(Disclaimer: Gotham is a Television Series on Fox. All characters mentioned are owned by DC/Warner Bros)
By: Christopher Johnson
The 2014-2015 Network TV season ended a couple months back and we had quite a few Marvel/DC shows that aired but I choose to discuss not the best show but rather the show that I have the most to talk about. That show is of course (by looking at the title and the banner) Gotham. I thought about doing a straight up review but I realized it would be more “fun” to review it using 5 questions based on my personal feelings. I should warn you the questions and the answers are primarily biased leaning towards one overall feeling but I will add in a little of the opposite site. In this article we will be asked; “Who are the Main Characters”, “What is the Plot”, “Who Killed the Waynes”, “Does the Series Flow Coherently” and “Is There Hope for Season 2?”.
1. Who is the Main Character?
At first glance it would and should be Jim Gordon. He is in all the promotionals, he is in every episode, he SHOULD no doubt be the star of the season. We were told that he is but that is not what happened. Is he A main character? Yes Is he the protagonist? Well, yes and obviously the main one but, Oswald Cobblepot oftentimes felt to have more of the spotlight than Jim. That is a problem. When you advertise that a character will be leading the show it should never feel like they are playing second fiddle to another character in any episode. Now, I am not saying I disliked the Penguin or that his story arc wasn’t good, what I am saying is that he never should have been a neutral character/anti hero because at times in the story he seemed to have more focused placed on him. Now speaking of the story….
2. What is the Plot?
This is a tricky question to answer not because the plot is some mega complex algorithm that only those who read comics would be able to fully appreciate but because there is no steady plot. The first half of the season revolved around Gordon versus the mob and then the second half it turns into Gordon versus the GCPD. I could see two ways this could have been solved. The first option I can think of is to combine the mob plot with the GCPD. That seems to be a fairly logical connection — one I thought they were going to do — but Gordon had very little to do with the mob in the second half bar the season finale. The other thing I thought could really help is to give the season less episodes. Gotham started out with only 18 episodes but it was bumped to 23 early in the season after it aired. If the writers had less to work with then maybe things would flow better. Going back to the season finale, in the second half there were two main plots going on. As I said you had Gordon vs. the GCPD and that ended for the season in the episode before the season finale but to me that was Gordon’s season fine, where his story for the season wrapped. The real season finale was where the Penguin story wrapped. This could also be another reason you could say the Penguin was MORE of a main character than Gordon.
3. Who Killed the Waynes
One of the biggest mysteries of this show is who killed the parents of Bruce Wayne. It is a plot point that was built up so much that by the end of the season you expected to know who killed Waynes by the end of the season but…you don’t. This was a very strange decision for two reasons. The comics tells us that Joe Chill killed the Waynes. So, if they change it then they should go on and reveal it so Batman fans can complain but if they keep it the same then why hold it off? This just makes no sense why they would hype up this then just drop it when Bruce starts aiming straight for “Wayne Enterprises”.
4. Does the Series Flow Coherently?
No, it tries but at several points the series takes a hard left or right turn and starts changing the entire focus of the show.Now, if I were to give one example where it did not flow well would be after the midseason finale. They hyped up Arkham Asylum as where Jim would work at for the rest of the rest but yet he was only thee for one episode and suddenly ws back on the force. They changed the different of the show to encourage Jim even more to attack the mob from inside Arkham then all of a sudden he is back on the force and all of a sudden he doesn’t care about the mob until he is shoe horned into the finale.
5. Is There Hope For Season 2?
As much hate as I have dumped in this article…yes there is. I will start off by saying I really enjoyed the villains arcs that focis on one villain but last 2-3 episodes. One that stands out to me is the “Scarecrow” episodes/ They were very enjoyable to watch and the producers have stated they want to use that concept even more in season 2 but as you know my biggest complaint is how Jim was never treated as “the” main hero of the show. Now it is obvious the Penguin will have just as big a role as he did in season one but this time I want him to be the main villain. That way he almost has an excuse of sorts to have large amounts of screentime.
Gotham has potential to be very good. I will give this show one more season to improve on its missteps and after that I will drop it if it doesn’t improve on several fronts. I guess if I had to give it a rating then it would be 5.75/10-6/10 stars. It’s not a terrible show it just needs to gain a foothold and not totally seem like “Batman Villains and Supporting Character Origins: The Show” and more like it’s very own story.