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Gotham - Complete 3rd Season

Sunday, 24 September 2017 00:01

Gotham - Season 3 out now on Blu-ray and DVDAnarchy reigns in Gotham as escapees from the Indian Hill research lab run riot, whilst Jim Gordon has left the GCPD and become a lone bounty hunter. Adding to the chaos is murderous hypnotist The Mad Hatter and the mysterious Court of Owls who are pulling strings throughout the city. Meanwhile, an adolescent Bruce Wayne is slowly but surely gaining in experience, strength and a sense of purpose as a future Batman.

Released on home video in the before its broadcast on other channels and streaming services, it has been a frustratingly long wait for UK Gotham fans. Has it been worth it? On balance I would have to say yes. The show has a more confident feel to it now, with characters that are slowly but surely developing into the comic book supervillains and superheroes we know and love (or love to hate).

Whilst the first couple of seasons had no option but to set the scene and introduce the various characters, not least the city of Gotham itself, season three finally sees a selection of protagonists approach their fully-fledged personas. Chief amongst these is Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith – “Carol”), aka The Riddler. Ed goes through quite a story arc as his relationship with best friend The Penguin weaves its deadly way through the season.

The fact that many of the regular characters have truly found their footing makes for a much less exasperating show, and there is more colour to proceedings than the unremittingly grey and gloomy first two seasons. The writers seem to be having more fun whilst retaining a lot of the dark and gritty drama, not least surrounding the love triangle of Gordon (Ben McKenzie – The O.C.), Lee Thompkins (Morena Baccarin – Homeland) and Thompkins’ fiancé Mario (James Carpinello – The Punisher), son of crime boss Falcone.

The episodes join up more successfully this season, with major arcs seamlessly combining with smaller, multi-part narratives. The Mad Hatter (Benedict Samuel – The Walking Dead), Police Chief Barnes (Michael Chiklis – The Shield) and the return of nascent Joker, Jerome (Cameron Monaghan – the US version of Shameless) all get juicy storylines to sink their teeth into.

The production values, sets and effects are all exemplary, and the series has always been good at world-building, creating a palpable sense of place. Gotham is a living and breathing city with glistening tower blocks, docks where you can almost smell the fish and more seedy and impoverished zones where all manner of criminal activity goes on. Truth be told, in Gotham there does not appear to be an area where criminals are not present, either lurking in the shadows or scheming in broad daylight.

The acting is very good; all of the actors keep things just the right side of reality whilst being relaxed in straying into sheer lunacy when the story demands it. David Mazouz’s Bruce Wayne is really growing in all senses of the word; the actor seems to get taller by the minute and Wayne’s maturity makes for a more balanced show. McKenzie’s Gordon is more likable and doing a better, more believable job of filling the void until Batman is ultimately ready to step into the fray.

In this age of binge watching entire seasons in days, I think Gotham benefits from a more concentrated viewing process to keep the momentum going. Spreading high, twenty-plus episode seasons over the best part of a year with several large gaps has never been a comfortable experience, and the only real downside is the wait for the next box set to be released.

For those fans of superhero TV series that tried Gotham in its first couple of years and gave up (I know a few!), it is a big ask to recommend they give it another go, persevering until the really good stuff comes along, but that is exactly what I would like to do. The show definitely has a place alongside more glossy series like Arrow, The Flash and Supergirl. It has a more adult, gritty tone and the sense of danger is more pronounced. Plus, the baddies take centre stage which is much more entertaining!

Special features include:

  • “The Dark Within the Dark: The Court of Owls”
  • “Madness Rising: The New Villains of Gotham”
  • Ben McKenzie’s Directorial Debut
  • Gotham: 2016 Comic-Con Panel
  • Deleted scenes

The Blu-ray version I reviewed has superb picture quality. As mentioned above, this is a dark show visually and conceptually, and it is best seen in HD.

Gotham: The Complete Third Season (2016-2017) is out now on DVD and Blu-ray, courtesy of Warner Home Video. The six-DVD/four-Blu-ray disc set has a running time of 968 minutes approx, carries a ‘15’ certificate and retails for £29.99 on DVD, £39.99 on Blu-ray, or less from www.culttvstore.com.

You can also acquire a Season 1 to 3 Box Set on Blu-ray for a special price BY CLICKING HERE.

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