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Before Gotham found its footing and became the steadily insane bit of comic book fun that it is today, there was…The Balloonman.
“The Balloonman” was just the third episode of creator Bruno Heller‘s DC Comics series, mired in a first season that had no idea what the **** to do about a Batman show that didn’t include Batman. Occasionally it tried to be something hard-boiled, almost a straight adaptation of the Gotham Central comic series, a case-of-the-week Law & Order: Gotham City led by a zero-nonsense Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) so stiff you could replace him with a 2×4 in a suit and nary a viewer would notice. A pair of hardnosed rival detectives, Renee Montoya (Victoria Cartagena) and Crispus Allen (Andrew Stewart-Jones), actually did disappear from the show halfway through the first season and hey, nobody noticed — the first example of Gotham course-correcting.
Season - Person - Batman - Movie - Screening
But mostly, Season 1 played out like the worst person at a Batman movie screening who nudges you in the ribs and says, “That’s the Batman.” Gotham, throughout its first season, was very proud to just roll out a recognizable member of Bruce Wayne’s rogues gallery before they could legally buy alcohol and call it a day. Would it thrill you to watch Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova) drink an exorbitant amount of milk, almost like a cat? Do you think you could guess who Ivy Pepper (Clare Foley) the child who loves plants grows up to be? What if we put a question mark on Edward Nygma’s (Cory Michael Smith) coffee cup for no discernible reason? The whole thing was stylish—Tim Burton meets Jim Lee meets Batman & Robin by way of taking molly inside a Hot Topic—and thoroughly exhausting.
But I couldn’t stop thinking about “The Balloonman”, that early, early episode that followed a homicidal vigilante named...
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