Happy 15th Anniversary, "Batman: The Animated Series"

Discussion in 'The DC Comics Animation Forum' started by James Harvey, Sep 5, 2007.

  1. James Harvey

    James Harvey The World's Finest Staff Member Administrator Moderator Reporter

    Apr 23, 2001
    Note: Please excuse any typos.


    Fifteen years ago today, millions of children watched Batman go up against a devious terrorist named Red Claw and tangle with Catwoman. This has been a show that countless people were looking forward to. A new Batman cartoon. And one that looked pretty amazing. At least based on the commercials and the odd article that popped up in magazines here and there. Plus . . . the name. Batman: The Animated Series. What is it about that name that seems so . . . iconic? So definitive? I think that alone made the attraction to the series even stronger. And, like I said, millions of children, and adults, were sitting down to watch this show. It was Saturday morning, and I wasn’t watching.

    In fact, I missed the Saturday premiere, “The Cat & The Claw, Part One,” and the special Sunday-premiered episode “On Leather Wings,” too. It wasn’t until Monday, September 7th, 1992, when “Heart of Ice” played. And I barely caught it, too. I can remember leaping over furniture as the time ticked down to the 4pm start time. But I managed to set up the VCR and flip it to Fox just in time and . . . wow. I was hooked. No one could move me. As “Heart of Ice” unfolded, I couldn’t be budged from the spot at all. And that was the beginning of a love affair that has lasted the better part of fifteen years.

    Sure, other cartoons have come and gone, but Batman: The Animated Series has reigned supreme. X-Men: The Animated Series? Fun, but doesn’t have that rewatchability factor. Spider-Man: The Animated Series? Not bad, but the holes become very apparent very quickly. But Batman: The Animated Series . . . this show was different. I always returned to this show. I knew something was coming from this show . . . that even when the series initially ended after 85 episodes, that this would not be the end. And, thankfully, I was correct. 24 more episodes came down the hatch when the show moved over to Kids’WB!, and, from there, things . . . changed.

    But, I’m getting ahead of myself. I’ll get to all of that shortly. I just want to say a few words on Batman: The Animated Series itself, a series that had such a big impact on my life. It inspired my writing, my art, my taste in music and appreciation of movies. All of that I got from Batman: The Animated Series. The simple, yet complex, designs of each character. The dialogue that never spoke down to the viewer. The amazing score, a score that I would love to own some day. And the cinematic direction of each episode, each episode itself having a film noir serial feel. I could go one and one about this series, but many have before me, and better, I might add. I don’t claim to be the most skilled writer ever, but this series is one that will remain.

    I can remember watching an episode as it premiered, usually at 4pm on Fox, and then watching it later that night, taped on my VCR. I can remember going through so many tapes. I never really taped shows before Batman: The Animated Series, and this was pretty much my crash-course. I had to learn about different tape speed and quality, trying to decide whether to sacrifice the space on a tape or the quality of the image. But this show started it all for me. Next thing I knew, I was reading the comics, the toys, and finding anything I could related to the show. But, of course, with time that sort of withered. I stopped buying toys, but stuck with the comics and the odd book (mostly depending on the art and story), but my interest in Batman: The Animated Series didn’t end there.

    In fact, it’s basically the whole reason for this site. True, this site did start as a Superman: The Animated Series message board, but that was only because . . . well, at the time, there were a couple great Batman: The Animated Series sites up, namely Batman: The Animated Homepage and the original The Animated Bat website. The Animated Bat, home to the Bat-Toon Board, surged when The New Batman Adventures hit Kids’WB!, but slowly disappeared after that. Batman: The Animated Homepage, to make it really simple, merged with my Superman: The Animated Message Board (along with my Batman Beyond: The Animated Message Board and Batman: The Animated Message Board), and became this site. Now, it’s much more complicated than that, and I think I may be doing a massive injustice to the people whom I worked with over the years, but this post isn’t about that (sorry guys!). I’m sure a lot of them even remember posting here, and I’m sure some of them still view the board. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the notorious banned folks aren’t also peaking in. But, like I said, that’s a whole different topic!

    Now where was I? Ah yes! Batman: The Animated Series. It’s hard to believe that fifteen years ago, so many of us where sitting down to watch this show. Fifteen years! That’s incredible! Of course, it’s incredible for a show, any show, to still have such an impact on the fan base, and the industry, as a whole. Who knew that, when we all sat down to watch this show, a whole universe would spawn from this series? That after it, Superman: The Animated Series would begin. That the creators behind the series would look into the future with the definitive Batman Beyond. Of course, there’s also Justice League, as well, which would bring everything together in the end. Quite amazing, yes?

    And it was the creators behind this show that made it so absolutely amazing. We had the likes of Bruce Timm, Alan Burnett, Paul Dini, Stan Berkowtiz, Dwayne McDuffie, Boyd Kirkland, Dan Riba, Michael Reaves, Hilary Bader, among many others, who contributed. Even comic greats like Dennis O’Neil and Len Wein stepped in. And I know I’m missing awhile lot of people here, but there are just so many people that deserve thanking. What I like is that everyone had a role to play in the show, and there role was always crucial. And that, to me, made the episodes work. Yes, sometimes the results weren’t all that good, I’ll admit, but you could always count on something memorable, even from the worst episodes (like that ridiculous screwdriver/sword duel in “I’ve Got A Batman In My Basement”).

    But everything came together in this series. Driven by powerful scores, thanks to the late (and missed) Shirley Walker, this show was something to behold. Kristopher Carter, Michael McCuistion, Lolita Ritmanis also contributed, among many others, some memorable and unforgettable music. Music that deserves to be released commercially someday.

    And who could forget Kevin Conroy as Batman? Or Mark Hammill as The Joker. And the list goes on, people. This series was casted perfectly. Every last role.

    There’s so much that can be touched upon here that I don’t think I could do it justice. And there's so many people, countless people, who deserve thanking. I mean, besides, this posting is pretty much scribblings on a napkin to Batman: The Animated Series when it comes to the likes of Batman: Animated, which has covered this show in so much detail. But I wanted to mark today, this day, as an important day for us animation fans. I’m not sure if this makes me incredibly dorky or anything, but no matter what I go through or grasp an interest in, it will always be Batman: The Animated Series that will remain untouched. It had that quality about it that no other show had. A quality that even though the majority of the audience, at the time, were children, they weren’t being spoken down to as such.

    Even though some of the situations were quite fantastic, there was always a down to earth quality about them. Whether it was the Joker, Two-Face, or even Ra’s Al Ghul, every character seemed seeped in believability. Sure, there were elements that sometimes strained our beliefs in what could be done, but everything worked in Batman’s world. Every impossible jump, every convoluted plan, everything. It all worked. And it was something to behold.

    I guess, in the end, what kept me, and many others, going back to Batman: The Animated Series for years to come was how the show respected the characters. I think that has to do with the love the creators had for these amazing fictional creations, and it was a practice that continues on for many other related shows down the line. Timm not only created, arguably, the definitive version of Batman, but of Superman and the Justice League, as well. He stripped away the ridiculous and unnecessary aspects of the comic book lore and presented us with the best. They even created a few new things along the way, too, be it characters or status quo alterations, which, in effect, brought out the best in the character, be it Batman, Superman, or whoever. They knew what worked, what didn’t, and what needed to be changed. What had a more dramatic impact? What was more important to the core of their character? What mattered most to them? They brought all these questions to the table and, from that, they created an amazing world.

    And to think. That all started with Batman: The Animated Series. Fifteen years ago to the day. Who knew that, as we watched Batman chase down Red Claw and tangle with Catwoman, we’d be watching some of the most iconic and important animation we’d ever bear witness to? Quite an amazing legacy.

    Happy 15th Anniversary, Batman.


  2. RedKing52

    RedKing52 Fullmetal Shinigami

    Feb 19, 2007
    San Francisco
    Wow, hard to belive that it's been 15 years since the magic first debuted. Even harder to believe there was a time when I was ever 7 and only slightly a Batman fan. Thank you Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, Eric Radomski, Alan Burnett, Shirley Walker, Andrea Romano, Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill, and countless others for this amazing series and the legacy it's given us.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 5, 2007
  3. Wonderwall

    Wonderwall Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Mar 4, 2006
    What can I say that hasnt been said about this show for the better part of two decades. I could probably make a long and eloquent post, but right now I dont have the time, nor do I think i have the words right now. I will say this, Batman The Animated Series kicked ass, and in the words of Stan Lee, nuff said.
  4. matthewscott614

    matthewscott614 New Member

    Oct 28, 2006
    Columbus Ohio
    Wow 15 years! 1992 was a great year for cartoons. Back then I was 18 & had not watched cartoons on television for years. I remember watching the X-Men & Batman TAS every Saturday hung over & thinking I was dreaming or still sauced up from the night before.
    Reading comics in the 1980's was the only way to get good super hero stories back then, that did not talk down. (Besides some of the films?)
    Now to see my favorite characters revamped for animation was awesome! To the best of my knowledge Batman TAS also came on during the week as well. One of my internships was over for the year & from October to December, I watched Batman TAS EVERDAY!
    After 1993 I stopped watching TV for a while, however I did buy MOTP & the TAS character collections on VHS. But then 1997 I got some roomates that demanded cable. Boom Batman was back. I was tickled to find out the same voice actors & Universe was still intacted. I also remember picking up Sub Zero & The Superman/Batman Movie later that winter & lovin" those. As the years passed on I caught what I could on TV. Then Batman Beyond came out & I was pissed! But then I realized it was the same Universe & there was Kevin Conroy as Bruce Wayne! So I decided to give it a chance.
    It was ok & it keeped the DCAU alive.
    I could go on & on about this crap (DCAU), so I'll wrap it up. We all know the JUSTICE LEAGUE ROCKS!
    After reading Mr. Harvey's review I got to thinking about how Batman TAS spawned a casual cartoon lifestyle that continued from my 20's & into my 30's. Thanks Bruce Timm for my second Golden Age of Cartoon watching.
    Society & culture use to say when your 18 cartoons are not for you .
    However back in 1992, Batman TAS started a new Golden Age that includes adults as well. Thank you Batman TAS & the DCAU.
    Also I could go on about how great the DVD sets are & how wonderful it is that most of the DCAU is on DVD, but that would be preaching to the choir!
  5. Harley_Quinn

    Harley_Quinn Honey, get mommy’s bazooka

    May 13, 2004
    Wow, can't believe it's been 15 yrs!

    If it weren't for this show I would have never gotten into the whole superhero genre, I never read comics and didn't have any interest in it.

    I will always be thankful that I was opened up to this wonderful universe!
  6. Batman

    Batman Guest

    I just wanted to quickly post about how much I've enjoyed this series and how important it has been for me. I thought this was a great post and I am glad that B:TAS is not forgotten. Given how DC cartoons are moving these days, I bet it's easy that many DC cartoon fans may not even know of this series, but I am glad to see that many fans keep it alive.

    Happy 15th Anniversary!
  7. Batman

    Batman The Dark Knight

    Aug 11, 2004
    Gotham city
    It's hard to believe 15 years ago today I was first introduced to The Best animated series to date . BATMAN : TAS was such a well written groundbreaking series that IMO gave us Batman fans . A Clear picture of BATMAN . I thank god for Bruce Timm & Company for creating this outstanding masterpiece . For Kevin conroy as THE BEST incarnation of BATMAN . For Mark Hamill SUPERB preformance as The Joker and for all the other famous voice actors & actress who gave both life & depth to the supporting cast characters in Batman's world .

    BTAS is and always will be The Best Superhero releated tv series .

    Nuff said .:D
  8. Palin Dromos

    Palin Dromos The Abyss Stares Back

    Feb 1, 2002
    Los Angeles, CA
    Wow 15 years.

    I can't exactly remember seeing the first episode on air.
    I think the first ep I saw was either Feat of Clay, or Joker's Favor.

    And I gotta admit, when I first saw it I didn't get it...visually.
    Bruce's square jaw looked ridiculous at first. I plead youthful ignorance.:sweat:

    Needless to say the stories and performances shined through and I was won over.

    And once I saw the animation problems that started cropping up in the more traditionally looking X-men series, Timm visual style made sense to me- it clicked. I totally love his style now and love what it's done for american animation in general.

    Like so many people here, Batman: The Animated Series opened my eyes. It drives me to this day both professionally and personally.

    It was a point of pride when I finally owned all four DVD box sets. I felt a little more complete. :p

    Happy 15.

    Palin Dromos
  9. Dusty

    Dusty Superman.

    Nov 15, 2003
    Metropolis, Earth,
    I think the first ep i saw was "Sideshow" back in 95 or something, i loved it. BTAS was awesome, (and still is.) anyways thanks to everyone who was involved in making this show! :) and to Toonzone and all the other sites for having all the awesome BTAS/DCAU info and stuff, :)
  10. Tinytooncrazy

    Tinytooncrazy New Member

    Dec 6, 2006
    United Kingdom Aberdare
    Wow so this is 15 years I remember watch on this on CITV in 1992 I'm 21 one now I canr remember watching this along with animanices and tiny toons
  11. Chris Wood

    Chris Wood Desslar

    Jun 11, 2002
    Washington DC
    15 years later and it's still unsurpassed.
  12. Pfeiffer-Pfan

    Pfeiffer-Pfan Makin' Whoopee!

    Jul 24, 2007
    It was this one show which got me into batman!!

    I was born in 1990 and this premiered in 1992, so at such a young age i was thrilled by the sight of this cartoon. Everything about this cartoon is and always has been simply amazing. Yes, as i have gotten older you notice things like animation mistakes and so forth but all those are so easily forgiven.

    It has truly made such an impact on my life, and without doubt is the reason, at the age of 17, i am still in awe of the character. Many around me thought that batman was a childish phase for me which i would grow out of - didn't happen - and i am so glad for it.

    Without doubt it is my favorite interpretation of the character!

    Thank you Bruce Timm, Eric Radomski, Alan Burnett, Shirley Walker, Mark Hamill and all the various others who worked on the show and made it the mesmerizing feat it is. Thanks for the great childhood of memories.

    Special thanks to Kevin Conroy for simply being my perfect Batman!!!
  13. ShadowStar

    ShadowStar Member

    Nov 11, 2006
    Wonderfully summarised, James. The greatest and most imaginative creative team ever gave us some of the finest gems in animation 15 years ago... and some of them are so good that they blow most other means of entertainment out of the water. We should all toast Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, Shirley Walker, Alan Burnett, Eric Randomski, Michael Reaves, Andrea Romano, Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill, Arleen Sorkin, Erfrem Zimbalist and co. for their dedication and persistence with creating an iconic take on the greatest comic book legend. Let's remember the golden age of animation, and never forget it.
  14. Michael24

    Michael24 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Feb 2, 2004
    James - Excellent excellent post. I can't say it any better myself.

    I was 13 (almost 14) when B:TAS premiered. I remember being excited for months in advance. I had picked up an issue of Wizard comic price guide over the summer, which had a rundown of the show complete with character sketches and background images, and I couldn't wait.

    I think the first episode I saw was "Appointment In Crime Alley." For the first couple of weeks I couldn't see it because we didn't have cable at the time, and our Fox reception was often more than crappy. But the day that episode was on, it was coming in pretty well, so I was excited. I'll never forget sitting down and waiting for it, and remember seeing the opening sequence for the first time. It was amazing.

    For the next month or so, our reception stayed pretty bad, so if I got home from school and it was unwatchable, I'd run down the block to my best friend's house, and we'd watch it there. I finally convinced my parents to break down and get cable, and the day I got home and the cable guy was finishing up, the first episode I got to see in all its beautiful animated glory was "Christmas With The Joker."

    I don't think any other cartoon has played such a huge part in my life. Even ones I loved from the '80s I eventually phased out of once new episodes ended and the reruns gradually vanished. But B:TAS has always been there with me in some form over the last 15 years. I remember the thrill of meeting Kevin Conroy at his very first public signing in 1998. (I've kicked myself ever since for forgetting to bring my camera.)

    Without question, B:TAS is my #1 all-time favorite cartoon. I never get tired of watching it, and I look forward to spending another 15 years with it.
  15. Christian Prime

    Christian Prime New Member

    Oct 3, 2005
    Wow! Congratulations BTAS & a happy 15th!:anime:

    I've been mesmerized by this awesome cartoon when it aired on Dutch TV's
    (And gladly it was subtitled so I can listen to Conroy's role as Batman & Hamill's role as The Joker without a fuss!) & sitting on my couch when my brother wasn't around, and when Danny Elfman's theme started to crank up, I was blown away with the animation! This alongside Tiny Toons & Animaniacs (and spin-off The Pinky & The Brain Show) was some of WB Finest works they'd ever brought out!:cool:

    A big Thanks from me to Bruce Timm & Co. for making this show absolutely wonderfull & Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill & all other voice actors for making the voices for each character so memorable!:haruhi:
  16. Darklordavaitor

    Darklordavaitor Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Apr 23, 2007
    In the now, man
    15 years, wow. I don't even remember my first episode, but "Mad Love", oddly enough, comes first to mind.
  17. M.O.D.O.K.

    M.O.D.O.K. Scientist Supreme Staff Member Moderator

    May 13, 2006
    Advanced Idea Mechanics
    Wow, 15 years already! The show's as old as me!

    I remember when I watched my first episode. I think it was when I was 5 or 6 years old, and the first episode I watched was "Heart of Ice", which explains why Mr. Freeze became an instant favorite of mine. Ever since then, I followed the series every Saturday morning (since they were reruns and I used to live in Mexico.) and then TNBA came. Since I was a kid, I was confused by the redesigns, but it grew on me, though not as much as before.

    Anyway, like the others said, B:TAS kicked ass, and it still does today. It changed animation. It changed the actual comics. But more importantly, it changed my childhood. Ever since then, I became a Batman fan.
  18. spidey4545

    spidey4545 Fox Kids Historian Reporter

    Jan 23, 2005
    Boston, Massachusetts
    Even though I encoded this over a year and half ago, I never found the time to upload it anywhere...but nonetheless, here's the commerical shown on Sunday, September 6, 1992 to promote the primetime premiere of Batman the Animated Series.

    BTAS Primetime Commercial (9/6/1992)

  19. ShadowStar

    ShadowStar Member

    Nov 11, 2006
    AWESOME. But is it just a sound file, or should I be receiving video footage when I click on it? :confused:
  20. Sarada

    Sarada Active Member

    May 14, 2006
    Well, shucks. I was but two when Batman: The Animated Series began so I cannot say "I was there, d*** it!" but I can tell you that watching the show was a load of fun every Saturday morning, along with Power Rangers and the like. While I don't own much of anything from the series (outside of my old MotP video tape) I can say I've begun to rewatch old episodes from my local library's collection (they've got a few of the single release DVDs) and last night I sat down (unaware of the anniversary) and watched 'On Leather Wings' and 'Christmas With The Joker' and boy was I put to sleep. I suppose it was because of the performances being...lacking...or maybe it was because of school, I don't know...

    Anyway: Happy 15, Timmverse!

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