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Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law

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Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law
Created by
Based onBirdman and the Galaxy Trio and other characters
by Hanna-Barbera
Written by
  • Michael Ouweleen
  • Erik Richter
Directed by
Voices of
Theme music composerReg Tilsley
Opening theme"Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law", performed by Erik Richter
Ending theme"Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law" (Instrumental)
ComposerMichael Kohler
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes39 (and 1 special) (list of episodes)
Executive producers
  • Michael Ouweleen
  • Erik Richter
  • Evan W. Adler (Seasons 2–4)
  • Christine Griswold (season 1)
  • Jeffrey Goldstein (season 1)
  • Evan W. Adler (seasons 2–4)
EditorJon Dilling
Running time12 minutes
Production companies
Original release
ReleaseDecember 30, 2000 (2000-12-30) –
July 22, 2007 (2007-07-22)
ReleaseOctober 12, 2018 (2018-10-12)

Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law is an American adult animated television sitcom created by Michael Ouweleen and Erik Richter for Cartoon Network's late-night programming block, Adult Swim. The first season of Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law is the first adult animated production to be produced by Cartoon Network Studios. A spin-off of Space Ghost Coast to Coast, the series revolves around Harvey Birdman, originally a superhero from Birdman and the Galaxy Trio, and his new career as an attorney, defending characters who had originally been featured in past Hanna-Barbera cartoons.

The pilot first aired as a sneak peek on Cartoon Network on December 30, 2000.[1] The series officially premiered on Adult Swim on September 2, 2001, the night the block launched.[2] It ended on July 22, 2007, with a total of 39 episodes, over the course of four seasons. The entire series has been made available on DVD, and other forms of home media, including on-demand streaming. A special, entitled Harvey Birdman: Attorney General, premiered on October 15, 2018, and a spin-off, Birdgirl, premiered on April 4, 2021.


Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law features ex-superhero Harvey Birdman of Birdman and the Galaxy Trio as an attorney working for a law firm alongside other cartoon stars from the 1960s and 1970s Hanna-Barbera cartoon series. Harvey's clients are also primarily characters taken from the Hanna-Barbera cartoon series of the same era.

Many of Birdman's nemeses from his former cartoon series appear as 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 similar roles 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. Because the series relies heavily on popular culture references to classic television animation, Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law constantly delves into parody, 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 crime-fighting career. The episode "Turner Classic Birdman" serves to bridge the gap between Birdman and the Galaxy Trio and Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law.

Much of the humor is derived from giving superheroes and supervillains more eccentric qualities, such as transforming mad scientist Dr. Myron Reducto into a paranoid prosecutor. Several of the plots revolve around popular myths about classic Hanna-Barbera characters, such as Shaggy and Scooby-Doo being recreational drug users.

Voice cast[edit]


Series overview
SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
19December 30, 2000 (2000-12-30)June 8, 2003 (2003-06-08)
211January 1, 2004 (2004-01-01)November 2, 2004 (2004-11-02)
312July 24, 2005 (2005-07-24)October 23, 2005 (2005-10-23)
47October 1, 2006 (2006-10-01)July 22, 2007 (2007-07-22)
SpecialOctober 12, 2018 (2018-10-12)


Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law creators Michael Ouweleen and Erik Richter were originally writers for Space Ghost Coast to Coast, which is where the titular character made his debut. The show was Adult Swim's most expensive original series at the time, and is the most expensive spin-off of Space Ghost Coast to Coast.

Although the first season was animated using digital ink and paint, the remaining seasons were animated using Adobe After Effects. 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 later episodes at Turner Studios in Atlanta with Adobe Flash, not only were problems corrected more quickly, but production costs were much lower.[4]

International broadcast[edit]

In Canada, Harvey Birdman, Attorney At Law previously aired on Teletoon's Teletoon at Night block[5] and later G4's Adult Digital Distraction block.[6] The series currently airs on the Canadian version of Adult Swim.[7][8]


In 2009, Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law was named the 91st-best animated series by IGN. They called the concept of the show "wonderful" and the show as a whole "especially clever." The review summarized that "Harvey Birdman worked as both a parody and homage to these animated characters we know and love, with plenty of funny, surreal jokes along the way."[9]

Home media[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 colour 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 colour 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 colour 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; the only change for each season is the background colour (Volume One is brown purple, Volume Two is blue, and Volume Three is black). The small picture next to the title and the title itself also appears different. In April 2005, Adult Swim had a "Do Our Work For Us" contest for Harvey Birdman Season 1 on DVD. The objective of the contest was to ask viewers to make their own fan-made promo commercial for the then-upcoming DVD.

The series is also available on Max.[citation needed]


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" (also known as "Scoobidoo Love") and a lyricless version of Gianni Morandi's "La Mia Mania" (also known as "Okay Maria").

Other media[edit]

Video game[edit]

A video game based on the series has been released for the PlayStation 2,[10] Wii[11] and PlayStation Portable[12] 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, and includes five new, interactive cases.


On May 14, 2018, it was announced that there would be an upcoming special based on the series entitled Harvey Birdman: Attorney General. In the special, Harvey Birdman becomes the next Attorney General of the United States, under President Phil Ken Sebben. The original voice cast returned for the special. It premiered at midnight on October 15, 2018.[13]


On May 9, 2019, a spin-off entitled Birdgirl was announced, following Judy Ken Sebben/Birdgirl in her new role as the CEO of Sebben & Sebben.[14] It premiered on April 4, 2021,[15] with a second season premiering June 19, 2022.[16]


  1. ^ "The Daily Ghost Planet: The Past!". Lustforlunch.com. Archived from the original on 2001-12-20. Retrieved 2011-01-22.
  2. ^ "Harvey Birdman Finale on Adult Swim". Animation World Network. 2007-07-12. Archived from the original on 2007-10-16. Retrieved 2007-08-06.
  3. ^ Harvey Birdman Volume 1 DVD commentary for episode 1[citation needed]
  4. ^ Carrera, Philip (2011). Adobe® Flash® Animation: Creative Storytelling for Web and TV. Jones & Bartlett Publishers. ISBN 9780763784157. Archived from the original on 2016-03-29. Retrieved 2016-03-19.
  5. ^ DeMott, Rick (July 1, 2005). "TELETOON Celebrates Canada Day & More in July". Archived from the original on September 17, 2015.
  6. ^ "City TV". G4. Archived from the original on 2010-01-07.
  7. ^ "TELETOON Canada Inc. Announces Cartoon Network and Adult Swim Launch Schedules". Newswire. June 21, 2012. Archived from the original on January 28, 2021.
  8. ^ "Corus Entertainment Announces Adult Swim Launch Sponsors". March 26, 2019. Archived from the original on September 22, 2020.
  9. ^ "91, Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law". IGN. 2009-01-23. Archived from the original on January 19, 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-23.
  10. ^ Onyett, Charles (2007-07-12). "E3 2007: Harvey Birdman Preview". Archived from the original on 2007-10-12. Retrieved 2007-08-06.
  11. ^ 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". Archived from the original on 2013-01-18. Retrieved 2007-09-24.
  12. ^ Baity, Naquan (2007-08-01). "Move Over Phoenix Wright, PSP Has Harvey Birdman on the Case!". Archived from the original on 2007-08-09. Retrieved 2007-08-06.
  13. ^ Ramos, Dino-Ray (May 14, 2018). "'Harvey Birdman, Attorney General' Lands At Adult Swim With New Special". Deadline. Archived from the original on May 14, 2018. Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  14. ^ Pedersen, Erik (9 May 2019). "'Birdgirl': Paget Brewster Leads 'Harvey Birdman' Spinoff At Adult Swim". Deadline. Archived from the original on May 9, 2019. Retrieved 16 April 2024.
  15. ^ Pedersen, Erik (March 31, 2021). "Spring 2021 Premiere Dates For New & Returning Series On Broadcast, Cable & Streaming". Deadline. Archived from the original on March 31, 2021. Retrieved April 16, 2024.
  16. ^ Zahed, Ramin (June 9, 2022). "Exclusive: 'Birdgirl' Co-Creator Erik Richter Offers a Preview of Season 2". www.animationmagazine.net. Archived from the original on April 16, 2024. Retrieved 16 April 2024.

External links[edit]