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Batman: The Animated Series

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The animated Batman shoots his grappling gun from a rooftop in a scene from the episode, "On Leather Wings".
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The animated Batman shoots his grappling gun from a rooftop in a scene from the episode, "On Leather Wings".

Batman: The Animated Series is an acclaimed animated television series adaptation of the comic book series featuring the DC Comics superhero, Batman.

The original episodes, produced by Bruce Timm and Eric Radomski, were first aired from 1992 to 1995, and are sometimes broadcast as The Adventures of Batman and Robin. The success of the original series led to a new series based on the original Batman The Animated Series being made. The new show aired from 1997 to 1999 under the title Batman: Gotham Knights (reflecting an expanded supporting cast that included Batgirl and Nightwing in addition to a new Robin). Some of these episodes were aired as part of The New Batman/Superman Adventures. In certain countries episodes of Gotham Knights were mixed with episodes of Batman: The Animated Series using the same intro sequence, as a result many sources incorrectly list the two series as being one and the same.

The series was partially inspired by Tim Burton's 1989 blockbuster Batman film, and initially took as its theme a variation of music written by Danny Elfman for the film. (Later episodes of the series used a new theme written in a similar style by Shirley Walker.) Another strong influence was the acclaimed Superman cartoons produced by Fleischer Studios. The series premiered in 1992, a few months after the successful release of the second Batman movie, Batman Returns. It eventually ran for 85 episodes, ending in Fall 1995.

Contents

Overview

Timm and Radomski designed the series by emulating the Tim Burton films' "otherworldy timelessness", incorporating "old-time" features such as black-and-white title cards, police blimps, and a "vintage" color scheme, partially inspired by the Fleischer Studios Superman cartoons of the 1940s, as well as film noir. The distinctive combination of film noir imagery and Art Deco designs was called "Dark Deco" by the producers. In their constant quest to make the show darker, the producers pushed the boundaries of action cartoons: it was the first such cartoon in years to depict firearms being fired, and many of the series' backgrounds were painted on black paper. First-time producers Timm and Radomski reportedly encountered resistance from studio executives, but the success of Burton's first film allowed the embryonic series to survive long enough to produce a pilot episode, "On Leather Wings", which according to Timm "got a lot of people off our backs."

The series was the first of the modern "DC Animated Continuity". It was entirely separate from the previous continuity of Warner Bros. DC Comics adaptation cartoons, namely The Superfriends.

Missing image
BTAS_joker.jpg
The Joker as he appeared in the series. His voice was provided by Mark Hamill.

The Emmy Award-winning series quickly received wide acclaim for its distinctive animation and mature writing, and it instantly became a hit. Fans of a wide age range praised the show's sophisticated, cinematic tone and psychological stories. Voice-actor Kevin Conroy, for example, used two distinct voices to portray Bruce Wayne and Batman, transforming one character into two. This series also featured a supporting cast that included major actors performing the voices of the various classic villains, most notably Mark Hamill, who defined a whole new career for himself in animation with his cheerfully deranged portrayal of the Joker.

Key to the series' artistic success is that it managed to redefine classic characters, paying homage to their previous portrayals while giving them new dramatic force. Villains such as Two-Face and the Mad Hatter, as well as heroes like Robin, are proof of this. The best example of this dramatic change is Mr. Freeze; Batman: TAS turned him from a clichéd mad scientist with a gimmick for cold to a tragic figure whose frigid exterior hides a doomed love and a cold vindictive fury. However, the most famous of the series' innovations is the Joker's hapless assistant, Harley Quinn, who became so popular that DC added her to the Batman comics.

This series became a cornerstone of Warner Brothers' animation department, which became one of the top producers of television animation and sparked a large franchise of similar TV adaptations of DC Comics characters.

Batman: The Animated Series premiered on the Fox Network and aired there for its first two seasons; however, it was then switched to Warner Bros.' new WB Network in the mid-1990s. Shortly before the transition, Fox aired episodes of the series in prime-time on Sunday evenings, marking one of the few times a show created initially for Saturday morning cartoons was scheduled for prime-time broadcast. However, the TV ratings were poor (the show aired opposite the perennial favorite 60 Minutes), and the series was removed from prime time.

After the series produced its 65th episode (the minimum number necessary for a TV series to be successfully syndicated), the show's popularity encouraged Warner Bros. to produce further episodes, furthering the animated adventures of the Caped Crusader. The Batman animated series was combined with the newer Superman: The Animated Series in the late 1990s in an hour-long Batman/Superman show; in fact, Batman and some of his supporting cast appear in five episodes that are officially part of Superman: The Animated Series. In 1999, a new spin-off series, Batman Beyond, was released to further critical acclaim. In 2002, the Justice League animated series was released, building on the success of both the Batman and Superman animated series, and featured Batman as one of the founders of the League. Also of note is the fact that several of the animators from Japanese animation studio Sunrise worked on the series - their work on Batman would become a great influence on one of their later series, Big O.

Threatical and Direct-to-Video Releases

A feature-length animated Batman film was produced for theatrical release, based on the animated series: Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993). The film was well-received by fans of the series, but only generated mediocre box office revenue. There were also three direct-to-video movies based on or tied-to the series: Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero (1998), "Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker" (2000), and Mystery of the Batwoman (2003). A made-for-TV feature-length episode of the Batman/Superman series, "World's Finest", has been released on video as The Batman/Superman Movie. Collections of episodes from the series are also readily available on video.

Missing image
Grey_ghost.jpg
The Gray Ghost from the episode of a similar name, "Beware the Gray Ghost". Adam West provided the voice for a washed-up superhero serial actor who finds himself needed once more.

Newly Invented DC Characters and Objects

A character, Gray Ghost, played by Adam West who was Batman in the 1960's TV Series, resembles the DC Comics movie of the 1940s called Spy-Smasher. Red Claw and Red Sonya, in particular was made for the series. There was also Harley Quinn, Joker's sidekick, who became a DC Comics character. Mr. Freeze also adapted the cold guise to comics. Clayface was reinvented but have akward similarities to the original Plasmus of the Teen Titans. In two episodes, Batman faces Kyodai Ken, a ninja whose abilities match his own. The Phantasm was also derived for the series, in the movie Mask of the Phantasm. Some characters like Count Vertigo and Bane were modified in costume or personality. Batman's grapling hook and Batmobile were also redesigned for the series.

The Lost Episode

A lost episode of the series was made from sixteen minutes of animated segments in the video game The Adventures of Batman and Robin for the Sega CD. It can be viewed here (http://www.toonamiarsenal.com/features/lostbatman/), courtesy of the Toonami Digital Arsenal (http://www.toonamiarsenal.com/).

Influence on the World

This series had a profound influence on the superhero animated genre in that it set a higher standard of writing and animation quality. In addition, the success of Batman encouraged Walt Disney Pictures management to proceed with their own series, Gargoyles, which strove for the same sophistication as the competition and became a cult favourite in its own right.

Episode List

Season One (Sept 1992-Aug 1993)

  1. The Cat and the Claw (Pt. 1)
  2. On Leather Wings
  3. Heart of Ice
  4. Feat of Clay (Pt. 1)
  5. Feat of Clay (Pt. 2)
  6. It's Never Too Late
  7. Joker's Favor
  8. The Cat and the Claw (Pt. 2)
  9. Pretty Poison
  10. Nothing to Fear
  11. Be a Clown
  12. Appointment in Crime Alley
  13. P.O.V.
  14. The Clock King
  15. The Last Laugh
  16. Eternal Youth
  17. Two-Face (Pt. 1)
  18. Two-Face (Pt. 2)
  19. Fear of Victory
  20. I've Got Batman in My Basement
  21. Vendetta
  22. Prophecy of Doom
  23. The Forgotten
  24. Mad as a Hatter
  25. The Cape and Cowl Conspiracy
  26. Perchance to Dream
  27. The Underdwellers
  28. Night of the Ninja
  29. The Strange Secret of Bruce Wayne
  30. Tyger, Tyger
  31. Dreams in Darkness
  32. Beware the Gray Ghost
  33. Cat Scratch Fever
  34. I Am the Night
  35. Almost Got 'Im
  36. Moon of the Wolf
  37. Terror in the Sky
  38. Christmas With the Joker
  39. Heart of Steel (Pt. 1)
  40. Heart of Steel, (Pt. 2)
  41. If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Rich?
  42. Joker's Wild
  43. His Silicon Soul
  44. Off Balance
  45. What is Reality?
  46. The Laughing Fish
  47. Harley and Ivy
  48. The Mechanic
  49. The Man Who Killed Batman
  50. Zatanna
  51. Robin's Reckoning (Pt. 1)
  52. Birds of a Feather
  53. Robin's Reckoning (Pt. 2)
  54. Blind as a Bat
  55. Day of the Samurai
  56. See No Evil
  57. The Demon's Quest
  58. The Demon's Quest, Part II
  59. Read My Lips
  60. Fire From Olympus

Season 2 (September 1993-August 1994)

  1. Shadow of the Bat (Pt. 1)
  2. Shadow of the Bat (Pt. 2)
  3. Mudslide
  4. The Worry Men
  5. Paging the Crime Doctor
  6. House And Garden
  7. Sideshow
  8. Avatar
  9. Trial
  10. Harlequinade

Season 3 (September 1994-November 1994)

  1. Bane
  2. Second Chance
  3. Riddler's Reform
  4. Baby-Doll
  5. Time Out of Joint
  6. Harley's Holiday
  7. Make 'Em Laugh
  8. Batgirl Returns
  9. Lock-Up
  10. Deep Freeze

Season 4 (September 1995)

  1. The Terrible Trio
  2. Showdown
  3. Catwalk
  4. A Bullet for Bullock
  5. The Lion & the Unicorn

Home video release

Selected episodes were released on VHS throughout the 1990s, and on DVD in the early 2000s.

On July 6, 2004, Warner Brothers Home Video released Volume One of Batman: The Animated Series on DVD, consisting of 28 episodes on 4 discs. Volume Two was released on January 25, 2005. Volume Three, containing 29 episodes (incorrectly listed by packaging as 28) was released May 24, 2005 to complete the collection of the initial series. They are called released as "volumes" rather than "seasons" because the episodes were not aired in production order.

Batman - The Animated Series, Volume One

Disc 1

  • "On Leather Wings"
  • "Christmas with the Joker"
  • "Nothing to Fear"
  • "The Last Laugh"
  • "Pretty Poison"
  • "The Underdwellers"
  • "P.O.V."

Disc 2

  • "The Forgotten"
  • "Be a Clown"
  • "Two Face (Parts 1&2)"
  • "It's Never Too Late"
  • "I've Got Batman in My Basement"
  • "Heart of Ice"

Disc 3

  • "The Cat and the Claw (Parts 1&2)"
  • "See No Evil"
  • "Beware of the Gray Ghost"
  • "Prophecy of Doom"
  • "Feat of Clay (Parts 1&2)"

Disc 4

  • "The Joker's Favor"
  • "Vendetta"
  • "Fear of Victory"
  • "The Clock King"
  • "Appointment in Crime Alley"
  • "Mad as a Hatter"
  • "Dreams in Darkness"

Batman - The Animated Series, Volume Two

Disc 1

  • Eternal Youth
  • Perchance To Dream
  • The Cape And Cowl Conspiracy
  • Robin's Reckoning Part One
  • Robin's Reckoning Part Two
  • The Laughing Fish
  • Night Of The Ninja

Disc 2

  • Cat Scratch Fever
  • The Strange Secret Of Bruce Wayne
  • Heart Of Steel Part One
  • Heart Of Steel Part Two
  • If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Rich?
  • Joker's Wild
  • Tyger, Tyger

Disc 3

  • Moon Of The Wolf
  • Day Of The Samurai
  • Terror In The Sky
  • Almost Got 'im
  • Birds Of A Feather
  • What Is Reality?
  • I Am The Night

Disc 4

  • Off Balance
  • The Man Who Killed Batman
  • Mudslide
  • Paging The Crime Doctor
  • Zatanna
  • The Mechanic
  • Harley & Ivy

Batman - The Animated Series, Volume Three

Disc One

  • Shadow of the Bat Pt1
  • Shadow of the Bat pt2
  • Blind as a Bat
  • The Demon's Quest pt1
  • The Demon's Quest pt 2
  • His Silicon Soul
  • Fire From Olympus

Disc Two

  • Read My lips
  • The Worry Men
  • Sideshow
  • A Bullet for Bullock
  • Trial
  • Avatar
  • House & Garden

Disc Three

  • The Terrible Trio
  • Harlequinade
  • Time Out of Joint
  • Catwalk
  • Bane
  • Baby-Doll
  • The Lion and The Unicorn

Disc Four

  • Showdown
  • Riddler's Reform
  • Second Chance
  • Harleys's Holiday
  • Lock-Up
  • Make 'Em Laugh
  • Deep Freeze
  • Batgirl Returns

Cast

Main cast

Supporting cast

Recurring Villains

Notable Guest Stars

Batman: The Animated Series in other media

The television series was accompanied by a tie-in comic book, The Batman Adventures, which followed the art style and continuity of the television series instead of other Batman comic books. The Batman Adventures, through several format changes to reflect the changing world of the series and its spin-offs, outlasted the series itself by nearly a decade, finally being cancelled in 2004 to make way for the tie-in comic of a new, unrelated Batman animated series, The Batman.

There was also a short-lived series of tie-in novels, adapted from episodes of the series by science fiction author Geary Gravel. To achieve novel-length, Gravel combined several related episodes into a single storyline in each novel. The novels included:

  • Shadows of the Past ("Appointment in Crime Alley", "Robin's Reckoning" two-parter)
  • Dual to the Death ("Two-Face" two-parter, "Shadow of the Bat" two-parter)
  • The Dragon and the Bat
  • Mask of the Phantasm (Batman: Mask of the Phantasm movie)

There were also several tie-in video games that achieved very limited success due to generally poor critical reaction excluding the Super Famicom game titled "The Adventures of Batman and Robin" which is highly regarded as the best Batman game ever made to date.

References

  • Dini, P. and Kidd, K. Batman Animated, Perennial Currents, 1999. ISBN 006107327X

External links

zh:蝙蝠侠 (动画影集)

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