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"The Batman" Season Premiere: The Dynamic Duo Are Back!

With Teen Titans now finished and Robin’s rights now free to use, The Boy Wonder has finally made his debut in The Batman, starting with this season’s premiere. Now, I’ve loved Robin since I can remember – I know a lot of fans aren’t impressed with Robin’s role in the mythos and preferred their Dark Knight as the lone ranger of Gotham City, but I’ve always thought Batman “and” Robin worked perfectly. I’ve missed seeing them together on television, but finally, after nearly a decade of inactivity, The Dynamic Duo are back! However, given this show’s inconsistency, does Robin’s return to TV save the show from its current, barely watchable state?

The Batman has had its share of problems since its terrible premiere and the last season was bad enough that I personally stopped watching it after I struggled to make it through to the end of most of the episodes I did watch. I thoroughly enjoyed the second season of the show, but the introduction of Batgirl quickly soured me. Once again, the suits at the network became far too concerned with their demographics compared to the quality of their product and insisted on Batman having a girl sidekick in order to attract more female viewers. I struggle to see their intentions here, as Batman is a popular character for young boys, and with the show aimed at selling the toys to boys, I do wonder why they thought they should suddenly start attracting the ladies? But I digress – Batgirl became incredibly annoying and brought back, horrific, sole crushing memories of The Incredible Hulk and She Hulk from the mid 90’s, a good show, which quickly went down the crapper once the network insisted on having She Hulk play a more prominent role in the series. With the show now seemingly aired squarely at 9-year-old girls, I decided that I had better things to watch.

With the return of Robin and the new season actually sounding really good, I decided to give the show another chance. Lo and behold, they’ve returned the favour by giving us one of the best episodes yet! The episode’s conclusion does feel slightly rushed, but complaints wise, that’s pretty much everything. “The Batman’s” visuals still kick ass, and the new Batman/Bruce Wayne models are a big improvement over the previous ones. Robin himself is looking good in a new spin on Tim Drake’s original Robin costume and new voice director Andrea Romano brings a stellar cast to the table, as the episode features fan favourites Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill.

Despite the fact that the main focus of the episode is obviously placed upon Dick Grayson, I think I was most impressed by Batman himself in this episode. This is easily the best we’ve seen him since the outstanding The Batman vs. Dracula DVD movie, as he mercilessly pummels everything in site until he finds Zucco. No stupid quips, no ridiculous gadgets or annoying babysitter jokes, this is Batman how he should be – driven. It’s a beautiful thing to see – they’ve struggled in the past to get Batman character traits nailed, but here they’ve done it wonderfully. The villain of the piece is one of the show’s better efforts, despite (because of?) the fact he’s not a typical supervillain. A typically brilliant performance from Hamill no doubt helped, but the character was written superbly – he just reeks of arrogance and gets under your skin something fierce.

As for Robin – perfect. No complaints at all. They nailed his origin, they’ve given us the coolest looking version of Robin since the characters The New Batman Adventures days and he doesn’t suffer from the annoying sidekick syndrome which plagues… all sidekicks except Robin and thankfully, he’s nothing like Batgirl. I know it’s early in the new season yet, but I am thoroughly impressed with this version of Robin. The final shot of Batman and Robin watching over the city made it for me. I’ve loved the dynamic duo since I was a wee lad, and it’s brilliant to see them back together on TV again.

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