Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law

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Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law
HarveyBirdmanTitle.png
Created by Michael Ouweleen
Erik Richter
(based on characters
created by Hanna-Barbera)
Voices of Gary Cole
Stephen Colbert
John Michael Higgins
Thomas Allen
Peter MacNicol
Maurice LaMarche
Chris Edgerly
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 4
No. of episodes 39 (List of episodes)
Production
Running time 12 minutes
Production company(s) Allied Arts and Science
Turner Studios
Williams Street
Cartoon Network Studios
Broadcast
Original channel Cartoon Network (episode 1)
Adult Swim
Picture format 4:3 SDTV
Original run Episode 1 sneak peek:
December 30, 2000 (2000-12-30)
Official:
September 2, 2001  – July 22, 2007 (2007-07-22)
Chronology
Related shows Space Ghost Coast to Coast
External links
Website

Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law (sometimes referred to simply as Harvey Birdman) is an American animated television series comedy created by Williams Street and produced by Cartoon Network Studios that aired on Cartoon Network during its Adult Swim late night programming block. The series' pilot first aired in 2000 before the Adult Swim block was officially incepted,[1] and later became a series in 2001.[2] The show revolves around the activity of the Sebben & Sebben law firm, which is staffed mainly by superheroes and other characters who had originally been featured in 1960s-era Hanna-Barbera cartoons, most notably Birdman and the Galaxy Trio. The series had its final episode on July 22, 2007. The show also screens in Australia on The Comedy Channel as part of the channel's Adult Swim block of programming.

Premise[edit]

Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law features ex-superhero Harvey T. Birdman of Birdman and the Galaxy Trio as an attorney working for a law firm alongside other cartoon stars from 1960s and 1970s Hanna-Barbera cartoon series. Similarly, Harvey's clients are also primarily composed of characters taken from Hanna-Barbera cartoon series of the same era. Many of Birdman's nemeses featured in his former cartoon series also became attorneys, often representing the opposing side of a given case.

Harvey usually fills the role of a criminal defense attorney, though he will act as a civil litigator or other such job when the plot calls for it. The series uses a surrealist style of comedy, featuring characters, objects, and jokes that are briefly introduced and rarely (if ever) referenced thereafter. Also, because the series relies heavily on popular culture references to classic television animation, Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law constantly delves into parody, even featuring clips of these series or specially-created scenes which mimic the distinctive style of the animation being referenced.[3] Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law is the first Williams Street cartoon to maintain continuity through the entire series. Various episodes reference Harvey's (or another superhero's) former crimefighting career. The episode "Turner Classic Birdman" even serves to bridge the gap between Birdman and the Galaxy Trio and Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law.[citation needed]

Instead of rigid plot structure, much of the humor is derived from the fact that superheroes and supervillains are given more realistic and human qualities, such as a mad scientist named Dr. Myron Reducto, who becomes a paranoid prosecutor. Also, several of the plots revolve around the popular myths about classic Hanna-Barbera characters, such as Shaggy and Scooby-Doo being stoners.

Production[edit]

Although the first season was animated using traditional cel animation, the remaining seasons were animated using Adobe Flash. The reason for the switch was that the animation studio was having difficulty maintaining the fast pace of the show, and thus the production of episodes slowed down due to constant retakes. By animating the series at Turner Studios in Atlanta, Georgia with Flash, not only were problems corrected faster, but production costs were much lower.[citation needed] Some animation was also done for the show at Bardel Entertainment in Vancouver, British Columbia.[citation needed]

Characters[edit]

Episodes[edit]

Voice cast[edit]

Gary Cole provides the voice of the lead role, Harvey Birdman.
Name Character(s)
Gary Cole Harvey Birdman Hiram Mightor
Stephen Colbert Phil Ken Sebben Myron Reducto
Peter MacNicol X the Eliminator
Thomas Allen Peanut
John Michael Higgins Mentok the Mindtaker Zardo Grape Ape
Joe Alaskey Peter Potamus (first)
Chris Edgerly Peter Potamus (second) DVD Mr. Finkerton
The Funky Phantom Augie Doggie Cumulus the Storm King
Captain Caveman Fancy Fancy
Debi Mae West Gigi
Maurice LaMarche Azul Falcone Stan Freezoid Apache Chief
Fred Flintstone Yogi Bear Der Spuzmacher
Inch High Speed Buggy Hi-Riser
Doggie Daddy Droopy Quick Draw McGraw
Wally Gator Morocco Mole Garok
Cavey Jr. Magilla Gorilla Mr. Peebles
Benny the Ball Dum Dum Shazzan
Atom Ant Nitron
Grey DeLisle Debbie Daphne Blake
Dr. Gale Melody Mary
Michael McKean Evelyn Spyro Throckmorton
Neil Ross Vulturo Dr. Benton Quest Ding-A-Ling Wolf
Phil LaMarr Black Vulcan
Matt Peccini The Bear
Paget Brewster Birdgirl

Guest appearances[edit]

Reception[edit]

Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law was named the 91st best animated series by IGN. They compared it to Space Ghost Coast to Coast, a show that is also based on an old Hanna Barbara cartoon, and called it a clever show.[4]

DVD releases[edit]

DVD name Release date Ep # Additional information
Volume One April 12, 2005 13 This two-disc box-set contains the first thirteen episodes of the show ("Bannon Custody Battle" through "High Speed Buggy Chase") in production order, along with commentaries on selected episodes, deleted scenes, and other special features. A Region 2 version is to be released on November 3. The color of the DVD box art is purple.
Volume Two October 10, 2006 13 This two-disc box-set contains the next thirteen episodes of the show ("Back to the Present" through "Evolutionary War") in production order, along with commentaries on nine episodes, additional footage, and other special features. The color of the DVD box art is blue.
Volume Three July 24, 2007 13 This two-disc box-set contains the final thirteen episodes of the show ("Turner Classic Birdman" through "The Death of Harvey") in production order, along with special features. The color of the DVD box art is black.

Each DVD is in the shape of a law book. Each season's box art is nearly identical, and the only change for each season is the background color (Volume 1 is brown-purple, Volume 2 is blue, and Volume 3 is black). The small picture next to the title and the title itself also appear different.

Music[edit]

The theme song is an edited version of the song "Slow Moody Blues" written by Reg Tilsley. Other notable songs used in the show include Charlie Steinman's "It Is Such A Good Night" (AKA "Scoobidoo Love") and a lyricless version of Gianni Morandi's "La Mia Mania" (AKA "Okay Maria").

Video game[edit]

A video game based on the series has been released for the PlayStation 2,[5] Wii[6] and PlayStation Portable[7] video game consoles.

It was developed by High Voltage Software and published by Capcom, with gameplay mechanics similar to Capcom's Ace Attorney series. It was released on January 8, 2008.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Daily Ghost Planet : The Past!". Lustforlunch.com. Retrieved 2011-01-22. 
  2. ^ "Harvey Birdman Finale on Adult Swim". Animation World Network. 2007-07-12. Retrieved 2007-08-06. 
  3. ^ Harvey Birdman Volume 1 DVD commentary for episode 1
  4. ^ "91, Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law". IGN. 2009-01-23. Retrieved 2009-01-23. 
  5. ^ Onyett, Charles (2007-07-12). "E3 2007: Harvey Birdman Preview". Retrieved 2007-08-06. 
  6. ^ Kim, Alicia (2007-09-04). "Wii takes the case – Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law comes home to roost on the latest Nintendo video game system". Retrieved 2007-09-24. 
  7. ^ Baity, Naquan (2007-08-01). "Move Over Phoenix Wright, PSP Has Harvey Birdman on the Case!". Retrieved 2007-08-06. 

External links[edit]