Superhero media is the hottest thing on the street right now. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is now over twenty movies in, with Avengers: Endgame being the second highest grossing film EVER, beat only by the 2009 film Avatar.
Super Hero TV shows are also incredibly popular, such as Marvels Jessica Jones, Daredevil, and Agents of Shield, but Marvel isn’t the only studio out there.
DC has produced some great films as well, most notably Wonder Woman, and has licensed out to CW several TV shows, including Arrow, Flash, and Super Woman, Legends of Tomorrow, and the upcoming Batwoman.
However, there is one Super Hero TV show that I feel deserves way more attention; the Fox Networks TV series, Gotham.
Gotham: Spoiler Free
Don’t worry, I won’t spoil anything in this paragraph. Gotham, in essence, is a five-season origin story for basically everyone in Gotham City. “But wait!” I hear you cry, “We’ve already had Batman’s origin way too many times. I’m sick of it.”
Yep, but I didn’t say Batman, did I? I said EVERYONE in Gotham city.
While the show opens with the iconic Batman origin, it’s done from the perspective of Jim Gordon, who’s just at the beginning of his career. You see, Gotham is more of an origin story for everyone other than Batman, and like a progressive jackpot, the more you’re in Gotham City the crazier you’re gonna get out of it.
What makes this show so good is that it presents all of the usual comic book absurdity while keeping everything grounded by presenting it all from the point of view of the do-it-by-the-books Jim Gordon.
If I’ve intrigued you, I highly recommend you stop right now and go watch Gotham, because I’m about to enter spoiler territory.
Gotham: Spoiler Zone
Still here? Good.
What sets Gotham apart from, say, the CW shows is that the Super Heroes and the good guys never get any powers. Not one. No super strength, speed, healing, or magical hacking powers. No Stark Tech, holograms, or alien alloys. You see, when the Flash can run so fast he can go backward in Time, it’s really hard to believe that he can ever be in any real danger.
In contrast, in Gotham, the heroes are always fighting the odds against these villains, and at the same time the villains are never so powerful they should be able to kill the heroes. That doesn’t mean the villains aren’t scary, though.
One of this show’s strongest points is its characterization. Everyone is incredibly well written, from the believable relationship of Alfred and Bruce to the stubborn Jim Gordon to the psychopathic Oswald Cobblepot.
Oh yes, the Penguin is here, and he is scary. He isn’t the fat fish mutant from the Tim Burton days. He is machiavellian and murderous, and although at the beginning we see him licking the boots of Gotham’s organized crime lords, I assure you it doesn’t stay that way.
Oh, and here’s a major spoiler warning. I really recommend watching the show before I gush about this part. There’s a love triangle.
With who, you may ask? Jim Gordon perhaps? Bruce? Harvey Bullock, perhaps? No, no, and no.
Gotham features a love triangle between Edward Nygma (the Riddler), the Penguin, and a woman named Isabella. Don’t worry, it’s better than that because the two men aren’t pining over the woman; Isabella and Penguin are both obsessed with the Riddler.
It’s as absurd as it sounds, and devolves into the chaotic jealous murder-fest that such an arrangement must inevitably fall into. It’s amazing.
Final Answer: Why should you watch Gotham?
So let me summarize why you should watch the underrated Gotham. It’s got great writing, amazing character arcs, unexpected plot developments, and a level of tension and stakes that other super hero shows are just… lacking.
By making Jim Gordon the focal point, the show presents a strong sense of morality and justice by making it really difficult to do the right thing in a corrupt and collapsing world, when half the time it’s easier to just keep you’re head down and look out for number one.
It’s easy to be a hero when you’re Super Woman, but it’s so much more meaningful when you’re not immune to bullets.