The New Batman Adventures

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The New Batman Adventures
TheNewBatmanAdventuresLogo.jpg
Genre Superhero
Action/Adventure
Mystery
Suspense
Comedy-drama
Format Animated series
Voices of Kevin Conroy
Mathew Valencia
Tara Strong
Loren Lester
Composer(s) Danny Elfman
Shirley Walker
Lolita Ritmanis
Michael McCuistion
Kristopher Carter
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 1 (by production order)
2 (by original airdates)
No. of episodes 24 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Jean MacCurdy
Producer(s) Alan Burnett
Paul Dini
Bruce Timm
Running time 22 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel The WB
Original run September 13, 1997 – January 16, 1999
Chronology
Preceded by Batman: The Animated Series
Followed by Batman Beyond
Related shows Superman: The Animated Series

The New Batman Adventures (often shortened as TNBA) is an American animated television series based on the DC Comics superhero Batman, and is a continuation of the acclaimed Batman: The Animated Series. It was produced by Warner Bros. Animation and aired on The WB Television Network from September 13, 1997 to January 16, 1999. According to the reference book Batman Animated, series writer Paul Dini originally wanted the new show to be titled Batman: Gotham Knights, but this idea was rejected by the other producers. To better adhere with the prior DVD sets of the original series, the DVD release of this series was titled Batman: The Animated Series - Volume 4 (from The New Batman Adventures) and was given the opening theme from the prior series.[1]

Stories in this series tend to give more focus to Batman's supporting cast, which include fellow crimefighters Robin, Nightwing, and Batgirl, among others. The show also features guest stars such as Supergirl, Etrigan, and The Creeper; characters who would later appear with Batman in Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. In addition, the series takes place around the same time as Superman: The Animated Series. The 2001 video game Batman: Vengeance and its follow-up Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu are based on this series.

Overview[edit]

The New Batman Adventures premiered on The WB just two years after Batman: The Animated Series ended its original run on Fox. The animation style was changed significantly from BTAS due to budgetary issues and to have the show more compatible with the smoother Superman: The Animated Series which TNBA would air in tandem with as part of The New Batman/Superman Adventures on The WB.[citation needed] TNBA was later given the same opening theme of BTAS when aired in syndication.

The show had a significant change in focus from the original series, with episodes focusing less on Batman and more on the many characters that inhabited Gotham City.[2] The art became more streamlined and darker with simpler color schemes, while the Art Deco and film noir imagery from the original series were replaced with a much more modern look.[citation needed] Batman was given a sleeker, brawnier appearance with an all-black bat-emblem and a pouch belt instead of a utility belt.[2] His gadgets and vehicles were given a sleeker, redesigned look with a more black color scheme. Bruce Wayne's appearance was also changed from the previous series; his hair was brushed back to highlight his face, with blue eyes instead of black. Kevin Conroy's voice for Batman also became more stern, as well as less distinguishable from his voice for Bruce than in the original series. The writers made an effort to keep the character's dialogue as terse and grim as possible, in order to heighten the contrast between him and the lighthearted supporting cast.[2]

Batgirl's costume was changed to a look similar to her original outfit from her comic debut in Detective Comics #359. Producer Paul Dini said that Batgirl would appear in every episode of the series because "Kenner wants to do a line of toys, we're taking advantage of the publicity from her being in Batman & Robin, and we just love Batgirl."[2] Melissa Gilbert was replaced by Tara Strong as the voice of Batgirl. Strong would reprise her role nearly a decade later in another Batman animated television series Beware the Batman and Strong also reprised her role as Batgirl on the DC Nation short, Super Best Friends Forever and Teen Titans Go.

Tim Drake was introduced as the new Robin in the episode "Sins of the Father". However, Dini remarked that "The Tim Drake origin in the comics as written now didn't work for us with him having a father and living so close to Wayne Manor. It seemed to work fine in the comics, but we needed our own little family unit of Batman, Robin, Batgirl and occasionally Nightwing - and Alfred of course." For these reasons, the production team came up with their own origin for Tim Drake, though they later realized this new origin was extremely similar to Jason Todd's.[2] The new color scheme was simplified to red, black and yellow, eliminating green entirely. The costume retained the familiar red short-sleeved shirt, as well as the black cape with yellow inner lining. New elements included black sleeves, gloves, trunks and boots with red leggings. The familiar domino mask had also changed, giving the new Robin a more wide-eyed, innocent look.

Dick Grayson, having abandoned his Robin persona as a result of a falling out with Batman seen in "Old Wounds", had now adopted the identity of Nightwing. Grayson's build became sleeker, with broader shoulders, showcasing his emergence as a mature hero in his own right. The short spiky hair that Grayson wore as Robin had grown longer, styled to flow down the back of the neck. In his civilian guise, he wore it in a ponytail. As Nightwing, he wore a V-shaped mask and an all-black unitard with light blue hawk emblem that borrowed some elements of the comics version from the 90s. The costume also featured collapsible wings under the arms that allowed Nightwing to glide for short distances.

Commissioner Gordon had slimmed down considerably with shorter hair, giving him an older, more gaunt appearance, and Detective Bullock also gained a drastic change having the toothpick in his mouth removed with short hair, darker clothes and a slightly thinner build.

The designs of villains from his rogues gallery had also changed. The Joker's white skin now had a bluish-gray tinge, while the eyes had their scleras removed, and were replaced by cavernous black spaces with white pupils. The ruby-red lips were gone, focusing more attention on the teeth, and the green-tinged hair now was completely black.

The Riddler retained his green bowler hat, but left behind his purple mask, green sportcoat, gray slacks, black shirt and white tie with purple question mark to don a light green unitard with purple question mark chest emblem, purple slippers and black question mark cane. His red hair was also gone, with the character's head shaved bald. The Penguin was redesigned to match his classic counterpart from the comics, reflecting the character's attempt to appear as a now-legitimate nightclub owner (though he continued to operate covertly as a fence after hours).

Catwoman's costume was revamped to an all black unitard and cowl with spiky cat ears. The haircut was now short and black. Poison Ivy's familiar green strapless swimsuit, gloves, boots and red lipstick were all now black with green highlights, while her red hair became darker, green eyes became paler, and normal skin tone took on a pale gray pallor.

Bane was also given a new look with the blue sections changed to black, the red lenses on his mask becoming more transparent, the mask covering his nose, a spiked collar around his neck, gloves on both hands, the Venom tube's color was changed from white to red and was made a lot more bulkier from the comics.

The color scheme of Mr. Freeze's sub-zero suit abandoned the color scheme of blue, black, gray and purple for just black and silver, while his facial features became noticeably colder and more inhuman, with red eyes replacing the red-lensed goggles. The Scarecrow's new design also took on a more chilling look, as he became a dark, corpse-like figure with a hangman's noose around his neck. Killer Croc was given a new look and a new color scheme with his gray skin and blue pants changed to his green skin and bluish-purple pants, and looks more reptilian-like from the comics.

Harley Quinn, Two-Face and Clayface did not receive any drastic change in appearance or color alterations. Harley Quinn is the only villain aside from the Joker who appeared in six or more episodes. Ra's al Ghul and his daughter Talia also did not receive any drastic re-designs, although their only appearance during this time was in the episode "The Demon Reborn" from Superman: The Animated Series.

The Kids' WB censors were much more flexible with the content featured in the episodes than the Fox Kids censors were with Batman: The Animated Series. Producer Bruce Timm recounted that "When we were at Fox, after every single storyboard, we would get five single-spaced pages of notes on things we couldn't do. On the WB, we usually get maybe two paragraphs of stuff we can't do. At Fox, they were really picky, not just about things you couldn't do, but just in terms of content and story. They had a million opinions about what we should be doing. Nobody bothers us like that at the WB."[2]

Episodes[edit]

Cast[edit]

Protagonists[edit]

Actor Role
Kevin Conroy Bruce Wayne / Batman
Mathew Valencia Tim Drake / Robin
Tara Strong Barbara Gordon / Batgirl
Loren Lester Dick Grayson / Nightwing
Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. Alfred Pennyworth
Bob Hastings Commissioner James Gordon
Robert Costanzo Detective Harvey Bullock

Supporting protagonists[edit]

Actor Role
Jeff Bennett Jack Ryder / The Creeper
Liane Schirmer Renee Montoya
Mel Winkler Lucius Fox
Lloyd Bochner Mayor Hamilton Hill
Marilu Henner Veronica Vreeland
Suzanne Stone Joan Leland
Billy Zane Jason Blood / Etrigan the Demon
Nicholle Tom Kara Kent / Supergirl (guest from Superman: The Animated Series)

Antagonists[edit]

Actor Role
Mark Hamill The Joker
Arleen Sorkin Dr. Harleen Quinzel / Harley Quinn
Adrienne Barbeau Selina Kyle / Catwoman
Paul Williams Oswald Cobblepot / The Penguin
John Glover Edward Nygma / The Riddler
Richard Moll Harvey Dent / Two-Face
Michael Ansara Dr. Victor Fries / Mr. Freeze
Jeffrey Combs Dr. Jonathan Crane / The Scarecrow
Diane Pershing Pamela Isley / Poison Ivy
Brooks Gardner Waylon Jones / Killer Croc
Roddy McDowall Jervis Tetch / The Mad Hatter
Ron Perlman Matt Hagen / Clayface
George Dzundza Arnold Wesker / The Ventriloquist
Henry Silva Bane

Supporting antagonists[edit]

Actor Role
Peter Breck Farmer Brown
Scott Cleverdon Thomas Blake / Catman
Charity James Roxanne Sutton / Roxy Rocket
Laraine Newman Mary Dahl / Baby Doll
Lori Petty Leslie Willis / Livewire (guest from Superman: The Animated Series)
Mark Rolston Garfield Lynns / Firefly
Stephen Wolfe Smith Klarion the Witch Boy
Sela Ward Page Monroe / Calendar Girl

The Batman Adventures: Lost Years[edit]

Shortly after The New Batman Adventures aired on Kids' WB, a mini-series set in the continuity of the series was published. In a total of five books, Hilary Bader, Bo Hampton, Terry Beatty, Lee Loughridge, and Tim Harkins, explained the two-year gap between Batman: The Animated Series and The New Batman Adventures. It explored Dick Grayson's journey after leaving Batman's side, and his path to becoming Nightwing.

DVD release[edit]

DVD box set of The New Batman Adventures.

On December 6, 2005, The New Batman Adventures was released onto DVD under the title of Batman: The Animated Series - Volume Four (from The New Batman Adventures) to coincide with the previous three volume DVD sets of Batman: The Animated Series. The series was released a second time on November 4, 2008 as part of a DVD release entitled Batman: The Complete Animated Series, which contained the episodes of all four volumes that were released in 2004/2005.

  • 1st Disc Episodes:
    • "Holiday Knights"
    • "Sins of the Father"
    • "Cold Comfort"
    • "Double Talk"
    • "You Scratch My Back"
    • "Never Fear"
  • 2nd Disc Episodes:
    • "Joker's Millions"
    • "Growing Pains"
    • "Love Is A Croc"
    • "Torch Song"
    • "The Ultimate Thrill"
    • "Over The Edge"
  • 3rd Disc Episodes:
    • "Mean Seasons"
    • "Critters"
    • "Cult of the Cat"
    • "Animal Act"
    • "Old Wounds"
    • "The Demon Within"
  • 4th Disc Episodes:
    • "Legends of the Dark Knight"
    • "Girls' Night Out"
    • "Mad Love"
    • "Chemistry"
    • "Beware the Creeper"
    • "Judgment Day"
  • Special Features
    • Commentary Tracks
    • Interactive Arkham Asylum: Inside Batman's Rogue Gallery

Feature film[edit]

Video games[edit]

Awards[edit]

Daytime Emmy Awards

  • 1998Outstanding Special Class Animated Program – Stan Berkowitz, Toshihiko Masuda, Alan Burnett, Curt Geda, Bruce W. Timm, Rich Fogel, Butch Lukic, Hiroyuki Aoyama, Jean MacCurdy, Dan Riba, Kenji Hachizaki, Paul Dini, Andrea Romano Yuichiro Yano, Bob Goodman and Hilary Bader (won)
  • 1999Outstanding Sound Mixing – Special Class – Tom Maydeck, Robert Hargreaves, Pat Rodman and John Hegedes (won)

Young Artist Awards

  • 1999 - Best Performance in a Voice Over in a Feature or TV - Best Young Actor - Mathew Valencia (nominated)

See also[edit]

  • Chase Me, a short silent film released as a bonus feature on the DVD of Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman.
  • Gotham Girls, Warner Bros' official series of Flash animations using many of the characters from the television series.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Batman: The Animated Series - Volume 4". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2010-08-16. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Allstetter, Rob (August 1997). "The Dark Knight Returns". Wizard (72). pp. 50–54. 

External links[edit]