|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 and based on the DC Comics superhero Batman. It ran from September 11, 2004 to March 8, 2008, on the Saturday morning television block Kids' WB. Although the series borrows many elements from previous Batman storylines, it does not follow the continuity set by the comic books, the film series, nor that of Batman: The Animated Series and its spin-offs. The character designs were provided by Jackie Chan Adventures artist Jeff Matsuda (who also directed the ending), with the appearances of many of the supervillains, like the Joker, Penguin and Riddler, being radically altered from those of their comic counterparts.
The first five seasons are available on DVD. A direct-to-DVD movie titled The Batman vs. Dracula, based on the series, was released in on October 18, 2005 and made its television debut on Cartoon Network's Toonami block on October 22, 2005. There is also a spin-off comic book series, The Batman Strikes!, published by DC Comics which is set in the same continuity and style of The Batman. The series won six Daytime Emmy Awards.
Bruce Wayne (voiced by Rino Romano), who, while presenting himself as a playboy bachelor billionaire, secretly operates as the Batman, protector of Gotham City, which at the start of the first series he has been doing for three years without being publicly acknowledged to exist by the police until the start of the first season. Along with a secret Batcave, high-tech Batmobile and supercomputer, called the Bat-Wave, he has his trusty butler Alfred Pennyworth (voiced by Alastair Duncan), who guides him when needed.
By the start of the first season, crime in Gotham is at an all-time low, yet Chief of Police, Angel Rojas (voiced by Edward James Olmos in his initial appearance, Jesse Corti in all his subsequent appearances), has no room for vigilantes, acknowledging the existence of Batman while tasking his officers to apprehend him when possible, despite one of his detectives, Ethan Bennett (voiced by Steven Harris), being at odds with him by believing that Batman is needed. Bennett is assisted by a new partner from Metropolis named Ellen Yin (voiced by Ming-Na) at the start of the series, who slowly becomes torn between her belief in law and order and her personal feelings toward the Batman; the pair are charged with capturing the Batman throughout Season 1. During this first season, Bruce Wayne finds himself torn between his responsibilities as the Batman and his own life, though the latter is given further support by Gotham’s Mayor, Marion Grange (voiced by Adam West for the first four seasons, who previously played Batman in the 1960s Batman TV series). By the end of the season, Bennett is tortured and inadvertently mutated by the Joker, transforming into Clayface, and forced into hiding, while his partner Yin finally realises her views on the Batman were right and, from this point on, becomes allies with him.
Batman's villains introduced in this season with new interpretations included 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), 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, Bruce continued to be on the outside of the law, although is grateful for having an ally in the police in the form of Yin, and soon slowly begins to make a name for himself as being a force for good; when Batman saves a group of policeman from certain doom, the officers chose to cheer him rather than pursue him. In the season finale, Rojas finally uncovers Yin's involvement with Batman, forcing her to go on the run with him. Around this time, Commissioner James Gordon (voiced by Mitch Pileggi, and one of the main characters of the Batman mythos to be introduced in this series) shuns Rojas' belief in labelling Batman a criminal, instead believing him to be an ally for Gotham's police, particularly when Batman brings down 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 introduced more villains, including Rag Doll (voiced by Jeff Bennett), Spellbinder (voiced by Michael Massee) and Solomon Grundy (voiced by Kevin Grevioux). Although a villain, Hugo Strange (voiced by Frank Gorshin, the original Riddler from the 1960s Batman TV series, replaced by Richard Green after Gorshin's death), is portrayed as a secondary character in this season, while Yin and Angel Rojas made their final appearances by the end of the season.
In the third season, the show introduced a young incarnation of Barbara Gordon (voiced by Danielle Judovits) replacing Ellen-Yin from the last two seasons, and featured a two-part story that focused on her slowly becoming Batgirl, with much of the season seeing her try to become Batman's sidekick in order to be as good an ally as her father, a notion he refuses to accept despite her being a reliable ally in some of his cases in the season, until eventually she proves herself to him by the end of the season. Batgirl becoming Batman's first sidekick, differs to the comic story-line in which Dick Grayson becomes Robin and pairs up with him in that role first; the overall decision to have Batgirl as his first sidekick was due to Robin being used in the Teen Titans animated series at the time, which limited his ability to appear in other shows. Another element in the season was Batman's original Batmobile being lost in this season during the episode, "RPM" and the creation of a brand new one.
Several new interpretation of 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), 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 latter episodes eventually leading him to become a patient in Arkham Asylum; Season 4's "Strange New World", revealed more about his criminal behaviour by revealing that the reason he went to Arkham in the first place was to come up with more new schemes.
The introduction of Batgirl led to the intro sequence for the show being changed, along with the series' theme music, which swapped the original theme (performed by The Edge) for a lighter, 1960s-esque theme, performed by Andy Sturmer.
The fourth season saw the introduction of Dick Grayson (voiced by Evan Sabara) into the show; this was due to the Teen Titans animated series had been cancelled early in the year before this season started. The opening episode of the season focused on his origins as Batman's sidekick, Robin, from the loss of his parents, to being adopted by Bruce and eventually assisting him to bring down the man responsible for his parent's death. The second episode led to Batgirl being made part of the team and each member's secret identity being revealed to each other, with both her and Robin beginning a sibling-like rivalry between each other. One of the highlights of the series was the episode, "Artifacts", which described a possible future in 3027, with flashback scenes in 2027 featuring an older Batman, Dick Grayson now 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 featured elements from Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, including the designs of both The Batman and the Batmobile. The season finale featured an alien invasion by entities called "The Joining", which Batman helps to thwart alongside another superhero from the DC Universe, Martian Manhunter/J'onn J'onzz (voiced by Dorian Harewood), allowing him to become part of the Justice League of America.
More villains with new interpretations were 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), Everywhere Man (voiced by Brandon Routh), Harley Quinn (voiced by Hynden Walch), and Francis Grey (voiced by Dave Foley). The season brought an end to Ethan Bennett's version of Clayface with a storyline that redeemed and cured him of his condition, while introducing Basil Karlo's version of the villain (voiced by Wallace Langham in the first appearance, Lex Lang in the second appearance). This season featured a redesign of Bruce Wayne, with a more square facial and chin structure, making him reminiscent of the DC animated universe Batman design, while alongside Martian Manhunter, the season finale featured cameos by Hawkman, Green Arrow, Flash, and Green Lantern.
This season was the last to be done by Jeff Matsuda and Michael Jelenic, both of whom departed from the show after the season finale.
The fifth and final season focused primarily on Batman and Robin, with the pair teaming up with some of the DC Universe's characters and tackling villains that they fought. These team-ups included Superman (voiced by George Newbern), Martian Manhunter, Green Arrow (voiced by Chris Hardwick), 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 this series, with Barbara having graduated from high school and now attending college. The series finale featured all the members of the Justice League who made an appearance in the series, along with Batgirl, as they fought against a renewed effort of the Joining to invade Earth, with the final episodes shown as a 40-minute movie.
Most of the villains featured in this season were new interpretations of those that fought against the DC heroes that teamed-up with Batman, including 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), Toyman (voiced by Richard Green), Shadow Thief (voiced by Diedrich Bader), Sinestro (voiced by Miguel Ferrer), and Mirror Master (voiced by John Larroquette). Only the Terrible Trio (voiced by David Faustino, Grey DeLisle, and Googy Gress), and Phosphorus are new interpretations of Batman villains, the latter of whom differs from the comic version in that Firefly mutates into him, having his same radioactive skills and becoming insane, but does not have a visible skeleton.
|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 spin-off comic book series of The Batman. Part of the DC's younger reader line, the series survived for 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 twelve Daytime Emmy Awards during its five-year run, winning six times. In 2005 it was nominated for Outstanding Special Class Animated Program, 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 also received its share of criticism with critics and fans. 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 spin-off.
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