Where Gotham Season 1 Went Wrong, According To Ben McKenzie

In its first season, Gotham had a lot of bullet points to check off in re-introducing viewers to the Batman mythos that we’ve all been familiar with for years. It really worked in some ways, such as Donal Logue’s Harvey Bullock and the playfully sadistic tone, but it failed in others. (See: Barbara Keane.) Even star Ben McKenzie understands that there were some missteps, and he thinks it was a combination of the initial procedural approach and the erratic airing schedule. He isn’t wrong, either.

Season 2 of Gotham, which will feature a still-growing list of roughly 3 billion villains, will bring more focus to Gotham City’s underworld, but in a way that explores the characters in more depth. Though that’s how things went towards the end of last season, McKenzie knows that approach should have been there from the beginning.

I think we made a mistake relatively early on in trying to introduce a villain and take care of that villain in one episode: catch them, send them to Arkham, do whatever. That was just a mistake. We should’ve never done it.

I mean, you can’t blame anyone for thinking that focusing the second episode of a new series on The Balloon Man was a bad idea. Oh, wait, you definitely can, since that did not make a lot of viewers feel comfortable with where the show was going to go in the future. And though Milo Ventimiglia’s late-season villain Ogre wasn’t perfect, he at least got a few episodes to make his purpose known.

Of course, you might not have realized that those Ogre episodes were airing when they did, since Season 1 was the victim of a stop-and-start schedule stunted by several brief hiatuses. Here’s what else McKenzie had to say to EW.

We were ordered for 16. We were going to have one break and come back and finish the rest of them in terms of the airing, and then we added six more, so we had to break again and then we had to come back again. And it’s hard for the audience to follow that many changes in a series in terms of when it’s airing and when it’s not.

Not only is it somewhat difficult to follow, but it’s also aggravating if you’re getting more engaged with the series. Having to wait weeks between new episodes is always a bummer, and it gives people a chance to find something else to watch (or do, if you’re not stuck to your couch for work like I am). Luckily, Season 2 already has a set amount of episodes in production, and the creative team is shedding all procedural elements in exchange for several multi-episode arcs throughout the year. When you’ve got big villains like The Joker, The Riddler and Dr. Freeze coming, it’s best to keep them around as long as possible.

Gotham Season 2 will hopefully win fans over with its plethora of baddies and adjusted focus when it premieres on Monday, September 21.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.