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Gotham: Season 5 and Complete Collection Blu-ray Review

Any Batman fan worth their weight in Lazarus Pit water has followed the saga of James Gordon (Ben McKenzie), a young Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz), and an exceedingly colorful cast of supporting characters for the five seasons of Gotham. Now that the series has come to an end, after five glorious seasons, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has released both Gotham: The Complete Fifth and Final Season as well as the entire series on both Blu-ray and DVDs. Naturally, the complete collection is a must-own for any serious Batman fan.

Throughout the course of the series, various serial killers and stylized villains gradually turned the corrupt city of Gotham into a dark, adrenalized, fun house — extensively comprised of elements and characters from throughout the greater Batman canon. Naturally, not all characters, origin stories, or story arcs agree, universally, with those that have come before; furthermore, some aspects of the show do not resemble any previous incarnation of the Batman universe. The ecclecticism of the components — from the depiction of young Bruce Wayne’s butler, Alfred Pennyworth, as Wayne’s combat trainer (as seen in the limited Batman: Earth One series) to the federal government’s abandonment of the entire city to the hands of madmen / terrorists (as seen in the Christopher Nolan film series) — and the magnitude of the production design successfully achieved the greatest hybridization of elements from the Batman universe since the magnificent, open world Batman: Arkham video game series.

Gotham season five is the glorious culmination of the arc. Regrettably, it is the shortest of all the seasons; seasons one through four have 22 episodes each, and season five has only 12. However, as the season is set in the most colorful and chaotic version of Gotham City yet depicted, it still provides a satisfying grand finale to the series. Furthermore, it seems evident that the show’s writers indulged their love for the Batman universe by cramming as much as they could into season five. Some of this tact will resonate well with fans, and some of it might rub them the wrong way. For example, this writer loved the manner in which The Ventriloquist character is synthesized into the narrative — which, in some ways, is reminiscent of the way in which the series assimilated Solomon Grundy in the fourth season — but the inclusion of Bane, complete with a new origin story, seemed forced. That said, one can hardly blame the Gotham team for heaping on the fanservice; the show’s writers are clearly fans who are having the time of their lives re-working the Batman universe, and, generally, bestowing it with the most substantive and picturesque life it has ever known. For the final episode, viewers get a glimpse into the future, when Bruce Wayne becomes the Batman and forges an alliance with police commissioner James Gordon.

As usual, the audio and video presentations on Warner Bros.’s Blu-ray release are excellent. The image, presented in its native 1.78:1 aspect ratio, is very rich, and the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix is crisp and lively. The extras are unfortunately limited; there are some deleted scenes, a featurette called “Modern Mythology,” and excerpts from a cast / producers panel called “Gotham Season 5: Best Moments at NY Comic Con, 2018,” totalling just over a half hour. Still, they are fascinating components — especially the comic con panel, which features particularly touching comments from cast members Donal Logue (Harvey Bullock) and Sean Pertwee (Alfred Pennyworth), whose remarks resonate with their love of their characters, their fellow players, and of the entire production.

All good things must come to an end, and it is particularly respectable when they do so on a high note. The Gotham series had a great run; from day one, the writing, the casting, the production design, the direction, and the soundtrack collectively forged what is the most comprehensive and, arguably, the greatest realization of the Batman universe that has ever existed. Now, unless Warner Bros. decides to put out another home video edition of season five or of the complete saga, then the Blu-ray editions of season five and the compete series are an obvious choice — and would likely be the crown jewels — in any Batman collection.

About Scott Feinblatt

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