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January 9, 2011

Stay Tooned Sundays: Batman The Animated Series Volume One

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Written by: nickz
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Happy New Year Stay Tooners, and welcome back. I hope 2011, or “eleven” as I will be referring to it from now on,  has so far been good to you. During the holiday time I got a little batty and decided to re-watch the first volume of one of the greatest cartoons of all time, Batman The Animated Series! I for one cannot believe that next year will be the 20th anniversary of this amazing show. 20 YEARS!!! I know, right! Where did the time go?

Title: Batman The Animated Series
Company: DC Comics
Distributed by: Warner Home Video
US Release Date: July 6, 2004
Length: 625 min.
Rating: Not Rated
Volume: One

Batman The Animated Series is one of the most groundbreaking cartoons ever! It was the first to prove that cartoons could be smart, dark, and not just for kids. Many cartoons that have followed, especially all the comic book related ones, would not have been possible without Batman TAS. Aside from changing the way cartoons were thought about, this show became and still is the definitive version of Batman in any medium. This series also established the continuity for the DC animated universe that later included Superman The Animated Series, Batman BeyondJustice League, and Justice League Unlimited.

Most of the success of the show can be attributed to the amazing cast and crew, most notably producer Bruce Timm and writer Paul Dini. It is obvious that everyone who worked on this show was a fan of Batman and really wanted to do the show right. In addition, the voice actors in this series were so good that they have become ingrained in people’s minds as “THE VOICES” of these classic characters. Every actor did an outstanding job, including Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamil, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Bob Hastings, and Loren Lester just to name a few. The casting directors also did a great job of bringing in some really heavy hitters as guest stars. These guest stars are too numerous to name here, but I suggest that when you watch the show you make sure to read through the credits and have your mind blown away by some of the names involved!

In volume one we get introduced to most of Batman’s main rogues gallery, including The Joker, Catwoman, Pengiun, Killer Croc, Poison Ivy, Two-Face, The Mad Hatter, Mr. Freeze, The Scarecrow, and Clayface. Most of which have a great origin story, or, in Catwoman’s case, a great first encounter with Batman. The 28 episodes also showcase many of Batman’s supporting cast members, including Alfred, Robin (Dick Grayson), Commissioner Gordon, Harvey Bullock, Lucius Fox, Dr. Leslie Tompkins, and Renee Montoya, who was created specifically for this show. The versions of many of these characters were so popular that aspects of them eventually got assimilated into their comic book counterparts.

While almost all of the episodes in this collection are good, there are a few that really stand out as must see episodes. The best episode from this set has to be “The Joker’s Favor,” which features the first appearance (in any medium) of Harley Quinn. Harley has become one of the most beloved Bat characters ever, and right from the start it’s easy to see why. Besides the debut of Harley, this episode really stands out because we get to see The Joker at his very best! In the episode,  The Joker torments some random Joe over the course of a few years until the guy finally gets pushed over the edge, and what results even causes Batman to break into laughter. Another memorable episode is “Beware of The Gray Ghost,” which features Adam West. In this episode we learn that The Gray Ghost (voiced by West) was Batman’s childhood hero growing up, and when a case comes along that is similar to one from the Ghost’s TV show, Batman uses it as a chance to team up with his idol and in the process, reinvigorate the has been actor.

After its debut nearly 20 years ago, Batman TAS can still hold up creatively to any series out today. The animation may be dated compared to today’s computer age of animation, but for its time it was cutting edge. I think everyone owes it to themselves to go back and re-experience this amazing show and see how great a show with real substance, heart, and depth can truly be. Also make sure to really check out the title cards at the beginning of each episode, because they are very awesome.

Nick Zamora
Nickz@comicattack.net

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7 Comments


  1. billy

    Best series ever. Bar none. No other series from start to finish comes close.



  2. I remember watching the firs episode which had Batman facing Man-Bat and there actually being blood on Batman’s face after getting slapped around! The only time I ever saw blood in an animated show was if I was watching an anime. Batman TAS is one of the best comic based cartoons out and the story telling blows the doors off of most of what’s come out the past 10 years in terms of an animated series.



  3. “Joker’s Favor” is one of my favorite episodes. Mark Hamill does such a brilliant job. As always.


  4. Eli

    I agree completely, and Billy, you’re exactly right. NOTHING comes close to this. If you watch the commentary episodes you’ll see just how much of a Batman fan everyone involved in this show is. There was passion, and hard work put into every aspect of this show. From the Gotham City background panels, to getting much of the animation done in Japan by a fantastic animation house, whose name I can’t remember right now.

    And the voices, Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamil especially. I don’t know about the rest of you, but still when I read Bruce or the Joker, I hear Conroy and Hamil in my head.

    There were so many groundbreaking things that this series accomplished. Perhaps one of the greatest testimonies to its greatness is the fact that I still find it ridiculously entertaining today. If you’re a Batman fan, go get this series, you won’t be disappointed.


  5. Billy

    @Eli- I think it was TMI that normally did the animation. I know Timm and company refer to a “Coco” in Korea that also did some of the work.



  6. […] think what got me into comic characters most was watching the cartoons on TV as a child. I watched Batman: The Animated Series, Spider-Man, and X-Men all the time because my brother would make me watch it, and so I learned to […]



  7. thanks



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