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  1. #1
    Heroic Warrior 8-Bit Star's Avatar
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    Batman: The Animated Series

    Recently I was going through my Batman: the Animated Series boxed sets again (I own volumes one and three).

    Credit where credit is due: the show is a fun little comic book romp.

    But, am I the only person who thinks this show is a little, well, over-rated? I'm always hearing about how deep the writing was and how so many bars were raised but.. I just don't see it. IMO its actually kind of a step back, in some ways, from efforts like He-Man in terms of writing and characterization.

    Like, for example, how all these villains are locked up in Arkham and yet they somehow STILL have the funding and resources to make fear toxins, mind-control chips, or rocket-propelled Christmas trees. I mean, are they given these things as part of their therapy or something?

    Or all the changed character premises... like how Jervis Tetch (did I spell his name right?) starts out as basically a good guy who fell victim to temptation, but in later episodes is just another villain with a gimmick. Poison Ivy too--has a very specific purpose at first, but near the end she's just a crook with plants. About the only crook who has any sort of real development or consistency is Mr. Freeze (though it is kind of bizarre that his wife is clearly dead but then they turn and say "Oh she's alive").

    [Speaking of which, question of personal curiosity: Have any storylines--comics or otherwise--ever explored what would happen if Two-Face knew who Batman was?]

    Another issue I kinda have is that... Batman never really needs effort, like He-Man often does. He just depends on the grace of the writers, and sometimes they really suspend logic for the ol' caped-and-cowled one. There's a really blatant example of what I mean in the Clock King episode (not gonna spoil it, but anyone whose seen that episode probably knows what I mean).

    I don't really get that about superhero shows: One, why do the criminals even bother when the city is being patrolled by a tough-jawed vigilante who has cars, boats, and planes (not to mention an assortment of gizmos that would make Buck Rogers jealous)? Or why does Batman even bother when he just ends up having to recapture the same criminals again and again without any hope of permanent resolution (I mean, besides being crazy and all)?

    Anyway, there's my ramble.

  2. #2
    Realist. Deal with it. Lord Anubis's Avatar
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    I hear ya. I think people think they like it the best cause of the dynamic styling's. Its probably visually the best Batman ever.

    Whilst I will agree to it, most of the episodes to me currently (now remeber i was die hard on this when i was young) are a total snooze fest.

    I prefer "The Batman".... its just more wacky fun. Its not the most accurate thing ever, but I find it to be just alot of enjoyable moments!
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    Greatful his pants are on bskcase's Avatar
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    You got to let some things go when you bring up superheroes. Contrary to what Batman Begins has started, these villains would not function in real life.

    What made Batman:TAS significant was the visual style and use of characters. The series broke new ground in how far an animated show could go. Without BTAS, we would not have many of the great comic book series that we have now. There would not have been a Superman, JL and JLU without BTAS. Not to mention The Batman and the DVD animated movies.
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    Heroic Warrior Milk Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bskcase View Post
    What made Batman:TAS significant was the visual style and use of characters. The series broke new ground in how far an animated show could go. Without BTAS, we would not have many of the great comic book series that we have now. There would not have been a Superman, JL and JLU without BTAS. Not to mention The Batman and the DVD animated movies.
    Amen to that brother

    I tend to let the loop holes go myself. I enjoyed the series back then and yes for its time it was great, IMO. Not as great as the writing in JLU looking back but I'm not complaining.
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  5. #5
    Assimilate, or else!! krosfyah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 8-Bit Star View Post
    Recently I was going through my Batman: the Animated Series boxed sets again (I own volumes one and three).

    Credit where credit is due: the show is a fun little comic book romp.

    But, am I the only person who thinks this show is a little, well, over-rated? I'm always hearing about how deep the writing was and how so many bars were raised but.. I just don't see it. IMO its actually kind of a step back, in some ways, from efforts like He-Man in terms of writing and characterization.

    Like, for example, how all these villains are locked up in Arkham and yet they somehow STILL have the funding and resources to make fear toxins, mind-control chips, or rocket-propelled Christmas trees. I mean, are they given these things as part of their therapy or something?

    Or all the changed character premises... like how Jervis Tetch (did I spell his name right?) starts out as basically a good guy who fell victim to temptation, but in later episodes is just another villain with a gimmick. Poison Ivy too--has a very specific purpose at first, but near the end she's just a crook with plants. About the only crook who has any sort of real development or consistency is Mr. Freeze (though it is kind of bizarre that his wife is clearly dead but then they turn and say "Oh she's alive").

    [Speaking of which, question of personal curiosity: Have any storylines--comics or otherwise--ever explored what would happen if Two-Face knew who Batman was?]

    Another issue I kinda have is that... Batman never really needs effort, like He-Man often does. He just depends on the grace of the writers, and sometimes they really suspend logic for the ol' caped-and-cowled one. There's a really blatant example of what I mean in the Clock King episode (not gonna spoil it, but anyone whose seen that episode probably knows what I mean).

    I don't really get that about superhero shows: One, why do the criminals even bother when the city is being patrolled by a tough-jawed vigilante who has cars, boats, and planes (not to mention an assortment of gizmos that would make Buck Rogers jealous)? Or why does Batman even bother when he just ends up having to recapture the same criminals again and again without any hope of permanent resolution (I mean, besides being crazy and all)?

    Anyway, there's my ramble.
    you mention the Mad Hatter's first episode as well as poison Ivy's first episode and state how they had more than just a villain with a gimmick - those are the reasons the show is lauded. it was episodes like that one, See No Evil, On LEather Wings, THe Demon's Quest, POV, Feat of Clay (part 1 and 2) Two-Face (part one), Robin's Reckoning and particularly Heart of Ice that really brought kids cartoons to a new level of respectability.

    sure there were some hiccups in logic, but hey we're watching a show about a guy who dresses up as a bat, you can't expect it to REALLY be 100% believable, honestly name one cartoon that is fun to watch or heck video game that is fun to play that IS 100% believable.

    I don't see ANYTHING that would have made this show a step BACK from what cartoons were. it seems you're condeming the entire show and the ground it broke by a few hiccups in logic and yes there were some moments that sucked IMO but it's 10000000000 times better than a buncha anthropomorphic cats running around in 'onesies'. Batman TAS broke ground in ways that no cartoon did prior to it. it may have had followed some formulas here and there - but hey Fox still had to try to get in the kids and Hasbro had to sell toys. If you found the show BORING then most likely you prefer your entertainment to focus less on characterization and plot pacing and more on action - nothing wrong with that at all, but to really say it was over rated is just not seeing the forest for the trees as they say. it may not hold up AS well now but it's still good and i'd say only falters 15 years later due to the strong stuff that came after and because of it.

    As for Two-face knowing who Batman is - they've never done that as far as I remember, but Riddler found out prior to the Hush storyline.
    Last edited by krosfyah; August 6, 2007 at 04:48am.
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  6. #6
    kind of a big deal VaderLives's Avatar
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    Are you serious? You honestly think BTAS was a step BACK from the original MOTU?

    Have you watched the original He-Man cartoon recently? Haven't you noticed how 90% of the episodes are EXACTLY the same?

    1) Skeletor: "at last I've found a way to beat He-Man! I'll use [insert magical device here]!"
    2) Skeletor uses said plot device. Heroes give a collective "oh no."
    3) He-Man has either a conversation with the Sorceress or otherwise manages to find out how to overcome said plot device.
    4) He-Man has a "fight" with the bad guys. "Fight" being in quotation marks because it consists of him hitting the enemies one time and they're down.
    5) He-Man destroys plot device.
    6) Skeletor: "i'll get you next time He-Man"
    8) Everything returns to the status quo, never to be remembered again.
    7) Close with comedic moment from Orko and/or Cringer.

    Now I love the original MOTU cartoon - obviously, otherwise I wouldn't be here on he-man.org - but mostly for nostalgia at this point. But to say that it is more advanced than Batman: The Animated Series is absolutely rediculous.

    At the time it was released BTAS had the most dynamic storytelling yet seen in a children's cartoon. Every episode was like a miniature movie. Not to mention the fact that it actually HAD CONTINUITY, something that, before then, was virtually unheard of in kids' cartoons. And unlike MOTU and most other kids' shows, not once throughout the entire series (and yes, I can confirm that as I own the entirety of BTAS) was there a blatant toy commercial.

    It had, and still does have, some of the most well developed characters ever featured in an animated series (as you said yourself, they're more than just gimmicks, which is much more than can be said about most filmation MOTU characters).

    It has arguably the best voice cast ever assembled for a cartoon series. For example, I have yet to meet any fan who doesn't think that Mark Hammil's Joker voice is by far the definitive voice for the character. The cast is infinitely superior to MOTU's cast of five actors, which lead to all of the characters' voices sounding alike apart from He-Man and Skeletor.

    Unlike any cartoon series that had come before it, and most that have come since, it didn't use stock music. It had an original score - performed by a FULL ORCHESTRA - for EACH episode, replete with fully developed themes for many characters.

    Not to mention it had a completely innovative, totally kick ass visual style that has influenced EVERY American cartoon series that has been produced since.

    Oh yeah, and it won Emmy awards. How many other kids' cartoons can say that?


    Now, Batman: The Animated Series is my favorite television show of all time, so I will admit that I'm a bit biased. BUT, regardless of that, to say that it is inferior in terms of production to prior children's cartoons is just completely unfounded.
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    Heroic Warrior wyldman11's Avatar
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    Most animated shows made around the time of the first MOTU were more designed for children specifically, about up to the age of 12 or so. Which meant simpler plots and just an episodic plot.

    After the simpson's had been on for a bit, fox and a few others had some toons that were aimed at more of a teenage audience. Batman, X-Men, Spider-Man are examples of these. They had less of an episodic feel and more of an overarching feel.

    Which also led into anime becoming more popular stateside.

    Of course the show had/has it's flaws, but pretty much all do. Does this one deserve praise? Yeah, but X-men came out almost the exact same time as did other shows so it may not need as much as it does get.
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    Heroic Warrior Flor2099's Avatar
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    Thanks, VaderLives, for reacting the way you did so that I didn't have to! I would have written just as an incredulous post as you if you hadn't done it already.

    Frankly, I get amazed when the original MOTU is held higher in terms of quality over pretty much anything, let alone Batman!

    I mean, I love MOTU to death as well, but certainly not for its technical achievements and/or compelling storytelling!

  9. #9
    Heroic Warrior Steph's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flor2099 View Post
    Thanks, VaderLives, for reacting the way you did so that I didn't have to! I would have written just as an incredulous post as you if you hadn't done it already.
    Yah, me too! Thanks VaderLives!

    To me, most of 8-Bit Star issues don't come across as Batman was a poor show because of x, y, and z. It sounds more like Batman was a poor show because it wasn't written like He-man.

    If you personally don't like Batman/superheros because of your tastes- that is cool. But to judge the quality of the series based on your tastes isn't fair.

  10. #10
    Assimilate, or else!! krosfyah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wyldman11 View Post
    Of course the show had/has it's flaws, but pretty much all do. Does this one deserve praise? Yeah, but X-men came out almost the exact same time as did other shows so it may not need as much as it does get.
    Personally I thought the fox X-men toon was pretty mediocre for the most part. the animation was usually terrible, and the pacing was so unbalanced. it was a good effort to bring something big to the table but it just felt as though it never really delivered in what it had the potential to do. and really Batman TAS was the first to come out and deliver that more mature vibe, the rest got in because of the success of Batman. without it we wouldn't have had the (mostly) awesome Gargoyles that's for sure!
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  11. #11
    Heroic Warrior wyldman11's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by krosfyah View Post
    Personally I thought the fox X-men toon was pretty mediocre for the most part. the animation was usually terrible, and the pacing was so unbalanced. it was a good effort to bring something big to the table but it just felt as though it never really delivered in what it had the potential to do. and really Batman TAS was the first to come out and deliver that more mature vibe, the rest got in because of the success of Batman. without it we wouldn't have had the (mostly) awesome Gargoyles that's for sure!
    not saying x-men was great, And from my research batman came out in sept of '92 and x-men oct of '92.

    Batman was the big influence, just saying there were other series that came out at the same time that helped. Pirates of dark water came out in '91 and fox's Peter Pan and the Pirates came out in '90 both of which were a bit more mature then previous toons and had continuity, and apparently Tim Curry won and Emmy for his portrayal of Hook in the later.
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    The Master of Insanity CJ Clifford's Avatar
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    Eh, I was going to reply in greater detail, but by time I got to the end of the first post it seemed like the whole rant boiled down to "superheroes bad, He-Man good." I like He-Man too, obviously, but Batman TAS is leaps and bounds better in all possible ways. I can still watch most of Batman TAS, I can't watch He-Man at all without cringing.

  13. #13
    kind of a big deal VaderLives's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wyldman11 View Post
    Of course the show had/has it's flaws, but pretty much all do. Does this one deserve praise? Yeah, but X-men came out almost the exact same time as did other shows so it may not need as much as it does get.
    Actually, as much as I absolutely LOVE the 90s X-Men cartoon (which needs to be released on DVD yesterday!), the quality of the animation for B:TAS was infinitely superior. For example, in Night of the Sentinels there's a long shot of Rogue picking up a soldier out of a tower and throwing him on the ground, and throughout the duration of the shot the soldier goes from being a black guy with brown hair to a lighter skinned black guy with red hair to a white guy with red hair. Again, this all happens within the same shot. Those kind of mistakes happened all the time in that series. Batman NEVER had those kind of drastic animation errors.

    Likewise, the Spidey cartoon that came out around the same time also had a lot of those type of animation errors. And it also used a TON of stock footage, something B:TAS never did, which is another thing that set it far apart from most other cartoons. I mean, going back to the MOTU example, every episode of MOTU was literally about 80% stock footage interposed onto different backgrounds.

    The vast amount of time, effort, and money that was put into each and every episode of Batman: The Animated Series was completely unprecedented. It's really incredible when you stop and think about it. The show is nothing short of amazing.

    And how many other children's cartoons at the time were loved just as much, if not moreso, by adults?

    I really have become more and more impressed by that incredible series as the years have gone on. I mean, for example, I never really thought about it when I was a kid, but now it just completely blows me away that it had a FULL ORCHESTRAL SCORE for EACH INDIVIDUAL EPISODE! And I'm not even talking about synthesizers, they actually had a full freakin' ORCHESTRA! Most live action TV series don't even get that kind of treatment, let alone an after school children's cartoon! Do people not realize just how unbelievably amazing that is?

    Batman: The Animated Series most certainly does deserve every bit of adulation it receives, and then some!



    Oh, and about Mr. Freeze's wife. She was never dead, she was frozen in suspended animation. And in the direct-to-video movie Sub Zero, Freeze does eventually succeed in curing her and waking her up. However it was later established that at some point during the two year gap (storyline wise) between that and the New Batman Adventures she realized what evil things he had done and she left him, which is what caused him to go bad again.
    Last edited by VaderLives; August 7, 2007 at 10:37pm.
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    Heroic Warrior wyldman11's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VaderLives View Post
    Actually, as much as I absolutely LOVE the 90s X-Men cartoon (which needs to be released on DVD yesterday!), the quality of the animation for B:TAS was infinitely superior.

    Batman: The Animated Series most certainly does deserve every bit of adulation it receives, and then some!
    Here, receiving praise is well in hand which is not really what I am against. I am more against what comes across as Batman The Animated Series is the sole reason we got more mature, continuity etc in cartoons in the following years to the show. And at the same time the often completely downplaying of any other show that may have contributed to later effect.

    Did X-men have some serious flaws? Yes
    Did X-men contribute to more mature, continuity etc? Yes
    Did it give as big of a contribution as Batman:TAS? No
    Should credit be given where credit is due? Of course

    There were several shows that contributed to the whole thing in varying degrees and many of even came before Batman. Sure some of the shows had bigger flaws, some of them were only successful in getting on the air and having one of the attributes but they still played a part. Pirates of Dark Water is an example of that, and it still has a pretty decent following today. I don't necessarily believe that if these shows hadn't come out that Batman:TAS would not have happened either as you can't substantiate it one way or another, likewise if those hadn't come out we wouldn't have had the same end result.

    ===============
    About batman being a 'mary sue.' This is always one of those claims I am a bit wary to throw around as reading up on the whole thing you can make arguments for just about any character every to be a 'mary sue.' I can easily arguing Harry Potter as one, I could argue that even He-man was one (his being knocked down was just to lighten his Mary-Sueness for example).

    That said Batman is a character by design that can easily become Mary-sueesque. A highly intelligent, wealthy, resoursefull and capable fighter can quickly become that. This is the problem with writing the character, from what I remember though they did frequently have him get knocked down, over taken, surprised, and made him do his detective work through out the show. Did every episode do that well? Most likely not.
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  15. #15
    #1 fan of Ultralord! Caliban's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 8-Bit Star View Post

    I don't really get that about superhero shows: One, why do the criminals even bother when the city is being patrolled by a tough-jawed vigilante who has cars, boats, and planes (not to mention an assortment of gizmos that would make Buck Rogers jealous)? Or why does Batman even bother when he just ends up having to recapture the same criminals again and again without any hope of permanent resolution (I mean, besides being crazy and all)?

    Anyway, there's my ramble.
    For Batman there's a psychological need to do what he does.
    He became Batman to avenge his parents deaths. After he did that, he moved on to clean up the rest of Gotham. After that, what's there to do? If every one of the criminals are dead, then he stops having a reason to be Batman, and nothing for the rest of his life will ever compare to the adventure and near-death experiences he had, so he'll become depressed, moody, and brood a lot, and that's if he doesn't kill himself. Everyone knows Arkham is a crap hole where the staff is just as crazy as the patients, which makes it easy for the inmates to escape and continue the cycle.
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  16. #16
    Masta of da Fryin' Pan PanMan's Avatar
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    As far as cartoons go, BTAS is one of the best. Superman and Justice League were good, but not on the same level (maybe I just like Batman more). I also loved the '90's Spider-Man and thought the continuity and storytelling was great. Never liked the X-Men toon very much, but then I'm not a big fan of that franchise.

    I also like The Batman, but it is a different style than BTAS. It is more of a "superhero show", if you know what I mean (ie. less realistic).
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  17. #17
    Heroic Warrior 8-Bit Star's Avatar
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    Is He-Man better than Batman?

    I think first we have to understand that any answer one way or the other is going to be subjective. Fans always try to make out their personal preference is somehow a fact, but... it just isn't, period. You can defend it, but its still an opinion.

    Now that being said, yes I do think He-Man is the better show. Not because of anything it necessarily does better (though I do think its more overall creative and I do personally have a preference for fantasy adventures over superheroes), but just because I'm more bothered by Batman's shortcomings than I am by He-Man's. I can stand some comedy relief, some inherent corniness, some moralizing, and seeing He-Man deflect laser bolts using the same forty-five degree sword motion.

    But its hard for me to reconcile a lot of Batman's logic snafus and inconsistencies, some of which I've already mentioned, or how despite what I've heard there's actually less continuity with the villains here than in most other cartoons. I mentioned Jervis Tetch before... he appears first in an episode where he's clearly motivated by a desire for one girl's love, and ends the episode seeming to regret his actions. Or Two-Face... motivated by revenge, willingly surrenders himself. Yet then when Tetch reappears, he's just stealing things, and Two-Face is running gangs... both apparently just for the sake of doing so.

    Logic and continuity aren't the only things I look for in cartoons though. Emotional impact means a lot to me as well and in fact, if a show is really pulling my heart strings and making me laugh or cry or feel joy, I'll usually overlook any other flaws. This is why I still enjoyed Robotech when I first saw it in 2001 even though I had seen a lot of cartoons and anime with better animation and dialogue and less cliched storylines.

    I know this'll probably get a lot of tomatoes thrown my way, but Batman often seems to, well, shortcut the drama so they can get to the parts where Batman is being cool and kicking butt. "Nothing to Fear," "The Forgotten," "The Underdwellers," are good examples (though admittedly Underdwellers could've suffered from Fox censorship... they had a rule against children in peril or something). In fact the only episodes I've seen recently that felt like they had real character drama were the Two-Face and Feat of Clay two-parters. Of those, only Feat of Clay comes close to being on the level of, say, Teela's Quest or Prince Adam No More in my opinion. A lot of Batman episodes keep me interested purely from a "I want to know how this ends" standpoint with no feeling of having a deeper emotional involvement.

    As for what specifically made Batman a "step BACK" for cartoons, well... the way I see it, in the 1970s cartoons were dominated by these superhero shows that basically starred Mary Sues who never had to put real effort into solving their problems... like how no matter what happened to Space Ghost, he just had to press a button on his power gauntlets and instantly everything was okay. Then the 1980s came and raised the bar on that... no more perfect heroes--He-Man for example was getting tossed around, locked up, knocked out etc. and the limits of his powers were established pretty much up-front. In the 1990s though we started to see a kind-of return to the "perfect heroes" of the 1970s who seemed to have a built-in solution for everything, and that's almost certainly the case with Batman (SWAT Kats is another big example).

    Well, that's my big explanation/rebuttle.

  18. #18
    Master of Good Hair Eamon's Avatar
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    I loved the first season or so of Batman but I gotta say that it became a bit dull after a time.
    I totally unerstand why folks rave about it as it was pretty fresh and dynamic when it came out.
    But that that whole style got over used I think with Superman and JLA and did not stimulate me any more.

    I'm a actually a big fan of The Batman series.

    I think animation on a whole is far more exciting now than it's ever been.
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  19. #19
    Assimilate, or else!! krosfyah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pig Boy View Post
    I loved the first season or so of Batman but I gotta say that it became a bit dull after a time.
    I totally unerstand why folks rave about it as it was pretty fresh and dynamic when it came out.
    But that that whole style got over used I think with Superman and JLA and did not stimulate me any more.

    I'm a actually a big fan of The Batman series.

    I think animation on a whole is far more exciting now than it's ever been.
    for the record I like "The Batman" as well and they've attempted to get a little deeper with their stories too lately. the animation level of that show is fantastic though, Avatar as well. I'm impressed with how much better animation is from a technical stand point for some of these kids cartoons these days. but I still long for the return to the 80s art style (more realistic looking characters and proportions esp women that look like women filmation did it the best IMO) with today's quality of animation (The Batman Avatar etc) and storytelling (avatar)
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  20. #20
    Cobra Saboteur Firefly's Avatar
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    What are your favorite episodes of Batman: The Animated Series?

    What are your favorite episodes of Batman: The Animated Series?

    I recently purchased volumes 1-4 of the series. I watched a fair amount of episodes back in the day when it was first on and enjoyed it, but haven't watched an episode since. What episodes would you recommend the most watching?

  21. #21
    Heroic Warrior
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    Well, there are alot that would be good.

    A couple that get big praise are: "Heart of Ice" (the first Mr. Freeze ep.), and "Over the Edge".

    Other ones would include: "Heart of Steel" 2-Parter, pretty much any of the Ra's Al Ghul episodes, and many more.

  22. #22
    Heroic Warrior RocketPunch's Avatar
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    I really like the Two-Face 2-parter, and any episodes with Harley Quinn, especially Mad Love.

  23. #23
    Heroic Warrior of Avion
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    "Heart of Ice" is the best Batman: TAS episode, hands down. IMHO.

    Others that I've always loved are "Almost Got 'Im," "Robin's Reckoning," "Harlequinade," "If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Rich?," "Mad Love" and "Old Wounds."

    The "World's Finest" Batman/Superman movie is brilliant too.

    --Leanne

  24. #24
    Heroic Warrior madara's Avatar
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    This question is harder then it looks. I always felt every time Mr Freeze was on screen it was extra special episode so I have go with that. I also enjoyed first Manbat, set the tone for the show. I loved Ghost retro one with Adam West. Oh by god if we can included the movie Mask of Phantasm, there is another right there. Catwoman is my favorite villain but I really cant say I cared for how they handled her outside first two partner. I'm more of a fan of the original purple suited, long dark hair version that doesnt end up crying or helpless at end of each episode and for many reasons is match for Batman.

  25. #25
    The Master of Insanity CJ Clifford's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by madara View Post
    I always felt every time Mr Freeze was on screen it was extra special episode so I have go with that.
    Probably because he was only in three episodes, four if you count Batman Beyond.

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