Review – Gotham Knights Episode 1

The CW boldly debuts their latest addition to the DC inspired TV shows, Gotham Knights, the series- not to be confused with the video game of the same name. 

With Gotham in the title, Gotham as the location one would think we are getting a DC series featuring the iconic Dark Knight himself, albeit in the “Elseworld” universe.

Instead we open with the murder of Batman with the Bat-signal, okay just the spotlight of the show, shining on his adopted son Turner Hayes played by Oscar Morgan. Turner is a rich, rebellious teenager who is unaware that his father is Gotham’s hero and only learns of his secret when district attorney/unrelated uncle Harvey Dent played by Misha Collins informs him of Bruce Wayne’s death.

The trio who discover the caped crusader’s corpse are teenage delinquents and the children of Batman’s enemies. The misfits consist of Duela/The Joker’s daughter played by Olivia Rose Keegan, Harper Row/Blue Bird played by Falloon Smythe and Cullen Row played by Tyler DiChiara. 

This group are caught with the murder weapon, the same gun used to kill Bruce Wayne’s parents and the teens are framed for the murder of Batman. They claim their innocence and confess that they were anonymously hired and paid to simply steal the gun. That payment traces back to Turner and in-turn he too becomes a suspect in the murder with the world believing that his intent was to inherit his father’s fortune- a simple story of a kid who bit the hand that feeds. At his lowest Turner relies on his best friend Stephanie Brown, Cluemaster’s daughter to help him prove his innocence. 

In lockup the Bat-brat Turner is forced to pick a side, to trust that the GCPD will do their jobs correctly or to form an alliance with the mismatched fugitives. Carrie Kelley/ Robin played by Navia Robinson saves the group in perhaps the campiest introduction in the show. It goes something like this: Predictable dialogue: “Who the hell are you?” Cue the score! Wait for the exaggerated pause! Cue awkward and dramatic dialogue: “Robin”. That was fairly obvious considering she was the only person in a suit and the only one using Bat-tech! 

Unlike the comics where the team consists of allies of Batman and members of the Bat-family, the Gotham Knights in the series are strung together with thieving siblings, a sidekick, the joker’s delusional daughter and Batman’s orphan who together form the next generation of Gotham’s heroes, as the title implies, the Gotham Knights. 

It is a loaded pilot episode which essentially serves its purpose. We are introduced to the Gotham Knights, even though majority of times is it with too much exposition and cringe worthy dialogue, and their intent is quite clear these misfit kids are on a mission to find Batman’s killer, clear their name, and bring vengeance upon the Court Of Owls to protect the city of Gotham.

The performances in the pilot episode were unauthentic and felt forced with the standouts and exceptions being Olivia Rose Keegan who delivers a fun approach to playing the Joker’s daughter, Navia Robinson who really brings the action and tech as Robin and Misha Collins who if given more opportunity to do so seems like he could really shine as Harvey Dent and perhaps eventually Two-Face. 

The highlight of the episode is the score and the gritty tone to the series. Tonally it feels like the Dark Knight Trilogy but it doesn’t fully commit to that as it’s torn between being a dark, gritty superhero series and a campy high school teen drama series. 

The debut was as underwhelming as the appearance of the goofy cowl but the series offers potential and promise. I am hopeful that when the episodes continue that the clunky chemistry improves and that the show can find some fluency with Batman lore when it gets into a rhythm. In time we will see if Gotham Knights will descend into the shadows or rise to the spotlight of the Bat-signal. 

Watch Gotham Knights now on Binge

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