequel appears to be falling into a similar vein as Frank Miller’s neo-noir graphic novels

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The Independent Culture

Yes, it lacks the gravity and depth of The Dark Knight trilogy but who wants that on a Monday night?

Gotham heads straight back to trashyville – but in a good way - this week, with a bloke taking out the city’s corrupt officials using weather balloons.

If episode two tried to steer away from the Batman and comic book clichés then ‘The Balloonman’ is an about-turn.

As Gotham finds its feet, it seems to be falling into a similar vein as Sin City complete with all the noir conventions of the genre: there are the female fatales, the dirty cops and the hardboiled detectives.    


Jada Pinkett Smith’s over-the-top, two-dimensional performance as female mobster Fish Mooney is great. The Southern drawl and the dangerous looks she throws every so often as she swans around her lap dancing club are risible but fit perfectly into the context of the show.

Donal Logue, too, is hilarious in his portrayal as Jim Gordon’s partner Harvey Bullock. The dodgy-dealing, booze-soaked police detective, who periodically swigs on Pepto-Bismol to cure his diet of Danishes and doughnuts, keeps things light.

Well, someone needs to otherwise Gordon’s quest to bring law and order would just become dull. Logue, who has been a fixture on American TV for the best part of two decades, is one of Gotham’s gems.

So, even though Gotham is cartoony and brimming with noir clichés, it requires zero brain power and that’s perhaps why it works so well.