How The Flash & Arrow can help make Gotham amazing
Let me start out by saying that my excitement level for the premiere of Gotham back in September was pretty high. A show focusing on Bruce Wayne as a child and Jim Gordon solving the murder of his parents sounded like a premise with a lot of potential. It wasn’t until about 7 or 8 episodes into the season that I finally realized, “This show is getting pretty boring.”
Now to be fair, there have been a few episodes here and there that were good, but for the most part, watching Gotham every week has felt more like a chore than anything else. Even though the show has been doing pretty well in the ratings, I’m definitely not alone with my feelings.
What’s made Gotham’s flaws so glaring is how good CW’s The Flash and Arrow are by comparison. The 3 shows are on two separate networks, but since each of them are based off comics, it’s easy to compare them with each other. When watching The Flash or Arrow, what’s most entertaining isn’t the plot or the story, it’s the characters. That’s my main issue with Gotham, the majority of their characters aren’t that interesting.
I’m a fan of Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock and the buddy cop relationship they’ve developed; I also like Alfred and Bruce Wayne and what they bring to the show, but everyone else is pretty…..meh. Penguin was very interesting at first, but the back and forth between being a master of manipulation and a sniveling coward has gotten old fast. The Riddler comes off as a socially awkward stalker and Fish Mooney’s character has become cartoonish as the season has gone on. Even with my issues with those characters, Barbara is the most annoying BY FAR. I honestly can’t think of another show that unintentionally had someone so unlikable.
Let’s look at characters from Flash & Arrow, starting first with the Arrow. The writers do an excellent job of making you care not only about Oliver Queen and his ongoing mission to keep Starling city safe, but you care about the supporting cast as well. You can make the argument that some of the supporting cast members are even more popular than the hooded hero himself. This is especially true with Felicity, who is arguably the fan favorite on the show. Even when I don’t like a certain character –*Cough* Laurel *Cough*– the show makes strides to make he/she more appealing, and I appreciate it.
The Flash isn’t any different. Aside from Iris, the characters on the show are all well-developed and fleshed out, which makes me more invested into the story and the scenes involving those characters. If Gotham spent less time introducing new villains every week and focused more on making the characters they already have more interesting, the show would be more compelling.
The other issue I have with Gotham is that is really feels like it doesn’t know what it wants to be. Is Gotham going to be really dark and serious? Is it going to be more light-hearted? For the better part of this season, it has been going back and forth between the two and it hasn’t benefitted from it. The Flash & Arrow both know their identities and stick to them. The Flash is a more light-hearted show that doesn’t take itself too seriously, while the Arrow has established a very dark and grim world for itself.
That was made clear during the Flash/Arrow crossover event that aired earlier in the season. It was really enjoyable seeing Barry interact with Team Arrow and adapt to the bleak environment that is Starling city. On the flip side, seeing Oliver Queen in Central City and not constantly shrouded in darkness was great to see as well. Having an established tone for their shows like they both do made this crossover special work, and that’s what Gotham needs to do.
This article may come off as me bashing Gotham, but that’s certainly not my intention. I want the show to be good because I’m invested in the premise of the show and the story they’re attempting to tell. Gotham is only in its first season with a second season coming, so there’s plenty of time to turn this in the right direction and I hope it shows signs of that soon.
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