Creator: Bruno Heller
Cast: Ben McKenzie, David Mazouz, Sean Pertwee, Donal Logue, Jada Pinkett Smith, Robin Lord Taylor, Morena Baccarin, Cameron Bicondova
Running Time: 922 minutes
GOTHAM’s first season was okay at best, thankfully season 2 is an improvement and they seem to be steering it in a better direction.
Just like its first season, GOTHAM Season 2 manages in continuing to present an aesthetic for the city which, I would argue, is the best looking Gotham in a live action format. Creating a style that fits equally into modern-day as much as it does the 1950’s. Couple this with the excellent performances from the majority of the leading cast which are maintained throughout and the series manages to entertain, for the most part.
While it has improved somewhat from season 1 GOTHAM seems to struggle most when it tries being too connected to Batman, which is ironic for a Batman prequel series. The series is often at its best when it is exploring more original stories rather than trying to introduce Batman villains that the Dark Knight won’t be fighting for quite a few years at this point. That being said, Robin Lord Taylor’s Penguin is still impressive and interesting, maybe not as much as Season 1, but for Season 2 Cory Michael Smith’s Edward Nygma story arch is one of the most entertaining aspects of the show. When GOTHAM takes its time exploring these characters and their rise/decent to villainy it does well, but it still suffers from rapidly spitting out Batman’s rogues gallery (which at this point they’ve had all the main villains) that just seem like an attempt to keep people interested through making a Batman TV series that doesn’t have the rights to the actual character.
Like most 22 episode seasons there are a lot of times that GOTHAM really feels like it’s just filling time and it could honestly have been better by having a shorter run. The season’s main narrative is present in almost every episode but it does feel dragged out in a way that becomes borderline tedious to watch. Bruce’s story arch is still entertaining, as it covers a time in his life usually left unexplored within the fiction, and the dynamic between David Mazouz and Sean Pertwee is one of the most entertaining Bruce and Alfred relationships ever put to screen.
While Ben McKenzie does a good job with the role he is given, GOTHAM’s version of Jim Gordon is a bit too removed from the idea of “the last good cop”. It isn’t anything new to portray Gordon as being imperfect but, at times, the show takes him to morally dark places that make him just as bad as the corruption he once swore to fight. It’s fine to have him commit some questionable acts now and then in the pursuit of justice, but some things are just irredeemable and he has a long way to go before becoming the ally Batman will need him to be.
On a whole, GOTHAM Season 2 does improve on what worked from its first season. Choosing to build on characters that worked and further their stories, while also introducing new characters and plot points which progress the series in an interesting way. Unfortunately it still suffers from trying to create the world of Batman prematurely and unnecessarily dragging out story lines that could be covered in a shorter period of time. While it can be slow and dull at times, GOTHAM season 2 is interesting for the most part and does have some really exciting episodes. For a different take on the well-known city, in a time period we very rarely see, GOTHAM still remains an entertaining show, but not without its flaws.
GOTHAM Season 2 is out on DVD/Blu-ray now.