Batman: The Animated Series: Revisited continues today and I’m fast approaching the end of the first season. There are four episodes left in the show’s initial run and then it’s on to the second season – The Adventures of Batman & Robin.
Let’s make a start.
His Silicon Soul
2mins 30secs – His Silicon Soul is a follow-up episode to Heart of Steel – Part 1 & 2. The episode centres around a robot duplicate – the last duplicate created by H.A.R.D.A.C..
4mins – This episode is pure sci-fi and very atmospheric.
7mins 30secs – Karl Rossum makes his second appearance in Batman: The Animated Series. William Sanderson reprises the role of Rossum.
9mins – The last remaining duplicate is a Batman robot. The Bat-duplicate believes himself to be the real Batman.
11mins – A general observation: A few bits of dust crop have cropped up on screen.
12mins 55secs – The Batman duplicate has just peeled back its face.
13mins 45secs – This duplicate is an advanced robot which is using information taken from the Batcomputer. Having now undertaken an update it houses H.A.R.D.A.C. and has an objective – to restart H.A.R.D.A.C.’s plan to replace all humans with robot duplicates.
18mins – Batman Vs Bat-duplicate!
21mins – Faced with the possibility it has taken a life, the Bat-duplicate terminates itself.
His Silicon Soul is an interesting follow-up to Heart of Steel, which looks at life, humanity and morality. The episode includes some striking imagery and a decent adversary in the Bat-duplicate.
A good one?
Nah, a great one!
Fire From Olympus
3mins – Fire From Olympus marks the first and only appearance of Maxie Zeus in Batman: The Animated Series.
6mins – Maxie Zeus is another example of the series taking a forgotten Bat-villain (The Clock King, Man-Bat etc) and giving him a chance in the spotlight .
7mins – Once again, the HD makes this episode look slick.
12mins 40secs – A rare appearance from a GCPD blimp.
12mins 45secs – The blimp is on fire, but it looks pretty cool.
20mins – The soundtrack in this episode is very dramatic. I’ve previously mentioned just how good the scores are in this series, but I feel like I have to keep saying it. The music really sells this episode and the character of Maxie Zeus.
21mins – Poison Ivy, Two-Face and the Joker get quick cameos as Maxie Zeus is taken to his cell in Arkham Asylum.
Maxie Zeus is fine as a one-off Bat-villain, but Fire From Olympus is not one of the stronger entries in Batman: The Animated Series. Not bad though and it looks good in HD!
Read My Lips
1min – Read My Lips marks the debut appearance of both The Ventriloquist and Scarface.
6mins – A new gang is committing crimes in Gotham. Batman is investigating.
8mins – The leader of the gang is revealed to be Scarface – a ventriloquist’s dummy. Batman is understandably shocked.
9mins – “If I want your opinion, dummy, I’ll pull your string.”
10mins – George Dzundza provides the voice of both Scarface and The Ventriloquist and manages to create two very distinct performances.
10mins 45secs – The characters shouldn’t work, because neither Scarface or The Ventriloquist are physically imposing, yet they do work (very well) because of the way they play off of each other. I find the Scarface/Ventriloquist relationship fascinating.
13mins – Batman provides a few more details about Scarface/Ventriloquist, explaining that The Ventriloquist has multiple personality disorder. Both his personality and the Scarface personality are completely separate and neither knows what the other is thinking.
13mins 30secs – Batman has just name checked Zatara the magician. As well as learning escapology while studying with Zatara, Batman also learnt ventriloquism.
18mins – Throughout the course of these posts I’ve barely mentioned just how amazing Kevin Conroy is as Batman. It kind of goes without saying that he IS Batman, but episodes like this highlight just how good he actually is. The way he delivers his lines, you can tell he’s very comfortable in the role. This is a part he was born to play.
Read My Lips is SUCH A GOOD EPISODE. So good in fact that this episode inspired me to write my university dissertation around Batman: The Animated Series.
It was during the mid-’00s and I was trying to decide what subject to focus on for my dissertation. My university course centred around film and television, so I needed to find a show or movie that I could talk about at length for my final year.
I was sat watching Read My Lips when suddenly I realised the answer was staring me in the face – I’d write about Batman: The Animated Series. And that’s exactly what I did.
My university dissertation became a study into Batman: The Animated Series and psychoanalysis. It was a lot of fun to research and write and I have Scarface and The Ventriloquist to thank for it.
The Worry Men
Disclaimer: The Worry Men is the final episode in the first season of Batman: The Animated Series.
1min 40secs – Veronica Vreeland makes her second appearance in Batman: The Animated Series following her debut in Birds of a Feather.
2mins – The title of this episode refers to dolls that are given out to a group of Gotham socialites who are suffering from bad dreams. The worry men are said to take away all their problems while they sleep. Of course, they don’t – this is all part of a plot from the Mad Hatter to brainwash people into giving him their money.
3mins – For those wondering, worry men are a real thing, although they are more commonly known as worry dolls. Should you want some, you can buy them on eBay.
6mins 20secs – Alfred has just name checked the Riddler.
10mins – Another visually appealing episode, made to look better in HD.
15mins 30secs – A great little sequence which features marionettes of Batman’s Rogues’ Gallery. As the series has developed its fun to see nods and mentions to the other villains that inhabit this world. It also seems fitting that for the final episode in the season we’d get to see past villains, albeit as dummies.
And that’s the end of an impressive run of 65 episodes of Batman: The Animated Series. From this point on, Batman: The Animated Series in its original form is over.
Moving forward the rest of the Blu-ray boxset includes twenty episodes of The Adventures of Batman & Robin and then twenty-four episodes of The New Batman Adventures.
Confused? Don’t be!
Batman: The Animated Series was initially conceived as 65 episodes. The popularity of the series led to an additional twenty episodes which became the second season.
For season two the mandate was to incorporate Robin into the show as a regular member of the cast, appearing in more episodes. To match this new direction the programme was re-branded as The Adventures of Batman & Robin.
Although this next season has a new title sequence, and a lot more Robin, for all intents and purposes it’s business as usual and the programme is still known as Batman: The Animated Series.
It’s worth noting that in the UK all of the episodes of The Adventures of Batman & Robin aired on Saturday morning kids programme, Scratchy & Co. All twenty episodes were screened on a weekly basis, along with a handful of episodes of Batman: The Animated Series that didn’t air on What’s Up Doc?.
30secs – OK, not what I was expecting. The credits are the regular Batman: The Animated Series credits. Will all the episodes include these credits?
2mins – Killer Croc is under armed guard and being transported by train. Naturally, Batman has adopted yet another disguise so he can keep an eye on him.
5mins – Sideshow looks great in HD.
6mins – This entire episode is set outside of Gotham City and sees Batman and Croc out in the wilderness. It’s a nice change of pace for the show and also allows for more colourful backdrops.
11mins – This is the third appearance of Killer Croc in Batman: The Animated Series, but the first time we really get to spend a decent amount of time with the character. Vendetta kept Croc off screen for large chunks of the episode and Almost Got ‘Im wasn’t the real Croc (it was Batman in disguise), so Sideshow is a showcase for who he really is – a despicable individual.
Vendetta is a better Killer Croc episode, but Sideshow provides a better insight into who Killer Croc is.
Last episode for tonight and it’s a Bullock-centric episode…
A Bullet for Bullock
Disclaimer: A Bullet for Bullock won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Music Direction and Composition.
30secs – Ah, now we get the new titles. I can never remember which episodes have the new titles and which don’t. This one does, Sideshow didn’t – both are episodes from The Adventures of Batman & Robin. Go figure!
1min – The title sequence for The Adventures of Batman & Robin is composed of shots taken from previous episodes of Batman: The Animated Series.
3mins – The premise of this episode is that someone has a hit out on Bullock, so the detective enlists the aid of Batman to track down the culprit.
4mins – There’s a real detective/noir feel to this episode.
8mins – As with Sideshow, A Bullet for Bullock puts the spotlight on a character who, up to this point, has had limited screen time.
11mins – I’m now 67 episodes into this Blu-ray boxset and there’s one character who I’ve not mentioned yet – Summer Gleason. Gleason has been a background player across the course of this series and appears in 22 episodes. Mari Devon provides voice over duties for the character, who will continue to appear sporadically throughout this season.
16mins – There’s a reason that this episode won an Emmy for its music – the score is excellent. I can’t think of any other cartoon that has a soundtrack as diverse or as good as the one used in Batman: The Animated Series.
19mins – The person who has been trying to bump off Bullock is Bullock’s landlord. What an ending!
A good set of episodes. That’s all for today.
Batman: The Animated Series: Revisited will continue…
- On this day in geekdom – Sept 5th
- Review: The Legend of Batman Collection (Eaglemoss)
- Batman Beyond is coming to Blu-ray