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Save ‘Gotham’: The Netflix play

Today, we’re exploring how and why Netflix might save 'Gotham', and what we can do to make their decision super-easy.

Save ‘Gotham’: The Netflix play

2018 was a crazy slaughterhouse for us bingewatchers. Seemingly safe in the knowledge that our favorite shows had secured second homes on streaming sites like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu, cancellation season was even harsher than ever, with many examples of our fave TV getting cut from networks and streaming sites.

Here at Film Daily we’ve decided these epic shows need a light to be shined on them – as activists, we can help save these shows. Desperate times call for desperate measures; we’re not going to save our shows by sitting in our armchairs. So it’s time to make our voices heard. Let’s join together to take affirmative action to keep the stories we need on our screens.

Gotham is the smart, hilarious, and canon Batman prequel we didn’t know we needed in our lives. It’s an innovative show based on DC Comics characters and produced by Warner Bros. Television that we’ve grown to love.

Gotham’s Batman origin narrative helped us rapt viewers understand how our favorite heroes (Batman) and villains (The Joker, Penguin) came to be. It also casts a light on just how Gotham City became the wretched crime-filled cesspool we all know & love.

Gotham fans had already been shortchanged by the network executives at Fox (the old “being moved to a much worse timeslot” thing), but its rabid fanbase managed to rally the network into renewing the show for a fifth & final season – a whopping two seasons short of what the fanbase were promised.

Gotham certainly doesn’t lack of fans or viewers, but Fox has been using the outdated Neilsen rating system to make decisions about shows’ popularity. For real: who under the age of 70 actually watches live TV anymore?

Within and outside the fandom over the past year, there’s been a lot of chatter about how Netflix might save Gotham. They already saved DC spiritual partner Lucifer from beyond the grave. Today, we’re exploring how and why Netflix might #SaveGotham, and what we can do to make their decision super-easy.

Why did Gotham get cancelled in the first place?

Because Gotham is a Warner Bros. production, not a Fox property, the show was sadly less lucrative and more expendable for the Fox. The show being packaged with the hot mess Lethal Weapon for advertising partnerships didn’t help, either. But this doesn’t mean Gotham isn’t potentially profitable. In the right hands, Gotham could slay for the lucky partner it ends up being streamed on.

We’ve seen Netflix polishing its cancellation axe recently – systematically chopping well-loved shows such as Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and One Day at a Time from the platform for fiduciary reasons. They’ve picked up fellow DC property Lucifer, just named the most bingewatched show of recent times.

We’re guessing the price at which DC were selling Lucifer was right for Netflix; we’re hoping they can make a similar deal for Gotham.

The business of big streaming

One of the main things Netflix brings to Hollywood is autonomy from its financially complicated and flabby studio system. As an independent production outfit, they’ve been able to make complex financial decisions more freely without those longlasting, legally binding partnerships with entities like:

  • The Writers Guild of America
  • The City of Los Angeles, or
  • SAG-AFTRA (the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, if you’re nasty)

These unions and agencies restrict where companies can film, what they pay their staff, and how often and when they pay them.

Anyone who thinks Netflix has ridden in on a white horse to save Hollywood is viewing the streamer as a savior rather than a business. Sure, Netflix has been doing some great things for the industry:

  • opened up the gates of Hollywood and made a career in film & TV more attainable for normal folks
  • employed thousands of previously out-of-work indie filmmakers & actors
  • given a bunch of independent producers a place to call home

On the customer side, Netflix has opened up a huge international content library for a low monthly fee to film & TV fans the world over, brought the movie experience to a sofa near you, and even taken the stigma out of bingewatching – which, let’s be honest, we were all doing with our The Sopranos box sets wayyy before Netflix ‘n’ Chill.

But despite all those good deeds, Netflix is a business on a mission to divide & conquer. Behind the headlines, they aim to monopolize the market for film & TV streaming, and then raise the prices of their service so they can begin clawing back some of the massive debt they’ve incurred.

We’ve got plenty of ideas on how to #SaveGotham, but today we’re focusing on what the fans thought of the finale with some direct quotes.

Netflix doesn’t want to be a streaming service – they aim to be the streaming service. Their foray into creating original content doesn’t derive from a burning desire to tell stories of female prisoners, drug lords, women’s wrestling teams, or secret government programs – it’s because creating original content is more cost-effective and potentially lucrative than buying other people’s products.

While Netflix was growing and funding, it made sense to create partnerships with established production companies offering access to cast, talent, music libraries, and existing scripts so they could hit the ground running and flood content into the market.

Now that Netflix enjoys healthy revenue, a pile of funding, and an engaged audience of true believers, they’re moving away from partnerships and towards a future of autonomy. The only way Gotham could move to Netflix is if the streamer made a partnership with DC (and WB, their parent company).

So what can Gotham fans do?

It would be fair to say that Fox’s 'Gotham' has struggled to find its footing since its premiere back in 2014, however with most of the show’s characters becoming more established, the showrunners promise greener pastures. But can the long-awaited arrival of The Joker save the show?

Rewatch

As we’ve said time and again, a great way to get Netflix to notice is simply to open your app and give Gotham a rewatch. Your views count, especially if you then go on to watch another show suggested by Netflix from outside your current watch list.

Re-register for Netflix

Maybe you watched all of Gotham before on Fox; maybe Gotham isn’t supported by Netflix in your current location; or maybe you’re sharing Netflix with ten housemates. Whatever your situation, signing up to Netflix (even if it’s only the free trial period) and watching Gotham is a viable way to get Netflix to notice the show.

You can always use a VPN (we suggest NordVPN) so you can watch Gotham from whatever country your bed lies in. When you’ve registered for Netflix, influence your friends and loved ones to do the same and get them all watching Gotham on repeat.

Because we can’t seem to get enough of the Batman mythos these days, yet another TV show based on the world of the Caped Crusader is in the works. If you’re not feeling the superhero fatigue yet, check out the list of superhero spinoffs, sequels, and prequels currently airing and slated for the next couple of years.

Take cord-cutting to the next level

After you’ve rewatched Gotham a couple of times, cancel your Netflix membership and very clearly tell them the reason why you’re cancelling and when they can expect you to come back using this handy contact form.

Make sure you also do a live chat and maybe even a phone call to tell their customer service bots what’s up. Influence your personal network to do the same; the more cord-cutters there are, the more Netflix will sit up & listen.

We’ve been chatting with 'Gotham'’s fandom. Here’s how we can encourage the powers that be to make the right decision for the Batman origin story.

Tell Netflix Gotham is the bomb

We know: we’ve all done this a few times before, but there’s no harm in doing it again. Make sure you let Netflix know just how much we love Gotham by requesting they keep Gotham on air, then make sure all your friends and family do the same by following this link.

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Simone Barbon's ghostwriting resume is long and illustrious, though you'll never see it. She is also a screenwriting teacher and freelance script reader. Her grandson is her favorite thing to watch, though.

simoneb@filmdaily.co