Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed for this blog post. The opinions I share are my own.
WB’s Gotham – The Complete Second Season, which aired on FOX last television season, has recently been released on Blu-ray, Digital, and DVD, just in time for a catch up or for a refresher before the third outing. Picking up after the events of the season one finale, the power dynamic in the city has shifted, luring new villains into the conflict, and making our heroes’ jobs even tougher.
With Fish seemingly dead (come on, this is a comic book series and we haven’t seen the body), The Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) is the Big Bird in town, so to speak. His reign is almost immediately threatened when Theo Galavan (James Frain, The Tudors) and his sister, Tabitha (Jessica Lucas, Melrose Place (2009)), arrive. They aren’t after The Penguin, specifically, but if he stands in their way, then they won’t hesitate to fight, and are more than capable of taking the crime boss on.
These are far from the only baddies, though, in the season dubbed “Rise of the Villains.” Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) continues his compelling descent into madness, while Barbara (Erin Richards) struggles with maintaining sanity. Worse (or better, for viewers?), Dr. Hugo Strange (BG Wond, Law & Order: SVU) is now running Arkham, and he delights in experimenting with superhumans and above-average criminals along the lines of Firefly (Michelle Veintimilla, Not Cool) and Victor Fries (Nathan Darrow, House of Cards). So the city is facing no shortage of trouble.
Our hero remains Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie), but he is certainly racking up more allies than just Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue), which feels necessary, given what Gotham is facing. Chief among Gordon’s allies is Captain Nathaniel Barnes (Michael Chiklis, The Shield), who comes in with the goal of cleaning up the force. Bruce (David Mazouz) is making progress on his path towards becoming Batman, but he’s still a ways away from that.
And these are only a few of the characters that populate Gotham. At times, I worry both the city and the cast list is over-stuffed. But one thing you can say about such a large ensemble is that there are always plenty of plot threads going on. Gotham throws a lot at you and does it fast, burning through story, well, the way a comic book does. Usually, it works, though I think most of us with Jerome (Cameron Monaghan, Shameless) had stuck around a little longer. It isn’t as deep or as emotionally moving as the DC shows over on the CW, but it is an interesting drama done in a cool, unique style that remains enjoyable.
Speaking of the style, one of the best extras this release contains is a twenty-five minute look at the noir tone of the series. In “Gotham by Noir Light,” the crew gets nerdy in the best of ways as they discuss their influences from the films of yesteryear.
Two other interesting featurettes on the four-disc set are “Alfred: Batman’s Greatest Ally” and “Cold Hearted – The Tale of Victor Fries.” Each of these delves deeper into a specific character on the series, giving some background and insight into the approach Gotham takes on them versus other incarnations of the players in past works, a topic a many super hero shows sadly downplay.
There are a lot of other extras, too. The Comic-Con Panel is cool, but sadly shortened, as most panels are when included on home releases. Then, there are a lot of shorts, most of which are a waste of time to watch. There are little bits from different actors musing on what is coming up for their characters, as well as some teaser scenes. Numbering more than a dozen, these were probably effective advertising when released prior to the episodes, but seem extraneous here. While I do complain when shows have too few features, Gotham has enough meaty stuff that, if they drop most of these (a couple are semi-interesting), they’d be better off overall, favoring quality over quantity.
Still, overall, I’m satisfied with Gotham – The Complete Second Season, which is on sale now.