The first out of the block for the superhero series, Gotham has shifted a few cast members around and re-tooled itself for season 2 with a sub-title: Rise of the Villains.
For those not in the know, Gotham is the Batman-before-the-Batman series, beginning with the street murders of Thomas and Martha Wayne, which more or less neatly coincided with the arrival in Gotham City of the idealistic, fanatically honest Detective James Gordon. Over the seasons, we will see Gotham develop into the kind of town the Batman will need to clean up.
Season 1 was always the marginal one amongst my featured series, capable of some interesting elements, especially Robin Lord Taylor’s magnificent performance as the nascent Penguin, and some real crass stupidities (anything Jada Pinkett Smith was involved in). I always found it extremely questionable to give so much time to young Bruce Wayne, if this was to be the Batman-less years.
So, season 2. As you might expect, this was something of a scrappy, rearrange the furniture effort. Pinkett Smith’s gone, leaving the scenery relatively safe from chewing, as is John Doman as the magisterial Don Carmine Falcone. Also gone are the two least relevant cast members who were so well woven into the story that they disappeared completely in the back half of the season.
Morena Baccarin gets promoted into cast as Gordon’s new girlfriend, Lesley (Lee) Thompkins and James Frain and Jessica Lucas come on board as evil masterminds building a super-villains team out of nutters broken out of Arkham Asylum. In what may or may not prove to be a good idea, these included Gordon’s ex-fiancee, Barbara, played by Erin Richards.
To be honest, my ability to take this in was severely hampered by a mis-aligned sound track, with the dialogue and sound effects arriving a good four seconds ahead of the visuals, but it left me a bit cold. Gordon was demoted to traffic cop, kicked off the force (Bullock has already quit, to become a bartender and sober person) but got back thanks to a Deal with the Devil with Penguin that has already seen him kill a man (a gang boss, to be sure, but still…)
And Bruce took the entire episode to discover the Batcave beneath stately Wayne Manor, last season’s least baffling cliffhanger.
If there’s any of the returning shows I can see myself giving up on, Gotham‘s the favourite. For now, let’s see what develops and how quickly they can get Erin Richards showing off her legs again.