Archive for the ‘Television’ Category

 This show is far from my favorite Bat-show. I also get weird when “they” try to mix things up with established characters. Why not make something new altogether?

So if I can ignore my hang-ups for a bit, Batman Beyond ain’t all that bad. It has the chief creative force that was behind Batman: The Animated Series, which means there will be decent stories and an art style I like. It’s not like they threw away everything, this is future, Bruce Wayne is too old to be Batman. Through a string of events a high school student named Terry McGinnis becomes the next Batman.

Terry is an alright Batman, he grows into the character more throughout the series. I haven’t seen the whole series, something I should sit down and do at some point, but from what I have seen, there’s a fair share of new villains, like Inque and Blight. Of course there are old foes as well, Mister Freeze shows up. The Return of the Joker animated feature brings back the obvious, and really messes with Tim Drake as Robin’s character. It’s a great feature you should watch.

The makes some interesting moves, Terry still talks to Commissioner Gordon, instead of it being an old James Gordon, it’s his daughter Barbara. Which it’s also implied that Barbara and Bruce had a relationship at one point. That will never not be a weird concept to me.

Even ar the end of the show, it still takes what you know as fact and tosses them aside for new crazier revelations. Biggest spoiler of them all being, the man Terry knew as his father wasn’t. This new younger future Batman was a clone of Bruce the whole time. Something that makes you do a double take and want to watch all fifty-two episodes again just to see if there are any clues pointing to that fact.

Should you watch Batman Beyond? Yes. The more you like Batman the more you should give this a shot, it gets nuts.

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Stylistically similar to the old Adam West Batman series and the Dick Sprang era of comics, Batman the Brave and the Bold is a lighter approach to The Dark Knight.

You might notice the bright vibrant colors the show uses. Batman’s cape and cowl are blue, not black, which not only goes theme wise to that old television show, it also shows that this series is not dark, and takes the lighter side of The Bat.

There is an astoundingly vast cast of characters in the show. From the opening Batman is usually finishing a case with Detective Chimp, or escapes a death-defying trap with Miracle Man. Just like if you started watching the Batman 66′ show on the second part of a two part episode with the dynamic duo in a perilous predicament, but get out of it with ease. Then Batman joins in the adventure with the likes of Aquaman, Blue Beetle, or The Green Lanterns, whether he likes it or not.

Much of the characters are styled like their golden age counter parts. Green Arrow looks like Robin Hood and drives an Arrow car, to compete with Batman and his Batmobile. But it also has the newer Blue Beetle Jaime, so Batman can mentor a young hero. Robin shows up in a few episodes, but this is more if the Golden Age style kept going with story lines from the eighties. Dick Grayson shows up, but Batman has traveled to Bludhaven where Robin is trying to establish himself as an adult hero. In a subsequent episode Robin becomes Nightwing. In full disco style get-up.

The two things you need to know before you start watching are, A) The show is primarily for kids, the stories aren’t that involved and most of them are half hour adventures, And B) All the episodes are special Batman team-ups. Those aren’t bad things, and if you’re not a stubborn jerk who thinks The Dark Knight Returns is the only type of Batman ever, you’ll find the show enjoyable.

Batman refers to his fists as The Hammers of Justice, and the Batmobile transforms into a mech at one point. Seriously. With legs and everything. Also a space adventure is had with Adam Strange and Aquaman. If there’s a character that belongs less in space than Batman it is Aquaman. That episode works way more than it should, because This Aquaman is the best version of him I’ve seen.

A swashbuckling adventurer who over embellishes his stories. Instead of The King of the Sea being all drab and boring, he’s quick to the punch, and boldly exclaims, “Have I ever told you about the time…” often. Arthur is my most favorite of all the team-ups in the show. I want to see a show with the Adventures of Aquaman in the same style.

There are three seasons and lots of episodes to jump in on. They are all super fun.

Batman 1966

Posted: November 10, 2014 in Television
Tags: , , , , , ,

Ok. I have alluded to, compared with and contrasted against this so many times by now, let me tell you about it.

First off, if you’ve never watched the show because you were too young, or missed the countless re-airings and repeats since then, at least watch the 1966 Batman movie this show is based on. If you never watched it because you thought it was too campy and had cheap special effects, all I can say is, think about it in a satirical sense. It’s not trying to be dark, or gritty. In fact, I’m positive the death of Bruce’s parents only gets mentioned in one of early episodes off-handed, then never again. And I don’t ever recall anything happening to the Grayson’s. The show is a light-hearted affair, nothing wrong with that.

It was produced in a time when the Comics Code Authority was in place. Think of the CCA much like how the MPAA regulates film, except with comics for a long time there was no system of ratings, just a pass or fail. With strict guidelines. Such as good guys were good guys, villains were bad and you couldn’t establish reasons why the bad guys were against the law. Authority figures like the police and military were always on the right side of the law. No matter what. The Code threw away a lot of potentially interesting conflicts in stories. Even having giant monsters from outer space smash a police squad car was forbidden, because the inanimate vehicle was seen as a point of authority and the big alien could be interpreted as disrespecting it.

That explains a whole lot. Why is Batman walking around in broad daylight having a surfing contest with The Joker. Because the hero could not be seen to be anything less than being the most upstanding citizen setting an example for the youths, and only creeps and thugs stalk around in the dark. Why could we never see any major villain’s motivations? Because you might be able to relate to their strife and agree with what they’re doing. Which then would lead down to a path of going against authority, putting bad ideas into children’s heads. I’m sure these are the reasons why Robin was treated to be younger than college going age, even though in the run of the show it was brought up countless times he was going to a University. Catwoman was allowed to skirt some lines when she was flirting with Batman, but Batman never chose to do anything outside of the law in the end.

All that aside, the show itself is a weird television program. Early on the show relied on The Riddler and Penguin an awful lot, but staples of Batman’s army of villains made appearances, the aforementioned Catwoman, Mr. Freeze, and Joker being chief among them. It was almost like they were on rotation. Oh sure, there were others, King Tut, Egghead, and The Cavalier were some of the off beat creeps thrown in to mix things up, and then rarely seen from again. But if you took a list of all the episodes and threw a dart into it, Burgess Meredith would have a high chance of appearing in the episode.

Episodes of the first two seasons were broken up into two parts, leaving a cliffhanger at the end of the first part. They usually involved the Dynamic Duo in a peril, like being on the business end of a giant mouse trap, or some such other crazy situation, one time Robin got eaten by a giant clam. All of them dangerous situations, some of them hilariously dangerous. All of them solved within five minutes of the second part.

With the release of the entire series on Blu-Ray tomorrow, you should think about taking a look. Maybe not a hundred and seventy-five dollar look, but look into maybe the 1966 movie is streaming on one of the services you subscribe to? Start there, that’s only a ninety minute commitment on something you already have. Just don’t watch it and think you’re getting a dark tale from Gotham. Have some fun with Batman for once.

You know, when you see that whoever that puts television shows together decides to make a show based on the Batman universe, I get interested. When they say they’re looking to not have Batman on TV every week, a few ideas come to my mind. My first thoughts go straight to a Gotham Central type police procedural show. Gotham is almost that show, but then they go and do weird things.

First thing, the time. Gotham takes place just after Thomas and Martha Wayne met their end in an alley, and before Batman shows up. So naturally, a younger fresh transfer to a new city James Gordon and his partner who’s been there Harvey Bullock are the protagonists. Which is fine, but then every then every colorful character Batman deals with in the future should be younger, and they aren’t. Bruce and Selina Kyle are the same age. Selina was a convienent witness to the Wayne murders. Everyone else who is or could be part of the foes and allies of Batman are all older, either already plotting and scheming like Oswald Cobblepot, or in the background doing their thing like Edward Nigma, Gotham Police Science Man.

The dialogue is not good at times, and dipped with cheese in others. I’m not a fan that Bruce Wayne seems to be a part of the show, and it doesn’t help I don’t think the kid they have playing him is any good. Whatever he’s a kid, I’m sure he’ll do fine later. However the the girl playing the young Catwoman is a little bit better, and looks a lot like a young Michelle Pfieffer. That Penguin character might be the most interesting person in the whole show, and despite them toying with certain aspects of the Joker but never giving you anything concrete in other characters, it wouldn’t surprise me if they Arman Tamzarian the whole thing and make Oswald Cobblepot into The Joker. He does use a number of fake names and when Montoya and her partner were asking his supposed mother questions about him being missing she doesn’t use the name Cobblepot. (I am aware that really doesn’t mean that much I’m just thinking)

And then there’s the show.

The first episode served as the pilot episode. Which was all right. It did what it needed to do, set off Bruce down a path, introduce a bunch a players to the world, and set up the story of the show itself. So, with that in mind, the number of cameos and mention of Gordon’s girlfriend last name, just so people who know that would go, hey thats a small detail they looked into. But then, Harvey Bullock seems off, like he’s not supposed to be a corrupt cop. Harvey is a tough cop, who might bend the rules a little to make things go his way, which the show implies, but they often show him trying to look the other way, or not getting involved in certain cases because he knows it’s just going to bring him problems.

It wan’t a very good first showing, It didn’t make me want to watch the rest of the season to see what’s next, to see how things shape out. Their’s the beginnings of a mob war because the death of the uncorrupt Wayne’s imbalance the power between Falcone and Maroni houses. I just don’t care about it. The new spice of a character for this show is Fish Mooney, who seems to be trying to make a name for herself by playing Falcone, and becoming the big boss of Gotham. But really. If she’s a never before heard of character, and Batman has ties to both the Falcone and Maroni bosses in the future. The fate of Fish Mooney isn’t exactly sealed, but whatever happens isn’t going to be all that surprising either.

Gotham is five episodes in at this point, and I don’t feel compeled to see what happens next. Sure it’s kind of funny to see them use oddball characters like Balloonman, and it’s fun to see a live action portrayal of Renee Montoya, but in the end it’s all whatever, we all know what’s coming.

Gotham is one of those shows I can’t get into, but maybe once the show has it’s legs under it and knows where and what it’s doing is another story, and maybe then I’ll like it, just not currently.

We all have we consider to be the ultimate version of Batman. Maybe you were at the right age when, Adam West was Batman on television, or Neal Adams began his run on the comic, or you saw Frank Miller’s The Dark knight Returns in some local shop, or Christian Bale in the Christopher Nolan trilogy. Mine started in 1992 and starred in his own television cartoon, was a special guest star on another, and then became a major player in a superhero team up series, ending in 2006. Fourteen years is a long time in comics, and it was a spectacular run.

If you didn’t know, I’m talking about Batman: The Animated Series, and I dare to say I’m not the only one who thinks the production of visual style of Bruce Timm and the stories Paul Dini took part in creating are some of the absolute defining stories the Batman has ever had, and most of them take place in under thirty minutes.

First, the voice acting is some of the best I’ve heard. Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill are perfect for voicing Batman and The Joker. Conroy can be smooth and authoritative at the same time, unlike Christian Bale’s “I swallowed a bunch of nails and screamed at a metal concert for four hours” voice. Where you would need a good bit of rasp is The Joker. Mark Hamill has that, where his Joker can speak understandably in a laugh-like cadence, but his laugh sounds like Joker’s throat being destroyed by years of doing that laugh over and over. Honestly I didn’t even know that was him until I looked up who it was, and I was surprised. Not to put anyone else down. They were all great. When I read Batman comics to this day this is the voice cast I hear in my head.

This is the place where a lot of Batman’s rogue gallery introduced itself to me. If they weren’t on Batman 66′ T.V. series, like Scarecrow, Killer Croc, Poison Ivy. This is also the birthplace of the Paul Dini created Harley Quinn, The Joker’s girlfriend/ top henchwoman.

Harley Quinn

Also, it gave a personality to Mr. Freeze. Beforehand he was just a villain who like the cold. The Series gave him a personality that was as cold as his surname name, and now Victor Friese had same background with some humanity, and a reason for his cold lack of emotion. Freeze had a reason to steal whatever he was stealing. He was helping his sick wife. Giving sympathetic reasons behind some character like that gave Batman a different road to go down besides just, lock’em up in Arkham and let the doctors try to help them.

Finally, even though this was an “Animated Series” it was not a Saturday morning affair. It was a weekday after school show. Maybe that was reason enough to let Batman do things the Spider-Man cartoon series couldn’t do. Peter Parker never threw a punch that hit anyone in the Marvel show, but DC allowed Batman to punch a man in the face in the opening of the show.

The show still has some effects on today. If DC Comics announces a new animated Batman the first comment I usually read is “Is Kevin Conroy doing the Batman voice,” or Mark Hamill if The Joker is in it. Which I have asked myself a few times, but I don’t mind other people giving The Batman a voice, as weird as they will sound at first.

The Dark Knight

If you are young enough that this is “before your time”, check this out, the art and the stories hold up magnitudes higher than the Superfriends cartoon from the seventies and early eighties.

 

Specifically, if you’re interested

Two-Face” parts 1 and 2. Origin of Two-Face

Heart of Ice” Mr. Freeze’s origin

Beware the Gray Ghost” Batman teams up with his old hero, voiced by Adam West

Robin’s Reckoning” parts 1 and 2. Dick Grayson’s origin story

Over the Edge” Crazy Batgirl story, might be the best episode.

Almost Got ‘im” Four villains tell their story about how they almost got Batman while playing cards. My personal favorite.