|A Breath of Fresh Air|
The Batman was like a breath of fresh air after being forced to endure the decade-long reign and stratification of Bruce Timm’s continuity from the Batman: The Animated Series, Superman, the New Batman Adventures, Batman Beyond, and the Justice League. Instead of being forced to work inside the box built by Timm, the animators and writers cheerfully busted it open by recreating, redesigning, and rewriting The Batman for a new audience and it worked. Well, for a while at least.
Frankly, I enjoyed the first two seasons of the Batman the most; I felt that they had plateaued around mid-way through the third season. The introduction of Barbara Gordon/Batgirl was the start of the rapid-slide downward of the series towards it becoming kid-ified. Instead of cutting edge and gloomy, the series began to become more family-oriented and comedy-based until I wasn’t sure why they were still calling this show “The Batman” when it seemed more like “The Batman and his Super-Friends”.
I also disliked the abrupt disappearance of Detective Ellen Yin from the third season as I felt she was a much stronger character than Commissioner Gordon as she was an interesting foil to Batman. Instead, we got Barbara Gordon who I felt was good, but should have been regulated to an occasional guest spot rather than a main recurring character as she just wasn’t the same level as Yin.
I thought one of the strongest and most interesting points to this series was that Batman was a vigilante and wasn’t considered an ally to Gotham PD yet. Having him forced to work in the shadows, fleeing from the cops, and an enigma to the public at large was a definite change from his previous semi-official status.
The character designs were definitely innovative; I enjoyed the redesign of the Joker, Mister Freeze, and the Riddler as quite interesting interpretations of the characters. The animation was also an interesting change from Bruce Timm’s style. The characters’ movements were more fluid and graceful in my opinion and more realistic.
The voice actors were extremely good, particularly the villains such as the Joker (Kevin Michael Richardson) was a suitably menacing actor, shifting between playful and growling malevolence as well as Killer Croc (Ron Perlman).
All and all, the series was a nice change from the previous animated incarnations of the Batman. It’s entertaining enough, although as I have stated in my opinion; the best portion was in the first two seasons and about halfway through the third but the rest of the seasons managed to keep things engaging without being too boring.
RATING: 3 STARS (4 STARS!!!! for Seasons 1 & 2).
|Date of 1st Airing||Sept. 11, 2004|
|Date of Last Airing||March 8, 2008|
|Original Air Day||Saturday|
|Original Air Time|
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