Gotham Season 2 Blu-ray review

The villains continue their rise to future infamy in Gotham Season 2

Your attitude to Gotham depends on your tolerance for changing source material. If you can get over the fact that Batman and Catwoman hung out together as kids, or that Penguin and Riddler were fully formed long before Batman came along, then you’ll do fine.

The viewers who can’t get over the changes are missing out on a treat. Gotham might change the Batman mythos, but few shows have captured the comic book aesthetic as well as the pulpy, cartoonishly violent Gotham.

Season two sees Penguin establishing – and quickly losing – his position as the King of Gotham when new villain Theo Galavan (James Frain) arrives in town, while Bruce continues his quest to find out who murdered his parents. Jim Gordon, meanwhile, has a new boss and a seriously crazy ex to deal with.

The first handful of episodes are the strongest in the show’s run, with the emphasis firmly on shaking up the status quo and letting fan-favourite Jerome (Cameron Monaghan) run riot.

It settles down into something less compelling, but things really pick up in the second half of the season when the focus shifts to Arkham Asylum and B D Wong’s brilliant Hugo Strange.

Gotham’s strength has always been its villains, and while Robin Lord Taylor is as wonderful (and strangely sympathetic) as ever as Penguin, the season two stand-out might just be Cory Michael Smith’s Ed Nygma, whose Riddler persona emerges at a frightening rate, bringing with it a guiltily enjoyable strain of black humour.

David Mazouz’s Bruce Wayne also takes centre stage this year, and it’s thrilling to see him reject guns for the first time, or gaze awestruck as a villain in a cape swings Batman-like through a warehouse. All he needs is one last growth spurt and he’ll be a damn fine Dark Knight.

Only Jim Gordon, supposedly the star of the show, is left out in the cold, with little to do but make questionable moral decisions and banter with the increasingly two-dimensional Harvey Bullock.

The show needs to work on its heroes, but when it’s bad it’s very good.