To begin with, this series starts off disappointingly. The opening few episodes are far too Schumacher-esque, incredibly silly and cartoonish and I can even recall considering throwing in the towel if I didn’t see some improvement. I mean, the villains (The Maniax, specifically) at the start of the series are ridiculously OTT and the scenes inside Arkham Asylum, with the typical raving lunatics wearing black and white striped jumpsuits, are insultingly tiresome and unpleasant to look at. In addition, Theo Galavan made for a pretty weak villain and his sister Tabitha was insanely annoying, though she becomes a lot more bearable towards the end.
But then things began to take a turn for the better. From the third episode, specifically the exciting scene at the Children’s Hospital Gala involving Jerome and Barbara, quality definitely improved and future episodes, though not every episode was perfect, were suitably exciting, tense and dramatic. Indeed, this series does have a generous run of great episodes.
Although, some episodes towards the end annoyingly went back to being silly and cartoonish, with Batman villains being thrown in left, right and centre with the implausible explanation that most of them were ultimately created in a lab by Hugo Strange.
A major part of this series is the pivotal “Rise of the Villains”, so let’s look at some of the main ones. For me, the best of the bunch was Cory Michael Smith as Edward Nygma; here, he gets to develop his Riddler persona and he is perfect in doing so. Wonderfully sly and devious, he is quite possibly the best Riddler that there has ever been. Also, B.D. Wong is suitably sinister and delightfully evil as Professor Hugo Strange, though it did take me a bit of time to used to him, having gotten used to seeing Strange as a taller, more imposing presence in Batman: Arkham City. Finally, though relatively under-used, Nathan Darrow (House of Cards’ Edward Meecham) is great as Victor Fries/Mr. Freeze. Oh, and Galavan is much better as Azrael.
Series Highlight: Well, that memorable dinner scene involving Oswald, Grace Van Dahl and two roasted joints was wickedly dark and twisted, but I’m going back to episode three and that awesome moment where Leslie/Leah gave that psycho b***h Barbara a swift kick in the . . . (Cough). Best bit by far.
Sometimes ridiculously silly and cartoonish, other times excellently tense and exciting, the second series of Gotham is a bit all over the place and disjointed, but it’s nonetheless an entertaining ride.
★ ★ ★