WARNING: This article contains spoilers from the first three season of Gotham, with speculation for season four.
FOX’s Batman series featured around a young Bruce Wayne and Commissioner Gordon, Gotham, just finished up its third season. Bruce is close as ever to becoming Batman, but we’re just being introduced to new villains, including Ra’s al Ghul. Overall, fans seem to still enjoy the show and critics rate it well (is that really a good thing, though?), but Gotham has dropped some in popularity. The show is already getting a season four, but how much longer can it go?
The IMDB fan ratings hit a peak in late 2015, with five episodes currently rated 9.0 or above (six total for the second season), while season three had just three episodes rated 9.0 or above, with them all coming in the second half of the season (including the season finale).
Is the popularity of Batman and the origins inside of Gotham the main reason for the show’s success? When Gotham was announced in 2013, fans went crazy. Anything involving perhaps the most iconic superhero of all time is going to generate a ton of interest—and it did. But again, the show has lost viewers from season to season.
The acting in the show is better than most things you’ll see on cable television. Ben McKenzie brings toughness and grittiness to the main character of the series, Commissioner Gordon, while David Mazouz has really grown into the role of Bruce Wayne as he’s grown up himself. Cameron Monaghan’s time as Jerome/Joker was chilling and had people wanting him to play the Joker on the big screen. From Jada Pinkett Smith’s appearances as Fish Mooney, to BD Wong as villain Professor Strange, the acting on the series is great.
So why is Gotham not getting the same number of viewers as when it first aired in 2014?
Well naturally, some of the people that first tuned in might not have been fans of the show for whatever reason (characters, tone, etc). With all due respect, Gotham—or any traditional cable television show, for that matter—isn’t exactly Breaking Bad or The Wire. Most viewers probably aren’t as hyped for Monday nights (now Thursdays, Gotham’s new day for season four) as Game of Thrones viewers are for their show on Sunday nights.
Still, Gotham must be losing some viewers that once liked and viewed the show every week. I know of some people that have gotten through two seasons and just had enough in season three. The outrageousness could have a lot to do with that.
Gotham is based on Batman and Gotham—it’s based off a comic book. But with Christopher Nolan’s hit Dark Knight trilogy, millions of people have come to love the realistic take on The Caped Crusader. It might be hard to do a full television series while keeping it uncompromising and realistic, the lack of realism, I think, has definitely influenced viewership.
Again, it’s based off a comic book, but Gotham seems to be sticking with the popular gritty setting while going a bit off the rails with the monsters and such. The Lazarus Pit bringing Alfred back to life in the season three finale was well-done—it gave a an alarming moment where Bruce kills Alfred. But to have so many people come back to life, it gets to be a bit much for some people that have grown to love the realism of Batman.
With that, people that have stuck around with the series for this long are likely here to stay. There are some things to look forward to for next season. Butch’s real name (Cyrus Gold) being known revealed that he’ll be Solomon Grundy, a major villain. It’ll be interesting to see how they use Grundy in the show.
We also got a look at how Selena (Catwoman) first starts using the whip, and Tabitha will now be a mentor. The fate of Barbara Kean is also a mystery that’ll keep people intrigued. Barbara, played by Erin Richards, was a polarizing character for fans, with most people either loving her or hating her—which shows Richards did an excellent job playing the character. There is major speculation that Barbara, who was electrocuted and presumed dead, could come back as Harley Quinn. They’ve brought characters back before (and no one is Harley yet), and Richards would probably do an amazing job as the character.
So, while Gotham might not be an absolute juggernaut, which it had the potential to be as a Batman-based show, it’s still entertaining and one of the better shows on television. There are some funny moments (Donal Logue as Harvey Bullock and Robin Taylor as Penguin deliver some good ones) that keep things light, while it still has some good drama. Some of the excessive and unbelievable events might have led to its decrease in viewers, but Gotham still might be the best crime drama currently airing.