The New Batman Adventures
|The New Batman Adventures|
by Bob Kane and Bill Finger
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||
|No. of episodes||24 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Jean MacCurdy|
|Running time||22 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Warner Bros. Animation|
|Distributor||Warner Bros. Television Distribution|
|Original network||The WB|
|Picture format||SDTV (480i)|
|Original release||September 13, 1997– January 16, 1999|
|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 1990s Batman: The Animated Series. It was produced by Warner Bros. Animation and aired on The WB 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.
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.
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. The animators decided to make the show look more compatible with the smoother Superman: The Animated Series with which TNBA would air in tandem as part of The New Batman/Superman Adventures on The WB. 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. 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 more modern look.
Batman was given a sleeker, brawnier appearance with an overall darker costume; the golden ellipse surrounding the bat emblem on his chest and the blue highlights of his cape and cowl were both removed. 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, and his regular business suit was changed from brown to black. Kevin Conroy's voice for Batman 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 Batman's dialogue as terse and grim as possible, in order to heighten the contrast between him and the lighthearted supporting cast.
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 new 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." Melissa Gilbert was replaced by Tara Strong as the voice of Batgirl. Strong would reprise her role over 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, Teen Titans Go! and in the animated feature, Batman: The Killing Joke which reunited her with Conroy and Mark Hamill.
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. 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 1990s. The costume also featured collapsible wings under the arms that allowed Nightwing to glide for short distances.
The designs of most of the villains from Batman's rogues gallery were also changed considerably, generally developing darker color schemes. Most controversial of the redesigns was that of the Joker, whose 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 almost completely black. His primary suit colors were changed from purple and yellow to purple and green.
Harley Quinn, Two-Face and Clayface were among the few characters who did not receive any drastic change in appearance or color alterations. Harley Quinn is also 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 episode content 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."
|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)|
|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
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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.
Home Video releases
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. The series has also been released for online media distribution services such as iTunes and Google Play specifically as "Season 4" of the animated series.
- Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman (2003) - a direct-to-video release.
- Batman: Vengeance, published by Ubisoft for the PlayStation 2, GameCube and Xbox; featuring the Joker, Harley Quinn, Mr. Freeze, and Poison Ivy as antagonists.
- Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu, the sequel to Batman Vengeance, which featured a new villain created specially for the game; Sin Tzu.
- Batman: Chaos in Gotham, a platforming action video game for the Game Boy Color.
- Batman: Gotham City Racer, a racing game for the PlayStation.
- Batman: Arkham City features a The New Batman Adventures-inspired alternate skin for Nightwing.
- 1998 – Outstanding Special Class Animated Program – Jean MacCurdy, Alan Burnett, Paul Dini, Bruce Timm, Hilary Bader, Stan Berkowitz, Rich Fogel, Steve Gerber, Bob Goodman, Hiroyuki Aoyama, Curt Geda, Kenji Hachizaki, Butch Lukic, Toshihiko Masuda, Dan Riba, Andrea Romano and Yûichirô Yano (shared with Superman) (won)
- 1999 – Outstanding Sound Mixing – Special Class – Tom Maydeck, Robert Hargreaves, Pat Rodman and John Hegedes (shared with Superman) (won)
- 1999 - Best Performance in a Voice Over in a Feature or TV - Best Young Actor - Mathew Valencia (nominated)
- 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.
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