Gotham is about as good a Batman TV show you could get without having Batman in it. What started off as an interesting cop show concept quickly became an attempt at Batman fan service which lacked the most important element, the Dark Knight himself.
One thing Gotham did get right was the design and concept. The city itself felt like it came directly from the comic books and apart from a few dodgy exceptions (we’re looking at you Bane), the costume designs were spot on as well. Here are ten of the best.
10 Alfred Pennyworth
Alfred Pennyworth is a butler, a “man’s man” if you will, and as such he should dress for the part. Sean Pertwee may have been a little rougher around the edges than previous incarnations of Bruce Wayne’s guardian, but he still knew how to rock a suit.
Some of the stylish three piece’s he wore during the show’s tenure proved that even a no-nonsense servant who knows how to throw a punch can still look rather dashing if he wishes.
After Chris Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy grounded its characters in a more realistic world, it was quite nice to see Gotham’s Jonathan Craine don a full-body suit after only seeing a sack mask in live-action before. As the show went on not only did the actor portraying Scarecrow change but the costume did too, reaching it’s full nightmarish glory in season 5, floppy hat and all!
8 Victor Fries
Another costume which evolved as the series went on, starting off almost like an astronaut suit to protect himself from his icy powers, when Fries went through his horrific origin and started to rely on the cold to keep him alive, his “final form” was actually really close to the freeze we have come to love from the comics, animated shows and games. Blue lights and contact lenses made the appearance dangerously close to the characters last infamous live-action look, Arnold Schwarzenegger in Batman & Robin, but refrained itself from crossing the line of stupidity.
7 Hugo Strange
Whether he is a creator of monster men or an experimenter of the human psyche, Hugo Strange has always been a formidable foe for the Dark Knight. In Gotham, the character developed into something even more than just an evil professor as his back story was expanded to having a life long acquaintance with Bruce’s father, and him being directly responsible for calling the hit on the Wayne’s. Despite various character guises, Strange has always looked the same, round glasses, chinstrap beard, and a bald head. In Gotham, this look appears to be a hip fashion choice rather basic mad scientist making the character appear to be unique to the series whilst keeping true to the source.
6 Victor Zsasz
Serial killer Zsasz first appeared in Batman comics back in 1992 and over the years thanks to parts stories like “Knightfall” and video games such as the Arkham series he has found himself becoming a fan favorite, although almost always being a side character rather than the main big bad.
Zsasz's body is covered in tallies representing each person he has killed, and that is pretty much his gimmick. No jokes, no riddles, no giant novelty-sized birds, just straight up killin'. Unlike the comics rather than just being a sadistic killer, Zsasz is a professional assassin, so it makes sense for his look in Gotham to represent that of a hitman.
5 Ra’s Al Ghul
When Alexander Siddig was cast as Ra’s Al Ghul, the trick was to make the audience believe him to be The Demon’s Head, the leader of The League Of Shadows, rather than Doctor Bashir from Deep Space Nine with a goatee. Donning more reserved attire when in polite society, Ra’s is full-on super-villain in private company complete with lavish green robes and collard cape.
4 Selina Kyle
Batman is a bringer of justice and if you oppose the side of law and order, he will find a way to bring you down. Unless of course, you flirt and occasionally make out with him, then he might be a little more lenient. That has always been the problem with Batman and Sylena Kyle, so one of the best things Gotham did was extend their friendship to childhood, making the eventual courtship a little more legitimate. With her big goggles and dark clothes for stealth, plus the fact actress Camren Bicondova does have slightly feline features, Catwoman as a Kittengirl actually works without giving her full-on ears and whiskers.
Ok, so Jerome and Jeremiah Valeska were never officially called “Joker” but that’s who they were clearly supposed to be. Some people think of Cameron Monaghan’s portrayal as one of the best live screen interpretations that took the show to new heights, others saw it as a bit too try-hard, convoluted and the start of the series decline. Whatever your views it was certainly interesting to see the character develop both mentally and physically. By the show's finale, the man who would be Joker looked terrifying in the promo shots of his final look, only to resemble a prosthetic laden cross between Uncle Fester and Judge Doom from Who framed Roger Rabbit in motion. The best Jerome/Jeremiah look was probably season five, resembling the full clown prince of crime yet reserved enough to let Monaghan do his work under the make-up.
2 The Riddler
One of the best parts of Gotham was the eventual bromance between Edward Nygma and Oswald Cobblepot. Thanks to an over convoluted origin story to try and fill the five-year plotline which the show would eventually stretch too it took a while for Eddie to be the full-on Riddler we know and love but when he did it was glorious. Visually, anyway. The beautiful costume design of the green and question-marked suit is something that can very easily look ridiculous, but the fact it looks cool without substituting any over the grandeur is a testament to the skills of Oscar-winning costume designer Lisa Padovani.
1 The Penguin
Gotham pretty much ended up becoming the Oswald Cobblepot show. One of the few characters to last the show's entire run, it was an absolute pleasure witnessing the rise of one of Gotham’s most notorious gangsters, thanks to the portrayal of actor Robin Lord Taylor. Penguin was one of the only characters whose origin felt subtle and natural rather than forced and rushed. His outfits in the show reflected this, so by the time he put on the top hat and monocle, it felt that he had truly earned it.