Gotham is a weird show. In a television landscape infested with superheroes and comic books it stands solitary for reasons both good and not so good. I like the show a lot, sometimes for its mistakes and misjudgements like its bizarre tonal shifts from dark and brooding to wacky. I’m not sure I’m the target audience but then again I don’t know who the target audience is, one minute we have a scene reminiscent of the late 90’s Schumacher films and then the next a character has his throat slashed in a brutal and bloody fashion. Gotham is a weird show but somehow it works and I can’t wait for the next episode but it is almost universally acknowledged that it can improve. One possible improvement that gets thrown around these dark pits of internet fandom is having a time jump between seasons but would this really help?
Gotham is introducing classic DC villains at a breakneck pace. Bruce Wayne and Gordon have been softly pushed aside to make way for every Gotham-based degenerate you can think of and the bad guys have become the core of the show. It’s interesting, it’s entertaining and the show can’t keep it up much longer. Gotham has to appeal to the masses and the introduction of villains they know about are keeping them watching. The show is going to run out of these pop culture icons of villains soon and will be left with the B-team of bad guys. A lot of these characters are cool and will be interesting for big batman fans like me but the general audience aren’t going to be as excited for Onomatopoeia or Humpty Dumpty turning up like they would be for Joker or Two Face. A way to get around this problem would be to focus more on development of villains rather than their introductions and a time jump could aid this.
A time jump of two or three years between seasons will leave a wake of development possibilities for characters on both sides of the law. Rather than a quick introduction and storyline for a couple of episodes resulting in fairly two dimensional characters, such as Jonathan Crane from last season and Firefly this season, the show would now have a couple of years worth of back story, from between the seasons, to change the characters into more of the Batman villains we know and love and then we can explore this back story in the show with character development that would have trickled out at a slow and boring pace over multiple seasons now being given to us in one season. A few main villains from the show like Penguin and Riddler already get the screen time to develop into characters worthy of viewer investment and with a time jump and fewer introductions of new characters, more baddies can get the same treatment and response.
It’s not just the villains that could benefit with a time jump but also Gordon and Bruce Wayne. A time jump could open up more story options for Gordon with a higher role in the GCPD without the current trend of him getting into an argument with some officer of a higher rank and getting fired or sent to guard Arkham only for him to get his job back and the cycle continues. It’s going to be a long journey for Bruce to become Batman and all we get at the moment is a 1 minute scene of him training with Alfred every ten episodes. A three year jump and we can see a more grim and loner version of Bruce who has been mulling over the concept of crime fighting and the current injustice for a few years and see what drives him to the extreme measures he takes. It could have been his parent’s deaths but at the moment his investigation into the murders is taking a backseat and he doesn’t seem to be filled with rage to get him to the extreme at this current time. In his current form I think Bruce would be better suited as a supporting character in the show only popping up a few times per season.
I know that Gotham was never meant as a Batman show and a time jump may take it too close to being one but it’s hard to guess how the show can improve from its current standing in the realm of comic book television because we don’t know what the end game is. We have no idea what the grand plan is and how the show will come to a conclusion because the actual conclusion of the story, Batman fighting these villains, we will never see. Will the show end with Bruce first becoming Batman? Or will it end with Bruce leaving Gotham to train? We can’t really say if a time jump would improve the show because we don’t know what kind of show it will become, how can the show possibly give a satisfying conclusion, or any conclusion at all, when we know we will never see the stories that this show is setting up? That’s all the show is: set up for something we will never see. It’s an interesting and slightly frighting situation. I don’t have a clue; all we can hope for is that the showrunners do. I can’t wait to find out. Gotham certainly is a weird show.
What do you want in the future of Gotham? Let me know in the comments and geek out with me about Batman on Twitter @kylebrrtt. Like, Subscribe and why not have a look at all the awesome stuff on the site like the many podcasts and blogs. I’ll be back next week so come back then for some more First Time Writing.