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The Batman was yet another series based on the Caped Crusader, but how does it measure up against other animated efforts to bring him to the small screen?
Running from September 11, 2004 to March 8, 2008 on the Kids WB animation block for five seasons, The Batman was faithful to the source material while also finding a way to do a re-imagninaing of the character all at the same time.
Confused? Don’t worry, so was I.
While the series kept the basics of Bruce Wayne being Batman and Alfred as his butler, pretty much everything else was turned topsy-turvey by this series: The Joker was a barefooted wild man, the Riddler had numerous henchmen and a different origin, Clayface was a police detective that was a childhood friend of Bruce and so on. There were also changes such as Batgirl appearing on the scene before Robin which threw me for a total loop as that is so outside of the normal timeline.
The animation style took some getting used to (example to the right), since I had come to love the slickness and stylized versions in Batman: The Animated Series and Batman Beyond, this was by far the most “cartoony” looking. Does it mean it was bad? Of course not, just had more of a “kid friendly” vibe to it, which is why I think a lot of people skipped it.
Of all the animated Batman series of the past two decades (not counting Brave & The Bold since I have seen a whopping one episode), this was my least favorite, but that isn’t to say it was bad, it was just the most inconsistent. Characters came and went with no real rhyme or reason (Det. Yin had a bit of a cliffhanger at the end of season 2, and then we never saw her again, although she was mentioned in a “future” episode as being the new police commissioner), continuity seemed secondary and in general the writing was very uneven. It was still watchable despite these nitpicks, but if you have to pick just one series to watch, I think it will always be Batman: The Animated Series coming out on top.
Disclosure: Hey, FTC, no one gave me a flippin’ thing to write this up, and I paid for the DVDs out of my own pocket. To my readers, if you have no idea what I’m talking about, you can read about it here.