Batman: The Animated Series: Revisited continues today with yet more episodes! I’m delving back into the Blu-ray boxset and talking about the highs (and occasional lows) of the show.
I’ve worked my way through 55 episodes so far, which by my reckoning brings me to a Harley Quinn/Poison Ivy story to kick-start today’s session.
*Takes a look at the Blu-ray boxset*
Woo-hoo! I was right.
Harley and Ivy
4mins 30secs – The Joker’s goons, Rocco and Henshaw appear in this episode. During the original run of Batman: The Animated Series, Rocco and Henshaw were the Joker’s go-to henchmen appearing in numerous Joker stories. When the show got a visual makeover (and a time jump) the characters were phased out in favour of a new team of henchmen – Mo, Lar and Cur.
7mins – Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy meet for the first time in this episode. Previously the characters both appeared in Almost Got ‘Im, but they didn’t share any screen time.
7mins 15secs – “Hey, aren’t you that plant lady, Poison Oaky?”
8mins 30secs – Ivy’s line “This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship”, is spot on. This episode kick-started the Harley/Ivy friendship.
12mins – A snapshot into domestic life for the Joker. Without Harley around, the Joker can’t find his socks.
13mins 55secs – Ivy makes a comment that Harley is the Joker’s victim – a statement that turns out to be true when the full details are revealed in the episode, Mad Love.
A fun crime caper, which kick-starts the perfect pairing in Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. The episode also offers a little more detail about the Harley/Joker relationship.
On Blu-ray this episode looks great, with the picture quality so crisp and clear. Ivy looks stunning.
Shadow of the Bat – Part 1
Disclaimer: Shadow of the Bat – Part 1 marks the first appearance of Batgirl in Batman: The Animated Series. In the UK, this episode was originally broadcast on Saturday morning TV show, Scratchy & Co and was the first new episode to appear on UK screens for more than a year.
2mins – Rupert Thorne puts in another appearance in this episode. It’s surprising how often Thorne appears in the series – it’s more often than you might think.
4mins – Deputy Commissioner, Gil Mason makes his debut in Shadow of the Bat – Part 1. He’s final appearance is in Part 2.
6mins – Jim Gordon is being arrested for allegedly taking bribes from Rupert Thorne.
7mins 40secs – Janet Van Dorn makes her debut in this episode. Van Dorn is Gotham’s new District Attorney, taking over from Harvey Dent. The DA makes her next appearance in the episode, Trial.
10mins 30secs – Barbara Gordon has asked Batman to appear at a rally in support of her father, but he declines as he is too busy trying to uncover evidence to prove Jim Gordon is innocent.
11mins 30secs – Batman has adopted a disguise, this time taking on the persona of Matches Malone.
13mins – With Batman unable to attend the rally, Barbara dresses up in a Batsuit to impersonate the Caped Crusader. This is quite a clever way to explain why Barbara would don a Batsuit.
15mins – A note about the HD. A number of scenes take place at night requiring a darker pallette. As such, while the HD has made this episode look pretty slick, it has also made the animation appear a bit too dark at times.
18mins – New bit of info: It is established that Batman can read lips.
21mins – Batgirl makes her entrance!
A strong story which paves the way for the introduction of Batgirl. Thanks to a few appearances in the series, to set up her background and skills, Barbara’s transformation into Batgirl feels organic and well thought out.
And now for Part 2.
Shadow of the Bat – Part 2
3mins 50secs – Batgirl’s theme is great. The music in this show really is/was a cut above the rest.
4mins 50secs – The interactions between Batgirl and Robin are priceless.
6mins 55secs – I forgot to mention that Two-Face is the main villain in this two-part story. Gil Mason is also a villain and he’s working with Two-Face as part of a plan to replace Commissioner Gordon.
13mins – Throughout this whole story, Commissioner Gordon is being linked to Rupert Thorne. This is all part of Two-Face’s plan to discredit Gordon and to throw more heat on Thorne. Harvey Dent still hasn’t forgiven Thorne for what happened in Two-Face Part 1 & Part 2.
20mins 20secs – Gil unmasks Batgirl, but is injured in an explosion. It is later revealed he is in a coma. As we never see him again it’s not made clear whether he ever recovered from the coma. Presumably, he didn’t.
21mins 30secs – At the conclusion of the episode it is hinted that Batman has already deduced Batgirl’s secret identity.
Batman: The Animated Series skilfully introduces Batgirl in a two-part story that keeps the momentum going across the course of 40 minutes. Perfect.
Blind as a bat
Disclaimer: This episode marks the final appearance of Leslie Thompkins in Batman: The Animated Series. Leslie popped up five times throughout the show’s entire run, but her character made a significant impression across her limited screen time.
3mins – Wayne Technology has built and paid for a stealth aircraft. This is a vehicle simply calling out for someone to steal it. Someone like, say… the Penguin.
3mins 30secs – The Penguin is dressed in aviation gear. He should always be dressed in aviation gear.
4mins – Bruce Wayne has just been injured in an explosion. He’s now (temporarily) blind.
5mins – Leslie has just given Bruce some medical advice (as she always does). He’s just ignored it (as he always does).
8mins – Bruce has roped Leslie into helping him develop technology that will give him infrared vision. Leslie continues to voice objections and Bruce continues to ignore her.
18mins – Some of the infrared visuals are pretty cool.
21mins 30secs – Leslie reminds Bruce that he never listens to her. This is the last time we’ll see Leslie in the series. It’s such as shame that she wasn’t given a little more screen time.
Blind as a Bat isn’t a great episode, but it also isn’t terrible. At best it demonstrates Batman’s resourcefulness and at worst it’s simply mediocre.
The Demon’s Quest – Part 1
2mins – This is the only episode of Batman: The Animated Series to open with a sequence before the title of the episode is revealed.
3mins 30secs – The animation in this episode is stunning.
3mins 40secs – Ras al Ghul has just walked straight into the Batcave, introducing himself to Batman.
4mins 20secs – Batman now knows that Talia is Ras al Ghul’s daughter.
9mins – For this whole two-part story, Batman: The Animated Series flirts with some Bond-style villainy and jet-setting.
14mins – Batman in the snow, a downed plane on fire in the background, snipers on skis surround him – this is most definitely Batman as Bond.
19mins 30secs – The first appearance of the Lazarus Pit. According to Talia, the pit has kept Ras alive for 600 years.
21mins – Side effects of the pit? Oh, nothing much… just a dose of insanity!
One more episode to conclude the night…
The Demon’s Quest – Part 2
3mins 45secs – Insanity aside, where can I access the Lazarus Pit? I could do with a spot of rejuvenation.
8mins – When The Demon’s Quest – Part 1 & 2 aired on TV I thought these episodes were so amazing. Seeing Batman on an adventure outside of Gotham City seemed odd, yet at the same time very exciting. I loved the idea that he would travel to other countries to fight a villain that threatened the safety of the world. I still think these episodes are cool, but I’m not sure why Batman is wearing his costume in the desert?! Surely someone could have come up with a better way for Bruce to disguise himself?
11mins – Ras al Ghul is ripped to heck!
12mins – But then, so is Batman… who is also topless for some reason. I get why Ras would want Batman to remove his belt, but why his shirt?
13mins – Ras as Ghul is an eco-terrorist. With the exception of Poison Ivy, Ras’s motivations are pretty unique when compared to all of the other villains in Batman’s Rogues’ Gallery. I find him a fascinating villain.
18mins – Some great visuals during the showdown between Batman and Ras. Blu-ray LOVES this episode.
A fantastic way to end tonight’s run of episodes. Ras al Ghul is such a brilliant villain and I adore this two-part story.
Time to conclude for today. More tomorrow.