“Gotham: The Complete Series”: The team behind the Fox series took a big gamble when the series launched in September 2014. They were betting viewers would be drawn to the story of Batman’s home city before Bruce Wayne decided to put on the cape and cowl to fight crime. What followed were five seasons of well-written stories where some of Batman’s most noted foes got the spotlight.
None rose to the occasion more than Robin Lord Taylor as The Penguin going from mistreated servant to mayor to super villain. Taylor is the standout, but the series is filled with great performances by others playing familiar Batman characters, including Cory Michael Smith as The Riddler and Camren Bicondova as Catwoman.
The show dealt more with the efforts of Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) to keep the peace. McKenzie never portrayed Gordon as a typical officer, but as the surrogate Batman.
In a pre-Batman Gotham City, there needed to be a prototype of the costumed hero who could be both a mentor to Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) and moments wherein he would fail as an example of the wrong way to deal with the super criminals. That’s the job McKenzie did so well as Gordon.
Gordon had to face the same villains Batman would battle except without billions of dollars to buy fancy gadgets or vehicles. Through most of “Gotham,” Gordon only had his gun and badge, and both were taken away at various points.
If you can’t stand the idea of a series about Gotham City with Batman, the final episode goes right up to the point of Batman on the scene after a 10-year jump. Having Batman show up was nice, but the cast showed each week they didn’t need the caped crusader.
If you own the first four seasons, “Gotham: The Complete Fifth and Final Season” is being released the same day. Either would be a super addition to a collection.
ALSO NEW ON DVD AND BLU-RAY
“Pet Sematary”: An ancient burial ground doesn’t provide the relief a family seeks after a death.
“Little”: A very demanding boss gets a new perspective on life. Regina Hall and Marsai Martin star.
“Broad City: The Complete Series”: Includes five seasons of the series starring Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer as friends living and loving in New York.
“After”: Chance encounter in college changes a young woman’s views about life.
“Silent Hill”: The 2006 horror film from director Christophe Gans follows a mother’s attempt to find her daughter in a twisted town.
“High Life”: Robert Pattison stars in this sci-fi tale of a group of space travelers who find themselves at the mercy of the scientist on board their spaceship.
“The Most Dangerous Year”: Documentary that looks at the political battle over the anti-transgender bathroom bills that were introduced into legislation in 2016.
“Mojin: The Worm Valley”: Tomb explorer Hu Bayi goes on a dangerous mission across an island of monstrous creatures to find the Tomb of Emperor Xian.
“The Magicians: Season Four”: Cable series looks at a group of students attending a school to learn magic.
“This Island Earth”: The classic 1955 film about aliens trying to take over the planet is being released on Blu-ray.
“The Professor”: Johnny Depp plays a college professor whose life is thrown into chaos when he learns he has only six months to live.
NEW ON DIGITAL HD
“Alita: Battle Angel”: Discarded cyborg is given new life and discovers she has unique fighting abilities. It will be released on Blu-ray and Digital HD Tuesday, July 23.
“Hellboy”: Latest big-screen version of the character from the Dark Horse comics is filled with monsters and mayhem as directed by Neil Marshall. Look for it on DVD starting Tuesday, July 23.
“Missing Link”: Animated tale of a famous adventurer trying to help the Missing Link find his way to a safe place. Set for DVD and Blu-ray release Tuesday, July 23.