Gotham Shows Batman Can Be Very Silly And Still Work
Already in its third episode, it was clear that “Gotham” had more in mind than just being a police procedural with a few comic book references. This episode follows a serial killer who straps his victims to weather balloons only to watch them fly up and then fall from the sky. The show began to quickly pull its foot back into the world of procedural dramas and shift it into the silliest, bonkers comics.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the show‘s treatment of its villains. Outside of original characters like the aforementioned Balloonman, or more famous villains like Poison Ivy, Penguin, and Riddler, the show also spotlighted lesser-known Batman villains like Hugo Strange, Firefly, Victor Zsasz (played to darkly comedic perfection by “Barry” star Anthony Carrigan), to Professor Pyg and Mat Hatter, a man obsessed with Lewis Carroll.
At a time when “Arrow” was afraid to even mention the name Green Arrow or have its main character wear a bright green suit and goatee, “Gotham” said screw logic and turned a henchman. of the crowd into literal zombie Solomon Grundy. At its best, the show embraced the weird and malleable logic of the comic books and painted a pastel-colored nightmare on the streets of Gotham with scenes like Professor Pyg singing a happy tune while feeding rich meat pies made of poor. We even had not one, but several evil twin storylines on the show, as well as a Joker clown-themed villain who got his face peeled off. By the time the fifth season covered “No Man’s Land”, it also brought Frank Miller-style mutants; Would love to see the Arrowverse or Disney+ shows try this!
Likewise, “Gotham” avoids a problem common to many modern superhero adaptations (especially those on TV): wanting to wait to adapt the most well-known characters or storylines.
Even though Bruce Wayne isn’t even old enough to vote, “Gotham” adapts many famous Batman storylines without the need for the Caped Crusader, from “The Court of Owls,” to “Hush,” to “Knightfall,” Death of the Family” and “No Man’s Land” – and it works. The big question “Gotham” had to answer when it premiered was how do you do a Batman show without Batman? How do you justify all these villains already in costume before Bruce put on the cowl? By the time the finale aired, she gave a very compelling response. After five seasons, “Gotham” had given its titular city so much hell, terrorized by so many crazy villains, that the only logical solution to the city’s problems was for a rich kid to dress up as a bat and punches in the face. .