Skip to main content

Review: Beware the Batman - Animated TV Series

I first wrote about the 26 part TV series, Beware the Batman in my Animation and Video blog when the initial trailer was released back in June of 2013. At the time I was underwhelmed with the shows CGI and almost immaculate Gotham City streets.

For some reason the show was only ever aired at odd times on late night TV here in Australia, which seems to have been it's fate for the second half of the series in the USA too. As a result I only ever caught two or three episodes before the show disappeared. Apparently being declared a financial failure by Cartoon Network.



While the episodes I saw weren't particularly mind blowing they were reasonably solid Batman stories in a darker tone than the previous animated series Batman, The Brave and the Bold. Batman, in particular, is a much angrier and more focused hero and is voiced extremely well by Anthony Ruivivar. The only thing that really bugged me about this version of Batman is the shape of his cowl and the extremely pointy, flared out ears - not a lot of forehead in the character design.

Anyway, I happened along the DVD of the first half of Season 1, Beware the Batman - Shadows of Gotham, in my local department store and thought I'd give it a try. Several months later I happened to find the second half of Season 1, Beware the Batman - Dark Justice, in the same department store and bought that as well... to see how it ends.

Overall I would say Beware the Batman is a very under rated series. For the most part I always found each episode engaging and the characters of Batman/Bruce Wayne are as good a version as any I've seen to date in an animated series.

Also a real highlight is Kurtwood Smith as Lieutenant Gordon, who's character arc is fairly typical of modern versions of Gordon. Initially hostile towards Batman but eventually reconciles that bringing him in isn't as beneficial as just keeping an eye on things and accepting his help when necessary. Despite that his character is a standout in the series.

I must admit I'm not a fan of this version of Alfred Pennyworth (JB Blanc) depicted here as an ex secret agent. There's nothing particularly wrong with it as such but for a guy in his 60's he sure can not only take a punch but really hit hard too. In an early episode you see him go toe to toe with Bruce in an apparent training exercise. Seriously, if I'm fit enough to take on Batman in my 60's I'll be one happy camper.

Disappointingly this is yet another series with no Robin. Instead we get Katana (Sumalee Montano), a sword wielding spy from Alfred's past. Except for a really lame 'Clarke Kent' like disguise the character is a great addition and eventual side kick for Batman (that's not really a spoiler you can tell it'll happen from the moment she appears). My only question is how did she make it through 26 episodes without so much as a single drop of blood on her sword. I don't think any villain got so much as a scratch.

The villains aren't your classic Batman rogues gallery. To be honest I've never heard of any of them other than Ra's Al Ghul (Lance Reddick) who makes a brief appearance mid season and Killer Croc (Wade Williams) who also appears in a few episodes.

I wasn't a big fan of Anarchy (Wallace Langham) who is supposed to be the seasons major villain but really doesn't get enough screen time to feel like that's his role. Apparently he was chosen so as not to make this series 'another Joker story' but if they had used Joker instead I think the stories would have been stronger. Anarchy is too low key and doesn't really live up to his name. He's too calculated.

Surprisingly my favorite foes were Professor Pyg (Brian George) and Mr Toad (Udo Kier). Depicted as Eco-terrorists they are quite possibly the silliest characters of the series (and I rolled my eyes when I saw them in the trailer) but the banter between Pyg and Toad and their adversaries provided some of the best humor of the series.

The only other character that really caught my attention was Barbara Gordon (Tara Strong) played as an extremely young computer hacker who eventually becomes an ally of Batman as 'Oracle' (again not really a spoiler). I was hoping she'd eventually become Bat Girl. You can see that was probably the intention over the course of the series, as Katana trains her in hand to hand combat, but sadly it was probably a storyline that we would have been seen in a second series (sorry to spoil that for you but at least you're not sitting in hope like I was).

Overall there were no really stand out episodes for me. Although there were a few low point episodes - anything with Metamorpho (Adam Baldwin) and  Humphrey Dumpler (Matt Jones) for a start - both highly annoying characters. However most episodes were fairly strong in their storyline. Not overly complex but interesting enough to see how they play out. I was more interested in seeing how the series character arcs played out than the individual episodes stories.

If you like a darker, more serious Batman and you haven't been into recent incarnations of the character in animation then this might be well worth watching. It would have been great to see a second season of the show with some of Batman's more well known villains, as I think the choice of foes is really what let the show down. They needed at least one familiar face in this 'C list' rogues gallery, if not Joker then one of the other top tier characters (of which Ra's isn't one of them despite Batman Begins).

A good series for the collection and well worth a few watch throughs for Batman alone.




Comments

  1. My son is a huge fan of batman series whereas my daughter doesn’t want to watch anything other than shows by Andy Yeatman. I get to live in two different worlds at the same time. It’s quite a fun thing though. I liked reading this post because I believe, I will have a lot of more thing in common with my son and he is going to be very happy if I answer all his batman questions.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Comments not directly related to the post will be deleted. This includes spammy generic comments with links to websites not related to the post.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Buy Gifts and Apparel featuring art by TET

Popular posts from this blog

Why 'We Believe: The Best Men Can Be | Gillette (Short Film)' Misses the Mark

If you're one of the few people who haven't at least heard about Gillette's short film, We Believe: The Best Men Can Be then take a moment to watch their video below. It seems like it is an earnest attempt to address undesirable male behaviour and attitudes that have become branded with the unhelpful term 'Toxic Masculinity' but for me, and a lot of people, it just missed the mark.

At this point, the real success of the film, despite the Youtube dislike ratio of approximately 2:1 is the increased brand awareness for Gillette - and I guess the 1 million a year for the next three years they will be donating to programs supporting men of positive action (but they could have done that anyway with no fanfare).



I get what Gillette were going for here by showing examples of past/current behaviour/attitudes in communities, business, and media that has brought about terms like 'toxic masculinity' and the #metoo movement. It's an attempt at reflection on whether…

Guest Post: MY SOOPER DOOPER NEW CONSERVATORY/ART STUDIO!

Today's guest post is by Artist, Writer, and Mental Health Advocate, Jo B Creative who writes for her blog, Creating My Oddessey.

You should see our (almost) brand new conservatory, half of which is my art studio. 'Lucky me!' I think to myself. Not every creative bod can boast that. It's HUGE! Like a giant greenhouse.

We first moved to our pleasant cul-de-sac house - great for raising kids - when our son, who's on the cusp of thirty-one, was four. One of the main reasons that we wanted it was that, apart from its location on the fringes of a historic market town in rural Hampshire, UK, it had a sizable conservatory looking onto the back garden. It was brown wood framed and had a corrugated transparent roof sloping down from downstairs ceiling height. On the face of it, it doesn't sound that glamourous, but we loved the idea of a conservatory. Luxury! I even liked the red brick walls which it was built against - the original exterior of the house - and the light …

My First Time on a P&O Cruise Ship - Mini Cruise Almost to Kangaroo Island

Outwardly I wasn't concerned about my first time on a P&O Cruise ship but inwardly I guess my subconscious anxiety was working overtime. I'll spare you the details but just know my digestive system was pretty empty by the time my partner, Kathy, and I left the house.

That said, once we were on the boat for our three day cruise from Adelaide, South Australia, with a stop at Kangaroo Island (KI), and back to Adelaide again, everything went pretty well, with nothing to be too concerned about. 
The ship didn't leave until four in the afternoon. However we were able to board in time to not only have lunch on the boat but also spend a couple of hours exploring.
Our ship was called the Pacific Eden and is pretty much what you might imagine a cruise ship to be from the outside. Maybe bigger or smaller than you think depending upon whether you've seen a cruise ship before. This particular ship will be retired from March 2019, having been sold to another cruise ship company…

Review: Titans, Season One, Netflix/WBTV Original Series *Minor Spoilers*

When I saw the first trailers for the Netflix/WBTV original series Titans my expectations were set extremely low. Granted my point of reference was the recent Teen Titans Go animated series (and movie), which I've seen a few episodes, and don't like at all. To be fair though, that show is definitely not targeted at me.

Anyhow the Titan trailer didn't do enough to hook me in and Robin's 'F*ck Batman' quote toward the end had my eyes rolling with 'here we go again with a whiney, entitled Robin like the Chris O'donnell version in the 1990's movies.

However, from the very first episode I was pleasantly surprised with the story and ideas presented, and was hooked, to the point of binge watching several episodes in a row if I had time.

We learn Dick Grayson is trying to retire from being Robin and has moved to Detroit, where he's working as a detective for the Detroit PD.

Full disclosure, I've been wanting to see a new take on a live action Robin…

Movie Review: Avengers: Infinity War (2018) *Spoiler Free*

Ten years in the making and Marvel finally releases part one of the Avengers versus Thanos, A.K.A. Avengers: Infinity War.

After seeing all 18 films in the MCU prior to this, and liking most of them, I was pretty confident this movie would not disappoint.

Other than a few minor issues - that are all my personal taste and in no way reflect on the quality of the film - it really delivers. Thanos is indeed the big, bad villain of the MCU that we've been antcipating.

Creating a Mobile Independent Artist Business - Part 10: Opportunities to make money (Part A)

In my last post I looked at What to Create and Finding Your Market. This post is something of a natural follow on from finding your market as many of these money making opportunities include their own market places that you can research to see what kinds of themes and subjects sell best.

It's worth doing this research to find out if the art you're already creating is a good fit for that market place - which is ideal - or if you may have to consider expanding your interests to cover popular themes in order sell in a particular market.

getpaidtodraw.com - Your Questions Answered.

Is it a scam? Is the sales message too good to be true? Can you really sit back, relax and get paid thousands of dollars in residual payments?

If you've discovered the site getpaidtodraw.com and have been looking for someone who has bought this product before taking that leap then this review will peel back the glossy sales message and give you the answers. Prior to buying this product I came across much distrust and misinformation about getpaidtodraw.com by people who hadn't purchased it. There was a real need for information so I decided to take the leap and make the purchase specifically so I could write this informed review. Note that I am not, in any way, a getpaidtodraw.com affiliate.

For this review I will be focusing on the getpaidtodraw system which includes; the ebook, instructional videos and database along with access to the systems author Jules Camber (who replies to emails as 'Jamie, President of Champ Entertainment, Inc and Beats365, LLC'). I'll touch …