The television network Fox has had a history of being tentative at best when it comes to reviewing its shows, especially ones that are considered “out of the norm” especially if the ratings and reviews are less than strong (oh Firefly, we will never forget). So, when Gotham, the Batman prequel set around the struggles of a young Jim Gordon, was finally unveiled, the responses were somewhat mixed. So, critics immediately became tentative, aware that Fox may not be keeping it around. However, last weekend it was announced that Gotham along with Brooklyn Nine-nine and the fledgling show Empire had been renewed. Of the three, the biggest surprise has generally been Empire, after having only aired two episodes, however I must admit my personal surprise and delight in the renewal of Gotham. But should we consider whether the show should have a second series or not?
The issue, because from episode to episode the show is shifting and changing, it means the shows keep viewers on their toes whilst still telling a compelling familiar story of the one good man in a corrupt system, there could be an issue of consistency. That is, the further the show goes on, the more difficult it would be to not slip into one category. So it could end up becoming more formulaic and toned down by its second series, or more whacky and cartoonish, either of which would lose the appeal that the show has. Another problem, one which has been pointed out since Gotham’s conception is its ties to the source material. Possibly because the showrunners felt it might only have a short lifespan, numerous characters who exist in the Batman comics have been put in the limelight (including Penguin, Riddler, Viktor Zsaas etc.) but being a prequel series means it can only tease the eventual rogues gallery they will become. However, the problem emerges that this can only happen for so long, before no recognisable characters are left, meaning the established character would have to be developed further, yet still before Batman can exist which means we know their eventual fates.
However, these are possible concerns for a show which have navigated a number of pitfalls, and has become a solid noir homage, both in support of Batman-influenced world and in spite of it. Gotham air on Channel 5 and returns in spring 2015.