DCAU appreciation

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

  1. Reverend

    Reverend Vice Admiral Admiral

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    What inconsistency? The only one I can think of is the costume not being the same as the one in JL/JLU. I'd hardly call that a problem. Really it's just aesthetics, but if you want to be really anal about it, one can say he just changed costumes occasionally, no?

    Sure, but the movie was produced around the same time as JL's second season so that way round makes a little more sense. Again, I wouldn't get too hung up over the costumes.

    It probably works well precisely because they avoided being specific about how much time has passed. If they'd made a habit of getting into specifics then you can bet there'd be a ton of errors and contradictions. Sometimes the best way to maintain continuity is to not bother with it at all. All that Cadmus stuff in JLU that tied back into old STAS & BTAS was just a happy coincidence. It only *looked* like they pre-planned it all. Very well done mind.
     
  2. TV's Frank

    TV's Frank Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I was in college when i discovered Batman: The Animated Series back in '92 and I immediately loved it. I had really liked the two Tim Burton Batman films, especially due to Danny Elfman's scores, but I had never read a Batman comic previously. BTAS was and is an amazing show in all aspects, whether its character design, voice talent, art direction, music, writing, direction, sound design, etc etc. With the recent 4-disc release of music from the show, I was revisiting a number of episodes in the DVD sets.

    I never wound up seeing Batman Beyond, STAS or JL/JLU, the latter only recently. I purchased the complete JL/JLU series on DVD last year, found it at Amoeba Records here in L.A. for a great price, and I really enjoyed diving back into the DCAU, especially for Batman's continuing arc. I picked up season one of BB as well.

    This also led me to seek out the comic book series from the 90's set specifically in the animated universe, such as the aforementioned "Lost Years". And then I finally started to dive into the larger world of Batman comics, starting with the various collections like "Batman in the 70's", "Birth of the Demon" and "The Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told". It's been a real treat to discover these marvelous comics, especially the work of Denny O'Neil. I keep finding items in the comics that found their way into BTAS! :)
     
  3. Turtletrekker

    Turtletrekker Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I finished volume one, which contained the first 28 episodes, a lot quicker than I expected. It's a show so good that you can keep watching and watching. My first sitting encompassed the first 10 episodes and a commentary. Overall, excellent television with only a few clunkers in the bunch.The storytelling is cinematic and adult and thoroughly entertaing.


    "On Leather Wings" was a good opener as it really established everything you need to know about the character. All of the other DCAU shows begin with "Origin Stories", but B:TAS just jumps right in with the action. C'mon, he's Batman. Does he really need an introduction?

    "Christmas With The Joker" First appearances of Joker and Robin. This one might have come off a little silly if it weren't for Mark Hamill's brilliant performance of the Joker. I loved the punch-line with the pie in the face. Again no introduction is needed for the Joker as we first encounter him well into his battles with Batman. It made me wonder how far into his crimefighting career Batman was at this point. Obviously long enough for people to know who he was, for him to establish a relationship with Gordon and for him to establish rivalries with the Joker and the Penguin. But we get introduction eps for the rest of the Rogues Gallery, which at first made me thing the show took place early in his career. At least two years, per "The Jokers Favor", but obviously longer when you take his history with Dick Grayson into account.

    "Nothing to Fear" The introduction to the Scarecrow had some powerful stuff, but will always be remembered by me as the ep with Kevin Conroy's delivery of the line, "I am vengence, I am the night, I am Batman!"

    "The Last Laugh"-- Another great performance from Hamill. I think I would have been happy if every episode were Conroy's Batman vs Hamill's Joker. I liked Bruce's "April Fools" joke on Alfred at the end.

    "Pretty Poison"-- The introduction of Poison Ivy. Noteworthy to for for its establishing the friendship between Bruce Wayne and Harvey Dent. I liked that they had the foresight to include Dent as a charcter before his eventually fall. I know that Dent appeared briefly in "On Leather Wings", but here he is given a bigger spotlight.

    "The Underdwellers"-- Meh. First cluncker on the bunch. They can't all be winners.

    "P.O.V"-- I liked this episode. Bullock, Montoya and a rookie all giving their own version of a botched stakeout involving Batman. Thefirst time that you really see how cool Montoya is.

    "Forgotten"-- Bruce Wayne with amnesia, kidnapped and working at a forced labor mining camp. Alfred coming to the rescue, and his exchanges with the bat-plane, made this episode.

    "Be A Clown"-- An OK episode made great by Mark Hamill.

    "Two-Face" parts 1 & 2-- The payoff to the early inclusion of Harvey Dent. I have to admit that I nevr really cared for the changes in the origin (And I suppose acid in the face might have been a bit much for the network censers), I did really enjoy these episodes. But seriously Harvey, two fiancees in six episodes? The guy got around.:lol:

    "It's Never Too Late"-- A nice tale of two rival ganglords, and how one of them seeks redemption. Not all of the good Batman stories need bizarre super-villains.

    "I've got Batman in my Basement"-- The first appearance of the Penguin is a bit of a "meh" episode. Treid to be light-hearted and came out bland.

    "Heart of Ice"-- This is a favorite. The first appearance of Victor Frieze, and the performance from Michael Ansara, were first rate. A very convincing and touching take on what was previously a bit of a one-note villain with a gimmick.

    "The Cat and the Claw" 1 &2-- The first appearance of Catwaoman/Selina Kyle was purfect (sorry). The story was everything it needed to be and the electricity and sexual tension between the characters was evident in the actors portrayals.

    "See No Evil"-- Wow. I actually had to consult wiki to remeber anything about this episode. I guess we'll classify this as a "clunker".

    "Beware The Gray Ghost"-- A classic despite it's plot-holes. Adam West's portrayal of Simon Trent was sincere and convincing and it was just plain cool cool to hear West and Conroy in a scene together.

    "Prophecy of Doom"-- Gullible rich people falliing for an obvious scan and throwing millions of dollars at it. Sounds like Scientology. Clunker.

    "Feat of Clay" 1 & 2-- Clunkers. It felt like they had too much story for one episode, but not enough for two. Ironically, these were the first two episodes of the series that I ever saw. I remember not thinking much of the show at first as a result. My opinion did quickly change. :lol:

    "The Jokers Favor"-- The first appearance of Harley Quinn and a personal favorite of mine. I totally dug the idea that the Joker would make poor, unfortunate Charlie Collins into his "hobby". It just seemed like the kind of twisted thing the Joker would do.

    "Vendetta"-- An OK episode focusing on Harvey Bullock. Bullock may be an ass, but for the most part, he's a good cop protecting the city just like Batman.

    "Fear of Victory"-- The return of the Scarecrow AND Robin. Another OK episode. Overall, hardly Robin's finest moment.

    "The Clock King"-- A lame, one-note villain with an unconvincing, and slightly silly, gimmick. I can't really call this one a clunker because of some sequences that I really liked, but not really a great one either.

    "Appointment in Crime Alley"-- Excellent. First time that Bruce's origins are really addressed and I always liked the character of Leslie Thompkins. Diana Muldaur was a perfect casting choice.

    "Mad As A Hatter"-- This one could have been silly, but works in 50s Dick Sprang era kind of way.

    "Dreams in Darkness"-- What? Three Scarecrow episode before a second turn from Penguin, Two-Face, of Catwoman (granted the latter two were introduced in two-parters)? A nd didnt we just have this scene...

    Batman "Where's Scarecrow?"

    Guard: "In his cell"

    Batman: "Check again"

    Guard: "If you say so-- Wha----? He's Gone!"

    ... just four episodes ago in "Fear of Victory"?

    Anyway, rewatching Batman: The Animated Series has been too much fun, but I'm going to take a short break... To start on the first few disks of Superman: The Animated Series. :lol:

    Will post thoughts on that later.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2012
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Four-disc? I only have two. Was there a second volume I somehow missed?


    I wish I could afford to track down all the back issues of those series that I missed. I was only able to collect them piecemeal originally. And while a lot of them conflict with later DCAU continuity, there are probably a fair number that would still work.


    Well, there were a couple of more practical reasons they didn't do an origin. One was that the Burton movie already covered it. The other was censorship; FOX Kids put a lot of restrictions on violence in its programming and so B:TAS had to avoid showing death. So the murder of the Waynes was only indirectly or symbolically alluded to a few times.


    Yup. "Robin's Reckoning" establishes that he was already Batman at least 8-9 years before the B:TAS episodes featuring Robin. The ones without Robin could potentially come earlier, though.


    A line whose iconic status I hate, because it's totally wrong. Batman is not about vengeance. If he were, he would've killed Joe Chill and retired. Batman is about justice, and about trying to keep other people from having to mourn the deaths of their loved ones.


    I thought they were pretty good, especially part 2. The animation in part 1 (by Akom, a generally mediocre studio) was poor, but part 2 was animated by the brilliant Tokyo Movie Shinsha and features some of the most spectacular, amazing animation ever seen on American television at that point.


    Also the first Paul Dini-scripted Joker episode, which is why the previous Joker episodes were all so lame in comparison.


    It feels much more substantial than that to me, thanks to the dark edge Dini's writing gives it and the soulful brilliance of Roddy McDowall's performance.
     
  5. TV's Frank

    TV's Frank Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    You bet! There was a 2nd volume released just last month by LaLa Land Records, the label for Volume 1 back in '08. It is a 4-disc set and has music from such classic episodes as "Feat of Clay", "Heart of Ice", "Appointment in Crime Alley" and "The Demon's Quest". Check out the link below:

    http://www.lalalandrecords.com/BTASV2.html
     
  6. SG-17

    SG-17 Commodore Commodore

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    The episodes with Ra's were some of my favorites. Including the one in S:TAS and BB.

    I just wish that the Near-Apocalypse of '09 got some fleshing out. We have no idea what happened besides it being about Batman (with Talia on his side) against Ra's.
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Thanks! I've ordered it. Lots of good stuff there. (Although I hope someday we get an album release of "A Bullet for Bullock." Probably others too, but that's the big one that comes to mind.)
     
  8. byron lomax

    byron lomax Commander Red Shirt

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    Another huge B:TAS fan here. I'll have to agree with the posters who disliked the style change for TNBA; the characters became a little too streamlined for my taste (even though some designs were better).

    My personal favourite episode has got to be "Almost Got 'Im" - it's just so much fun to watch! There are episodes which are technically better, but that's the one I've enjoyed over and over and over again. "I threw a rock at him!"

    The Batman Adventures comics were great too - especially (IMO) the first two series, by Kelley Puckett and Mike Parobeck (R.I.P.) and then Ty Templeton and Rick Burchett (with a few issues by Dini). A lot more enjoyable than the actual main-line Batman comics of the time, which were continually dominated by endless "big event" crossover stories.
     
  9. JudgeDredd

    JudgeDredd Lieutenant Junior Grade

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    Just want to chime in with the DCAU love. I was ecstatic when Batman Begins debuted, as it was the first live-action Batman film to focus entirely on The Batman. But still, it wasn't perfect (for me, at least) and I still kept thinking that Dini and Timm got The Batman and his world better than even Nolan.

    After TDK and TDKR, I feel this way even more. Great movies, but not great Batman movies. I await the day when DC Entertainment and the WB will wake up and give the live-action franchise to Dini and Timm. Hell, they should be the guys in charge of all DC films, esp. JL. They got it right consistently over and over again. Their version of The Batman is perfect, almost better than the comics version.

    Love this thread! Thanks!
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Again, we shouldn't ignore the vital contribution that Alan Burnett has made, not only to the DC Animated Universe, but to other Batman and DC animated productions before and since. He was a full member of the team that made the DCAU what it was, and he really doesn't deserve to be overlooked. We should also remember that Eric Radomski was the one who co-created B:TAS with Timm.
     
  11. kirk55555

    kirk55555 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I own B:TAS volumes 1 and 2, and I like most of the episodes. Everything with Mark Hamil is great. I'm also a big Harley fan, and episodes with her are always entertaining. I plan to get volume's 3 and 4 eventually, but they're pretty expensive. I can't really even say which one if my favorite, I like so many of them.

    There is one episode I'm conflicted about. I didn't like Zatanna not being a real magician in the episode "Zatanna". I get that Batman at that point hadn't really dealt with stuff like that, but the show did end up having a guy who is immortal because of magic pits, so I don't see why Zatanna had to be just a stage magician. Of course, they never really say she isn't a real magician, or atleast there is never a scene that proves she isn't. Maybe she just hid her powers from Batman. It would mess up why Batman would be learning tricks from a real magician and his daughter, but if the DCAU is supposed to be in continuity with each other (Superman, Batman, JL/JLU, Batman beyond all being connected) then that episode of batman would contradict the JLU episodes she's in where she has real magic powers. I wish she had made more full appearances besides just one speaking cameo in JLU, I like her character and it would have been cool to see her get a JLU episode that focused on her.
     
  12. Turtletrekker

    Turtletrekker Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I can't really disagree with anything you say here, but in truth, it isn't really the line itself that makes it iconic, it's Conroy's delivery. When Conroy roared, "I am Batman!" I said, "Yes, you are." :lol:

    Maybe I'll go ahead and re-watch part 2 without the encumberance of part 1. Like I said, part one was my first impression of the show as a whole, so that is what I tend to think of when I think of these eps. (In particular, the scene where Batman is lugging the thug around Gotham by his wrist with the Bat-Plane.)


    I need to keep closer track of who writes what.

    No argument about the performances. The acting in this show is so consistently good that it is easy to take for granted. And this episode has stuck with me all of these years. When Kimmy Robertson recently did a Burger King commercial, as soon as I heard her distinctive voice, my eyes widened and I said, "Alice"! :lol:
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Well, when they were first introduced in "The Demon's Quest," it wasn't established that the Lazarus Pits were magical, just a special chemical formulation that had a rejuvenating effect. (And isn't that what they are in the comics as well?) The first unambiguous depiction of the supernatural in a B:TAS episode was in "Avatar" in the second season, when Ra's awoke the spirit/mummy/whatever of Thoth Kepera.


    Not necessarily. It could be that she didn't gain actual magic powers until after the events of her namesake episode. We know that a fair number of years passed between B:TAS and her JLU appearances, long enough for Robin to graduate and become Nightwing and for the events of TNBA and JL's first two seasons to elapse. As I've said, I find it works pretty well to assume the series ran in pretty much real time, and there were 11 years between "Zatanna" and the first time we saw her with magical powers in JLU. Well, we also saw her use magic in her Gotham Girls appearances 7-8 years after "Zatanna," but those are of questionable canonicity. Either way, there's plenty of time for her to have gone from just a stage magician to an actual sorceress, either by acquiring magical ability somewhere or by discovering an inborn ability she hadn't previously been aware of.

    In fact, that makes sense to me. If she'd always been a sorceress, why would she employ the trappings of a stage magician? It makes sense if that was what she was to begin with and the real sorcery emerged later.


    She did. "This Little Piggy" was a major showcase episode for her (written by Paul Dini, who also wrote "Zatanna" and is a major Zatanna fan, using her extensively in his Batman comics, writing a whole series about her, and even being married to a woman who's a dead ringer for her).


    Okay, granted, but I do wish they'd subbed "justice" for "vengeance." Then it would've been fine.

    Still, even aside from that, it's kind of a melodramatic line.


    Hmm. When she played Alice, I already knew her as Lucy from Twin Peaks. It's your first impression that sticks with you.
     
  14. kirk55555

    kirk55555 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The cameo I was mentioning was "This Little Piggy". She had maybe 5 lines in the whole thing, definately not a major role. Also, if there were 11 years between her episode and JLU, then she would have looked a good deal older. she didn't, and neither did Batman (although his new art style helps hide any aging). Besides, she learned her magic from her Dad, and I'm pretty sure he's dead by the time she appears in Batman.

    Also, 11 years seems like a long time. Batman in B:TAS has, at the beginning of the series, been batman for 7-9 years, since Dick was robin at age 12 and he's 18 when he first appears. Bruce needed years to become a master detective after he went off to train as a teenager, plus probably atleast one solo year, so lets say he was 23 when Robin joined him. That would make him 30-31 during the beginning of batman: TAS, which I think works. If JL happened 11 years after that, he'd be in his forties, and that seems a bit old for him in JL. I could be totally wrong, but thats just how I worked it out in my head.
     
  15. The Habs Fan

    The Habs Fan Commodore Commodore

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    I've recently thought of watching all of the DCAU. I've seen most of B:TAS and some episodes of BB but nothing of the rest. I found this site through a google search: http://www.gothboy.com/television/DCAU/VIEWING ORDER.htm

    Do you think this would be an interesting order to view the episodes or should I watch them by airdate?
     
  16. TV's Frank

    TV's Frank Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It doesn't bother me that Batman in the DCAU would be in his forties by the time JL/JLU occurs and I kind of like that idea too, gives him more gravitas, knowledge and experience than most. A man in his excellent shape would still be in his prime during those years.
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    When was the last time you saw the episode? That's definitely not true. Most of the episode was a Batman-Zatanna teamup. Here's the summary.


    Well, as I said, we know several years must have passed between B:TAS and JLU. Dick was 18 when we first saw him in B:TAS, in his first year of college. So he graduates four years later, and according to the Lost Years comic, travels the world for two years and four months before returning to become Nightwing at the start of TNBA, when Tim became Robin. We know that Tim was Robin during Static Shock's second season, but that by the SS third-season premiere "Hard as Nails," Robin had left and was with the Titans, so that puts it after the end of TNBA's 24-episode run, so it's probably more than a year after Dick became Nightwing. Later that same season was the SS/JL crossover "A League of Their Own." That crossover was sometime before "Star-crossed," and then some unspecified but significant amount of time passed between "Star-crossed" and the start of JLU. So from B:TAS to the start of JLU must be a span of at least eight years, possibly more.

    Now, admittedly, if we assume she was a bit younger than Bruce, then by my chronology she'd be 30-31 in "Zatanna," which would make her up to 42 in "This Little Piggy." But there are certainly women in their early 40s who still look youthful and beautiful, though sometimes with a little surgical help. And Zatanna's magic could assist her in that as well.


    The comics' Zatanna learned her magic from Zatara, but of course we're talking about a different continuity where characters' origins and histories are often different. We don't know how this Zatanna got her sorcery, so it could've happened in any number of ways.


    True, by my reckoning, Batman is 43 by the end of JLU, the last time we see him in the DCAU "present." But there have been athletes who have continued to be effective into their early forties, such as Jimmy Connors. Now, realistically, the kind of abuse Batman's body has been constantly put through would've most likely crippled him by 30, but we're expected to suspend disbelief and assume his extraordinary training or exceptional durability lets him continue to function. And we know canonically from Batman Beyond that he didn't retire as Batman until he was roughly 60. He did need the high-tech Batsuit to compensate for his age at that point, but he was still pretty capable. So if he could be Batman in his late 50s, he certainly could've been in his early 40s.

    And remember, as early as "Mean Seasons" in TNBA, we saw that Bruce was starting to worry about finding gray hairs. I have him as 37 at that point.

    Of course the makers of the shows were keeping their characters ageless, and wouldn't have worried much about the passage of time if the shows had continued to be produced. But as it happens, the DCAU ran just long enough that a chronology based on real time does juuust manage to work, with a little fudging.
     
  18. Snaploud

    Snaploud Admiral Admiral

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    In Batman: The Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul, Batman is healed from a stab wound by using the "Fountain of Essence" (a variation of the Lazarus pit). He is healed to full health and slightly de-aged. It's not hard to imagine that such a situation would add a couple decades of vitality to his crime-fighting career. Granted, it's from a comic, but it's not hard to imagine something similar happening in the DCAU.

    I'm sure there were other situations in which Batman was healed from the brink of death by some mystical or technological marvel. Every one of them could have added a few more years to the old guy's career, and that's not even taking into account the possibility that he might have sought out ways to restore his health.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2012
  19. Turtletrekker

    Turtletrekker Vice Admiral Admiral

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    In one of the Batman Beyond commentaries it was mentioned that at one point a script included a reference to Bruce being 87, but they were asked to remove any specific reference to his age. It was also mentioned that BB takes place 50 years from "now", with "now" being the era of B:TAS/TNBA, so Christopher's speculation of 37 seems just about right.
     
  20. Gotham Central

    Gotham Central Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I might be wrong but all of the Justice League members were turned into kids in the first season of JL. Its not unreasonable to suggest that they might have come back from that a little younger than where they started.