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Gotham: The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray Review)

The first season of Gotham was a disappointment. The second season was a large improvement. That came from the series feeling better about embracing its comic book roots and having more fun with the storylines and characters. It wasn’t perfect, but it was entertaining enough for a Batman show that doesn’t feature Batman. The third season is largely the same, although good work has been done put further emphasis on main story arcs that divided up the season. There’s also significant character work done on the show’s ensemble cast, which plays down the role of Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) in favor of the more colorful players seen here. Now viewers can take in what this third season has to offer in this complete Blu-ray set.

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Series: 

The series continues to tell the story of the earlier years in Gotham City, before the days of Batman. Gordon re-enters the season as a different man, as the previous season found him no longer with the GCPD. He’s doing work on his own as a bounty hunter, while numerous rogues are still on the loose, following the breakout from Indian Hill. His partner, veteran detective Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) is also out of a job, but things change shortly, as Michael Chiklis’ Nathaniel Barnes figures out how to deal with the escalating threats in Gotham. After the second season dealt with the rise of Gotham’s criminal underworld, this one puts focus on just how crazy Gotham can get, before digging into what it means for a hero to rise.

Many familiar faces continue to feature prominently. Most notably is Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor) and Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith). Their team-up was a highlight of season two and this season amps that up to the extreme, while also launching a political campaign with more than a few things in common with reality. Also at play is the continued villainy of Barbara Kean (Erin Richards), Tabitha Galavan (Jessica Lucas) and Butch (Drew Powell).

New villains come this season in the form of a new Poison Ivy (Maggie Geha) and more notably Jervis Tetch, aka Mad Hatter (Benedict Samuel). These various wrinkles, along with the sudden presence of the Court of Owls seek to complicate things quite a bit, but whiles twists and secrets have their place, there is still good in Gotham as well.

David Mazouz and Sean Pertwee continue to figure out their place in helping the city as young Bruce Wayne and Alfred. Camren Bicondova’s Selina Kyle also finds herself in a tricky position of ideally being on the side of good. There’s also the presence of Chris Chalk as Lucius Fox and Morena Baccarin as Dr. Lee Thompkins, who finds herself more conflicted than ever, having to deal with certain actions taken by Gordon. Nothing is easy.

This Blu-ray set includes all 22 episodes of the second season.

  1. Better to Reign in Hell…
  2. Burn the Witch
  3. Look Into My Eyes
  4. New Day Rising
  5. Anything for You
  6. Follow the White Rabbit
  7. Red Queen
  8. Blood Rush
  9. The Executioner
  10. Time Bomb
  11. Beware the Green-Eyed Monster
  12. Ghosts
  13. Smile Like You Mean It
  14. The Gentle Art of Making Enemies
  15. How the Riddler Got His Name
  16. These Delicate and Dark Obsessions
  17. The Primal Riddle
  18. Light the Wick
  19. All Will Be Judged
  20. Pretty Hate Machine
  21. Destiny Calling
  22. Heavydirtysoul

While not a dramatic difference from the much improved second season, it is still easy to say that Gotham was at its best in season three. The show is still not perfect or even the best comic book-inspired TV show currently on air, but it has continued to smooth the edges as far as being wildly enjoyable. Thanks to keeping the subplots more organized and providing a general focus for various sections of the season, it is interesting enough to see where the different arcs go and plenty of fun to track this diverse cast.

Gotham also continues to excel when it comes to production. While it is easy to call out certain limitations (Wayne manor consists of about three different rooms), you still get a sense that this show is happy to delve into plenty of areas that make up Gotham City. Plenty of great production design goes a long way in building an identity for this city and making it cinematically interesting. Compared to other similar series, one can at least look at Gotham as a show that has a visual stamp that revels in being both gritty and full of over-the-top (and very violent) villains.

A good amount of drama also emerges as the series moves through its episodes. We see certain threats, deaths and sad fates befall numerous characters that assure you how hard the show can hit when it chooses to. Some elements are more impactful than others, but there is a surprising amount of darkness to this series to go along with the ridiculousness of it (or anything involving Cameron Monaghan’s Jerome).

I may still wish the work done to make Jim Gordon interesting was handled better without resorting to the romantic drama in his life. There may also continue to be plenty of issues involving tone and pacing. However, Gotham has taken plenty of strides to work as a show that knows what it’s doing. It may be silly and broad, but it’s also consistently well-designed and exciting to follow along with. Gotham is doing something right, and that has made it a much better show to watch if you can get over the lack of a Dark Knight.

 

Video:

Encoding: AVC MPEG-4

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Clarity/Detail: Nothing new here regarding the HD quality. Gotham continues to be a sharp and nicely defined series to watch on Blu-ray.  There is a lot of great detail to take in, given the varying locales and sets featured in this season. Aspects such as costume design also play a huge role.  All of this comes through incredibly well.

Depth: There are aspects of the city and its underlining that do a fine job of conveying the sense of depth that is nicely handled for this Blu-ray.

Black Levels: Much like the characters, there are a lot of dark and shadowy aspects of the look of this series, and they come through very nicely thanks to the dark and inky black levels featured in this Blu-ray presentation.

Color Reproduction: Given the style of the series and the different locations, there are some key moments that play quite well in regards to the use of color, which is fine for a series like this. The increased comic book nature of the series benefits what we see here.

Flesh Tones: Things like lighting, locations, and other aspects keep the characters in constant flux, but textures and flesh tones always come through.

Noise/Artifacts: Nothing to call out.

 

Audio:

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French

Dynamics: Gotham is a lot of things, including a great source of different audio elements. The series has a lot going on regarding big musical swells in the score, the action, and characters talking and yelling. There is a strong handle on the presentation that helps this all come together.

Low-Frequency Extension: The LFE channel is given a chance to go to work often. This Blu-ray does a fine job of allowing the subwoofer to leave an impact.

Surround Sound Presentation: The surround sound channels do their job in immersing the viewer throughout every episode, regardless of the series’ quality.  The ambiance, score, action, and dialogue are all balanced quite well, making for a solid three-dimensional experience.

Dialogue Reproduction: Everyone sounds loud and clear.

 

Extras:

Spread across all four discs, most of these extras are mainly promo pieces that reveal very little about the making of the series. Once again, there is not one commentary track in this set, which is a shame, as it would be good to hear anything about the series from the cast and crew. Some features on the fourth disc, however, actually provide some decent insight.

Additionally, the series arrives in a standard case, housed inside a cardboard slipcover. Inside you can find a handy guide to which episode is on each disc, a brief episode synopsis and a list of the special features. That’s always appreciated.

Features Include:

Disc One:

  • Deleted Scenes (HD)

Disc Two:

  • Madness Rising: The New Villains of Gotham (HD, 9:58) – A look at the new villains introduced in this season
  • Deleted Scenes (HD)

Disc Three:

  • Deleted Scenes (HD)

Disc Four:

  • Gotham: 2016 Comic-Con Panel (HD, 28:22) – The cast and crew talk about the series at San Diego Comic-Con
  • Ben McKenzie’s Directorial Debut (HD, 2:20) – A brief look at McKenzie’s work as a director on the series for the first time.
  • The Dark Within the Dark: The Court of Owls (HD, 12:02) – This feature goes over what The Court of Owls is.
  • Deleted Scenes (HD)

UltraViolet Copy Of The Series

 

Summary:

If the pattern holds, Gotham has the potential to be even better in season four. As it stands, this third season does a lot to continue making the show fun to watch and plenty entertaining as far as seeing wildly different take on familiar comic book characters; particularly the villains. This Blu-ray set also does plenty to help fans appreciate the series, as the terrific video and audio transfers do well to emphasize the great look and sound of the series. I wish there were more extras to go through, but the series delivers a lot where it needs to as far as seeing each episode’s technical presentation.

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Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Video Game Player, Comic Book Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

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