-->

– by Mark Cook

Welcome to Stop>Drop>Watch, a new LRM feature where we recommend recent or current TV shows (and movies) you may have missed, stopped watching, or simply want to try out. With DVRs, streaming services, and on-demand it’s easier than ever to discover news stuff, but the amount of content makes it hard to choose what to watch. We’re here to help!

Gotham on Fox

Gotham — The show is loosely based on DC Comics’ Batman long-running comic book series which established the modern, live-action superhero TV series, which began with the 2014-2015 season.

Gotham is a series that has been divided amongst fans.  Even though some took an initial interest in the show, many began to stray during Seasons 2 and 3.  Gotham is currently half way through Season 4, which has been extremely entertaining.  Some may avoid the show due to a superhero show overload, but it is much different than the CW shows.  It is dark, gritty, and grounded with a bit more reality (at least Seasons 1 and 4).

Season 1 introduces the audience to a young Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) and his butler Alfred (Sean Pertwee) post the death of his parents.  He is struggling to come into his own and deal with his grief.  Now, this is the story many are so familiar with, but where Season 1 excelled was with the introduction, and focus, on secondary characters who are not usually focused on. There is a new recruit to the Gotham City Police Department in the form of James Gordon (Ben McKenzie) who is partnered with the more veteran Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) and dating Barbara Keane (Erin Richards).  The season does a good job of establishing familiar and new villains, many of whom either did not have an in-depth backstory previously, or they created their own.  There is also a power struggle occurring in Gotham between Salvator Maroni (David Zayas), Carmine Falcone (John Doman), and Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith).  The backgrounds of more known characters such as The Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor), Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith), and Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova) are also established.  These three individuals are particular highlights of the series with some brilliant acting.

Why Should Watch, and What You Could Do Without

No series is perfect, and Gotham is no exception to that rule. As such, I figured we can do a back-and-forth of things you shuld start watching for, and things you can do without!

Why You Should Start Watching — Let’s be real, the villains are always the most interesting.  What motivates them to do what they do?  Most of the time we have seen a Gotham that is already in ruins.  This show sheds light on the origins of the chaos. Season 1 of Gotham dives right into this idea. Michael Cory Smith does a fantastic job in the portrayal of the socially awkward Ed Nygma who shows signs of a split personality begging to take control.  His acting makes each personality extremely believable and enticing to watch.  Jada Pinkett Smith brings her experience to the cool and collected Fish Mooney who was born for more than a minor role in the underworld.  Finally, Robin Lord Taylor is a must-see.  As the master of manipulation, what seems like early signs of weaknesses in the character turn out to be major strengths.  You often think you know his motives, but in an instant he changes everything.  You never really know what side he is on.  There is so much backstabbing, and the race to be the true leader of the Gotham Underworld is cut throat. The constant twists and turns are sure to keep you plugged in.

What You Could Do Without — Season 1 is good, but it has a feeling at times that they were unsure what direction to take it in.  Also, the Bruce Wayne storyline is one we have seen/read numerous times.  Let’s just focus on the villains.

Season 2 turned a major focus to the villains, especially those surrounding Theo Galavan (James Frain) and his sister Tabitha (Jessica Lucas) as well as Mr. Freeze (Nathan Darrow) and a stronger incorporation of Victor Zsasz (Anthony Carrigan).  During this season the audience was gifted with the introduction of Jerome (Cameron Monaghan) who is said to be the eventual inspiration for The Joker, and is characterized by many influential comics, and Hugo Strange (BD Wong).  Meanwhile, Bruce, Alfred, and Selina continue to uncover the mysteries behind his parents’ deaths. Also, Leslie Thompkins (Morena Baccarin) becomes an item with Jim Gordon.

Why You Should Watch — BD Wong is great as Hugo Strange.  Extremely deceitful establishing quite the front to the public, fans are constantly curious as to what he is actually doing behind the scenes at the mysterious Indian Hill.  I will say that his possible connection to the Wayne’s murders is quite interesting.  Aside from this, the introduction of Jerome makes the entire season worth it.  You never really know if he is The Joker or not, but wow, what an intriguing actor.  His storyline is the highlight of the season. The Theo Galavan story starts well, and is extremely dark, but it becomes a little murky near the end.

What You Could Do Without — Bruce’s story is still a weak point.  It seems somewhat dragged out at times.

Season 3 took a bit of a turn as it never seemed to find its footing.  At the GCPD, Captain Barnes’ (Michael Chiklis) character development is explored. It also seemed as if The Court of Owls would be the focus, but they were merely in the background. A highlight is the Jervis Tetch (Benedict Samuel) storyline, which unfortunately doesn’t last as long as it should have.  There are a couple other storylines, especially an odd one involving The Penguin and The Riddler, but it never seemed that the show could find what it wanted to focus on.

Why You Should Watch — Well, the Jervis Tetch arc is pretty dark and interesting, as is the return of Jerome (with a wonderful nod to The Joker from Death of the Family comics). I would at least watch the episodes involving Jerome if you enjoyed him from Season 2.  He constantly outdoes himself and is terrifying to watch on the small screen! Victor Zsasz is pretty hilarious in this season as well.

What You Could Do Without — Ok, where do I start?  This season jumps around a good deal.  Just when you think there may be a solid story it jumps to another only to come back weeks later after you had probably forgotten.  There is a focus on enemies having odd powers, almost as monsters, that I could have done without.  In some cases the villains were plain bad.  There is a Penguin story as mayor (Batman Returns anyone?) with an odd relationship between Penguin and Riddler.  The Court of Owls pop up at the most random times, which makes their arc difficult to follow, or care about.  Oh, and don’t get me started on the doppelganger…  I’d watch the Tetch and Jerome episodes then skip to Season 4.

After some unsure moments after Season 3, Season 4 began, which I personally feel is the best.  Bruce meets Ra’s al Ghul (Alexander Siddig), which alludes to his future as Batman. The season has a good balance between the “freak” villains, such as Professor Pyg (Michael Cerveris), and a mysterious new individual, Sophia Falcone (Crystal Reed), the daughter of Carmine Falcone.

Why You Should Watch — Now we’re talking!  This is the best season of the group.  They finally figured out what direction they want to go in, and how they utilize their best characters while not completely disregarding weaker areas, but limit the screen time.  Sophia Falcone is great, and brings in the connection to Carmine Falcone from Season 1.  Once again, it is difficult to figure out her true intentions.  Does she truly care about starting an orphanage in Gotham, or does she want to follow in her father’s footsteps? The twists and turns are back!  The continued tension between Penguin and Sophia is a particular highlight, and Penguin is back to his truly evil ways, which is wonderful to see!  Bruce’s story has been limited, which was a good move to make.  It isn’t the actor, but as I have stated before, we know this story for the most part.  If anything, watch the initial part of the season for the Professor Pyg story arc.  Now, this plays out like a murder mystery with an ending that definitely surprised me!  The second half of Season 4 looks set to be even better!  We last saw Penguin thrown in Arkham while someone was speaking to him through the wall… Jerome!  The showdown between Jerome and The Penguin is going to be on, and I guarantee it will be worth your while!

What You Could Do Without — I have honestly enjoyed every episode of this season!

Where You Should Start Watching:

So, the question is…where do you start? If you are completely unfamiliar with the series, then I would definitely start at the beginning.  If you were an individual who watched a season or two, then trailed off, I’d pick up with Season 4.

Even though there are major plot lines across all four season, viewers could easily start watching:

  • Season 1: “The Good, The Evil, The Beginning” — Established the foundation for the formative years of not only Bruce Wayne and Jim Gordon, but also many of the famous villains.
  • Season 2: “Rise of the Villains” — Focus shifts to the origins of many primary and secondary villains.
  • Season 4: “A Dark Knight” — Finally finding its feet, this season focuses on the Gotham factions fighting for total control of the city.  Get ready for awesome physical battles, as well as battles of wit, between the “freaks” and mob.

If you are completely unfamiliar with the Batman franchise, this series still has intriguing storylines and doesn’t require you to be an expert, or even enjoy superheroes.  It plays like a detective/forensics/mystery show.  The characters are interesting (especially Fish, Penguin, Riddler, and Selina).  If you are a fan of the franchise, the show provides interesting origins/backstories for many beloved characters.

Where You Can Find Episodes / Seasons of Fox’ Gotham:

New episodes of Gotham air on Fox each week (Thursdays at 8 p.m.); recent episodes can be streamed for free on Fox’s website. Previous seasons of Gotham can be found on Netflix, Hulu, and iTunes.

Are you new to Fox’s Gotham? If you left the series, are you willing to return now that Season 4 has changed the game? Let us know in the comments down below!

Gotham returns to Fox on Thursday, March 1 at 8 p.m. EST/PST.

Don’t forget to share this post on your Facebook wall and with your Twitter followers! Just hit the buttons on the top of this page.