The upcoming non-Arrowverse spin-off from The CW is set to dive into the mystery of Batman's death, with the show pushing a ragtag group of Gotham misfits to the forefront led by Bruce Wayne's adopted son and the Joker's daughter.
As it approaches its premiere on the network on March 14, it seems that things are not looking good under the review banner.
The CW's Gotham Knights Receives Negative Early Reviews
Critics shared their first social media reactions and reviews to The CW's Gotham Knights ahead of its debut.
Murphy's Multiverse's @WildeePatrol pointed out that the show's first six episodes were a "drag" due to its "uninteresting and bad characters" and many more issues:
"I’ve seen the first six episodes of 'Gotham Knights' and man was that a drag. Uninteresting and bad characters, unthreatening court of owls, and just a run of the mill, paint by numbers storyline that you’ve seen before. It feels like the second season of 'Riverdale.'"
Geekly Goods' Leo Rydel only saw the first two episodes, but he admitted that it has been "a rough go so far:"
"Only two episodes in but... 'Gotham Knights' has been a ROUGH go so far. Cringe dialogue, shotty acting, and a plot that seems disrespectful to Batman make this experience nearly unwatchable. If not for Navia Robinson's Carrie Kelley, I'd be out... Full review soon."
@rlwascarbrough described the Batman spin-off as "abysmal on all fronts:"
"'Gotham Knights' is as terrible as you all expected. Abysmal on all fronts."
While ComicBook's Nicole Drum said that the show is "far from perfect," she still noted that it managed to deliver "an interesting approach" to a Batman-adjacent story:
"'Gotham Knights' is far from perfect, but it is also a bit unlike anything else that The CW has tried when it comes to its DC-inspired series. While it struggles just a bit to get out of the gate, once it does it, delivers an interesting approach to a Gotham-centered, Batman-adjacent story that’s got just enough mystery and enough comic book DNA to make it an intriguing watch. Whether that will be enough to keep things going in what is an interesting time for the network remains to be seen, but this is a series that is worth investigating."
GameSpot said that Gotham Knights "might just be too buried in too many messes" since it debuts a year after Robert Pattinson's The Batman and the upcoming arrival of the DCU's Dark Knight:
"It’s unfortunate for 'Gotham Knights' that it’s debuting in this way at this time, because it’s a fun show that might just be too buried in too many messes and too many Batmen to have a chance to live up to its potential."
Comic Book Resources (CBR) proclaimed Gotham Knights as "dead on arrival:"
"To really enjoy 'Gotham Knights,' one must be completely open to a reinvention of the mythos, framed under the auspices of a typical CW teen drama, albeit with superheroes and unrelenting assassins. Those with a more cursory familiarity with the Dark Knight might enjoy this show more, taking it as a street-level superhero drama, but there are so many references to the mythos that it doesn’t feel geared towards comic fans as a target audience. Like Batman himself in this series, 'Gotham Knights' is unfortunately dead on arrival unless it drastically improves as the season progresses."
Streamr shared that the show "isn't very good," but it could've been improved "if any had cared a whole lot more:"
"Thank whoever you pray to that the end seems nigh for the era of DC at the CW. It’s long past due that this library of stories and characters are set free from the confinements of network television and elevated under the watch of the new heads of DC Studios. 'Gotham Knights,' as many knew would be, isn’t very good but could’ve been if any had cared a whole lot more. Unfortunately Riverdale X Capeshit just didn’t pan out too well. Whoever thought it would should be forced to read every single appearance of each and every character adapted in this series."
TV Pulse Magazine is optimistic about Gotham Knights' potential second season if it would just "truly embrace its more unique elements:"
"As both new and existing CW shows line up to enter their premiere night starting gates, they are eyeing each other nervously, aware that the ratings race to Primetime 2023/24 is likely to have only one or two winners, and no runners-up. If 'Gotham Knights' is to earn a second season it will need to stand apart from previous CW superhero shows, not emulate them. There are so many things to enjoy about this new show which we would enjoy even more if it were to take a couple of risks, spread its wings, and truly embrace its more unique elements."
The Cosmic Circus admitted that the show is "fun, but perhaps messy," saying that its "fantastic castings" help "alleviate any complaints:"
"This show was not what I thought it was going to be. It definitely is a younger skewed, high school drama-esque series that screams the CW from the rooftop. However, it was also fun as hell to watch with some fantastic castings to help alleviate any complaints. There’s also plenty of action and a good mystery in which to get lost in solving. It has some great characters and character moments. It’s a fun, but perhaps messy, show that, if you’re like me, you’ll be needing to tune in every week."
Chron claimed that "there's plenty to savor" in Season 1, such as its "dopily creepy lore" and "classic(ally silly) CW illogic:"
"With the internal shakeups happening at The CW, the fate of all the network’s shows is up in the air. But there’s plenty to savor in this first season, including archly broad comic-book baddies, dopily creepy lore, and classic(ally silly) CW illogic—all of it wrapped in the comforting conventions of a teen soap. You don’t need to be the World’s Greatest Detective to see the appeal, though if Turner’s amateur sleuthing in these inaugural episodes are anything to go by, that’s a mantle he’s ready to try on."
Will Gotham Knights Receive a Season 2?
Amid the ongoing shakeups that are happening at The CW, it's hard to tell if Gotham Knights will come out on top to be renewed for a second season. It also doesn't help that most of the critics' first reactions are negative, which could mean that the network's top brass are already taking notes on the matter.
Given that some of the Arrowverse shows who had positive fan reactions such as Batwoman and Legends of Tomorrow were unceremoniously axed, there's a strong chance that Gotham Knights would suffer the same fate after its debut run on the network.
Despite the bad reviews from critics, some of the positive reactions highlighted the show's character moments and the storytelling risks it took. It's possible that the showrunners would've taken note of those uplifting points, which could lead to them maximizing them in the latter half of the series.
Whatever the case, Season 1 is still set to arrive, and the producers are expected to have a platform to showcase its unique story alongside its cast mixed with up-and-coming actors and veteran stars.
The first episode of The CW's Gotham Knights will arrive on The CW on Tuesday, March 14.