Is “Gotham” Unveiling Too Many Villains Too Soon?
So far, Gotham has introduced many villains, which is understandable considering how many villains comprise the world of Batman. But it seems like Gotham is becoming overrun by villains. According to IGN’s website, show developer Bruno Heller assures us that “they don’t want to bow to any pressure to overstuff or front-load the series with so many popular villains because they need to make sure they have enough characters and story for future seasons” (Jim Vejvoda, IGN.com). It’s important to remember that the series already has its stable of villains: Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor) and Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith). This makes the selection of new villains and their introduction a delicate balance to ensure that Gotham is not overrun.
On the plus side, introducing audiences to Batman villains has the potential for some compelling origin stories. The reimagining of some of Batman’s most popular villians - Penguin, Riddler, Catwoman and Poison Ivy - provides viewers a unique window into characters that have had multiple interpretations. It’s an opportunity to better understand how and why these characters became their later selves and what corrupted them.
On the negative side, if Gotham viewers are relentlessly inundated with new villains, then there’s no way these characters are receiving the time and attention they deserve. It’ll be nearly impossible for viewers to build any kind of connection with these characters. The Scarecrow (Charlie Tahan), the Dollmaker (Colm Feore), and the Joker (Cameron Monaghan), are all significant villains with colorful backgrounds to match, yet they are only dealt with superficially. What’s the rush? Would anything be lost if Gotham slowed down and delivered more substance and detail on these villains? “Gotham needs to make sure that these characters, the heroes and the villains, earn their place in viewers’ hearts. Relying on clever pop culture shorthand and the fact that [viewers] already know these characters from other movies, TV shows, and comics isn’t enough” (Mike Cecchini, DenofGeek.us).
What’s needed on Gotham is some balance, a steady pace that can usher in new villains but still accommodate a more robust history. Bring on the villains Gotham, but please, let them stay a while.