Tech on TV: Gotham (2014) Season 1 Part 1


Although a lifelong fan of Marvel from the 60s-80s, DC's Gotham (2014), along with the cancelled Constantine (2014), are my favorite comic book based shows.  Gotham is loosely based on Batman's family of comic books, which makes it an easy target from Batman fanboys who worship the overrated caped crusader.

One aspect of the noir-like show that is often overlooked is that it's a modern period TV show. People often forget that the series is set a few decades ago, which explains the vehicles and firearms (revolvers) featured in the show. The technology used by the villains are caveman-age compared to sister DC shows such as Arrow and The Flash.

As a tech worker in the telecommunications and IT industry, I appreciate how the prop designers clearly paid attention to the use of old-school flip phones, wireless telephones and Nokia candy bar phones.
 

Old-school phones with basic displays appear often in Gotham.


Ben McKenzie (James Gordon), Robin Lord Taylor (Penguin) and Erin Richards (Barbara Kean) rarely show the full model of their mobile phones, but it's easy to tell by the design that the show is roughly set between 1992-1999. In fact, when Penguin attempts to use a boy as a hostage, he calls the boy's parents with a popular Nokia model from the late 90s.


 



 

Killer Penguins are known to use mobile phones equipped with keypads.


Barbara calls and receives calls from Gordon at her posh apartment using a cordless telephone. By the antenna design, you can tell it uses the more modern 2.4 GHz frequency which was popular in the mid-90s.


 

Barbara was a great character until the show writers wanted to be "relevant" and inserted a 5 second lesbian scene.


Note: In a recent interview, lovely Erin Richards said that she understands why audiences hate her character because she had a "dark side". Actually, we adored Barbara Kean until she suddenly cheated on Gordon with annoying and remarkably shallow Renee Montoya. The writers clearly jumped the gun on the surprise bed scene between the two and irreparably ruined Barbara's character to viewers. I don't give a flying shit that she up and went to a woman - cheating is still cheating and leaving a letter is ridiculous considering how devoted she was to Gordon just two episodes previously.

The lack of smartphones and laptops make Gotham a refreshing show. Unlike Arrow, which depends on its "tech" to provide a deus ex machina during the stories, Gotham's plotlines are more riveting because of the lack of technology. When young Bruce Wayne escapes Wayne Manor with the adorable Cat, the episode could have easily been resolved by him calling Alfred using a Samsung Galaxy or iPhone or by police using GPs to locate him. Instead, we see Bruce attempting to call home on a payphone.


 

Fans have criticized Cat and Bruce meeting so young but if you watch the show as a drama and not a comic-based show, the cute dynamic is something new on television.


Fish, played gleefully by Jada Pinkett Smith, calls up Carmine Falcone on an old-fashioned telephone - a device most Millenials don't know how to use.


 

"Hello, boy this cord is long." Falcone uses a POTS line.




 

Gotham occurs clearly way before Willenium (yeah, I'm fan of Will Smith's old records).


Continued in Tech on TV: Gotham (2014) Season 1 Part 2

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