Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law
|Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law|
|Created by||Michael Ouweleen
|Based on||Hanna-Barbera cartoons|
|Written by||Michael Ouweleen
|Theme music composer||Michael Kohler|
|Opening theme||"Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law"|
|Ending theme||"Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law" (Instrumental)|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||4|
|No. of episodes||39 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||12 minutes|
|Distributor||Warner Bros. Television|
|Original network||Cartoon Network (episode 1)
|Picture format||4:3 SDTV|
|Original release||December 30, 2000– July 22, 2007|
|Preceded by||Space Ghost Coast to Coast|
Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law is an American animated courtroom black comedy series created by Michael Ouweleen and Erik Richter for Adult Swim. 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 past Hanna-Barbera cartoons, most notably Birdman and the Galaxy Trio.
Harvey Birdman's pilot first aired on Cartoon Network on December 30, 2000. On September 2, 2001, the series moved to Adult Swim, continuing for four seasons and 39 episodes before ending on July 22, 2007. The show is also a spin-off of Space Ghost Coast to Coast, where Birdman got his first name from. Both Space Ghost and Birdman original series were based on action / adventure script, and, decades later, applied in comedic contexts.
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. 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.
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.
Although the first season was animated using traditional cel animation, 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, Georgia with Adobe Flash, not only were problems corrected more quickly, but production costs were much lower. Some animation was also done for the show at Bardel Entertainment in Vancouver, British Columbia.
- 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
- Tom Kenny: Boo-Boo Bear
- Neil Ross: Vulturo, Dr. Benton Quest, Ding-A-Ling Wolf
- Phil LaMarr: Black Vulcan
- Matt Peccini: The Bear
- Paget Brewster: Birdgirl
- Bill Farmer: Secret Squirrel
- Lewis Black: Elliott the Deadly Duplicator
- Scott Innes: Shaggy Rogers, Scooby-Doo, Scrappy-Doo
- Steve Blum: Yakky Doodle
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-Barbera cartoon, and described it as a clever show.
|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.
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").
A video game based on the series has been released for the PlayStation 2, Wii and PlayStation Portable 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.
- "The Daily Ghost Planet : The Past!". Lustforlunch.com. Retrieved 2011-01-22.
- "Harvey Birdman Finale on Adult Swim". Animation World Network. 2007-07-12. Retrieved 2007-08-06.
- Harvey Birdman Volume 1 DVD commentary for episode 1
- Carrera, Philip. Adobe® Flash® Animation: Creative Storytelling for Web and TV.
- "91, Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law". IGN. 2009-01-23. Archived from the original on January 19, 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-23.
- Onyett, Charles (2007-07-12). "E3 2007: Harvey Birdman Preview". Retrieved 2007-08-06.
- 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.
- Baity, Naquan (2007-08-01). "Move Over Phoenix Wright, PSP Has Harvey Birdman on the Case!". Retrieved 2007-08-06.
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