Batman: The Animated Series: Revisited returns today with another collection of Batman tales. I’m continuing to work my way through the Blu-ray boxset and today I’m up to episode 79…

Riddler’s Reform

Image: ©Warner Bros. Animation

*Clicks play*

1mins 30secs – The Riddler has been released from prison.

2mins 40secs – Robin has just made a reference to the episode, What is Reality?

3mins 30secs – The Riddler claims he’s gone legit and is now spearheading a line of toys – Wacko Toys to be exact.

4mins 20secs – A TV report has just name checked the Penguin and Janet Van Dorn. 

6mins 30secs – The aim of this episode is to flirt with the possibility that the Riddler has reformed – a theme first touched upon in the Poison Ivy-starring episode, House & Garden. This theme is also revisited in the next two episodes, Second Chance and Harley’s Holiday.

15mins – As a reminder, when this episode aired in the UK, Batman Forever was one of the big movies of the year. Riddler was one of the chief villains in Batman Forever (alongside Two-Face), but Jim Carrey’s Riddler was very different to the Riddler we see here.

*Clicks stop*

Not my favourite Riddler episode, but a decent one nonetheless. 

Second Chance 

Image: ©Warner Bros. Animation

*Clicks play*

1min – Second Chance is a really interesting Two-Face episode, which delves further into Harvey Dent’s psyche.

2mins – A flashback to the events of Two-Face – Part 1, to remind the audience how Harvey Dent became disfigured. 

3mins 30secs – And now a reminder of Harvey’s friendship with Bruce Wayne – “Good old Bruce, he’s never given up on me.”

4mins 20secs – The premise: After responding well to therapy, Harvey Dent is due to have an operation to restore his appearance, removing all physical trace of Two-Face. Just as the procedure is due to take place, a masked gang enter the operating room and kidnap Dent, leading Batman & Robin to investigate Dent’s abduction. 

7mins – So, who kidnapped Harvey Dent? Any suggestions?

12mins 30secs – Both Penguin and Rupert Thorne are suspects, but neither are involved in Dent’s abduction. 

14mins – Batman has deduced the culprit and it’s Harvey’s worst enemy – himself!

14mins 50secs – Two-Face kidnapped Harvey Dent. Knowing that Harvey was planning on erasing the Two-Face personality, Two-Face kidnapped himself out of self-preservation. 

16mins – “You’re your own worst enemy, Harvey.”

*Clicks stop*

A strong episode, with an element of mystery. The idea that Harvey Dent is in a permanent state of conflict is a theme picked up once again in the episode, Judgement Day.

Harley’s Holiday

Image: ©Warner Bros. Animation

*Clicks play*

1min 30secs – Scarecrow gets a cameo.

2mins – Harley has been declared sane and is being let out of Arkham. You’d think that after the trouble with Riddler and Two-Face in the previous two episodes, the Arkham doctors would be less inclined to release yet another villain, but hey ho.

3mins 20secs – Veronica Vreeland appears in this episode – becoming an integral part of the plot.

6mins – Premise: Harley mistakenly believes she is being accused of theft. Jumping to conclusions and fearing a return to Arkham Asylum, Quinn kidnaps Veronica Vreeland and goes on the run. Various people chase after her including Batman & Robin, leading to hilarious consequences.

10mins – Boxy Bennett makes his second and final appearance in Batman: The Animated Series, following his debut in Harlequinnade.

14mins 30secs – Paul Dini is the writer behind Harley’s Holiday and if there’s one thing Dini can do above all else, it’s comedy.

19mins 40secs – “I know what it’s like to try to rebuild a life. I had a bad day too, once.”

20mins – A Poison Ivy cameo as the episode concludes.

*Clicks stop*

Arguably the most humorous episode of Batman: The Animated Series and one which makes it clear Harley is one of the best Bat-villains of the entire series. Harley may have been invented purely for this show, but it is clear here that she is destined for bigger things.

And speaking of original characters…

Lock-Up

Image: ©Warner Bros. Animation

*Clicks play*

1min – This episode introduces a new, original villain in the shape of Lock-Up, aka Arkham guard, Lyle Bolton. Bolton has appeared in the series previously, but here he gets to become a super villain.

1min 25secs – Scarecrow is being returned to Arkham Asylum and he’s scared – he’s scared of Lyle Bolton.

2min – “I won’t let you and the people of Gotham City down again, Batman.”

4mins – Bolton is at a hearing, accused of mistreating the inmates of Arkham. It’s not long before he shows his true colours.

9mins 40secs – “Another fine villain made possible by a grant from the Wayne Foundation.”

12mins 30secs – Bolton is kidnapping leading figures in Gotham City: Commissioner Gordon, Mayor Hill, Summer Gleason and Dr. Bartholomew. He believes they are to blame for Gotham’s problems.

20mins 30secs – Lock-up’s plan backfired and now he’s back in Arkham, but this time as an inmate. From his point of view he’s now in the one place where he can keep an eye on all of the villains.

*Clicks stop*

Lock-up is a one-time only villain in Batman: The Animated Series, but his sole appearance is a good one. As with Harley Quinn, Lock-up proved popular enough to be integrated into the comics.

Make ‘Em Laugh

Image: ©Warner Bros. Animation

*Clicks play*

5mins – This episode introduces three comical villains: The Condiment King, The Pack Rat and Mighty Mom.

11mins – Gotham citizens are acting out of character, leading the Dynamic Duo to believe the Mad Hatter is behind the change in behaviour. After a visit to Arkham they discover someone has stolen the Mad Hatter’s technology and that person is the Joker.

12mins – This episode offers a snapshot into the Joker’s past. At some point in time, he tried his hand at stand-up comedy. 

17mins – I’ve got to say, this isn’t one of the best Joker episodes. The best lines are given to the mind controlled villains and the Joker doesn’t really get much to do.

*Clicks stop*

Meh. Not one of my favourites.

Deep Freeze

Image: ©Warner Bros. Animation

*Clicks play*

3mins – Deep Freeze is the second episode to feature Mr. Freeze. In total, Freeze made five appearances in the DC Animated Universe – Three appearances in Batman: The Animated Series, one appearance in Batman Beyond and a significant role in the movie, Batman: Subzero (1998). All five appearances (including the Batman Beyond episode) can be viewed on this Blu-ray boxset.

3mins 45secs – Robots expert, Karl Rossum makes his third and final appearance in Deep Freeze.

3mins 55secs – Rossum’s office includes blink-and-you’ll-miss-them appearances for Batmite, Krypto, Streaky and Mr. Mxyzptlk.

8mins – Revelation #1: Mr. Freeze ages at a different rate to everyone else – he’s practically immortal. This is a plot point later used in the Batman Beyond episode, Meltdown.

9mins 40secs – Revelation #2: Nora Fries is alive.

18mins – This is an interesting episode because it moves the Mr. Freeze story forward. He’s got his wife back (albeit housed in ice) but he’s forever trapped in his robot body.

19mins – This episode introduces Grant Walker, who effectively becomes Mr. Freeze Mark II. Walker transforms himself into a second-rate Freeze for this one-time-only appearance in the show.

*Clicks stop*

Right time for one last episode for today. I wonder what this episode could be about?

Batgirl Returns

Image: ©Warner Bros. Animation

*Clicks play*

1min – OK, you guessed it. Batgirl Returns deals with the reappearance of Batgirl, who was last seen in the episode Shadow of the Bat – Part 2.

5mins – This is also a Catwoman and Robin episode. Batman barely features.

6mins – This episode looks lovely in HD. 

12mins – Catwoman and Batgirl have teamed up. Once again, WHY DOES CATWOMAN NOT HAVE HER OWN SHOW?

12mins 45mins – Batgirl has just made a reference to Matt Hagen and the events of Feat of Clay.

13mins – Catwoman has just referenced the episode, Cat Scratch Fever.

13mins 45secs – This episode marks the final appearance of Roland Daggett in Batman: The Animated Series.

19mins – “Haven’t you learned yet, that only the strong survive in this game?”

*Clicks stop*

A purr-fect ending to The Adventures of Batman & Robin.

85 episodes done and that’s the end of The Adventures of Batman & Robin.
Tomorrow I move onto The New Batman Adventures – the final phase of Batman: The Animated Series.

To my knowledge, in the UK episodes under the banner of The Adventures of Batman & Robin were the last episodes of Batman: The Animated Series to be broadcast on ITV, so for many viewers (i.e. those without access to SKY) this was the end of the road. Other DC Animated Universe shows popped up on ITV (a few episodes of Superman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond Season One etc), but this was it for Batman.

Let’s pick things back up tomorrow and I’ll fill you in on all the details.

Read: Batman: The Animated Series: Revisited – Part 16

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