Gotham: FOX Makes The Perfect Call For One Final Season
It is a terrible feeling when you are a fan of a television show that consistently finds itself in renewal limbo, year in and year out. If you are a fan of Gotham, the Batman prequel that has been consistently improving in quality over the last four years, you have certainly spent your fair share of wondering if this season was going to be the last.
Let’s go back in time a bit, shall we? Gotham made its debut on Monday, September 22nd, 2014. This was the night fans of the classic comic book hero were introduced to a much younger version of Bruce Wayne, who was still living in a world where his parents’ death was fresh in his memory. Along for the ride was a mustache-free Jim Gordon, who was a ways away from the Commissioner title we all associate with him. On this night, 8.21 million U.S. viewers tuned in to check out this new take on some classic characters.
Over the course of the 22 episode season, fans got to see sides of Oswald Cobblepot, Ed Nygma, and Barbara Kean that they had never really seen before. Over the course of the season, the FOX show averaged 7.56 million viewers.
While numbers dropped a bit throughout the season, a second season always felt fairly comfortable. While not a lock, it certainly was not like this year, where fans were on the edge of their seats to the very end. Season two would debut with 4.57 million U.S. viewers
Going into season three is when things got a little dicey. Gotham would ultimately make the shift to Thursday nights, which ultimately did it no favors when it came to the numbers. The show centered around Ben McKenzie’s Jim Gordon had overall numbers fall in back to back seasons. Last week’s episode, the penultimate episode of season four, had 2.21 million U.S. viewers, which is a little over a quarter of what it debuted at.
The problem with this drop in viewership, which has made Gotham a bubble show for years now, is it is not a reflection on the quality of the actual show. The quality of content has consistently improved season after season. Especially if you ask virtually anyone who has stuck with it through all four seasons, including this writer. In fact, this season has been so entertaining, it has surpassed the likes of Arrow, The Flash, and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. when it comes to comic book shows for this fan.
A large part of that has been the amazing character development as well as the acting from the wonderful members of the cast. Babs has changed more than any character on the show over the years. Nygma has become one of the most entertaining baddies on the small screen. Cameron Monaghan is an absolute gift as both the sadistic Jerome as well as the surgically insane Jeremiah (Even though the show cannot refer to them as the Joker, fans know that’s exactly who both represent). Of course, we cannot leave out Bruce Wayne, and his rise to the popular role we all know him for.
With the heavy dose of Monaghan on the backend of season four, the show is currently at the peak of its performance. With this Thursday’s “No Man’s Land” season finale set to serve as a bit of a reboot to the series, as well as ending on a cliffhanger, it would have been such a low blow to cancel the series now.
Just like with any show, a cancellation can leave much to be desired. So anytime a show can enter a season knowing it will be its last, it helps to do the show justice. Back on September 22, 2014, when this writer sat down to watch episode one, the thought of the shows last episode seeing Bruce Wayne don the cape and cowl for the first time seemed like the only proper way to bring this show full circle.
Over four years later, that notion holds true.
To let these characters develop the way they have, only to cut things short with a cliffhanger ending would have left many fans extremely unsatisfied. A shortened final season, while sad, means the end is near. This will allow the show to come full circle like any good show should.
Jeremiah will get to develop more into the Mr. J we all know he is destined to be. Jim could be headed for the famous mustache. Bruce will have the chance to introduce that famous costume. All of this and so much more, without the need for unnecessary side stories (sorry Ivy, but your whole arc this season felt like one of those this year) given the shorter episode count.
Thank you FOX. Gotham deserved one last stand. While its numbers have fallen year over year, those who remained with it know how important one final chapter is.