DCAU appreciation

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Turtletrekker, Aug 15, 2012.

  1. Turtletrekker

    Turtletrekker Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I finally finished the heavy lifting in completing my DCAU DVD collection. I sort of went in reverse-- I got Batman Beyond and Justice League first, then Superman, and now finally, Batman the Animated Series. I was waiting for the right price, which I finally found when I bought all four volumes for $80.

    I also have the movies Mask of the Phantasm, The Mystery of the Batwoman and Return of the Joker, so as far as I know, I'm only missing Sub-Zero out of what's available. (Are there any episodes of Static Shock or The Zeta Project available? Netflix? YouTube?) BTW, does anyone know where these movies fit into the shows continuty?

    For the longest time, I've said that Batman Beyond was my favorite DCAU show. But given how long it's been since I've actually sat down and watched B:TAS, I am hearby revising my opinion. Batman: The Animated Series is the best super-hero television show ever. Period. Kevin Conroy, of course, is prolific throughout the DCAU, but that's not the same as being the sole starring voice of a show. I was actually reminded of how thoroughly Kevin Conroy owns this role ("I am vengence! I am the night! I am Batman!) and how quickly Mark Hamill's Joker could go from zany goofiness to lethal in a heartbeat ("He killed Captain Clown. He killed Captain Clown!"). Efram Zimbalist as Alfred is perfect ("That's odd. Only vampires loathe daylight more than Batman") and much better than Clive Revell's take from the first three episodes.

    It's interesting going from watching Justice League and Batman Beyond, at one end of the DCAU, and then going back to the begining. The animation style changes a lot more than I realized. B:TAS is much darker and grittier than its spin-offs and off-shoots, despite obviously being a similar style.

    Anyway, I'm already in the middle of a DCAU re-watch, having recently watched the first seasons of Batman Beyond and Justice League, and will occasionally post my thoughts here. Anyone who wants to talk about and expres their appreciation for the DCAU should feel free to do likewise.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2012
  2. Reverend

    Reverend Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Off the top of my head, Static Shock takes place around the same time as Justice Leage (because they were produced at the same time) and The Zeta Project is a spin-off of an episode of Batman Beyond, so that show takes place alongside BB.

    They're definitely both in the continuity of the other shows as Zeta came back on BB, sporting his new look and with Ro in tagging along (bit of a sideways reference but his "ancestor" also showed up on JL & JLU.) Likewise old Static appeared in JLU, alongside Terry and old Bruce. There were also a number of crossovers within those two shows, so continuity is pretty tight.
     
  3. Admiral_Young

    Admiral_Young Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I think I read somewhere that Mystery of the Batwoman is supposed to take place prior to season one of "Justice League". I could be wrong about that. I think that "Justice League/Unlimted" is second place to me following "Batman: The Animated Series" as my favourite series from the Timm'Verse. "Batman Beyond" would be in third place, followed by "Superman: The Animated Series".
     
  4. Gotham Central

    Gotham Central Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I always wondered why the artwork takes a nosedive the with arrival of Superman: TAS/Gotham Knights/New Superman Batman Adventures.

    Its really noticeable when you look at the revamped Joker, Ivy and Catwoman. Did the earlier artwork take to long to animate?
     
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I put them pretty close to where they came out relative to the shows. In my chronology, Mask of the Phantasm is between the first and second production seasons of B:TAS (i.e. following episode 65, "The Worry Men"). Sub-Zero is shortly after the end of season 2/episode 85 and before the comics miniseries The Lost Years (i.e. before the flashbacks in "Old Wounds"), which also puts it shortly before the debut of Superman in Superman: TAS. And as stated above, Mystery of the Batwoman (and the "Chase Me" short) goes between the end of The New Batman Adventures and the start of Justice League.

    As for The Return of the Joker, I believe that came out between seasons 2 and 3 of Batman Beyond, and I have it placed during season 3. It's a bit hard to place because of the flashbacks, which have to be nearly 40 years before the movie and also have to be after the Joker's last appearance in JL's "Wild Cards" -- if not after JLU's "The Greatest Story Never Told," in which Booster Gold refers to the Joker as still at large.


    Sometimes literally grittier, since they still used physical animation cels at the time and sometimes the cels got pretty dirty. I believe they switched to digital animation around 2000, during Batman Beyond's second season. (These days, the original pencil drawings are still done by hand, but rather than being inked and painted onto cels, they're scanned and digitally inked and painted in the computer.)


    "Nosedive" is a matter of opinion. When they brought back the show, they decided to revamp the character designs and make them more streamlined, to take the caricature style B:TAS had pioneered and refine it even further. Glen Murakami did the new designs, whereas Bruce Timm had done the originals. Some of those designs didn't work as well as their predecessors, notably the Joker, but others were definite improvements. For one, the TNBA Barbara/Batgirl was a lot better-looking than the B:TAS version.
     
  6. doubleohfive

    doubleohfive Fleet Admiral

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    Don't forget the Gotham Girls webisodes, available only on the Birds of Prey TV series DVD sets.
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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  8. SG-17

    SG-17 Commodore Commodore

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    If I remember correctly, Timm et al found the original artwork from B:TAS to be too time consuming and too complicated to continue so they simplified the designs. However with TNBA/S:TAS Timm felt that the designs for the Joker and a few others were too simplified so he restored them with BB, ROTJ, and JL/U.

    Notice how the B:TAS designs were more rounded and organic. These were hard to animate.

    [​IMG]

    And then with TNBA/S:TAS they became more straight and easier to animate.

    [​IMG]

    Then later with BB and JL/U they found a compromise and returned the Joker to his near-original design.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Mr Light

    Mr Light Admiral Admiral

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    I greatly preferred the New Adventures revamp. I thought the animation looked a lot better, and it was consistently good as well. The original B:tAS had a lot of different companies working on it and some looked good but a lot looked absolutely terrible.

    Plus, Batman looked a lot more bad ass with his blacker design than the old blue/yellow one.

    As for the shows in general, Justice League Unlimited and Superman were the best. I find Batman had a lot of good episodes but also a lot of truly terrible ones as well; a poor good to bad ratio. Plus, it was just so amazing to see an animated Superman flying around and punching people. :) Batman Beyond I found extremely uninteresting (though the Joker movie was amazing).
     
  10. kirk55555

    kirk55555 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Batman: TAS is my favorite of the DC cartoons, and probably the best superhero cartoon ever. That said, its art style when it switched to a more Superman: TAS style was a big downgrade in quality. The style worked for Superman, but made everything look way too cheerful in batman, and made it more unrealistic. The show was still good, and the style went on to fit well with Justice League/JLU, but it just didn't work well with Batman TAS. The Joker was pretty much ruined. I LOVE Hamil's Joker but its painful for me to see him in the Superman TAS style, I'm glad he went back to normal in BB and JL/JLU, even if Batman stayed Superman TAS style.

    Besides Batman TAS, I love JL/JLU, really like Superman TAS, liked Static Shock, thought Beyond was very hit or miss (Return of the Joker was excellent, though) and never watched the Zeta Project. I liked Mask of the Phantasm, Return of the Joker and Sub-Zero, but I thought Mystery of the Batwoman was pretty bland.
     
  11. Admiral James Kirk

    Admiral James Kirk Writer Admiral

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    :techman: Everything you've said is correct. Anybody who disagrees is wrong. Now I don't have to chime in with my own opinion.
     
  12. PointedEars

    PointedEars Ensign Newbie

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    I prefer Batman TAS to TNBA, but I really enjoy them both. That being said, the one thing I didn't like about The New Batman Adventures was what Bruce Timm and company did with the Dick Grayson character. They had him and Batman at odds most of the time, and showed that Dick actually punched Bruce in the face and left Gotham for a few years. Eventually the character was just dropped without any goodbye story. It was eventually explained in one line in ROTJ that he moved to another city, but we never saw or heard from Grayson in the DCAU.

    One explanation that I've heard concerning this treatment of the character was that Bruce Timm himself hated Dick Grayson and originally wanted to use Tim Drake for TAS, but they went for Grayson because the general public was more familiar with that version of Robin. Does anyone know if that's true? And I wish they would bring back the DCAU, if for no other reason to tie up Dick Grayson's storyline. Maybe they could have a post Return of the Joker flashback animated movie where Batman quits the Justice League, takes Dick's and Barbara's respective costumes from them, and forbids Tim from ever donning the Robin costume again. Essentially, Bruce would be on his own, aided only by Alfred.
     
  13. Reverend

    Reverend Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    IIRC, Bruce Timm has said that the RotJ flashback are the last thing to happen in the BTAS -> JLU timeframe. Meaning that it all happens *after* JLU...not sure if that includes the Ace/Waller flashback from 'Epilogue', but I imagine so.
    Likewise the main story of RotJ is supposed to be the last thing in that time frame (save for 'Epilogue', of course.)
    'Mystery of the Batwoman' was I think supposed to take place around season 2 of Justice League (there's mention of weapons shipments to that fake county who's name I forget, the one Vandal Savage takes over?)

    I recall Timm saying at the time that they always kept the exact timeline deliberately loose, with everything basically taking place in 'Peanuts' time. So it's really not supposed to withstand close scrutiny. Only rarely did they ever specify a passage of time from previous episodes and those instances were mostly in JLU when they started getting continuity happy and started tying in everything but the kitchen sink.
     
  14. Turtletrekker

    Turtletrekker Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Dick Grayson appeared in the Batman Beyond comic series when he became a suspect in the "Hush Beyond" arc. Part of the story included a flashback to the origins of Bruce and Dick's rift.

    After sustaining serious gunshot wounds while fighting alongside Bruce, Bruce simply removed Dick's Nightwing costume to protect his ID, called an ambulance and went after the bad guys. He then never visited Dick in the hospital, merely sending Alfred with a note saying that he had a new uniform waiting for him in the cave.

    Dick never forgave Bruce and wants nothing to do with him. He is still friends with Barbara Gordon, and while he doesn't like the idea of a new Batman so much, he does respect Terry. We also find out that Dick is listed as Bruce's sole heir in his will.

    The new Hush turned out to be...

    ... an escaped Cadmus clone of Dick.
     
  15. CorporalClegg

    CorporalClegg Admiral Admiral

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    I love the DCAU. I really wish they'd get it up on Netflix. I haven't watched most of it in years, and I really want to, especially the "Timm-verse."

    They have a lot (most) of the animated Marvel stuff, but it's just not in the same league.
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I'm not sure what you mean. Dick was a major recurring character in TNBA. What you're talking about, his falling-out with Batman and his world travels, comes from the flashbacks in the episode "Old Wounds," and is spelled out in more detail in the comic miniseries The Batman Adventures: The Lost Years, written by the late Hilary J. Bader, one of the head writers for TNBA. But Dick came back in his new identity of Nightwing, and was featured in seven TNBA episodes, as well as making nonspeaking cameo apperances in JL's "The Savage Time" and JLU's "Grudge Match." He was also mentioned but not seen in S:TAS: "Knight Time," several Batman Beyond episodes, Return of the Joker, and JLU: "Epilogue."



    I know that's the intent, but I couldn't make it fit in my chronology that way, so I had to fudge it. After all, JL/U hadn't been made yet when RotJ came out, so it resulted in a continuity glitch. Putting the RotJ flashbacks earlier than Timm wanted is the only way I could reconcile the inconsistency.


    I'm not sure why I put it earlier. I think it may have had something to do with Bruce taking over Wayne/Powers again in the movie -- there may have been something in a third-season episode that seemed like it came after that.


    Kaznia. It was shown to be in a troubled state as early as the S:TAS premiere, so MotB could've easily taken place sometime between that and JL.


    Actually I found that it works surprisingly well if you assume that most of it (except the BB stuff, of course) happened in roughly real time. The real-life intervals between series and events therein are usually consistent with what's implied about the in-story intervals.
     
  17. Showdown

    Showdown Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I love the DCAU. Batman TAS and Superman TAS are awesome. My favorite is the JL/JLU series.
    I even made that youtube video (I've posted it here before)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jSdKTffSSo
    (with song High School Never Ends by Bowling for Soup)

    PointedEars, I agree Christopher here. I don't think Bruce Tim hates Dick Grayson. Maybe the studio execs want a younger Robin, so they use Tim Drake. Dick had a falling with Bruce and became his own hero, Nightwing. But the two reconciled and they worked together a few times. I think he was even best man at Bruce's wedding in the TNBA episode Chemistry.

    Hey kirk55555, as for not watching the Zeta Project, don't worry, you're not missing much.
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I think it's probably the other way around. The producers of B:TAS probably wanted Dick to be younger, but the show was on FOX during a time when the censorship on "children's" shows was pretty strict, so they were required to make Robin 18 years old. (Which is odd, since the Power Rangers were supposed to be high schoolers.) Once they were on the WB with its milder restrictions on content, they were free to feature a younger Robin at last. Obviously they couldn't have Dick age backward, so that meant bringing in a new Robin -- and that let them incorporate Tim from the comics. And meanwhile they took the opportunity to allow Dick to grow up and begin the next phase of his career by becoming Nightwing -- which is the sort of thing you do when you like a character and want to develop him, not when you hate him. We probably would've seen him in more episodes if the series had run longer.
     
  19. Gotham Central

    Gotham Central Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Actually one of the reason that we never hear from Dick again was the stupid Bat embargo that hit the later series of the DCAU. I suspect that Nightwing would have been a member of the JLU if not for the embargo. After all the artists on the series managed to skirt the embargo slightly by showing Nightwing from behind in an episode of JLU that took place in Bludhaven.
     
  20. PointedEars

    PointedEars Ensign Newbie

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    Turtletrekker, thanks. I do now recall seeing something about that storyline. I just meant that I wish that they would do it in animation as a DVD film and bring back Loren Lester, Kevin Conroy, et. al. in their roles.

    To Christopher and Showdown, I just was repeating a rumor I had seen on one site about the DCAU,( I know, I know, never trust anything, especially on the Net.) and I regret that. I was just saying that I wished we had gotten a better wrapup for Nightwing, though I agree with Gotham Central that the reason they had the bat embargo on using Batman's supporting characters (other than Bats himself) was because of the new cartoon The Batman. The rational for JLU to not be able to use the other Batman characters was because it would confuse younger viewers with two shows having the same characters. I think young viewers are savvy enough to know the difference though.