1. Was it going to be Smallville or Arrow? I guess it's a little of both. The premise is Smallville's, but the mix of gritty action and soap opera is Arrow's (there's a house style forming). It's stronger out of the gate than Arrow though. The soap doesn't feel as cheesy, for starters.
2. It's called Gotham, and it really is about the town. Sure, young Gordon is the nominal hero, but the pilot sets the show up so it has conflicts in at least three arenas: The GCPD (corruption is rampant, the Wayne case), the criminal underworld (war brewing between Fish, Falcone and Penguin... there's a pun there, the latter as both avian and sea life...), and more personal affairs (Bruce and Alfred and Selina, Barbara Sr.'s gay relationship with Renée Montoya). There's really no reason the show couldn't switch focus to different characters in the Batman Family over time; I see a lot of potential.
3. The main problem people foresaw with the show as various news nuggets were leaked was that you'd have all the Batman characters interacting pre-Batman and that it would somehow feel forced or ridiculous. I'm glad to say it still works. We'll likely NEVER see a Batman in this show (except as a final image late down the line, à la Smallville), and if he inspires all the wackos to dress up, then we won't see "supervillains" either. So it really doesn't matter if there's a huge amount of interaction between the Bat Family before it should happen, because the show is its own world where we'll have to imagine what these relationships would mean for a post-Batman world, but would never have to see actually see it. It also means we'll see new characters like Fish Mooney, characters that don't have a destiny already spelled out and who can die or whatever the writers need to have happen to them.
4. Too much fan service? I didn't think so. This was the pilot and should feel special, with some characters likely to be throwaways (like Ivy, maybe even the Joker, if that's who he was referencing; could be a red herring, of course). Unlike Arrow, which throws out references to an enormous degree (especially writer and artist names), we either see the character or else get a street named Grundy (which was awesome, by the way, let's see Slaughter Swamp sometime).
5. Something I found interesting about using the various characters in this way is that it showed just how much the Batman universe is part of popular culture. Young pickpocket races through the streets, steals milk, gives it to alley cat, is never named... Who DOESN'T realize who this is? And so it goes with a lot of the characters. That universal knowledge certainly keeps the Waynes' murder elegant and efficient.
6. Trivia: Ben McKenzie (Gordon) has a previous connection to Batman... He voiced the Dark Knight in the Batman Year One direct-to-DVD release. And yeah, a Gordon without a mustache is a little disorienting at first, but when he does grow a 'stache, I bet it'll be a big season opener ker-pow moment.
7. Speaking of aging in the role, will we see David Mazouz grow up on TV as Bruce Wayne? And if the show is lucky enough to last the standard 7 seasons usually afforded network dramas, will we see take a greater and greater role in the action? The young actor is 13 now (though he seems to be playing it younger) and would be 20 by that theoretical last season.
8. Alfred as a hard-edged Cockney type? Looks like he might grow up to be Michael Caine! Speaking of interesting casting, I think Erin Richards as Barbara Sr. isn't too far from Dina Meyer as Barbara Jr. from Birds of Prey!And there are a number of times in the pilot where McKenzie gives a hang dog look reminiscent of Gary Oldman's performance in the Nolan trilogy. Not that this is a prequel to the films, you understand. Jada Pinkett Smith is the big name, and Fish is a pretty cool villain.
9. I like Vancouver as Star(ling) City, but Gotham is filmed in New York, and it's a dirty, polluted, cold and rainy New York. Nice atmosphere throughout.
10. So yes, I'll be watching it regularly, at least in the short term (by which I mean there's always a moment in the fall where I lose track of what's on TV and just give up on all the shows, then buy the DVDs). The story I'm most interested in is how much Gordon will be compromised before he's solved the Wayne murder and cleaned up the department. He managed to get out of a sticky ethical situation this time, but with Bullock breathing down his neck (and possibly Montoya and Crispus Allen as well), it's only a matter of time before he has to betray his own values to survive or keep his secrets.
Well done! Better than expected! DC properties really are better on TV than in the cinema.