Superheroes rule at the cinema, especially with the Marvel Universe juggernaut started with 2008's Iron Man, and now, they are taking over television. Joined for a single season by the ill-fated Birds Of Prey - about vigilante heroines taking on Gotham's rogues in Batman's absence - the Superman prequel Smallville stood alone for much of its run despite attempts to spin it off into a show about Aquaman.
In 2013, Marvel got into the act with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and then Agent Carter this year. Now, DC is blitzing the airwaves with hits Arrow and The Flash on the CW, the upcoming mid-season spin-off Legends of Tomorrow, and CBS' Supergirl this Fall - all sharing producers Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg. In another corner, though, is Fox's Gotham.
Named for Batman's city, Gotham is sold as a prequel about the rise of future police commissioner James Gordon beginning just after the murders of Bruce's Wayne's parents. With partner Harvey Bullock, he witnesses the evolution of Gotham's underworld into one eventually ruled by familiar super villains, a number of whom have early introductions. Despite getting off to a good start in September of last year and being renewed for a second season, things began changing both in the show and in the way it was received.
Some changes were subtle, a few were good but others generated skepticism. And though interest remains strong after a thrilling first season finale, here are eight reasons Gotham could be facing a tough uphill battle.
8. Major Shifts Away From Premise
James Gordon has been a stalwart ally of Batman and Gotham, upholding the law while recognizing Gotham's need for Batman's work. Though never a very colorful character by the comics' standards, much of Gordon's appeal lies in his grounded nature, his stability, and most of all, his incorruptibility both personally and as a cop. All of this distinguishes James Gordon as a hero unto himself in a city which tempts everyone to go a little mad sometimes.
When it was announced that Gotham would focus on Gordon's career, fans were as excited as curious. Stories like Frank Miller's Batman: Year One and others represent a rich history the show could draw on. As its first season progressed, however, it appeared that villains like Oswald Cobblepot might again draw too much of the focus away from Gotham's central hero.
Smallville ostensibly outgrew its premise after the 4th or 5th season, yet its well-established characters sustained its core audience. While the Batman connection will always be important, there was a chance from the start for the show to grow legs of its own as a bizarre police procedural.
Heller and crew could still exploit that chance and take Gordon in any number of interesting directions, yet some signs predict an even more splintered story-line in which Penguin, Riddler, Catwoman and others threaten to render Gordon's arc incidental.