Despite its controversial choices regarding the characters and storylines it explores, Gotham is a show with a very dedicated fanbase, on that is now eagerly awaiting the show's return on January 16 after a long winter break.
To whet our appetites for its return, the promo for Episode 12 was released in December:
Unfortunately, we'll soon have another long wait ahead of us. During the Winter TCAs (semi-annual Television Critics Association press tour), Fox revealed that #Gotham would go on break once more on January 30, just three weeks — three episodes — after its return. To add insult to injury, it will be a three month hiatus, after which the show will return on April 24. So, what the hell is going on with the series?
Is A Bad Performance To Blame For The Hiatus?
Here's an interesting tidbit: Gotham actually does much better ratings-wise than series like #TheFlash and Arrow. It has maintained a steady average audience of three million per episode throughout the entirety of Season 3; in comparison, for its third season, The Flash is very unstable, constantly fluctuating between two and three million viewers, and #Arrow — now in its fifth season — has a much smaller audience, pulling a constant one million per episode.
Of course, we have to keep in mind that Gotham is on a network and the Arrowverse is on a cable channel, so the standards will be different. Compared to other shows on Fox, Gotham falls somewhere in the middle. It's unrealistic to believe it would be pulled at all due to bad ratings, especially during sweeps and taking into account its consistent viewership. Overall, Gotham's a fairly successful show.
So what is going on, you ask? Well, while I was thinking about why the show could be going on a break for so long, I realized something about its structure that could be the answer:
Is The Lack Of A Storyline Bogging Down The Season?
Gotham burns through its storylines very fast. That's not to say it's a bad show, but it focuses too much on fitting in #BruceWayne's future mythology at the expense of Jim Gordon's story. That can make it hard to sustain its storyline, which is supposed to be about a pre-Caped Crusader world.
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This long break could be due to the fact the writers need time to think of new storylines, which is feasible when taking into account the casting of a major new player in Bruce's life. Deadline previously reported that Raymond J. Barry joined the show as Shaman, who is described as such:
"A mysterious figure who enters Bruce’s life with the stated intention of unlocking the potential of his own mind. While the Shaman says the fate of Gotham depends upon Bruce becoming the man the city needs him to become, the truth behind his intentions proves to be far more sinister."
Seeing how Jerome (a.k.a. The Joker; let's be real) is the big storyline for the show's January return, it's likely the people responsible for it need a little more time to smoothly shift its focus to Bruce's journey, pointing him in the #Batman direction. If that's the case, it's good to know they are trying to map out where they want the series to go. Unfortunately, another question remains.
Will This Hiatus Affect Gotham's Ratings?
Short answer: Most likely. By having consecutive breaks and as long as Gotham's, #Fox faces the risk of their audience losing interest on the show. The vast majority of shows, no matter the genre or network, all face a dropoff in viewership in the first few episodes after a long hiatus. It's similar to when you watch a series at your own pace for a few episodes:
You understand the plot and follow it. But one way or another, you stop watching it for a considerable period of time. Once you try to get back into it, the storyline might seem confusing, so you have three choices: Go back to the beginning to remember what the hell is going on, or you drop it entirely as you either a.) forget the show is returning or b.) realize you don't really miss watching it.
That's the risk Gotham faces, and while such a gamble may be exciting for Jerome...
...it poses a real threat to the show. People who aren't diehard fans of the mythology might get confused by the plot after a long time of not being in touch with it and give up. So hopefully the show is able to return to its same successful numbers and continues to give us quality content. After all, it would be a shame if we didn't get to see #CameronMonaghan get the chance to show off more of his totally-not-the-Joker-even-though-we-know-he's-the-#Joker laugh:
Why do you think Gotham is going on another break? Let me know in the comments!