Batman: The Animated Series: Revisited continues today and that means more episodes from the Blu-ray boxset. And I’m up to episode 94…

Not going to lie – I’m not a fan of this episode, at all.

Love is a Croc

Image: ©Warner Bros. Animation

Love is a Croc marks the second and final appearance of Baby-Doll in Batman: The Animated Series. I LOVE the first appearance of Baby-Doll, but this follow-up leaves me cold.

I don’t like the redesign; I’m not a fan of the Killer Croc/Baby-Doll team-up; I think the story is weak; and jeez, it’s slow.

Let’s get on with it, shall we?

*Clicks play*

1min – As well as re-introducing Baby-Doll into Batman: The Animated Series, Love is a Croc also presents a new-look Killer Croc. 

2mins – Baby-Doll is now voiced by Larraine Newman, replacing Alison LaPlaca.

3mins 45secs – In this series, Croc is now voiced by Brooks Gardner, replacing Aron Kincaid.

6mins 40secs – Croc seems even less human than he was in previous episodes (if that’s possible).

9mins – Baby-Doll and Croc are making an attempt at domestic life together. How nice.

10mins – “What do you suppose they do on a date?”

*Clicks stop*

Yeah, still not a fan of this episode. 

Baby-Doll’s first appearance worked well because she was a somewhat appealing villain. This episode falls flat because Baby-Doll is no longer likeable and Killer Croc is a fairly one-dimensional character.

Torch Song

Image: ©Warner Bros. Animation

*Clicks play*

2mins – Torch Song marks the debut appearance of Garfield Lynns, aka Firefly in Batman: The Animated Series.

8mins 50secs – Firefly has a ‘fire’ sword. It’s like a lightsaber, only the blade is made from fire.

11mins – One of the best things about the updated animation in The New Batman Adventures are the backgrounds. Gotham has a permanent blood red sky and it looks very, very sinister. The city seems to have moved forward in time, no longer looking like it’s trapped in the 1940s, but instead as if it’s become a truly twisted place to live.

17mins – Batman has a new, fireproof costume. Huzzah! 

*Clicks stop*

Not much to say about this one I’m afraid. While not terrible, Torch Song is a throwaway episode that doesn’t make any real impression. Not doing great today, are we?

As with Love is a Croc and The Ultimate Thrill (see below) the villains in these episodes are all too one-dimensional, so they don’t make much of an impact. The episodes are fine to watch but they don’t linger in the mind once the stop button has been pressed.

The Ultimate Thrill

Image: ©Warner Bros. Animation

*Clicks play*

1mins 30secs – The Ultimate Thrill marks the first and only appearance of Roxy Rocket in Batman: The Animated Series. The character makes one additional appearance in the DC Animated Universe, via the episode, Knight Time in Superman: The Animated Series.

2mins – Interesting little fact for you: Roxy made her debut in the DC comic book, The Batman Adventures – a comic book spin-off of Batman: The Animated Series. The character was created by Bruce Timm and Paul Dini for a one-off appearance in the comic, but was brought into the TV series for this episode.

7mins 20secs – Lucius Fox is back. Mel Winkler is now voicing the character, having taken over from Brock Peters.

7mins 30secs – Fox appears in four episodes of The New Batman Adventures: Double Talk, The Ultimate Thrill, Mean Seasons and Chemistry

12mins – This episode is the third consecutive story to focus on a Batman/Batgirl team-up. Neither Robin nor Nightwing appear in Love is a Croc, Torch Song or The Ultimate Thrill.

14mins 30secs – The Penguin appears throughout this episode. Since his makeover, the Penguin no longer becomes the sole villain of a story; instead he is more of a background player.

18mins – All of the aerial scenes in The Ultimate Thrill ride are slick. 

*Clicks stop*

Not a bad episode of The New Batman Adventures, but nothing to shout about. Roxy Rocket is an odd villain that just about works for this story, but would struggle to generate any more interest in future stories – which is possibly why she only gets one additional tale in an episode of Superman: The Animated Series.

Now at this point it might seem like I’m not so impressed with The New Batman Adventures, having been less than interested in the last three stories. Truth is, there are a few episodes in this run which aren’t that great and so it’s fair to be critical.

Now, that said, I must make it clear that the episodes above aren’t awful, they just don’t push the envelope or quite hit the high marks that the series has previously set. But that’s OK, because I’ve now reached one of THE BEST episodes of the entire run of Batman: The Animated Series, which makes things all better.

Before I start this episode, if you’re reading along and you know nothing about this next story, you might want to stop reading so you can watch it first. This story is best viewed with no prior knowledge.

Trust me.

Over the Edge

Image: ©Warner Bros. Animation

*Clicks play*

1min 15secs – This episode opens with Batman and Robin being chased through the Batcave by armed police. Bullets rain down as Commissioner Gordon calls out to Bruce Wayne (not Batman) and tells him to halt.

1min 30secs – Dick Grayson’s Robin suit is hanging up in the Batcave. It has just been destroyed in a barrage of bullets.

3mins – This opening sequence is not only exhilarating to watch, it leaves first-time viewers asking so many questions: What are the police doing in the Batcave? How does Commissioner Gordon know Batman’s true identity? Why are Batman & Robin being hunted by the cops?

4mins – Nightwing has just put in an appearance to offer Batman and Robin some support.

4mins 40secs – “I can see it as clearly as my parents’ murder.”

4mins 45secs – Flashback!

4mins 50secs – Scarecrow appears briefly in this episode. This is the clue that something isn’t quite right about the way events are unfolding.

5mins 40secs – And this is the moment where Batgirl gets knocked off the top of a building. But she’ll be OK, right?

5mins 50secs – Nope.

6mins – Batgirl has just hit a passing police car, which is being driven by Harvey Bullock and Commissioner Gordon. It’s brutal.

6mins 15secs – Gordon unmasks Batgirl, discovering she is his daughter. Barbara dies in his arms.

7mins – The twin shock here is Batgirl’s death and Gordon’s discovery of the Batgirl/Barbara identity. One of these would have been enough for an entire episode, but this story goes for the double-whammy giving us a one-two punch. And it’s about to get worse.

8mins 30secs – Gordon has uncovered Batman’s secret identity.

9mins 30secs – With the police raiding Wayne Manor, Bruce knows his days as Batman are over. He turns to a painting of his parents and apologises for letting them down. 

10mins – End of flashback.

11mins 30secs – Barbara is dead, Alfred and Dick Grayson have been arrested and Tim Drake has been told to abandon his role as Robin and to disappear. Batman is on his own now. 

13mins – And now, amidst all the chaos, a comedic interlude featuring Harley, the Mad Hatter, the Riddler, Scarface and The Ventriloquist. It’s an odd scene, but it’s included to ensure the audience has a breather – there’s simply so much going on in this one episode not to have a breather!

13mins 10secs – This episode marks the first appearance of Mad Hatter and Riddler in their new costumes.

15mins – As well as being a tour de force of writing, Over the Edge is visually stunning.

15mins 45secs – And now here comes Bane! He too has had a makeover. His costume is even more S&M than before, but in my opinion it looks better.

17mins 30secs – Now at this point in the episode, when I watched it for the very first time, I had no idea how this story was going to resolve itself. With so much going on and less than four minutes left on the clock, I was completely baffled and transfixed.

19mins – And here’s the resolve…. *SPOILER*  …Barbara didn’t die. Instead of being knocked off the roof, Barbara was hit with the Scarecrow’s fear gas. Her greatest fear was that something would happen to her before she ever got the chance to be completely honest with her father about her life as Batgirl. That fear manifested itself as the worst possible scenario – the one that has played out during this entire episode!

20mins 30secs – So, it was all a dream. Bit of a cop-out ending, right? Hmmm… not so. It would have been a cop-out if not for this next scene, in which Barbara decides to tell her father the truth.

20mins 45secs – Before Barbara is able to reveal her secret, Commissioner Gordon stops her.

20mins 50secs – Gordon: “Sweetheart, you’re capable of making your own decisions. You don’t need me to approve or even acknowledge them, and in this case, I can’t. All you need to know is, I love you. ALL of you. And that is all I have to say on the subject.”

21mins – Without saying it directly, Commissioner Gordon has revealed that a.) he knows his daughter is Batgirl and b.) he knows the identities of the entire Bat-family. He’s happy to turn a blind eye because he understands the importance of what they all do.

*Clicks stop*

Amazing. Simply amazing.

Over the Edge is relentless and arguably one of the best, if not THE best, episodes of the entire series. I’d probably place it just behind Heart of Ice when ranking the episodes, simply because Heart of Ice is an episode which (at the time) truly demonstrated that Batman: The Animated Series was something special.

However way you cut it, Over the Edge is fantastic storytelling. A great Batman story, period.

Mean Seasons 

Image: ©Warner Bros. Animation

*Clicks play*

2mins – Mean Seasons marks the first and only appearance of Calendar Girl in Batman: The Animated Series.

3mins 30secs – Lucius Fox puts in another appearance. 

8mins – Calendar Girl is a great one-time-only Batman character. She’s obsessed with her appearance and it has turned her into a crazed villain. Plus, she looks so cool.

12mins – Every time Calendar Girl pops up she is wearing a different outfit. I love it! This character has Joel-Schumacher-Bat-villain written all over her. 

13mins 30secs – Batman Vs an animatronic dinosaur! 100 times better than the movie, Batman Vs Superman.

14mins – This whole dino-sequence looks fantastic in HD. The sky looks SO RED. I don’t know if I want to see more Batman Vs dinosaur action or I just want to stare at the sky for hours.

19mins – Mean Seasons feels very much like an old school episode of Batman: The Animated Series. Perhaps that’s why I love it so much.

*Clicks stop*

Critters

Image: ©Warner Bros. Animation

*Clicks play*

2mins – Critters is not a good episode.

4mins – Farmer Brown creates some genetically modified creatures and sets them loose on Gotham. Highbrow storytelling it is not. Oh and yeah, this is the first and only appearance of Farmer Brown.

5mins – A collection of giant praying mantises are attacking Batman. I know I was all for the giant dinosaur in Mean Seasons, but the giant praying mantises are just daft.

6mins – This episode just doesn’t work. It’s too weird. It’s more of a Superman episode than a Batman episode and even then it wouldn’t fit comfortably in Superman: The Animated Series.

8mins – Visually it looks good, but the story veers too far into sci-fi territory to work. Batman: The Animated Series has had its fair share of science fiction tales, but this one seems a little too far fetched. 

12mins – A talking goat? OK, so I know this is a series with a man-bat, a guy made of clay and a crocodile man, but even so, a talking goat?!

*Clicks stop*

In earlier posts I said there were only two real duds in Batman: The Animated SeriesThe Terrible Trio and The Lion and the Unicorn. I take it back, there are three. I’d forgotten just how bad Critters is.

One final episode for today…

Cult of the Cat

Image: ©Warner Bros. Animation

*Clicks start*

2mins – This episode looks so good in HD. Once again, the skyline is the star. IT’S SOOOOOOOOO RED.

3mins – So, if you hadn’t guessed, this is a Catwoman episode.

7mins – Batman and Catwoman are teaming up. This kind of thing never ends well. You’d think that Batman would know this by now.

8mins – Once again – WHY CAN’T WE HAVE A CATWOMAN SHOW?!

8mins 30secs – OK, so I’m aware that Batman: The Animated Series is 26 years old but surely Adrienne Barbeau would be up for reprising the role, right? #LetsMakeACatwomanShowHappen

15mins – In my opinion, this is one of the best looking episodes of The New Batman Adventures. The story – about a cat cult – is not all that, but the animation is topnotch. 

*Clicks stop*

That’s all for today. I’ve now watched 100 episodes, which means there are just nine episodes to go!

More tomorrow?

You betchya!  

Read: Batman: The Animated Series: Revisited – Part 19

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