Holiday Knights

   Anthology story featuring tales set around Christmas.
  Original Airdate: September 13, 1997
  Episode # 1
  Rating: * * 1/2




Credits Cast

Written by Paul Dini
Directed by Dan Riba
Music by Shirley Walker
Animation by Koko/Dong Yang

Kevin Conroy as Batman
Tara Charendoff as Batgirl
Mathew Valencia as Robin
Bob Hastings as Commissioner Gordon
Robert Constanza as Bullock
Liane Schirmer as Officer Montoya
Marilu Henner as Veronica Vreeland

Mark Hamill as The Joker
Arleen Sorkin as Harley Quinn
Diane Pershing as Poison Ivy
Ron Perlman as Clayface
Corey Burton as Uniformed Cop
Rachel Davey as Mary McSweeney
Tress MacNeille as Little Boy

This trio of stocking stuffers was our first introduction to the redesign done when the series relaunched under The New Batman/Superman Adventures label. It was like Christmas in September, but not everyone appreciated the gift at the time. It contained a number of bewildering shocks, from the visual (the Joker's complete makeover) to the narrative (Clayface's unexplained return from a watery grave). It didn't help that we weren't even given a standard adventure package but only a collection of short, playful anecdotes.

But as the episode was folded into repeats and reruns, the disorientation gradually faded, so that it can now be enjoyed for its own minor but very real virtues. The Batman series never unspooled in any sort of real continuity, so it is now easy to take "Holiday Knights" for what it fundamentally is: an unlooked-for batch of "extras," like the Batman Annuals that you get in the comics. The whole thing has a playful "tossed off" quality, unimpeded by theme, depth or psychological angst.

It has a feel similar to "Almost Got 'Im," another collection of unrelated tales, but lacks the sinuous twist at the end that elevates that one from anthology to meta-fiction. So "Holiday Knights" must be appreciated at the level of the stories that it packages. The Harley/Ivy episode may be the most successful, as it has some witty fun at the expense of Bruce Wayne and features a stylish montage as our two bad girls go on a holiday shopping spree. There's less to the Clayface bit once you know the story. And the Joker adventure, oddly, makes you appreciate why Batman is merely tired out by the Clown Prince's capers: with just a scheme and no drama, he comes off as little more than a bully with a sick sense of humor.

So it's best to treat this episode less as a Batman "story" than as a Batman-themed "party." No one goes to a Christmas bash looking for conflict and tension and resolution, after all. They go for old friends, fun moments, a few unexpected zingers, and some good cheer. Oh, and maybe some well-spiked eggnog. "Holiday Knights" hasn't got enough kick to bring a woozy flush to your cheeks. But it's sweet and tasty and goes down real smooth.


Related Episodes
   * Almost Got 'Im
   * Christmas with the Joker
   * Legends of the Dark Knight
   * Harley & Ivy
   * Feat of Clay
   * Mudslide

What Others Are Saying ...
" An adequate adaptation of The Batman Adventures Holiday Special minus the best story of the comic. "World's Finest


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