We’re now a few weeks into the debut season of Fox’s Gotham, a crime procedural that follows young detective Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) as he fights to maintain law and order in the titular city, several years before Bruce Wayne (who is portrayed as a youngster by David Mazouz) transforms himself into the vigilante known as Batman. The series is based on the DC comics of the same name and was created for television by Bruno Heller of Rome and The Mentalist fame.
Sidestepping the range of opinions about the show’s quality among viewers for a moment, there’s no question that the show is a success in the ratings department for its host network so far, with a premiere that drew numbers high enough to become the most-seen debut for a Fox drama in the 21st century. Those numbers look to remain steady for the immediate future, so it doesn’t comes as a surprise that Fox has officially given the freshman DC comic book TV show a full season order.
Gotham is now set to continue on for at least 22 episodes and possibly longer, should it prove able to maintain its viewership over the course of the next six to seven months or so. Fox Television Group CEOs Gary Newman and Dana Walden have issued the following official joint statement, regarding the network’s pickup decision.
“Gotham debuted as one of the most buzzed-about shows of the fall, and with good reason. Bruno Heller and Danny Cannon have created an incredibly rich world, with characters that draw you in and a cast that brings to life these heroes and villains in a way we’ve never seen before. We are so excited to see where Bruno, Danny and the entire Gotham team take this story over the course of this season, and so thankful to all the fans who have embraced it this fall.”
There’s a fly in the ointment, however, as far as what this news should mean to Gotham fans. Namely, the show was originally planned out as a tightly-structured 16-episode story arc for its first season. In fact, just over this past weekend at the New York Comic-Con, Gotham executive producer Danny Cannon offered the following insight to Collider, with respect to where the show’s producers are at in planning not just the first season, but the series’ future beyond that.
“We’re aiming at 16 [episodes] right now and we have two other seasons figured out if they care to give us the go ahead. Once the ball started rolling on all these characters, and Commissioner Gordon’s journey and Bruce Wayne’s journey, once we figured that out we spread it out to fit those 16. If they were to change the order, we would have an emergency meeting.”
So far, Gotham has struck a balance between mapping out larger over-arching storylines (see: the Cold War amongst the mob bosses of Gotham) and character plot threads (see: Oswald Cobblepot’s journey towards becoming “The Penguin” that everyone knows) with case-of-the-week escapades. It looks to continue on doing so for the near future – allowing it to function as both an episodic crime procedural and an origins story for many an iconic Batman adversary – especially now that the show’s producers have to fill out six additional episodes with season one narrative material beyond what they’d originally had in mind.
Concerns about season one filler episodes aside, though, that probably won’t change how viewers respond to Gotham in the future. So far, reactions seem to vary based in no small part about how viewers feel regarding the show’s tone – a far more darkly offbeat and, well, comic book-esque take on the TV police drama format. In addition, there’ve also been some complaints about how the show has incorporated recognizable Batman characters, in what some feel is often a heavy-handed fashion.
That said, the show has already begun improving its mix of world-building and telling the central Jim Gordan story at hand, after but the first three episodes. Hopefully, that trend will continue in the season ahead; if so, maybe it will help to change the minds of those viewers who are either currently on the fence – regarding the show’s sustainability – or not at all ready yet to commit to watching 22 episodes of Gotham.
Gotham season one continues tonight with “Arkhamn” at 9/8 c on Fox.