|Created by||Michael Goguen
by Bob Kane
|Theme music composer|
|Composer(s)||Thomas Chase Jones|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||5|
|No. of episodes||65 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||22 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Warner Bros. Animation
|Distributor||Warner Bros. Television Distribution|
|Original release||September 11, 2004– March 8, 2008|
|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. The series usually aired on Saturday mornings from September 11, 2004, through March 8, 2008, during the Kids' WB television block. The show first aired on the WB Network, and later moved over to the CW. The Batman won six Daytime Emmy Awards over the course of the its run. Many elements from previous Batman story lines were borrowed and adapted, such as those from the comic books and film series (Batman: The Animated Series and the DC Animated Universe); however, it remains within its own distinct continuity. Jackie Chan Adventures artist, Jeff Matsuda, provided the character designs and also directed the series' finale. He altered the appearances of many of the comic books' super villains for the show – such as the Joker, the Penguin, and the Riddler. Also noteworthy is that The Batman is one of the few Batman television shows not to feature Two-Face. It was succeeded with Batman: The Brave and the Bold.
The first five seasons are available to watch on DVD. In 2005, there was a direct-to-DVD movie titled, The Batman vs. Dracula, which was largely based on the series. The Batman also received a spin-off comic book series – The Batman Strikes! – published by DC Comics. The spin-off comic books were set in the same continuity and style as The Batman.
The man known as Batman, the costumed protector of Gotham City, is secretly billionaire playboy, Bruce Wayne (voiced by Rino Romano). Batman began three years prior to the start of the series, and the Gotham City police do not publicly acknowledge the vigilante's existence. Operating out of a secret lair underneath Bruce Wayne's mansion — known as the Bat cave — Batman and his butler, Alfred Pennyworth (voiced by Alastair Duncan), stop crime with the assistance of high-tech gadgets and a supercomputer.
At the start of the first season, crime in Gotham is at an all-time low, but Chief of Police, Angel Rojas (first voiced by Edward James Olmos, and later by Jesse Corti), orders his officers to apprehend Batman when possible. This marks the first acknowledgment of Batman's existence in the series. Despite the chief's orders, one of his detectives, Ethan Bennett (voiced by Steven Harris), believes Batman is needed in the city. At the start of the series, Bennett is assisted by a new partner from Metropolis, Ellen Yin (voiced by Ming-Na), who slowly becomes torn between her commitment to law and order and her personal feelings toward Batman.
Throughout Season 1, both Bennett and Yin are charged with capturing Batman. During this first season, Bruce Wayne finds himself torn between his responsibilities as Batman and his regular life, though the latter is supported by Gotham’s mayor, Marion Grange (voiced by Adam West who played Batman in the 1960s Batman TV series). By the end of the season, Bennett is tortured and mutated by the Joker, transforming Bennett into Clayface. As Clayface, he is forced into hiding, while his partner Yin finally realizes she was right about Batman and forms an alliance with him.
The Batman's reimagined villains introduced in this season include Rupert Thorne (voiced by Victor Brandt), the Joker (voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson), the Penguin (voiced by Tom Kenny), Catwoman (voiced by Gina Gershon), Mr. Freeze (voiced by Clancy Brown), Firefly (voiced by Jason Marsden), the Ventriloquist and Scarface (voiced by Dan Castellaneta), Man-Bat (voiced by Peter MacNicol), Cluemaster (voiced by Glenn Shadix), and Bane (voiced by Joaquim de Almeida in the first appearance, Ron Perlman in the second, and Clancy Brown in the third).
Throughout the second season, Batman continues to act outside of the law even though he has Detective Yin as an ally in the police. Batman begins making a name for himself as a force of good when he saves a group of policemen from a certain doom. In this season, his heroic act prompts the officers to support him rather than pursue him as a criminal. In the season finale, Police Chief Rojas finally uncovers Yin's involvement with Batman, forcing her to go on the run. Around this time, Commissioner James Gordon (voiced by Mitch Pileggi), the main police character in most of the Batman mythos, shuns Rojas's belief that Batman is a criminal. Commissioner Gordon instead believes Batman to be an ally for Gotham's police, particularly when Batman brings down the Joker, Riddler, and Penguin. He 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 introduces 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). Another new villain, Hugo Strange (initially voiced by Frank Gorshin, the original Riddler from the 1960s Batman TV series, who is later replaced by Richard Green after Gorshin's death), is portrayed as a secondary character in the season. The characters Yin and Police Chief Rojas make their final appearances by the end of the season.
In the third season, the show introduces a young incarnation of Barbara Gordon (voiced by Danielle Judovits), who is the commissioner's daughter. Her character features a two-part story in which she secretly becomes Batgirl. The intro sequence to the show and the theme music changed with the introduction of Batgirl, swapping the original theme (performed by The Edge) for a lighter, '60s theme performed by Andy Sturmer. Throughout Season 3, Barbara tries to become Batman's sidekick and be as good of an ally as her father. But Batman frequently refuses to accept her despite her reliability as an ally. She eventually proves herself to him by the end of the season.
This Batman-Batgirl storyline differs from the comic books. In previous incarnations of the story, Batman's first partner is Dick Grayson, who becomes Robin and joins Batman as his apprentice, later leaving to become Nightwing. The decision for Batgirl to be Batman's first sidekick in The Batman was due to Robin being used in the Teen Titans animated series, which aired on the same channel. Another element that changed during Season 3 was Batman's original Batmobile, which was lost during the episode "RPM", but it was reimagined and brought back in later episodes.
Several more new 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), the 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 later episodes eventually lead him to become a patient in Arkham Asylum; airing in the season four episode "Strange New World." The episode delineates more of his criminal behavior by revealing that the reason he went to Arkham in the first place was to come up with new schemes.
The fourth season introduces Dick Grayson (voiced by Evan Sabara) to the show due to the cancellation of the Teen Titans animated series in 2006. The opening episode of the season focuses on Dick Grayson's origins as Robin. Through the loss of Grayson's parents in a circus accident, he is adopted by Bruce Wayne who assists Grayson in bringing down the mafia boss responsible for his parents' deaths. The second episode in the season leads to Batgirl officially becoming part of the team, with each member's secret identity being revealed to each other. This reveal eventually leads to Batgirl and Robin forming a sibling-like rivalry. One of the highlights of Season 4 is the episode "Artifacts", which described a possible future in the year 3027. Featuring flashback scenes to 2027, the audience gets a glimpse of an older Batman, Dick Grayson 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 also features elements from Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, including the designs of both the Batman costume and the Batmobile. In the season finale, an alien invasion by entities called "The Joining" cause Batman to work alongside another superhero from the DC Universe and an original member of the Justice League, Martian Manhunter, to thwart the aliens' plans. This is when Batman becomes part of the Justice League of America.
More villains with new interpretations are once again 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), the Everywhere Man (voiced by Brandon Routh), Harley Quinn (voiced by Hynden Walch), and Francis Grey (voiced by Dave Foley). The season also brought an end to Ethan Bennett's version of Clayface, including a storyline that redeemed Bennett by curing him of his condition. This gave writers the opportunity to introduce Basil Karlo's version of the villain (voiced by Wallace Langham in the first appearance, and Lex Lang in the second appearance). Season 4 also featured a redesign of Bruce Wayne, with a more square facial and chin structure, making him reminiscent of the DC animated universe Batman design.
The final season on The Batman, Season 5, focused primarily on Batman and Robin, with the pair teaming up with some of the DC Universe's characters to battle different villains. These team-ups included Superman (voiced by George Newbern), Martian Manhunter (voiced by Dorian Harewood), Green Arrow (voiced by Chris Hardwick), the 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." Both Batgirl and Commissioner Gordon were relegated to either guest or cameo appearances during the season, where Barbara Gordon, having graduated from high school, now attends college. The series finale (shown as a 40-minute movie) features all the members of the Justice League who made an appearance in the series, along with Batgirl, as they fight against a renewed effort of the Joining to invade Earth.
Most of the villains featured in the season are reinterpretations of those that fought against the DC heroes who teamed-up with Batman. These villains include 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), the Toyman (voiced by Richard Green), the Shadow Thief (voiced by Diedrich Bader), Sinestro (voiced by Miguel Ferrer), and the Mirror Master (voiced by John Larroquette). Only the Terrible Trio (voiced by David Faustino, Grey DeLisle, and Googy Gress), and Phosphorus are reinterpretations of Batman villains. Phosphorus differs in the show from the comic version, in that Firefly mutates into him, giving him the same radioactive skills and incorporating Phosphorus's insanity.
|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|
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 Batman Strikes! is a DC comic book series featuring Batman and is a spinoff comic book series of The Batman. Part of DC's line for young readers, the series lasted 50 issues in total, with the last issue shipping in October 2008.
|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|
The Batman was nominated for 12 Daytime Emmy Awards during its five-year run, with a total six wins.
In 2005, it was nominated for Outstanding Special Class Animated Program, an 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.
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.
The Batman received its share of criticism. 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."
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. Despite this, the expansion was never realized, and Capizzi never again mentioned the spinoff.
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