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Will Gotham's Fourth Season Be Its Last?

Problems Ahead

Of course, simply switching gears into a Batman series comes with its own set of problems. From the start, comic book purists have complained about the huge age gap between Bruce Wayne and most of his villains - an issue that isn't major for a show about Jim vs Villains, but which becomes more problematic if Batman takes the spotlight. The premiere saw Bruce and Penguin connecting as Bruce attempted to trick Penguin into giving away information (successfully), but there was a bit of an issue with the pairing.

Not only is Bruce legally too young to even be in a bar like the Iceberg Lounge (although his extreme wealth would potentially deal with that issue), but it's difficult to see Penguin taking an adolescent particularly seriously. Assuming that Bruce was eleven-ish when the show began, he's now only 14 or 15 - which feels just a little too young to become Batman fully.

There's also plenty of competition in the superhero arena. The CW is dominating, with an entire interconnected universe that adds its fifth show to the roster this fall, but Netflix is also building an impressive superhero universe with the Defenders, and the X-Men have slowly started to join the small-screen crew as well. Gotham has previously carved out a niche as a different kind of superhero show, all about villain origins, but a shift to a straightforward Batman series would bring it into direct competition with every other superhero show.

Gotham's Options

The showrunners have given no clues as to the fate of Gotham once Bruce Wayne becomes Batman, but it's likely that the show will stick around... with some major changes. A straightforward continuation is problematic, due to the ages of the main cast, but it's possible - as long as the villains remain the core of the series. Bruce may have started jumping off buildings in a black mask, but he's still not quite Batman yet, and it could take another couple of seasons before he truly becomes the Dark Knight.

Of course, rather than showing this, one option that Gotham has is to leap forward along the timeline by a couple of years, picking up a fifth season with Bruce at nineteen (so that at the very least, he can get into bars without a fake ID, and start building his playboy reputation). Mazouz and Bicondova are 16 and 18, respectively, and can both easily pull off playing a character a couple of years older than they are in real life, so there are no real practical issues with suddenly aging the lead by just enough to make the story a little more effective.

Or, the final option is to simply end the series when Bruce straps on his cape. While most series want to continue as long as possible, there's something to be said for ending on a high note, and once the origin story is told, it makes sense to wrap up the show. Fans will be left knowing where we go from here, thanks to decades of Batman comics and adaptations, and the series won't have to deal with any of the issues it might face as a stand-alone seires. However, four seasons is quite short, and FOX will undoubtedly want to keep capitalizing on the success of Gotham. We'll have to wait and see what season 4 brings.

Gotham returns next Thursday with ‘A Dark Knight: The Fear Reaper’ at 8pm on FOX.

Next: Gotham Season 4 Premiere: Batman (Finally) Begins

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