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'Gotham': New characters and a different story structure for season two

A second season of Fox's superhero drama 'Gotham' arrives later this month. The first season of the show was troubled creatively but this year new villains are set to arrive and the show will attempt a different structure.

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    'Gotham' stars Ben McKenzie.
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“Gotham” fans know a bit more about new characters on the show ahead of the Sept. 21 debut of the program’s second season.

“Gotham” takes place in the world of Batman, when the Caped Crusader is still a child. The show centers on new member of the police force Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and his attempt to fight the criminals of the city. Younger versions of “Batman” villains like Catwoman and the Riddler are already on the scene. 

The first season of the show struggled to win over critics and viewers. Reviewers wrote of the show’s season finale, “’Gotham’’s first season ends much as it lived – with confusion, poorly plotted scenes, and by turning a blind eye to everything that makes Batman great” and “Fox's baffling Batman prequel’s first season gets a fittingly frustrating final episode.

So what will the show’s second season be like? For one, executive producer Danny Cannon said in an interview that the program’s structure will be different. “Rather than telling so many different stories and treat them as individual stories, it’s 22 episodes of one story,” Cannon said. “This season, we are exploring what kind of a world would beg for a vigilante to save them. It’s the kind of world where the villains run free and where, instead of being denounced by the public, the public actually starts to respect the villains for their freedom and defiance of authority. That becomes a very dangerous thing for Gotham.” 

McKenzie said in an interview of the show’s season one story structure, “I think we made a mistake relatively early on in trying to introduce a villain and take care of that villain in one episode.”

In addition, at least two new characters will be popping up in the new episodes: the Galavan siblings. Sister Tabitha Galavan will be portrayed by actress Jessica Lucas. Tabitha is also known as the villain the Tigress in DC comic books, which are the source material for “Gotham." Her brother Theo Galavan will be portrayed by “True Detective” actor James Frain. Theo is also very much a villainous figure, said Cannon.

“Theo Galavan is somebody who comes to town, like The Great Gatsby or Dracula, with huge Machiavellian aspirations and insidious ambitions,” Cannon said

Another big arrival is “American Horror Story” actor Michael Chiklis as a member of the police force. Chiklis will reportedly play Captain Nathaniel Barnes of the Gotham City Police Department.

“Gotham” was renewed for a second season despite a lack of enthusiasm from critics and viewers, but the show will have to recover quickly in order to distinguish itself from its many competitors. Every major network and some streaming services has or recently had at least one superhero program, with ABC hosting the Marvel shows “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” and “Agent Carter,” NBC airing “Constantine” (though the show was just canceled), CBS debuting “Supergirl,” and the CW airing “Arrow,” “The Flash,” and planning a new show set in the same universe, “Legends of Tomorrow.” Netflix’s new show “Daredevil” was well-reviewed by critics.

That’s to say nothing of the new superhero movies constantly arriving in theaters, including a new take on Batman starring Ben Affleck that will come to theaters with this March’s “Batman v Superman.” Fox has to provide a compelling reason for viewers not to choose from the plethora of other superhero programs. The upcoming second season could address those concerns – or it may not.

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