Gotham returned for its final season, but why did Fox already decide to cancel it?
Last year was the sad news that Gotham is coming to an end. Among its devoted fans this came as grim news. Although on a different network, many of the other DC shows are seeing no cancellation. Why does Gotham get this treatment?
Gotham’s Declining Ratings
Understand that ratings are not the same thing as in reviews. The DC show first aired in September of 2014 with 8.21 million viewers on its first episode. By the end of its season four finale, it had only 2.20 million viewers turning in. The show has an average of a 29% drop from the season debut to the season finale. The first three seasons were able to finish with over three million viewers. Yet, season four could not accomplish this feat unfortunately. Of course it is not uncommon for ratings to drop, but not like this. On top of this, reviews for the series were sub-par at best in season one. Afterwards critical praise was improving, but not the viewership.
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With each season its ranking drops as well, by roughly twenty ranks. To give you some perspective, it started at 68 with season one and ended at 129 last season. Going back to the ratings, its safe to say the network saw this and noticed by best, season five may drop to barely a million viewers. Hence, it is best to cut their losses as soon as possible.
Gotham‘s Low Sales
In the beginning with each Blu-ray and DVD release the show was doing fine. Now keep in mind not always do television shows push big numbers in the home media market. Season one was able to pull in over $1 million from Blu-ray and DVD sales. Season two brought in a little less. Whereas the last two seasons did not even chart at all! Many other television shows manage to still chart. If Gotham cannot break the top thirty, one may ask ‘what’s the point?’
We have to keep in mind that physical sales are declining due to streaming and the digital market. Netflix already bought rights to Gotham. Right now we live in an age where people prefer to binge watch T.V. shows. Why not wait for the season to end and then come to Netflix? Plus, there is still no way for us to track digital sales. If older shows like Supernatural and The Walking Dead are still charting, then this says something about Gotham.
Would Gotham Had Benefit from a Shared-Universe?
Gotham has never achieved the fan-fare of say other DC shows like Arrow, The Flash or Supergirl. These shows have crossed over into a shared-universe. A shared-universe, not unlike that of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Now we are even getting a possible Batwoman pilot for this DC shared-universe. More and more this shared-universe approach is something many people are going towards. Universal was originally trying with their monsters. Paramount wants to try with Transformers. On top of this, fans almost demand and just assume there to be a shared-universe now with all of their characters/properties.
This is not to say this would have been the saving grace for Gotham. We cannot prove this. We have a shared-universe among the Marvel shows on Netflix. Yet, those all got canned sadly to many fans’ dismay. It is possible this would have drawn more viewers in to keep the show going beyond at least season five. Hopefully season five pays off and we can live with Gotham going alone into that dark night.