"Gotham" is Back, but with Less Color

Victoria Cartagena as Renee Montoya and Andrew Stewart-Jones as Crispus Allen

Victoria Cartagena as Renee Montoya and Andrew Stewart-Jones as Crispus Allen

Season two of "Gotham" starts this week on Fox. Billed as "Rise of the Villains," viewers should expect classic comic book evil-doers taking shape and taking over Gotham.

I had high hopes for "Gotham's" freshman year. A pre-Batman city with origin stories for both heroes and villains, and the most famous cop Gotham has ever had – Jim Gordon.

But most of all, I was excited to see the addition of two of the most interesting civilian characters, Detective Renee Montoya and her partner Crispus Allen.

Pulled from the pages of Gotham Central by Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka, Montoya is lesbian-Latina and Allen is African-American. The two created a formidable pair working in Gotham's elite police division handling Bat-related crimes. Gotham Central went on to win the 2004 Eisner Award for best serialized story, "Half a Life," a story arc focusing on Montoya's life when forced out of the closet by her masked fan/stalker, Two-Face.

The pair seemed a perfect fit for a Gotham cop series.

But the pair were rarely seen on screen. Instead, a story arc that saw Barbara Kean (Jim Gordon's girlfriend) running back to the arms (and bed) of her ex-girlfriend, Montoya, sealed their on-screen doom.

The traditional comic fan-boy audience was in an uproar over the Kean/Montoya pairing, and the internet turned truly vicious against the two. Very soon after, Montoya and Allen were dropped from the series.

Another face missing from the series will be Fish Mooney, played in gorgeous colorful fashion by Jada Pinkett Smith. The end season one saw Mooney's (probable) death.

"Gotham's" season two has added a few new characters, but only one character of color. Jessica Lucas joins the cast as the Tigress, an exotic villain with a whip.

The lack of color and diversity of "Gotham" runs counter to DC Comics new DC You, an effort by the publisher to bring diversity to the comic line. DC You has seen increasing roles of gender, race and even sexual orientation with Midnighter, a Batman-like gay hero. 

In dropping so many characters of diversity, "Gotham" is looking back – not forward – for their viewer audience. And while the old fan-boy audience may be happy, with comic readership reaching greater numbers of women, races, religions and sexual orientations, I can only wonder how much longer shows such as this can remain relevant.