The Batman

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The Batman
The Batman.PNG
Genre
Created by Michael Goguen
Duane Capizzi
Based on Batman
by Bob Kane
Bill Finger
Voices of
Theme music composer
Composer(s) Thomas Chase Jones
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 5
No. of episodes 65 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
Producer(s)
  • Glen Murakami (Season 1–3)
  • Jeff Matsuda (Season 4)
  • Linda M. Steiner (Season 4–5)
  • Michael Goguen (supervising producer, Season 4–5)
  • Alan Burnett (supervising producer, S05)
Running time 22 minutes
Production company(s) Warner Bros. Animation
DC Entertainment
Distributor Warner Bros. Television Distribution
Release
Original network
Picture format 4:3
16:9 (iTunes)
Audio format
Original release September 11, 2004 (2004-09-11) – March 8, 2008 (2008-03-08)
Chronology
Preceded by Batman Beyond
Followed by Batman: The Brave and the Bold

The Batman is an animated television series produced by Warner Bros. Animation based on the DC Comics superhero Batman. It ran from September 11th 2004 until March 8th 2008, on the Saturday morning television block Kids' WB. Although the series borrows many elements from previous Batman storylines, it does not follow the continuity set by the comic books, the film series, nor that of Batman: The Animated Series and its spin-offs. The character designs were provided by artist Jeff Matsuda, and featured many iconic Batman characters such as the Joker, Penguin and Riddler whose designs were radically altered from those of their comic counterparts.

A direct-to-DVD movie titled The Batman vs. Dracula, based on the series, was released on the 18th of October 2005, and made its television debut on Cartoon Network's Toonami block on the 22nd of October 2005. DC Comics also published a spin-off comic book series, The Batman Strikes!, which shares the TV show's continuity and style. The series won six Daytime Emmy Awards.[1][2][3][4]

Synopsis[edit]

Billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne (voiced by Rino Romano) has secretly operated as the Batman, costumed protector of Gotham City, for three years. The police do not publicly acknowledge the Batman's existence. He operates from a secret lair, the Batcave, with the assistance of high-tech gadgets, a supercomputer and his butler Alfred Pennyworth (voiced by Alastair Duncan).

Season 1[edit]

By the start of the first season, crime in Gotham is at an all-time low. However, Chief of Police Angel Rojas (voiced by Edward James Olmos in his initial appearance and Jesse Corti in all subsequent appearances) does not tolerate vigilantes. He denies the existence of Batman while tasking his officers to apprehend him when possible. One of his detectives, Ethan Bennett (voiced by Steven Harris), is at odds with Rojas, believing the Batman to be a necessary presence in Gotham. Bennett is assisted by a new partner from Metropolis, Ellen Yin (voiced by Ming-Na), and the pair are charged with capturing the Batman. She slowly becomes torn between her belief in law and order and her personal feelings toward the Batman. During this first season, Bruce Wayne finds himself torn between his responsibilities as the Batman and his personal life, though the latter is given further support by Gotham’s Mayor, Marion Grange (voiced in the first four seasons by Adam West, who previously played Batman in the 1960s Batman TV series). By the end of the season, Bennett is tortured and inadvertently mutated by the Joker, transforming him into Clayface. He is forced into hiding, while his partner Yin finally realizes her views on the Batman were right. Yin then becomes an ally of Batman.

Batman's adversaries in this season include Rupert Thorne (voiced by Victor Brandt), The Joker (Kevin Michael Richardson), The Penguin (Tom Kenny), Catwoman (Gina Gershon), Mr. Freeze (Clancy Brown), Firefly (Jason Marsden), Ventriloquist and Scarface (Dan Castellaneta), Man-Bat (Peter MacNicol), Cluemaster (Glenn Shadix), and Bane (Joaquim de Almeida in the first appearance, Ron Perlman in the second, and Clancy Brown in the third).

Season 2[edit]

Bruce Wayne continues to operate outside the law, although he is grateful for having Yin as an ally in the police. He slowly begins to establish a reputation as a force for good. When Batman saves a group of policeman from certain doom, the officers choose to cheer him rather than pursue him. In the season finale, Rojas finally uncovers Yin's involvement with Batman, forcing her to go on the run with him. Around this time, Commissioner James Gordon (voiced by Mitch Pileggi, and one of the main characters of the Batman mythos to be introduced in this series) shuns Rojas' belief in labeling Batman a criminal. He believes him to be an ally of the police, particularly when Batman brings down the Joker, the Riddler and the Penguin. Gordon is revealed to be Batman's secret ally off-screen, and develops a signaling searchlight, the Bat-Signal, allowing Batman to know that the police are firmly on his side.

This season introduced more villains, including Rag Doll (voiced by Jeff Bennett), the Riddler (Voiced by Robert Englund), Killer Croc (Voiced by Ron Perlman), Spellbinder (voiced by Michael Massee) and Solomon Grundy (voiced by Kevin Grevioux). Although another new villain, Hugo Strange (voiced by Frank Gorshin, the original Riddler from the 1960s Batman TV series, replaced by Richard Green after Gorshin's death), is portrayed as a secondary character in this season, while Yin and Angel Rojas made their final appearances at the end of the season.

Season 3[edit]

In the third season, the show introduced a young incarnation of Barbara Gordon (voiced by Danielle Judovits) replacing Ellen-Yin from the last two seasons, and featured a two-part story that focused on her slowly becoming Batgirl. Much of the season saw her trying to become Batman's sidekick in order to be as good an ally as her father was. This is a notion Batman refuses to accept, despite her showing up as a reliable ally periodically throughout the season. Eventually she gains his confidence by the end of the season. Batgirl becoming Batman's first sidekick differs to the comic story-line in which Dick Grayson becomes Robin and pairs up with him in that role first. The overall decision to have Batgirl as his first sidekick was due to Robin being used in the Teen Titans animated series at the time, which limited his ability to appear in other shows. Another element in the season was Batman's original Batmobile being lost (during the episode, "RPM") and the creation of a brand new prototype.

Several new interpretation of villains from the Batman mythos were introduced in this season, including Poison Ivy (voiced by Piera Coppola), a different version of Gearhead (voiced by Will Friedle), Maxie Zeus (voiced by Phil LaMarr), Toymaker (voiced by Patton Oswalt), Prank (voiced by Michael Reisz), Temblor (voiced by Jim Cummings) and D.A.V.E. (voiced Jeff Bennett). Hugo Strange eventually becomes a villain in this season, after being found to have orchestrated events in "A Fistful of Felt" and "Gotham's Ultimate Criminal Mastermind". The latter episodes eventually lead him to become a patient in Arkham Asylum. Season 4's "Strange New World" revealed more about his criminal mindset, when we learn the real reason he went to Arkham in the first place was to come up with more schemes.

The introduction of Batgirl led to the intro sequence for the show being changed, along with the series' theme music, which swapped the original theme (performed by The Edge) for a lighter, 1960s-esque theme, performed by Andy Sturmer.

Season 4[edit]

Robin, Batman and Batgirl as they appeared in the Season 4 intro.

The fourth season saw the introduction of Dick Grayson (voiced by Evan Sabara) into the show. This was due to the Teen Titans animated series being cancelled earlier in the year, before this season started. The opening episode of the season focused on his origins as Batman's sidekick, Robin, from the loss of his parents, to being adopted by Bruce and eventually assisting him to bring down the man responsible for his parent's death. The second episode led to Batgirl being made part of the team and each member's secret identity being revealed to each other, with both her and Robin beginning a sibling-like rivalry between each other. One of the highlights of the series was the episode, "Artifacts", which described a possible future in 3027, with flashback scenes in 2027 featuring an older Batman, Dick Grayson now operating as Nightwing (voiced by Jerry O'Connell), and Barbara Gordon now bound to a wheelchair and having become the Oracle (voiced by Kellie Martin); the episode featured elements from Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, including the designs of both The Batman and the Batmobile. The season finale featured an alien invasion by entities called "The Joining", which Batman helps to thwart alongside another superhero from the DC Universe, Martian Manhunter/J'onn J'onzz (voiced by Dorian Harewood), allowing him to become part of the Justice League of America.

More villains with new interpretations were introduced, including Tony Zucco (voiced by Mark Hamill, who voiced the Joker in the DC animated universe), Killer Moth (voiced by Jeff Bennett), Black Mask (voiced by James Remar), Rumor (voiced by Ron Perlman), Everywhere Man (voiced by Brandon Routh), Harley Quinn (voiced by Hynden Walch), and Francis Grey (voiced by Dave Foley). The season brought an end to Ethan Bennett's version of Clayface with a storyline that redeemed and cured him of his condition, while introducing Basil Karlo's version of the villain (voiced by Wallace Langham in the first appearance, Lex Lang in the second appearance). This season featured a redesign of Bruce Wayne, with a more square facial and chin structure, making him reminiscent of the DC animated universe Batman design. Alongside Martian Manhunter, the season finale featured cameos by Hawkman, Green Arrow, Flash, and Green Lantern.

This season was the last to be done by Jeff Matsuda and Michael Jelenic, both of whom departed from the show after the season finale.

Season 5[edit]

The fifth and final season focused primarily on Batman and Robin, with the pair teaming up with some of the DC Universe's characters and tackling villains. These team-ups included Superman (voiced by George Newbern), Martian Manhunter, Green Arrow (voiced by Chris Hardwick), Flash (voiced by Charlie Schlatter), Green Lantern (voiced by Dermot Mulroney), and Hawkman (voiced by Robert Patrick). Producer Alan Burnett described the season as the show's "The Brave and the Bold season.".[5] Both Batgirl and Commissioner Gordon were relegated to either guest or cameo appearances during this series, with Barbara having graduated from high school and now attending college. The series finale featured all the members of the Justice League who made an appearance in the series,[6] along with Batgirl, as they fought against a renewed effort of the Joining to invade Earth. The final episodes were shown as a 40-minute movie.

Most of the villains featured in this season were new interpretations of those that fought against the DC heroes that teamed-up with Batman, including Lex Luthor (voiced by Clancy Brown), Mercy Graves (voiced by Gwendoline Yeo), Metallo (voiced by Lex Lang), Count Vertigo (voiced by Greg Ellis), The Wrath (voiced by Christopher Gorham), Toyman (voiced by Richard Green), Shadow Thief (voiced by Diedrich Bader), Sinestro (voiced by Miguel Ferrer), and Mirror Master (voiced by John Larroquette). Only the Terrible Trio (voiced by David Faustino, Grey DeLisle, and Googy Gress),[7] and Phosphorus are new interpretations of Batman villains, the latter of whom differs from the comic version in that Firefly mutates into him, having his same radioactive skills and becoming insane, but does not have a visible skeleton.

Episodes[edit]

List of Episodes[edit]

Season Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired
1 13 September 11, 2004 May 7, 2005
2 13 May 14, 2005 September 10, 2005
3 13 September 17, 2005 May 13, 2006
4 13 September 23, 2006 May 5, 2007
5 13 September 22, 2007 March 8, 2008

DVD releases[edit]

All the DVD releases are in 4:3 aspect ratio. However, the entire series is available in 16:9 on Amazon Video and the Xbox Video Store. The first two seasons and The Batman vs. Dracula movie are available on iTunes in 16:9.

  • The Complete First Season (2 discs, episodes 1-13)
  • The Complete Second Season (2 discs, episodes 14-26)
  • The Complete Third Season (2 discs, episodes 27-39)
  • The Complete Fourth Season (2 discs, episodes 40-52)
  • The Complete Fifth Season (2 discs, episodes 53-65)
  • The Batman vs. Dracula (1 disc, feature-length animated movie)

Characters[edit]

Main cast[edit]

Additional voices[edit]

The Batman Strikes![edit]

The Batman Strikes! is a DC comic book series featuring Batman and is a spin-off comic book series of The Batman. Part of the DC's younger reader line, the series survived for 50 issues in total, with the last issue shipping in October 2008.[8]

Reprints[edit]

Title Material Collected ISBN
Volume 1: Crime Time #1-5 SC: 978-1401205096
Volume 2: In Darkest Night #6-10 SC: 978-1401205102
Volume 3: Duty Calls #11-14, 16-18 SC: 978-1401215484

Crew[edit]

Awards[edit]

The Batman received Annie Award nominations for Best Animated Television Production in 2005 and 2006, and for Best Music in a Television Production in 2006.[9]

The Batman was nominated for twelve Daytime Emmy Awards during its five-year run, winning six times.

In 2005 it was nominated for Outstanding Special Class Animated Program, Outstanding performer in an Animated Program (Kevin Michael Richardson as the Joker), Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction and Composition, and Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing - Live Action and Animation (for which it won).

In 2006 it was nominated and won Outstanding Special Class Animated Program and Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing - Live Action and Animation.

In 2007 it was nominated for Outstanding Special Class Animated Program and won Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing - Live Action and Animation.

In 2008 it was nominated for Outstanding Special Class Animated Program and Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program (Kevin Michael Richardson as the Joker), and won Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing - Live Action and Animation, and Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing - Live Action and Animation.[9]

The Batman was also nominated for Motion Picture Sound Editors "Golden Reel Awards" for Sound Effects Editing in 2005, 2008, and 2009, winning in 2008.

Reception[edit]

The Batman also received its share of criticism with critics and fans. IGN commented in the article "A History Of Batman" that The Batman's "characters have a much more kiddie and cartoonish feel than those seen in the Animated Series and its kin," and that the "various Batsuits and gadgets and many action scenes" were intended to "inspire toys for kids to buy."

Proposed spin-off[edit]

In June 2006, during an interview about Superman: Brainiac Attacks, writer Duane Capizzi mentioned a Superman series set in the same universe of The Batman, a possibility supported by Superman's revealed existence during the show's fifth season.[10] Despite this, the expansion was never realized, and Capizzi never again mentioned the spin-off.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]