Batman: The Animated Series

Why the heck am I suddenly talking about Batman: The Animated Series?
harkovast at 4:07PM, June 10, 2009
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Batman the animated series is, without any doubt in my mind, the greatest cartoon show ever made by humans.

Maybe somewhere out there aliens are cooking up some freakin amazing mind blowing animation on Mars or something…but this would give even them a run for their money!

Yeah I know a lot of you manga fans are flipping out at what I just said, but to me, this show is always number one.

It is stylish, strange, sinister and above all dark….really dark.
And I mean that in every sense of the word.

The plots are often sinister and the threats disturbing, especially considering this was supposed to be a childrens cartoon. Batman takes on tragic individuals driven to evil by unfair circumstances, organised crime net works that he thwarts but can never totally over come, murderers, crazies, drug dealers and who knows what else but that is only half the battle. Many times Batman has to not just match wits or fighting skills against his enemies, he has to tackle their bizarre and insane obsessions, making it very much a psychological and philosophical conflict.
Batman inhabits a city utterly infested with crime, corruption and insanity, with him the only person capable of holding back the tide of darkness that threatens to engulf it.

If you think that last paragraph was way too pretentious considering I am talking about a cartoon about Batman…you are going to have a LOT more of that to read through on this thread, but also be aware that I am in no way exaggerating the awesomeness and depth of this show.

The other way in which Batman TAS is dark is in a literal sense.
The whole cartoon was done in a style the animators referred too as ‘Dark Deco’. It was drawn onto black cells, meaning the default colour is black and even bright colours have a strange bleakness to them.
The term ‘Dark Deco’ is especially fitting considering the strange world Batman inhabits. The whole show is set in an incredibly stylised version of the 1930’s-1940’s (the classic golden age of comics) where men wear hats, fire tommy guns and drive really awesome looking cars!
Often sci-fi concepts appear, such as Batmans super computer in his bat cave, but even this seems old fashioned, a huge machine that is much like what people imagined computers would be in the 1930’s.
Yes, it is a world where even the future is retro.

I love this show, I own every episode on DVD and to this day it gives me tremendous joy to watch it.

With that in mind, I am devoting this entire section of my forum to talking about Batman The Animated Series.
This has nothing to do with my web comic, and will probably not interest a whole lot of people aside from myself, but perhaps I will encourage one or two more people to check it out. If I do then my efforts here will be worth while.
This is a show that is often over looked as “just for kids”, mainly due to it being a cartoon, and while it is undoubtedly very appealing to a young audience, there is also a great deal that grown ups can draw from it too.

So with that in mind, I am going to start my self imposed mission to review and discuss every episode of this modern masterpiece ever made.
Yes, all of them.
(and the movies!)



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last edited on July 18, 2011 10:16AM
zaymac at 5:54AM, June 11, 2009
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I pretty much agree with just about everything you've said here. Batman TAS was and still is my all time favorite animated series. The stories were awesome, and were not dumbed down for kids in the way that most TV shows are done nowadays.

My favorite episode is the first Mr. Freeze episode. Truly amazing.

It's a Grizzly Bear battling Zombies. Do you need to know more?
DOLLAR STORE HAIRCUTA daily webcomic of unfunny.
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:16AM
harkovast at 6:37AM, June 11, 2009
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Heart of Ice was an absolute classic, there is no doubt.
They took a comedy loser villain and turned him into something awesome.
It was voted most popular episode of all time by fans (so I look forward to getting to talk about it later on.)

My favourite…if I had to pick one…it has to be “Almost Got Him”.

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last edited on July 18, 2011 10:16AM
Wordweaver_three at 3:36AM, June 16, 2009
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Batman The Animated Series is probably the best animated show ever. There are a handful of Anime shows that are close, Cowboy Bebop, Ghost in the Shell SAC, and Big O to name a few, but for various reasons they couldn't make the grade. There are also a few American animations that are close too, Family Guy, Gargoyles, Animaniacs, and Superman The Animated Series among them, but they also don't quite overtake Batman. (Not surprisingly, Superman comes really close)

The art deco/golden age setting of the show really sets it apart. They attempted to emulate that in Superman, but it didn't really work for the “man of tomorrow”. Batman TAS also managed to influence the comic canon, something cartoon shows rarely do. Most notably with the introduction of Harley Quinn, who became a popular character in both the show and comics. There is even a passing mention of her alter-ego, Dr. Harleen Quinzel, in the Dark Knight (a doctor's name-tag in the hospital scene), although slightly misspelled.
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:16AM
harkovast at 11:46AM, June 16, 2009
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Maybe having her name spelt wrong on her name tag was the draw that broke the camels back and drove her to evil?

We first see Harley in the epispode “The Jokers Favour” so that will be something to look forward too.
She was always a favourite of mine, though my wife finds her annoying for some reason!

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last edited on July 18, 2011 10:16AM
Amelius at 11:21AM, June 25, 2009
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I agree, I loved this series sooo much! It kinda started going downhill when they changed the animation and started teaming him up with Superman more (they started kids-ifying it when Robin was introduced and the stories were never the same) but even at its lowest it was far above anything they've produced to this day. A lot of DC's cartoons today seem like a pale imitation or some annoying Amer-ime monstrosity, trying to cash in on the past glory but lacking any real substance or grace.

The closest anything has come to the splendor of that series is any of the Batman comics written by Paul Dini (he wrote on BTAS) if you haven't checked those out yet I highly recommend them, my husband got me the book “Harley and Ivy”, it's not only got Dini on the writing, but Bruce Timm does the art for some of the stories as well!

That show had style, wit, brains and to spare! Only a real snob, or someone who buys into that “animation is kid stuff” load of garbage, would not see this cartoon for the true work of art that it was!

The new Batman series makes me feel ill to look at @_@ Have you seen what they did to the Joker? Makes me wanna strangle a fool!
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:16AM
harkovast at 11:29AM, June 25, 2009
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I have not see the new look joker, let me go have a check….
Argghhh!!!
What have they done??

The fiends!
Too Horrible….must remove….own eyes….

Amelius you raise a good point about later episodes of Batman not being as good.
Those episodes are widely refered to as the “gotham Knights” episodes (as that was the working title they were created under) and while they feature a few really stellar episodes, most are substandard, uninspired or just too horrible for words.

If you have seen the episode with Farmer Brown….you will know what I mean.

In fact thinking about that is getting me all fired up!

I may well have to go out of order and review that one to express my hate!

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last edited on July 18, 2011 10:16AM
Phillby at 4:20PM, Sept. 30, 2009
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Just reviving this months-dead forum to say that I fucking love Batman TAS. Mark Hamill is pretty much the definite version of the Joker in my eyes, The Dark Knights's version was ironicaly far too serious.

I bought the complete dvd box-set on a whim and I'm going to be watching so much Batman this weekend.

I'd like to hear Harkovast's opinions on Batman Beyond as it's in the same continuity. I always liked the old miserable Bruce Wayne, but I haven't seen it in ages so I don't know how well it holds up today.

I've only seen a little of Superman TAS, Justice league and JLA and I wasn't terribly impressd by any of them.
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:16AM
harkovast at 5:10PM, Sept. 30, 2009
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Philby this one aint dead! I've just been too busy to get round to adding too it!
Thanks for reminding me though, I will try and get another review out tomorrow!

Batman Beyond was a great show, no doubt. It wasn't as good as the original, but then again nothing is. It certainly deserves mention and discussion on here. I don't own any episodes sadly, but I will try and get hold of them and add them to the mix in the future.

Justice league and the Superman show…not so much. I think I will have to devote a section to talking about why these shows DIDN'T work as well!

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last edited on July 18, 2011 10:16AM
Manifold Lash at 2:43AM, Oct. 1, 2009
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What?!? Batman? Better then Anime? No it can't possibly b…
No, wait, tell a lie, you got me.

I remember this show comprised quite a large slab of my childhood so I agree wholeheartedly; fond memories for a great cartoon (actually don't like that word, sounds too derogatory. Animation?).

Personally, the Scarface episodes were always my favorites, just the constant banter between the (possibly) possessed doll and his cowardly “sidekick” of a ventriloquist. And how even Batman could never be sure if they really were simply the same person or something more sinister… 0_o

Also Harley Quinn pretty much dishes up one for the win column all on her onesies.

It is Batman epitomized: when the world is called upon to think of him, 9 times out of 10 this is what they see.
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:16AM
harkovast at 5:29AM, Oct. 1, 2009
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I've been impressed by the very positive responses I get to this section of the forum, considering I originally made it just to entertain myself.

I am going to get to work right now on some new reviews….

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last edited on July 18, 2011 10:16AM
EssayBee at 12:11PM, Jan. 11, 2010
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There's no doubt that, stylistically, nothing can touch BtAS. However, I see there isn't much love for the other DCAU shows here. While I agree the first season of Justice League wasn't the greatest (many of the episodes were just plain boring), the 2nd season was very good, and the 3rd season (JLU) with the Cadmus arc was phenomenal. Plus, “Epilogue” has to be one of the most amazing 23 minutes in the DCAU. That episode brought everything from the original BtAS to Mask of the Phantasm to JLU to Batman Beyond together in one fell swoop. Definitely a great way to end the DCAU. (Even though JLU went on for another season.)
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:16AM
harkovast at 5:42PM, Jan. 11, 2010
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Essaybee I watched the Superman cartoon and found it a real let down. All the psychology and angst was replaced but Superman pucnhign a giant robot or a giant alien each week.
Justice league seemed to be more along those lines and so just never drew me in.
Though perhaps I should give it another look some time, and perhaps also talk about some Batman Beyond as well.
See? I'm open minded!

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last edited on July 18, 2011 10:16AM
Abt_Nihil at 6:43PM, March 27, 2010
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While I did like JLU (and nothing else after, say, the first Superman season), I think it's in a completely different league than BtAS. JLU was akin to a well-made usual TV-series. BTAS wasn't. There's been nothing even remotely like it.
JLU had nice action, nice animation, some nice character moments. But IMHO that's all it ever amounted to - the adjective “nice”. Nice entertainment. On the other hand, BTAS is something to be inspired by. The stuff of legend! A singular achievement in US TV animation. For reasons we all know.
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:16AM
harkovast at 6:48PM, March 27, 2010
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Abt_nihil you are absolutely spot on there, you just completely pin pointed the difference.
JLU is a good show, Batman is THE good show.

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last edited on July 18, 2011 10:16AM
EssayBee at 8:00PM, April 12, 2010
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I think Abt_nihil's assessment is fair and accurate. BtAS was such an original and ground-breaking show, and I still can't think of anything since then that can match it stylistically.
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:16AM

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