I seem to have gotten behind on my reviewing. I blame the election.
Yes, this is indeed last week’s Gotham review, so if you’re hoping for my usual navel-gazing lead-in, then I’m afraid you’re going to be disappointed (Nobody is going to be disappionted at that, trust me -Ed).
Does anyone actually know why Gotham decided to take a month-long pause, with four episodes to go?
I’m being serious. This first series of Gothamseems to have gone on for bloody ever, and whilst I’ve enjoyed it (So that’s not particularly a complained -Ed), it started back in September 2014, meaning it’s gone on for nearly eight months already.
I’ve already mentioned that I think 24-episode seasons are a relic of a bygone era of TV, and that actually shorter, more intense bursts of around 13 episodes fit much better with how people watch shows nowadays, but Gotham didn’t need to go an emphasise that by putting in break after break in the broadcast schedule.
But it’s back now, for the tail end of season one. So if you can still remember anything that happened in the last epiosde, then come with me and explore “Beasts of Prey”.
I’m a little late to Gotham this week. I could claim that I’m still trying to come to terms with the big scoop of crazy the last episode served up…
…but honestly it’s just life getting in the way.
By my count, there are only four more episodes to go before season one finishes. Gotham has already been renewed for a second season, so the only tension is what will happen with the series climax.
Honestly, I think this series has been too long. The 22 episodes have given it bloat-space, where 13 or so would have kept it leaner. I think this is why the pace ebbs and flows, why it has good and bad episodes.
The creators won’t shorten the seasons; there’s too much money in it. But from a critical point of view, it would be a more sensible approach.
But hey, I’m just a bod with a blog, watching a TV show. What do I know?
Gotham feels, at this stage, more like an epic than a TV series.
It’s hard, as I’ve said before, to remember that this is only the first season. It has already succeeded so much in creating a world which lives and breathes. Gotham feels like a real city, and its citizens feel like real people.
There’s a larger story at work, not just the development of Gordon and Wayne, but the whole Batman world in embryonic form. Already we’ve had major milestones, and big moments.
And we’re still a few episodes away from the big finale.
If you’re interpreting them, then you can either get it right or wrong. You can either make a good job of it or you can cock it up.
When you’re inventing an origin story, though, you’re risking something else. If you make a bad job of it, you’ll either lower your version of the character you’re originating, or you cheapen the character itself.
The reason I raise this is the claim that Gotham will give us a Joker origin story. Possibly in this very episode. Now, I’ve never yet met an origin story for Mr J that I actually liked, and part of the fun of the character is that he’s an enigma, a whirlwind of chaos without a past.
I’ve enjoyed Gotham a lot, but this…this might be a step too far…
So far Gotham‘s record for introducing Batman villains hasn’t been flawless. The Penguin, as a story arc project, is coming along nicely, and Edward Nygma is humming away nicely in the background. But the rest have largely been one-shot, single episode features.
I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that an episode titled “The Scarecrow” is going to feature, well, Scarecrow. We got the preview yesterday, in what seems to be becoming a new feature for the show: the two-episode villain introduction.
Admittedly, the last time was with the Electrocutioner, which isn’t exactly an A-list Batman villain.
But Gotham has won the room to experiment, in a way that few of the new series I’ve been regularly reviewing has. It’s already won its second season, and though it does hit bum notes from time to time, it’s more or less found its rhythm.
I’m slightly astounded that this used to be the unquestioned standard for US TV shows. It’s exhausting! And with episode 14 of Gotham, we have another seven still to go after this.
That’s not necessarily a complaint, but it makes me question how the story progression has been going. Will Penguin be a main focus throughout? He’s already approaching the top of the crime world, so will Gotham move on from him after the first season?
Who knows? And we’re not going to find out for a bit, are we?
So with Gotham‘s return — to being a good show, not its disappointing post-Christmas return to broadcast — and the ending of American Horror Story: Freak Show, Gotham is probably my favoruite TV series of the moment. It’s a close thing though — the field is very strong, and Gotham has shown a remarkable tendency for troughs as well as peaks.
But we’re being positive. Gotham has already been renewed for a second season, which is more than Constantine can say, so it’s clearly doing something right.
The last episode ended in a classic Gotham cliffhanger, so let’s see what it’s got for us next.
After Gotham‘s ignominious return to screens last week, I’m a little shier about getting excited. Once bitten and all that…
Arkham was disappointing, yes, but I can rationalise that away — to an extent — that this show is called Gotham, not Arkham. So a return to former glories is not at all impossible.
It needs to return to the spirit of what it’s trying to catch, the vastness of a mythos decades old. There were times last year when Gotham did really manage to hold onto the idea of a city falling apart — an atmosphere which was more important than the appearance of minor, or even major, Batman villains.
So with the new year, the exciting new TV shows from the end of last year are starting to return. First amongst the crop is Gotham, which seems to be doing the traditional American TV series thing — 20-odd episodes, ‘mid-season break’, etc.
Whilst it wasn’t without its flaws last year, it was still a heck of a lot braver than I had expected. There were no insurmountable problems, and those issues that were present it has shown an interest in and a will to mix things up. It has also proven itself a master of the inter-episode change of pace.