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Should We Be Pleased Gotham Got A Second Series?

Gotham has been renewed for a second season. But should we consider whether the show should have a second series or not?

Source: Gotham

Source: Gotham

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?

We are at the pinnacle of comic book adaptations; with the Marvel Cinematic and DC Cinematic Universes mapped out to 2020, and shows like The Walking Dead, Arrow, The Flash and Constantine being some the highest acclaimed and highest rated tv shows right now. So would it matter if one show had slipped through the cracks? In my opinion, yes. Comic book shows are not just a re-imagining of their written counterparts, but a reinvigoration of genre. They are a new way of perceiving how formulas for those genres can be interpreted and a bridge to meshing genre together. So in the case of Gotham, those it had rocky start with its identity, not knowing whether to be a formulaic cop show, a weird surrealist drama with unbelievable characters or an homage to the Batman universe; it did eventually find a way make these work and be something quite unique. So knowing it has future means it gets to further these ideas and explore the world it is building.

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.

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