If you’re about to read this post without reading the 13 previous posts then stop, go back, and catch up! Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13 are all sat waiting for you to read and enjoy – so go on!
For those who are up to date, welcome back to Batman: The Animated Series: Revisited. I’m back to running through episodes off the recent Blu-ray boxset and by my reckoning I’m up to episode 72.
Let’s get started…
1min – Still opening with the original credits and not the credits for The Adventures of Batman & Robin. How odd.
4mins – The premise: The Joker has stolen a bomb and threatens to blow up Gotham City. Batman enlists the aid of Harley Quinn to help track down the Clown Prince of Crime. What could possibly go wrong?
4mins 30secs – This episode is packed full of great lines.
9mins – The first appearance of Boxy Bennett, as voiced by Dick Miller. Bennett makes his next appearance in Harley’s Holiday.
10mins – Harley is singing and its… er… amazing.
12mins 30secs – Another nod to Harley’s origin. The full details are still to be revealed.
13mins 45secs – “And you thought I was just another bubble-headed blonde bimbo. Well the joke’s on you; I’m not even a real blonde!”
18mins – Harley double-crosses Batman, then double-crosses the Joker. She’s nothing if not consistent.
21mins 30secs – Despite all the double-crossing, plus the fact that the Joker and Harley both tried to kill each other, the pair still end up together by the end of the episode.
Harlequinnade is a fun episode which gives Harley the opportunity to shine. At this point in the general Bat-mythology, Harley is still very much an unknown, novelty character. This episode, along with Harley & Ivy and Harley’s Holiday demonstrates there is a great deal of potential in the character.
Time Out of Joint
1min – The credits have switched to those used for The Adventures of Batman & Robin. This is getting confusing.
1min 30secs – A mention for Veronica Vreeland, but the character doesn’t appear in the episode.
4mins – The Clock King makes his second appearance in Batman: The Animated Series. This is his final appearance in the series but not in the DC Animated Universe (DCAU). The character makes his next appearance in Justice League Unlimited.
6mins 30secs – Time has moved on since The Clock King last appeared in the series, but he still desires revenge against Mayor Hill. Obsessed much?
14mins – The Batmobile has been booby trapped! Batman & Robin are trapped in time! This whole sequence looks so cool in HD.
15mins 30secs – Due to the time trap, the Dynamic Duo have lost 48 hours.
17mins 50secs – Batman & Robin are out of town and have two minutes to return to Gotham in order to save the Mayor. The only way to get there is to use time-altering devices that allow them to move outside of time. Pure sci-fi, but a lot of fun to watch.
18mins – “Oh, faster than a speeding bullet.”
An enjoyable episode, with some neat sequences involving time jumps, but not quite as strong as The Clock King’s debut appearance.
Actually, before I move on to the next episode, I feel it’s time to talk a little about the air dates for these episodes.
In the US, The Adventures of Batman & Robin aired across 1994 and 1995. In the UK, episodes didn’t start airing until 1995.
At this point in time, the live-action Batman movie franchise had moved onto the third film in the series, Batman Forever (1995). So when these episodes were airing, for UK audiences it was after Batman Forever had been released in cinemas.
Batman mania was in FULL swing, so as a young Bat-fan who loved (and still loves) Batman Forever, this was a great time to be into the Dark Knight. My appetite for Batman was probably at its peak at this point in time and it’s fair to say this was likely to be the same for many young fans.
In the UK, no new episodes of Batman: The Animated Series had aired in a year, so when episodes of The Adventures of Batman & Robin started appearing on a Saturday morning it felt like a true gift. Whether ITV had planned to hold off airing these episodes until they were all available, or whether it was just a last minute decision to air them due to the success of Batman Forever is unclear, but either way it was fantastic to see the show back on TV.
In 1995, the UK only had four television channels, unless you were one of the few households to have access to satellite TV (SKY). The four regular TV channels had to cater for all types of viewer, so children’s programming was limited and there wasn’t room for endless repeats of Batman: The Animated Series.
Up until the time these new episodes aired, the only way you could watch Batman: The Animated Series was either through the odd VHS releases or if you taped the episodes off the television when they originally aired. Early episodes were repeated, but the repeats were a bit random and not every episode received an encore screening.
Knowing that these new episodes might not get a repeat, I made sure I taped every single one. This meant having to endure parts of Scratchy & Co – a Saturday morning kids show I really didn’t like.
The things I did for Batman.
Scratchy & Co aside, due to my determination to record all of these episodes, I would say I’ve watched & re-watched The Adventures of Batman & Robin more than I watched episodes from the original run of Batman: The Animated Series. Out of curiosity, I’d now love to go back to those old VHS tapes from this period just to see how poor the quality was – I must have worn the heck out of those tapes!
Alas, my tapes of The Adventures of Batman & Robin are lost to time. Well, lost to a landfill site anyway.
OK, enough with the brief interlude – back to episodes of The Adventures of Batman & Robin. Oooh… it’s a Catwoman episode!
2mins – This episode opens with a look at the volatile relationship between Catwoman and Batman with a recap of where we’re up to in their story. At this point in time, Selina Kyle is trying to keep on the straight and narrow but it’s a real struggle.
3mins – Veronica Vreeland has put in another appearance.
5mins 45secs – Scarface and The Ventriloquist feature in this episode.
6mins 35secs – “You’re boring me, log.”
10mins – I’ve not mentioned much about the HD as of late, but that’s because I’ve been re-watching this show for two weeks solid now, so I’ve got used to seeing episodes look amazing. So, if I don’t make any specific comments about the picture quality on this boxset, presume it’s very good!
12mins 40secs – “Do you know what’s wrong with out relationship? You always let me get too close?”
14mins 50secs – Scarface is on the phone to the Penguin. Penguin doesn’t appear in this episode, but it’s fun to see the interaction.
19mins – The Ventriloquist is such a great villain.
21mins – This episode opened with the credits for The Adventures of Batman & Robin, but is closing with the credits for Batman: The Animated Series. WHY?!
1min – This episode marks the first appearance of Bane in Batman: The Animated Series. At the time of broadcast (Sept 1994 in the US), Bane was a relatively new Batman villain, having made his comic book debut in January 1993.
2mins – Rupert Thorne is back. John Vernon played the role of Rupert Thorne nine times across the course of Batman: The Animated Series. The character did not appear in episodes of The New Batman Adventures, but he did reappear in the movie, Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman (2003).
2mins 30secs – I’ve only just discovered (via IMDb) that John Vernon passed away in 2005. I didn’t know. I thought he had simply retired.
7mins – I always forget that Killer Croc is in this episode.
10mins – Bane charges $5 million a hit!
11mins – Bane Vs Robin! I think I know who is going to win.
11mins 10secs – The background in this scene showcases a blood red sky. This colouring would become a mainstay for episodes produced during the era of The New Batman Adventures.
15mins – Although Bane was a new character in Batman lore, I actually did know who he was prior to this episode hitting TV screens. As a comic book reader, I saw adverts for Knightfall – the big Bane story – everywhere, so I simply couldn’t escape him.
17mins – This is a great episode by the way. It doesn’t have emotional depth like some of the best episodes of the series and it doesn’t have a great deal of character development but it’s filled with action!
18mins 50secs – “You’ve got nothing. Beg for mercy. Scream my NAME!”
19mins 20secs – This is happening right now…
19mins 40secs – No matter how many times the ‘Venom’ overload sequence is used in Bane stories, this one is still the best.
A great episode. Speaking of which, it’s time for another great episode (after a disc change).
This episode shouldn’t work. The ‘Tiny Toons‘-style villain should be enough to stop it from being classic, but it doesn’t and Baby-Doll is one of my favourite episodes of the entire run of Batman: The Animated Series.
1mins 40secs – Baby-Doll marks the first of two appearances for Mary Louise Dahl (aka Baby-Doll). The character makes her next appearance in the episode, Love is a Croc.
3mins 25secs – Dahl was born with systemic hypoplasia – a rare condition which stops her from ageing.
4mins – The premise of this episode is as follows: Dahl was once a high-profile TV actress and lead in a popular sitcom. In recent years, with work drying up, Dahl kidnaps the original cast of the TV show to recreate the magic of her sitcom days.
5mins 30secs – “I didn’t mean to.”
10mins – For the first half of this episode, Dahl speaks like a toddler. It’s at this point that her voice switches and we get an insight into what she really sounds like. She may look like a child, but she’s really an adult. Voice actor, Alison Laplaca does an excellent job here, giving Baby her voice.
13mins 30secs – Robin is in disguise!
18mins – Dahl isn’t an imposing villain, so she has to think on her feet. As she’s on the run from Batman, she’s using what is around her to keep Batman occupied. She’s at a carnival, naturally she’d head to the fun house.
19mins 30secs – (Staring at a fun house mirror) “Look. That’s me in there. The real me. There I am. But it’s not really real, is it? It’s all just made up and pretend like my family and my life and everything else. Why couldn’t you just let me make believe?”
20mins 20secs – As the episode ends, Batman comforts Dahl.
*Wipes tear from eye*
A poignant ending.
And now, from the sublime to the truly awful. When talking about The Terrible Trio I noted that the episode was one of only two real duds. This is the other dud…
The Lion and the Unicorn
2mins – The Lion and the Unicorn marks the second and final appearance of Red Claw, following her debut in The Cat and the Claw – Part 1 & Part 2.
5mins – Alfred is the star of this episode, which is predominantly set in London. I’m not sure what part of London this episode is based on, but it’s not a London I’m familiar with.
6mins 45secs – Kate Mulgrew is great as Red Claw, but this episode is just dire. It feels very much like it has been produced by someone whose idea of England is based on watching Mary Poppins (1964).
11mins 20secs – “And people wonder why no one takes Britain seriously anymore.” Er… did Red Claw just predict Brexit?!
14mins – If Heart of Ice, Two-Face – Part 1, Over the Edge and Robin’s Reckoning – Part 1 & Part 2 are at the top end of the storytelling pile, then The Lion and the Unicorn would be very much at the bottom.
16mins – Kate Mulgrew deserves much better than this.
19mins – The Batwing gets lots to do in this episode. I’m trying to say something positive.
19mins 30secs – Red Claw just unmasked Batman!
20mins – Batman has just saved London from destruction.
Poor episode. Very poor.
One final episode for today, which is episode 78 on the boxset (if you’re trying to keep track).
2mins 30secs – Showdown marks the final appearance of Ra’s al Ghul in Batman: The Animated Series, but not the final appearance of Ra’s al Ghul in the DC Animated Universe. The character reappears in Superman: The Animated Series and Batman Beyond.
3mins 30secs – We’re in flashback territory and this is where we’re staying for the majority of this episode. Showdown fills in a little backstory for Ra’s al Ghul with a step back in time.
4mins – The first and only appearance of Jonah Hex in Batman: The Animated Series. This is another character who will return to the DCAU, this time via an episode of Justice League Unlimited.
11mins – As the majority of this episode takes place in the past, Batman & Robin are largely absent from the story only appearing at the beginning and the end to bookend the tale.
15mins – Showdown is a good tale, but it does stand out as an odd inclusion within the porfolio of Batman: The Animated Series because it spends more time with Jonah Hex than anyone else. It feels like a backdoor pilot for a Jonah Hex show that didn’t happen.
19mins – And now the whole point of this episode – to reveal that Ras al Ghul has a son. If this had happened at the start of the story there would have been no need for this episode.
Right, that’s it for today. More tomorrow!