If you’ve never heard of Batman Beyond, don’t worry, you aren’t alone.
Back in February I talked about having just completed watching all of Batman: The Animated Series, and commented how nice it was to see some form of media outside of the comic books get the Batman formula correct. Well, after completing that series I moved on to the next animated Batman project, Batman Beyond.
Running from January 10, 1999 to December 18, 2001, Batman Beyond took place approxiamtely 20 years in the future (um… yeah… flying cars, impossibly large buildings, completely AI robots, all of that’s only 20 years from now… uh-huh) after an ailing Bruce Wayne has had to retire the mantle of the Batman. Gotham City has been without a Batman for several years now, and crime is again on the rise: random crimes, teenagers who worship the deceased Joker run gangs called The Jokers, corporate crimes and a whole lot more.
Terry McGinnis is a 16-year-old that has a troubled past, but after his father is killed for discovering wrong doings at the Wayne-Powers corporation, he becomes obsessed with discovering why his father was killed. While trying to figure out what happened to his father, he questions Bruce Wayne and stumbles across his long buried secret. Terry decides to take up the idenity of the Batman against Wayne’s wishes, but he begrudgingly accepts him for training and they form a partnership where Bruce stays in the Bat Cave and directs him via video and audio feeds. (Much, much later, it was revealed in an episode of Justice League Unlimited that Bruce was actually Terry’s biological father via DNA manipulation, but even Bruce was unaware of this early on)
Having watched all three seasons I have to say it wasn’t nearly as bad as some people have made it out to be. The villians weren’t quite as strong as Batman’s original Rogue’s Gallery which leads to some moments where you feel no real challenge to Terry’s Batman. The series did seem to spend a lot more time on actual character development than Batman: The Animated Series, which as fine with me as I prefer seeing characters develop over time as opposed to just never ending fight after fight. Considering some of the views online, I appear to be pretty much alone in this opinion, but oh well, I liked it.
Apparently Comcast subscribers can check out the first season on the Kids WB on Demand service, beyond that you can pick it up fairly cheap on DVD and it’s worth a look if you missed it when it aired and are desperate for something to watch. Would I go out of my way to see it? Doubtful, but it was entertaining while I was lifting weights. Next up: The Batman (which I am already in season 2 of, just didn’t have time to write this up before)