Fox’s Gotham committed a lot to most of the Batman villains. As the series has come to an end, it’s time to look at its 10 best Batman foes.
FOX’s Batman prequel drama Gotham not only told the origin story of Commissioner Gordon and Bruce Wayne but also several of the Dark Knight’s iconic villains. With some having bigger roles than others, the five-year run allowed the series to explore so many of them and how they got to where they are today in the Batman canon. Even though there were some liberties taken with the source material, Gotham wouldn’t have worked without the big focus it had on so many of the Caped Crusader’s future foes. While there is a handful that didn’t make it into the series, a massive amount of them did show-up, either as series regulars or as recurring guests.
While some of the villains they brought in were less than great, most of them had great runs to various degrees. From the acting, the writing to the clever costume designs, Gotham committed a lot to most of the Batman villains. As the series came to an end last year, it’s time to look at the 10 best portrayals of Batman foes.
Jonathan Crane started out on a very intriguing note that escalated very quickly into his destiny as Scarecrow. As he had continuous appearances throughout the seasons, the show’s take on the fear-toxic based antagonist got more intense every time Jonathan came back.
The idea to have him start at a young age was a dark but inspired call. The multiple costume designs were all so compelling that it’s hard to pick which Scarecrow look was the best.
Victor Fries is, without doubt, one of the more tragic foes in the Batman universe and the TV version of Mister Freeze is no exception.
While Victor, unfortunately, didn’t have a large role following his debut arc, Gotham managed to make Mr. Freeze come off as a formidable foe again in live-action, with the previous version in Batman & Robin in the late 90s.
The Mad Hatter
The Batman lore has a number of villains that are more disturbing than others, depending on what story they’re in and who is writing them. When it comes to the Mad Hatter, most incarnations of the Alice in Wonderland-inspired baddie has managed to stay that way. With Gotham’s interpretation of Jervis Tetch, it didn’t take long for the latest live-action version to give viewers the chills.
One of the Mad Hatter’s most terrorizing acts in the series was when he had Gordon and Leslie hypnotized and posed as Bruce’s dead parents. It’s up to viewers’ imagination what other acts he will commit in the future, where he now has to face the wrath of the Dark Knight.
One of DC’s famous monster villains is Solomon Grundy, who managed to make his way into the Gotham universe. But the way the writers introduced him came as a surprise, as Cyrus Gold had, apparently, been with the series since the pilot.
Even though Drew Powell was introduced to fans as Butch Gilzean, it turned out that Butch was actually born as Cyrus Gold and had his name changed. While there were some liberties taken with this version of Grundy, it didn’t take away the enjoyment, as Powell, who was already a fan-favorite, got to play more with the DC Universe.
Another one of the Caped Crusader’s more intense villains that made his way into Gotham was Victor Zsasz. The sadistic wise-cracking hitman made his debut in season 1 and stayed all the way into the final season.
While Victor was more of a secondary antagonist in most stories, the show’s depiction of him was spot-on. Given the darker layers of his murderous methods, it’s surprising that he lasted for as long as he did, due to the restrictions of broadcast television.
Despite being one of Batman’s most challenging villains of all-time, Hugo Strange didn’t make his live-action debut until Gotham.
While it was a long wait, Hugo’s arrival on the small screen was more than worth the wait. From being one of the show’s most intellectually gifted villains to somehow being one of the funnier characters, Hugo was a force to be reckoned with.
Ra’s Al Ghul
Whether it’s on film or TV, Ra’s al Ghul has been one of the most used Batman villains in several franchises. Being one of the limited villains of color, Ra’s got his best portrayal done on Gotham when he debuted in season 3. Even though his mystical energy ability was the strangest addition to this version of Ra’s, this incarnation still lived up to the great foe that he is in the comics.
Ra’s is supposed to be someone people fear by simply hearing his name. Gotham’s interpretation is currently the strongest take on the foe, even though the decision to have him killed off was a weird decision.
While given a slightly different origin story, Edward Nygma a.k.a. the Riddler holds as one of the best-portrayed foes from the Batman mythology.
Throughout Gotham’s 5-year run, Edward was one of the villains that were given the most time to be fleshed out. From the journey of his mind beginning to transform to coming full circle, the show serviced the Riddler with grace.
Mister J (Jerome/Jeremiah)
When it comes to the Joker in the Gotham franchise, it’s quite the rollercoaster of an arc this character had to go through. Since the writers were never allowed to specifically use the name “Joker”, the Valeska brothers are essentially that character with or without the alias. Given that the same actor portrayed Jerome and Jeremiah, it’s tricky to nail down who truly lived up to the name of Mister J.
The best way to look at them is being two halves that together complete the Joker character. Jerome had the psycho-comical layers nailed down, while Jeremiah brought Joker’s intellectual to the table. By the end of the series, Jeremiah is the one to stand as Gotham’s famous clown, but he couldn’t have gotten there without Jerome.
As compelling and phenomenal as many of Gotham’s portrayals of the various Batman foes were, the Penguin is ultimately the winner. Robin Lord Taylor, who quickly became the show’s breakout star, both redefined the iconic villain while also keeping the essentials of Oswald Cobblepot alive. Oswald began his journey as Fish Mooney’s goon who eventually rose to the ranks as a true big bad. Even though he was evil in nature, the writers managed to find arcs where they got to something refreshing with Oswald to the point where he was temporarily an ally.
By the end of the series, Oswald was where he needed to be as one of Gotham City’s most dangerous enemies. But the 5-year long journey came with so many surprises that it made this version of Penguin stand out compared to other live-action or animated incarnations.