On January 1, 2021, every episode was celebrated Batman: The Animated Series arrived to HBO max, ported from the 25th anniversary of the remastered Blu-ray release of the entire series and two feature films. And that means there’s no better time than now to look back through the seminal 1992 animated series and select the episodes that did best at being Batman.
There is now a whole generation of adults who were first introduced to Gotham City through the work of Bruce Timm, Eric Radomski and Paul Dini – and from there to the wider world of DC Comics in animation Superman: The Animated Adventure, Justice League and Justice League Unlimited (not to mention Static shock and Batman Beyond). It’s obvious why DC decided to revive the series in comic book form recently.
But Batman: The Animated Series had more to offer than a bunch of great writers, designers, and animators. There have been producers fighting for permission to allow their crooks to use real weapons, not the improbable laser weapons of his contemporary action cartoons. It had a groundbreaking film composer equipped with a full orchestra to craft its music. Legendary casting director Andrea Romano selected actors whose voices now inhabit the minds of millions of people, even when they read Batman stories on the page.
Let’s watch the best for the show that defined Batman for a generation. Here are tips from Ben Kuchera, Jenna Stoeber, and Polygons-based Batman expert, me.
“Beware of the gray ghost”
Kevin Conroy is one of the few bat actors to produce an amazing Bruce Wayne and an amazing Batman, and my favorite episodes have always been the ones in which we see Batman’s humanity. Not Bruce Wayne, but Batmans. It’s a pleasure to hear Conroy play the Batman voice while expressing gratitude and sincerity, and Adam West, who plays a series hero who inspired Batman in “real life,” was an inspired twist, which could have been queasy, but not. Batman is said to be a force of nature that seems unstoppable. The times on the show when he was expressing real anger or heart felt special to me. This is one of the best. – Ben Kuchera
“I almost got it”
Ask five people to list the top episodes of Batman: The Animated Series and at some point they will call it “Almost Got ‘Im”, but just because it’s an expected answer doesn’t mean it’s not a correct one.
This is the episode where Poison Ivy, Two-Face, Killer Croc, Penguin, and the Joker sit around playing poker and talking about the time when they nearly killed Batman – seriously. It’s a rare anthology episode, not entirely based on its own imagination, that delivers a secret identity revelation that transitions into a tense contemporary climax, ending the entire show with a perfect romantic twist on the subject. – –Susana Polo
“Robin’s Reckoning”, Parts 1 and 2
Even before the show upgraded him to Nightwing Batman: The Animated Series Batman and Robin are portrayed in the twilight of their partnership, but in “Robin’s Reckoning” the creative team shows us the beginning. The two-part episode about Robin’s genesis, Dick Grayson’s quest to avenge his parents’ deaths, and Batman’s attempt to stop his adopted son from doing something he will forever regret won the first Primetime Emmy Award.
Also who can resist one of the earliest examples of western animation relating to the motorcycle slide Akira? – –SP
Horror is at the core of many animated series, but none of them has arrived as close to home as “Baby-Doll”. For an eight year old, an episode about a girl who never grew up was nothing short of nightmare fuel. The final shot of Mary Dahl standing in front of the funhouse mirror looking at the adult version of herself that can never be lingers in a way that few other tales of little villains can. – Jenna Stoeber
Any sequence of Batman: The Animated Series that focuses on Harley Quinn is a great episode of Batman: The Animated Series, cash no.
The fun of “Harley’s Holiday” lies mainly in her random rampage (mostly) of good intentions and her burgeoning friendship with Veronica Vreeland, the celebrity she accidentally kidnapped. But the episode is also about how much Batman really cares about his villains and their rehabilitation – no matter how many mistakes they make along the way to get their lives back on track. – –SP
“Over the Edge”
While The new Batman adventures is simply a continuation of after every correct metric Batman: The Animated SeriesThe show had a few changes. There was of course the art remodeling, however adventure also introduced a new Robin and gave Batman’s family of crimefighters a bigger share of the screen time – including Batgirl.
“Over the Edge” is a harrowing vision of Barbara Gordon’s deepest fear: that she will die at work without ever telling her father that she is Batgirl. Step by step, we see how easy it would be for the Bat family to be destroyed by their greatest ally, and we get away with a new appreciation for the relationship between Batman, Batgirl, and Commissioner Gordon. – –SP
“Legends of the Dark Knight”
Lest you believe that “Almost Got ‘Im” is the only anthology episode in the series, check out Legends of the Dark Knight, in which a trio of Gotham teenagers talk about what They have
Gary Owens, the voice of Space Ghost, takes on the role of Batman in a pastiche of Dick Sprang’s work in the golden age of comics. Minutes later, the show shifts at least two complete gears into a direct adaptation of a scene from Frank Miller’s The dark knight returns – complete with Michael Ironside’s growling Batman, “This is not a garbage heap … it’s an operating table, and I’m the surgeon” as he breaks the mutant leader’s knee. – –SP
“Girl’s Night Out”
Just imagine: Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy and Livewire versus Batgirl and Supergirl. This episode is a slapstick comedy-of-error team and delivers its premise and a few more. The friendship between Barbara and Kara is one of the great subplots in the world that links the animated series Batman and Superman, and it is a joy to see all of these mighty divas challenge it. – JS
As is known, Harley Quinn was created as a disposable character for a season one episode of Batman: The Animated Series, but the people behind the show liked the idea that the Joker has a fat girlfriend so much that they keep her. About a year after their first appearance, Dini and Timm won an Eisner Award for their unique comic book story The Batman Adventure: Mad Lovewho explored the tragedy of its original story for the first time.
The rest, including the “Mad Love” episode of The new Batman adventures; Harley’s 1999 debut in DC Comics canon; Margot Robbie is the character’s turn Suicide squad; and a hundred million cosplayers, that’s history. – –SP
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