So there's this little show called Gotham. I've been watching it since the beginning and it's what I called a Sunken Cost show. See, I really enjoyed it when it first started. I though the take was fresh and the focus on Jim Gordon was interesting.
It was a police procedural in a world that was only slightly more fantastic than our own. There were hints of the Batman universe, tastes here and there, but it was essentially about a normal man trying to keep order in city that had given up on justice. It was a city - a world - that didn't need Batman. All it needed was someone willing to do the right thing.
But then the show began to run out of ideas. It continued on by gently turning the regular characters (predictably) into the villains we know and love. There weren't any surprises, aside from maybe the fact that the kid who played Bruce Wayne wasn't totally annoying. But then... something changed.
There are no consequences in Gotham. Death is merely a temporary condition and characters are brought back from the grave over and over. When someone shows a modicum of character growth, it's time to change them again into something completely unrecognizable.
This isn't a critique of the show, so much as a reflection on the fact that I'm sitting here watching it. I can honestly say I don't enjoy it anymore, but I'm suckered in by the idea that I've come this far. I've invested so much time in watching it that I need to see how it ends. And, honestly, I'm not excited. The show is like a twitchy rabbit, swerving back and forth with every rustle of the bushes. Today's villains is tomorrow's hero. Today Gordon is an unwavering pillar of justice, tomorrow he's a crooked cop just like the rest. Today Bruce is set upon saving everyone, tomorrow he hates everything.
I don't like this show. I once did, but now, it's an obligation. I scan my Hulu listings, watching as each episodes warns me that it's expiring, calculating just how long I can put off watching the episodes until I have no choice. And you know? Part of me wants to forget. To accidentally miss an episode. Then I'd have an excuse to stop watching. I mean, I can't keep watching if I don't know what happened in a previous episode, right? That'd be nuts. But no. I keep watching. I watch the expiration days tick away until I have no choice but to begrudgingly watch. To see who Jim Gordon is going to have sex with. To see whether Riddler is a good guy or bad guy this week. To see which character we definitely saw get shot in the head will come back to life.
This doesn't happen with other shows. Star Trek: Discovery I've more or less given up on, but that's because I wasn't enjoying it from episode one. Arrow I jumped into, but only one season before Oliver bedding every female that he isn't related to got to me. But only one season. Gotham, though... it died slowly, withering without me noticing. Now, without any warning, I'm clutching the husk of a once great show, trying to figure out exactly where it became terrible, trying to convince myself to give it just "one more episode."
But I know it's just lip service paid to myself. I will finish Gotham, so long as I don't legitimately miss an episode. I've sunk too much into it. I need to see how it ends, whether that means a redemption or a whimpering death.
Be Excellent to Each Other
Keep your eyes open for my debut novel, The Paladin.