March 26, 2016

BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES

BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES/
THE ADVENTURES OF BATMAN & ROBIN/
THE NEW BATMAN ADVENTURES
(FOX, September 5, 1992-September 15, 1995

WB, September 13, 1997-January 16, 1999)

MAIN CAST:
Kevin ConroyBatman/Bruce Wayne, Thomas Wayne (2nd voice), various
Loren Lester – Robin/Nightwing/Richard “Dick” Grayson (season 1-2, recurring after), various
Clive RevillAlfred Pennyworth (3 episodes), police blimp radioman
Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. – Alfred Pennyworth, various
Melissa GilbertBatgirl/Barbara Gordon (season 1-2)
Tara Strong – Batgirl/Barbara Gordon (season 3)
Mary Kay Bergman – Batgirl/Barbara Gordon (SubZero)
Mathew ValenciaRobin/Tim Drake (season 3)

For the history of Batman, check out the post here.

The New Adventures of Batman was the last time Batman and Robin had worked independently of the Justice League; having been in their company throughout Hanna-Barbera’s Super Friends franchise for over a decade. Four years after that show ended, Tim Burton brought Batman back to live-action with Batman. Starring Michael Keaton in the title role and Jack Nicholson as the Joker, the movie became the top-grossing film of the year and successfully brought Batman back to his darker roots for the general public that the storylines “Year One”, The Dark Knight Returns and The Killing Joke did for the comic fans.


In 1990, Warner Bros. Animation president Jean MacCurdy announced to her staff that the studio was looking to develop other properties; principle amongst them was Batman. Bruce Timm quickly drew up several concepts of how Batman would look like in animation. At the same time, background artist Eric Radomski worked on his own proposal of an animated Gotham City. Two months later, MacCurdy put the two together to work on a promo reel to show the studio what they intended to do for a proposed Batman series. They came up with a quick concept: Batman encounters a trio of jewel thieves on a Gotham rooftop and takes them down before the police arrive and he swings off into the night. The promo largely resembled what the final product eventually would, albeit a little rougher. It also ended up not being necessary as the studio greenlit the series anyway as Burton had begun work on Batman Returns, but the promo led to Timm and Radomski being placed as producers on it.

Batman's original Batmobile.

Joined by producers/writers Paul Dini and Alan Burnett, their first task was to decide the overall tone of the series. What they ultimately settled on was to attempt to make each episode feel as if the audience had just watched a half-hour movie. They wanted a return to the darkness that comics original embodied, taking great inspiration from Fleischer Studio’s Superman theatrical shorts as well as Burton’s film. They developed a style they called “Dark Deco,” which was a combination of noir imagery and art deco design. It gave a timeless quality to the visuals with the incorporation of police blimps, tommy guns and modern technology such as televisions and computers with black and white screens. To achieve the proper mood, the animation was done in reverse by using light colors on black paper; although initially their color palette was limited to the selection they had available on Tiny Toon Adventures. They also allowed their creators the freedom they needed to create, allowing storyboard artists to drive action scenes instead of putting every little thing in the scripts.

Kirk Langstrom transforms into Man-Bat.

Being first time producers, Timm and Radomski received a lot of blowback over the decisions they were making in their approach to the show. Executives and their bosses grew increasingly worried and constantly breathed down their necks, fearing that the show would become an expensive flop. However, after the rough footage for the first produced episode, “On Leather Wings”, arrived, all fears were laid to rest and they were allowed to continue fairly unhindered. They were also given some access to Burton’s Batman Returns, from which further inspiration was drawn.

Why they call him "the Dark Knight."

In casting the show, the producers sought not to find cartoon voice actors, but actors who happened to be in a cartoon. They wanted the material treated like it was a stage play, or a radio play; looking for serious performances and not like it was made just for Saturday morning. That made casting some roles very easy, and some extremely hard. The hardest of all was of the series’ lead: Batman. That is until Kevin Conroy came in to audition. Feeling that the character emanates from a very dark, personal place, Conroy reached down inside himself and delivered Batman’s lines in a deep, guttural voice that floored everyone in attendance. Although Batman’s dialogue was kept at a minimum, Conroy gave Batman what many consider his definitive voice. Conroy also did something no other actor had done before in Batman animation: he gave Bruce Wayne a different, higher voice in order to further distinguish the two aspects of his personality; much the way Keaton was the first to do so for live-action. Wayne was also portrayed as more of an intelligent and competent person, rather than the flippant playboy as he had been before.

Batman and Robin.

Robin (Loren Lester) was included to lighten up the series a bit and give Batman someone to play off of. However, the producers attempted to balance the various incarnations of Robin in order to make him different enough from Batman while still adhering to the tone of the show. Dick Grayson’s origin was kept intact, but they decided to advance him to college age to explain why he wasn’t around in every episode and to allow him to access places a younger Robin couldn’t go. It was decided to give Dick an adaptation of the costume being worn at the time by the third Robin, Tim Drake, that debuted in Batman vol. 1 #457 (1990) as it was a cooler and more serious design than the bare legs and pixie boots Dick had worn originally since his inception. Batman served as both a father figure and partner for Dick, even though Dick didn’t always appreciate the former.

"No patrolling until you clean up your cave!"

Alfred Pennyworth, however, served as a father figure for Batman. Blending elements of the Pre-Crisis and Post-Crisis incarnations of the character, Alfred was an MI-6 agent before coming to work for Thomas (Richard Moll and Conroy) and Martha Wayne (Adrienne Barbeau). He ultimately raised Bruce after their murder and helped him assume his Batman identity, as well as aided him behind the scenes on his nightly missions. Alfred was initially voiced by Clive Revill for the first three episodes produced, but had to bow out due to a previous commitment. Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. assumed the role for the remainder of his appearances. Initially, Timm and Radomski didn’t want Zimbalist, desiring a less-warm and authentically British performance, but writer and frequent collaborator Tom Ruegger convinced them otherwise.

Jim and Barbara Gordon receiving visitors.

Commissioner James Gordon (Bob Hastings) was presented as a staunch ally of Batman who relied on him to help his department, but still came off as a competent police officer. Being the same age as his father, Batman viewed Gordon as a bit of a surrogate father. His real daughter, Barbara (Melissa Gilbert) made her debut aiding Batman by helping to rescue Gordon from the human-hating super computer H.A.R.D.A.C. (Holographic Analytical Reciprocating DigitAl Computer, voiced by Jeff Bennett). She first donned a costume to pose as Batman in “I Am the Night” to show support for Gordon after he was framed for a crime when Batman refused to do so. She redesigned the costume she wore to become Batgirl and take down the man responsible. She was depicted as being a student at the same college as Dick, and had a flirtatious relationship with him—although neither knew the other’s identity.

Bullock and Montoya.

Two prominent police officers had recurring roles throughout the series. Detective Harvey Bullock (Robert Costanzo) was the typical slovenly cop whose clothes were always wrinkled and manners were atrocious. While in the comics he was a dirty cop, the producers decided to make him just slightly dingy; a good cop who accomplished things just a bit outside of acceptable law-enforcement practices. Bullock also resented Batman and Gordon’s constant reliance on him. On the opposite end of the spectrum was his partner, Renee Montoya (Ingrid Oliu). Created for the show, she was a more by-the-book cop and openly supportive of Batman, as well as Bullock’s conscience. She was created by Dini as a way to bring ethnic diversity to Batman’s cast.

Villain promo image featuring Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy, Penguin, Joker, Harley Quinn, Mad Hatter, Riddler, Catwoman and Two-Face.

The producers tapped Batman’s extensive rogue’s gallery for a who’s who of Gotham villainy, updating and modifying his villains to be more of a genuine threat. Amongst his established foes were Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman (whose suit and hair was influenced by Batman Returns, voiced by Barbeau) was a socialite and animal rights activist who stole to further her goals; Oswald Cobblebot, aka Penguin (Paul Williams) was heavily based on the version that appeared in Batman Returns, but retained the refined mannerisms and personality from the comics; Edward Nygma, aka the Riddler (John Glover, who would go on to have a role in Batman & Robin), was reimagined as a computer programmer who was cheated by his boss and adopted his alter-ego in order to seek his revenge; Dr. Jonathan Crane, aka Scarecrow (rendered in two different designs in an attempt to make his appearance scarier, voiced by Henry Polic II), a scientist obsessed with fear and used a fear gas to bring it out of victims; Jervis Tetch, aka Mad Hatter (Roddy McDowall), a scientist who developed special mind-control technology allowing him to control others from his hat; actor Matt Hagen, aka Clayface (given a new design for the show, voiced by Ron Perlman) was transformed into the shape-shifting mud-like man after he was smothered in a special make-up that allowed someone to change their features; and The Joker, whose dark portrayal by Mark Hamill allowed the character to walk the line between his previous incarnations as both a silly clown and a murderous psychopath with tremendous effect.

Batman vs. Man-Bat.

Amongst the newer included foes were Pamela Isley, aka Poison Ivy (Diane Pershing), a human with a strong affinity and some control over plants that led her to attack anyone that threatened nature; Harvey Dent (Moll) was first introduced as the District Attorney of Gotham with a dissociative identity disorder resulting from repressed anger, until being doused with chemicals brought his other personality to light and turned him into dual-minded Two-Face; Waylon Jones, aka Killer Croc (Aron Kincaid), a pro-wrestler with a skin condition that rendered him looking almost reptile-like; Dr. Kirk Langstrom, aka Man-Bat (Marc Singer of Beastmaster fame as Kirk, Frank Welker as Man-Bat), a zoologist who accidentally transformed himself into a man-sized bat after ingesting a serum he created; the venom-powered strongman Bane (Henry Silva, initially using a strong Latin accent), whom the producers initially felt was too gimmicky; Ra’s al Ghul (David Warner), the immortal leader of the Society of Shadows (rather than the League of Assassins) who sought to make Batman his heir by pairing him up with his daughter, Talia (original Supergirl Helen Slater and Olivia Hussey); and Arnold Wesker, aka the Ventriloquist, who seemed to be the unwilling thrall of his mob boss dummy Scarface (both George Dzundza, sans the depicted speech impediment featured in the comics).

Mr. Freeze and his wife, Nora.

The producers chose to make use of a character recently killed off in the comics: Dr. Victor Fries, aka Mr. Freeze (Michael Ansara, who initially had some difficulty with the emotionless robotic voice he was asked to use). Initially portrayed as a rogue scientist whose ice gun backfires and douses him in cryogenic chemicals, resulting in his needing subzero temperatures to survive, Dini decided to give him a more tragic backstory. In his first written episode for the series, “Heart of Ice,” it was revealed Fries was caught embezzling funds from his employer to secretly work on a cure for his terminally ill wife, Nora. His boss, Ferris Boyle (Hamill, in his first role for the series until he took over the Joker role when Tim Curry dropped out of the series) found out and knocked Fries into a table of chemicals, turning him into Mr. Freeze. Not only did the episode win the series its first Emmy Award, it gained the series notoriety. The planned ending, which had Freeze in a cell crying snowflakes, was never done and ended up being used instead for Batman & Robin.

Red Claw planning to skin a Catwoman.

Along with the established characters, the production crew invented several new foes for Batman to face: Red Claw (Kate Mulgrew) was the leader of a terrorist organization that shared her name and came to odds with Batman and Catwoman; Mary Louise Dahl, aka Baby-Doll (Alison La Placa and Laraine Newman) was an actress who suffered an affliction that kept her permanently in the body of a young girl, and whose diva-like attitude cost her her acting career; Dr. Emile Dorian (Joseph Maher) was a rogue geneticist who wanted to create the ultimate being by splicing together human and animal DNA (splicing was later revisited as a fad in the world of Batman Beyond); and the Sewer King (Michael Pataki), who ran a child slavery ring from the Gotham sewers.

Joker and Harley Quinn.

Probably the most prominent new creation from the show was Joker’s henchwoman: Dr. Harleen Quinzel, aka Harley Quinn (Arleen Sorkin). Dini introduced her in the episode “Joker’s Favor” and considered Sorkin for the role based on her appearance in a dream sequence as a jester on Days of our Lives. Dini, friends with Sorkin since college, incorporated elements of her personality into Quinn. Quinzel was a doctor at Arkham Asylum when she fell in love with the Joker and was driven insane after he was captured and injured by Batman. She freed Joker and became his sidekick and lover (despite his horrible treatment of her).

Batman trying to dissuade Batgirl.

Warner Bros. ordered 65 episodes to be produced in order to allow the series to be successfully picked up for syndication. In order to accomplish this feat, the series was outsourced to several different overseas animation houses: Spectrum Animation, DongYang Animation, Sunrise, Studio Junio, Blue Pencil, AKOM and TMS Entertainment. AKOM, however, was fired after numerous animation inconsistencies in the episodes they turned in. The series’ writing staff consisted of Dini, Burnett, Timm, David Wise, Ruegger, and Michael Reaves amongst others, as well as comic book writers Marv Wolfman, Gerry Conway, Buzz Dixon, Len Wein, and Dennis O’Neil. While many episodes combined various elements of stories throughout Batman’s history, some were direct adaptations of those stories.

Accept no imitations.

Batman: The Animated Series debuted on the FOX Network’s Fox Kids programming block on September 5, 1992, airing weekday afternoons and primetime on Saturdays. However, the Saturday airings were cut short when it performed poorly against CBS60 Minutes. The opening sequence was animated by TMS and largely inspired by the original demo reel for the show. In an unusual move, the producers decided not to include a title at the end of the sequence, instead relying on Batman’s global familiarity to allow audiences to know they’re watching a Batman show. The end credits featured an image of Batman drawn by Timm that was used on many promotional items. Each episode featured a special title card with an image depicting the overall theme of the story, much like the title shot from older black and white movies.

The forbidden romance.

Liking the theme composed for the Batman films, Timm approached Danny Elfman to compose the series’ theme. Elfman initially refused and Timm hired Elfman’s frequent collaborator and conductor Shirley Walker to do so. Elfman changed his mind and composed a variation of his theme for the intro. Walker was retained as one of twenty-four composers for the series, earning her fist Daytime Emmy, and served as the show’s music director. Amongst the primary composers were Lolita Ritmanis and Michael McCuistion. The score was largely inspired by Elfman’s and maintained many of the same elements.

Batman faces the Phantasm.

Impressed by the success of the first season, Warner Bros. asked the production team to produce a full-length animated film based on the series. Burnett handled the story, with Martin Pasko writing the flashbacks that were heavily inspired by Citizen Kane, Reaves on the climax, and Dini filling in bits and pieces. Burnett decided to take the opportunity to do a love story with Bruce to really get into his head, feeling no one had done that before. The film introduced Bruce’s former lover Andrea Beaumont (Dana Delany) amidst a mystery surrounding a new murderous vigilante called The Phantasm (Stacy Keach).


Early in production, Warner Bros. decided to change the film from a direct-to-video release and release it in theaters. This change gave the production team less than a year to work on the film, which was less than half the time typically needed to make an animated film upon the completion of the story. In return, the studio granted them a large amount of control and increased the production budget to $6 million. Those funds allowed them to add more elaborate set pieces and create an introduction flying through a computer-generated Gotham City.


Batman: Mask of the Phantasm opened on December 17, 1993 in over 1,500 theaters. It earned $1,189,975 its opening weekend and accumulated $5,617,391 total, making it a financial failure. Critically, however, the movie was praised as one of the best Batman adaptations; even better than Burton’s films. It did eventually earn more than its budget through its various home video releases, and was nominated for an Annie Award for “Best Animated Feature,” losing to Disney’s The Lion King.



Meanwhile, FOX ordered an additional season of 20 episodes, which were largely animated by DongYang (three were handled by Studio Junio). The producers decided to give a larger role to Robin, renaming the series The Adventures of Batman & Robin with its first on-screen title card. Walker’s unused theme was used over a new introduction that featured clips from various episodes; particularly ones that involved Robin. An alternate opening was also created, keeping the original music intact with different clip footage used. The series, now airing primarily on Saturday mornings, concluded its run on September 15, 1995. Many of the staff and crew went on to produce Superman: The Animated Series, giving the Man of Steel the same treatment they did the Dark Knight.


Several months earlier, Warner Bros. and Tribune Broadcasting entered into a joint venture to acquire their own television network. Called The WB, the network was designed around programs geared towards teenagers and young adults. However, they did create a programming block for a younger audience. Known as Kids’ WB, the block began on September 9, 1995, airing principally on Saturday mornings and weekday afternoons. Warner Bros. began steadily moving their programs from other networks onto The WB, including Batman when FOX’s exclusive contract ran out.

Comparison of the characters between the original run and the revival series.

With Superman: The Animated Series doing so well, Warner Bros. decided to bring back Batman and ordered 24 more episodes. Working with a reduced budget, the producers weren’t able to give the series the same cinematic flourishes as they had before. Instead, the series was rendered in the same simplistic style as Superman, necessitating a massive redesign to the majority of the characters.

The new Batman, Batgirl, Robin and Nightwing.

Batman was given a pouch-laden utility belt, gray highlights on his black accessories, and the yellow oval was removed from his logo. Bruce Wayne was given a neatly-pressed black suit and slick black hair, as well as blue eyes instead of black. Batgirl’s costume was redesigned and recolored to better resemble the original outfit she wore in Detective Comics #359 (1967). The only ones to remain virtually unchanged were Harley Quinn, Clayface, Two-Face, Ra’s and Talia. Gotham City was also given a makeover; always seen under an orange sky with more modern architecture and technology. Most of the original cast returned as well, with Tara Strong taking over Batgirl, Liane Schirmer as Montoya, and Brooks Gardner as Killer Croc. Conroy’s performance changed slightly, as his voice for Bruce was no longer distinguishable from Batman’s.

Tim Drake's got a little captain in him.

It was decided to introduce a new Robin to the series for greater youth appeal. The producers brought in the younger Tim Drake (Matthew Valencia), with Dick having a falling out with Batman between the seasons and adopting his independent Nightwing persona. Drake was actually an amalgamation of his character from the comics and the second Robin, Jason Todd. They felt Drake having parents living in close vicinity to Wayne Manor made little sense, so Drake was made an orphan surviving on the street until Batman took him in. His suit was given a basic black and red color scheme with yellow on the inside of his cape, eliminating green altogether.

Merchandising logo.

Officially, the show was known as The New Batman Adventures (Dini actually wanted to call it Gotham Knights, but that title ended up getting used for a 2008 direct-to-video movie). It had a different focus from the earlier episodes, giving more screen time to Batman’s supporting characters than Batman himself. Batgirl especially was featured more prominently, the producers wanting to take advantage of the character being in the then-upcoming Batman & Robin and because Kenner, manufacturer of DC Comics-based toys, wanted to do a full line of toys around the characters. To contrast the lighter, more optimistic co-stars, the writers consciously made an effort to keep Batman’s dialogue as terse and grim as possible.


The new episodes debuted on September 13, 1997 on Kids’ WB as part of the hour-long programming block The New Batman/Superman Adventures alongside a rerun or new episode of Superman: The Animated Series. The new episodes played out their entire run as part of that block with the shared opening titles, never getting an opening sequence of its own. When aired in syndication, The New Batman Adventures episodes were shown with the original Batman intro. The title cards were also done away with in favor of superimposing the episode’s title over the first scene, the same way Superman’s was done.

The past and the present: Batman with The Gray Ghost.

A few other DC heroes made appearances on the show. The scarred Western bounty hunter Jonah Hex (Bill McKinney) appeared in a flashback dealing with Ra’s al Ghul; the backwards-speaking magician Zatanna Zatara (Julie Brown) was presented as a magicless illusionist that Batman had a relationship with during his years training; reporter Jack Ryder (Jeff Bennet) who became The Creeper when exposed to the Joker’s laughing gas and the same chemicals that created him; Jason Blood, who  was bonded to the rhyming demon Etrigan (Billy Zane) and was a friend of Bruce’s; and Supergirl (Nicholle Tom) from Superman: the Animated Series, who partnered up with Batgirl and appeared to be friends with her. Likewise, Batman and Robin would appear in three different stories on Superman. The biggest guest-appearance, however, was not from a character but from an actor. Adam West, who played Batman in the 1966 Batman live-action series, was brought on to play The Gray Ghost: a character from the television show Bruce grew up watching and partially inspired his Batman alter-ego. The entire character was built around West, and had he not accepted the role the episode “Beware the Gray Ghost” would never have been made.



In 1998, a direct-to-video standalone sequel to Mask of the Phantasm was released called Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero. The movie featured the original Batman animation style and was intended for a summer 1997 release, but was delayed due to the negative reception to Batman & Robin that also featured Mr. Freeze as a villain. The movie, written and directed by Boyd Kirkland, dealt with Mr. Freeze needing to find suitable replacement organs for his wife Nora, and kidnapping Barbara Gordon (Mary Kay Bergman) who was a perfect match. The film was well-received by fans and critics, and won an Annie Award for “Best Animated Home Entertainment Production.” It was also nominated for a Golden Reel Award in 1999, but lost to Young Hercules.


Four years after the end of the series, a new movie was produced from the same universe. Written by Reaves from a story by Burnett, Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman featured Batman investigating the appearance of Batwoman (Kyra Sedgwick) who targeted the operations of Penguin (David Ogden Stiers, the only time Williams didn’t voice the character), Rupert Thorne (John Vernon in his final performance of the role) and Carlton Duquesne (Richardson). It was the first time Thorne was rendered in the updated style of the show, necessitating a new character model to be created for him and Batwoman’s costume largely resembled the suit from Batman Beyond rendered in a gray instead of black. While most of the original cast returned, Eli Marienthal was cast as Robin and Hector Elizondo took over as Bane. A bonus silent film, Chase Me by Dini and Burnett, was included which showed Batman chasing Catwoman around Gotham.

The first issue of the comic series.

DC Comics published several comics series set in the same universe as the show. The Batman Adventures was primarily written by Kelley Puckett and drawn by Mike Parobeck and Rick Burchett. It ran for 36 issues, 2 annuals and 3 specials. The first annual introduced new character Roxy Rocket, who was adapted into a character for the revival series played by Charity James. One special was an adaptation of Mask of the Phantasm, one was Mad Love by Dini and Timm, which focused on Harley trying to win Joker’s favor by eliminating Batman, and the other was Holiday Special done by a number of creative people who worked on the show. The latter two were both adapted into episodes of the revival series.

Batman confronts Joe Chill.

Along with the show’s name change, the series was rebranded and restarted as The Batman & Robin Adventures. Mostly written by Ty Templeton with Burchett on art, it ran for 25 issues, 2 annuals and 1 special that was an adaptation of SubZero. The Batman Adventures: The Lost Years was a mini-series that explored the gap between both versions of the show, with the first two issues adapted into the episode “Old Wounds” and the fourth being an adaptation of “Sins of the Father.” In 1998, Batman: Gotham Adventures replaced the previous series and was the longest-running clocking in at 60 issues. Also in 1998, Dini and Burchett produced the special Batgirl Adventures which gave the animated heroine her own spotlight. In 2003, the original title was revived for a second volume running 17 issues. Every issue had two stories; one by Dan Slott and Templeton, and the other by Templeton and Burchett. #15 by Jason Hall bridged the time gap between Mr. Freeze’s last appearance on Batman and his appearance on Batman Beyond. #17 featured Batman confronting Joe Chill, the man who killed his parents. Each series included additional characters that never appeared on the show. In 2004, Dini and Timm let their version of Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy have some fun in the mini-series Batman: Harley and IvyThe animated universe made a return to comics in 2016’s Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures by DC and IDW, which featured Batman teaming up with Nickelodeon’s Ninja Turtles from the 2012 computer animated series.

Super Nintendo version packaging.

Several video games were released tying into both versions of the series. The first game to land was 1992’s Tiger handheld. In 1993, Konami released Batman: The Animated Series on Nintendo Game Boy. An action-adventure platformer, players could switch between Batman and Robin, each with a specific ability. The Adventures of Batman & Robin was the title of different games produced by different companies for various systems between 1994 and 1995. The Super Nintendo version was released by Konami as an action-adventure platformer where the player guided Batman through levels loosely based on various episodes. The Sega Genesis and Sega CD versions were released by Clockwork Tortoise; the Genesis version featuring a two-player mode as Batman and Robin work through four different levels and the CD version was a driving game where levels were advanced by piloting either the Batmobile or the Batplane. The CD version also contained 16 minutes of original animation by TMS for the cutscenes, dubbed the “lost episode,” with all the actors reprising their respective roles. The Sega Game Gear version was released by Novotrade Software and featured Batman in another platformer adventure having to rescue Robin from the Joker. In 1996, Gryphon Software Corp released The Adventures of Batman & Robin Activity Center for the home computer, which was a puzzle-solving game.

Xbox version packaging.

In 2001, Ubisoft Entertainment released several different games. Batman: Chaos in Gotham for the Game Boy Color was based on the revamped version of the show. Players controlled either Batman or Robin in dealing with escapees from Arkham Asylum. Gotham City Racer for the Sony PlayStation was a racing game that included clips from the show and 6 music tracks by Ray Fabi. Batman: Vengeance for PlayStation 2, Game Boy Advance, GameCube, Xbox and Windows seemed to take place in between the two versions of the show as Batgirl aided Batman on his missions. Most of the series’ voice cast was featured in the game as their respective characters. Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu pit Batman, Robin, Batgirl and Nightwing against original villain Sin Tzu (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) created by Jim Lee.

The complete series box set.

Warner Home Video released VHS collections containing two to four episodes between 1995 and 1997, four of which were combined into two DVDs and re-released in 2004. Between 2002 and 2004, four multi-episode collections were released to both VHS and DVD: The Legend Begins, Tales of the Dark Knight, Out of the Shadows and Secrets of the Caped Crusader. The entire series was released to DVD between four volumes in 2004 and 2005 (2006 for China and Bulgaria). In 2008, the complete series was packaged together in a special box that came with a 40-page collector’s book containing a guide to the disc contents, character sketches and background paintings.

Batman Happy Meal toys.

Kenner produced a line of action figures, vehicles and playsets under the various show titles from 1992 until 1999, when Hasbro assumed production of the line with the series Mission Masters 2. In 2003, Mattel acquired the license and released several waves of figures and playsets under the Batman Animated Classics banner until 2010. In 1992 Parker Brothers produced a 3-D board game and the following year Ertl released a set of die-cast figures and vehicles. McDonald’s also got in on the action with a set of 8 toys based on the original version, while the new version was represented in Jack In the Box’s 2001 Kids’ Meal toys. In 2015, Diamond Select began releasing a series of mini-busts, statues and vinyl banks based on the various characters, and DC Collectibles began releasing action figures and vehicles from both versions of the show reminiscent of the original Kenner line.

Batman: the music.

Skylark Publishing published an adaptation of Phantasm in 1994 and Little Brown & Co. an adaptation of SubZero in 1997. Golden Books published several coloring books and two Mr. Freeze books in 1997, while Walter Foster Publishing released How to Draw Batman in 1998. In 1999, Dini and Chip Kidd published Batman: Animated through Harper Entertainment which featured the behind-the-scenes story of the show. In 2003, DK Children released Batman: The Animated Series Guide by Scott Beatty. Beginning in 2009, Stone Arch Books began publishing a series of easy reader storybooks utilizing the same art style and character designs from Batman. The original soundtrack for Phantasm was released by Warner Bros. in 1993, with an expanded edition released in 2009. La-La Land Records released three volumes of the series’ music between 2012 and 2014, and in 2015 Mondo released a die-cut vinyl single in the shape of a bat and a collectible vinyl box set.

Harley's first ongoing series.

Batman: The Animated Series is often considered THE definitive version of Batman, marked by fans and comic creators as their go-to whenever they think of the character and the franchise. Many things the show introduced were integrated into the actual comics over the years. Chief amongst them was the popular character Harley Quinn, who made her official debut in Batman: Harley Quinn #1 (1999). Harley was the star of her own series twice, amongst other numerous appearances in various comics, and eventually grew from a psychotic criminal to something of a psychotic anti-hero. Her budding (no pun intended) friendship with Poison Ivy was also featured. Other notable carryovers included the new backstory for Mr. Freeze, which led to the character being resurrected in the comics, and the new appearance for Clayface.

Montoya as The Question.

Montoya actually appeared in the comics just before her appearance on the show, debuting in Batman #475 (1992). Hearing about the new character, the Batman staff were intrigued by her and wanted to include her in the comics, and since the lead time to produce a comic is shorter than to produce an animated series her second debut was able to beat her actual debut by several months. Over her career, she had quit the police force and become the second faceless hero The Question, as well as had a romantic relationship with the Kate Kane version of Batwoman that was introduced in 52 #7 (2006). The New 52 reboot, however, retconned her costumed career and she was re-presented as Bullock’s partner in Detective Comics vol. 2 #41 (2015).

Animated Batwoman and Kate Kane Batwoman, as drawn by Bruce Timm.

Speaking of Batwoman, the current incarnation’s costume shared a similar design to the Batwoman featured in Mystery of the Batwoman; however, her suit was black, her mask didn’t cover her whole face and included a wig of long red hair. The brutal vigilante Lock-Up was adapted in Robin #24 (1996), Paul Dini adapted Roxy Rocket during his run on Detective Comics in issue #822, Sewer King made his delayed debut in 52 #25 (2006), and Simon Trent, aka the Gray Ghost, was split between two characters: a teacher at Gotham Academy in Gotham Academy #4 (2015) and anarchist-turned-hero Clancy Johnson in Batgirl vol. 3 #9 (2010).

The culmination of the DC Animated Universe: the Justice League.

Probably the biggest legacy of the show was that it kicked off what would become known as the DC Animated Universe; alternatively known as the Diniverse or the Timmverse. Batman became the first in a series of programs that all existed within the same relative universe, including Superman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond, Static Shock, The Zeta Project, Justice League and Justice League Unlimited, as well as the web-series Gotham Girls. Most of the series’ cast, notably Conroy, Hamill and Hastings, continued on in their respective roles since the series ended in other shows, video games and direct-to-video movies. Sorkin would end her run as Harley Quinn with 2012’s DC Universe Online: The Last Laugh and Strong would adopt the role in most following appearances.


EPISODE GUIDE:
Season 1:
“The Dark Knight’s First Night” (unaired) – Batman apprehends three jewel thieves in time for the police to arrest them.

“On Leather Wings” (9/6/92) – The police think Batman is terrorizing Gotham, and Batman discovers it’s scientist Kirk Langstrom who accidentally turned himself into Man-Bat.

“Christmas with the Joker” (11/13/92) – Joker escapes Arkham and challenges Batman and Robin to find him and free his hostages: Gordon, Bullock and Summer Gleason.

“Nothing to Fear” (9/15/92) – Batman gets a dose of Scarecrow’s fear gas when he tries to prevent him from burning down Gotham University.

“The Last Laugh” (9/22/92) – The Joker covers Gotham in a cloud of laughing gas and plunders the helpless populace.

“Pretty Poison” (9/14/92) – Poison Ivy becomes Harvey Dent’s fiancĂ© in order to enact retribution on his allowing a rare flower habitat to be destroyed by construction.

“The Underdwellers” (10/21/92) – The Sewer King uses homeless children to steal for him.

“P.O.V.” (9/18/92) – Officers Wilkes and Montoya and Bullock are grilled on the details of a botched sting operation.

“The Forgotten” (10/8/92) – Batman goes undercover to investigate the disappearance of the homeless only to end up captured with them and suffering from amnesia.

“Be a Clown” (9/16/92) – Upset over the Mayor using his birthday party for political gain, his son stows away in the party clown’s truck not knowing the clown is actually the Joker.

“Two-Face: Part 1” (9/25/92) – Rupert Thorne attempts to exploit Dent’s split personality, but his violent persona takes over resulting in a confrontation that scars half of Dent’s face.

“Two-Face: Part 2” (9/28/92) – Dent, now Two-Face, targets Thorne’s businesses and Batman has to stop both of them before they kill each other.

“It’s Never Too Late” (9/10/92) – Batman saves Thorne’s rival Arnold Stromwell and, with the help of Stromwell’s priest brother, tries to convince him to testify against Thorne.

“I’ve Got Batman in My Basement” (9/30/92) – Two kids rescue Batman from Penguin and hide him in their basement until he can recover from Penguin’s poison gas.

“Heart of Ice” (9/7/92) – Mr. Freeze steals from GothCorp in order to build a weapon to enact vengeance on its CEO for his mutation and the presumed death of his wife, Nora.

“The Cat and the Claw: Part 1” (9/5/92) – New costumed cat burglar Catwoman goes up against The Red Claw to protect a mountain lion sanctuary.

“The Cat and the Claw: Part 2” (9/12/92) – Red Claw attacks a military train to steal a viral plague to hold Gotham ransom.

“See No Evil” (2/24/93) – Lloyd Ventrix steals an experimental invisibility suit to steal for his daughter and pose as her imaginary friend, not knowing the suit is slowly killing him.

“Beware the Gray Ghost” (11/4/92) – Batman goes to his childhood hero The Gray Ghost for help in investigating crimes related to his old show.

“Prophecy of Doom” (10/6/92) – Batman investigates a cult run by Nostromos, who appears to have precognitive powers.

“Feat of Clay: Part 1” (9/8/92) – Roland Daggett has Bruce framed for murder through actor Matt Hagen, who uses a face cream that allows him to take any appearance.
           
“Feat of Clay: Part 2” (9/9/92) – After Daggett’s men doused Hagen in the cream, he became the shape shifting mutant Clayface and sought revenge.

“Joker’s Favor” (9/11/92) – Joker places a man named Charlie in his debt, and two years later tasks him with holding open a door in order to sneak in a bomb to Gordon’s speech.

“Vendetta” (10/5/92) – Batman has to prove that Killer Croc had set Bullock up for kidnapping as revenge for Bullock busting him.

“Fear of Victory” (9/29/92) – Scarecrow rigs sporting events with adrenaline-triggered fear gas in order to ensure his bets will be on winners.

“The Clock King” (9/21/92) – Temple Fugate becomes the Clock King in order to get revenge on Mayor Hill, whom he blames for the downward turn his life took.

“Appointment in Crime Alley” (9/17/92) – Daggett seeks to acquire the land in Crime Alley to expand his businesses with the help of arsonists.

“Mad as a Hatter” (10/12/92) – When the love of his life gets engaged to her boyfriend, scientist Jervis Tetch becomes the Mad Hatter using his mind-control devices on those that wronged him.

“Dreams in Darkness” (11/3/92) – Scarecrow’s fear gas leaves Batman incarcerated in Arkham, unable to stop him from poisoning Gotham’s water supply.

“Eternal Youth” (9/23/92) – Poison Ivy lures rich industrialists to a health spa for revenge against their environmental crimes.

“Perchance to Dream” (10/19/92) – Batman discovers that he’s trapped in a dream that gives him everything he could ever want in life.

“The Cape and Cowl Conspiracy” (10/14/92) – Baron Jozek hires master trapper Josiah Wormwood to get his revenge on Batman and bring him his cape and cowl.

“Robin’s Reckoning: Part 1” (2/7/93) – Batman tries to keep Robin from discovering their latest adversary is Tony Zucco, the man who killed Robin’s parents.

“Robin’s Reckoning: Part 2” (2/14/93) – An enraged Robin sets out to find Zucco on his own and is prepared to kill him in revenge.

“The Laughing Fish” (1/10/93) – Joker’s toxin turns fish into Joker fish and he tries to secure the copyright on them, while also kidnapping Bullock.

“Night of the Ninja” (10/26/92) – Kyodai Ken, who once trained alongside Bruce, returns as a ninja to rob Wayne Enterprises and is Batman’s equal in combat.

“Cat Scratch Fever” (11/5/92) – Daggett’s plan to infect Gotham via a plague transmitted by stray plans ends up hitting Catwoman.

“The Strange Secret of Bruce Wayne” (10/29/92) – Investigating a judge’s blackmail leads Bruce to Hugo Strange, who is able to extract secrets from minds and put them onto video tape.

“Heart of Steel: Part 1” (11/16/92) – Batman investigates a crime involving robots, and after consulting robotics expert Karl Rossum is attacked by his own Batcave.

“Heart of Steel: Part 2” (11/17/92) – Batman learns Rossum’s A.I. HARDAC has been replacing people with android duplicates.

“If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Rich?” (11/18/92) – Jilted video game developer Edward Nygma becomes the Riddler and entraps his unscrupulous boss in a real-life version of his game.

“Joker’s Wild” (11/19/92) – Joker escapes from Arkham in order to destroy a casino that was built using his stolen image.

“Tyger, Tyger” (10/30/92) – Genetic engineer Dr. Emile Dorian kidnaps Selina Kyle in order to turn her into a suitable mate for his man-cat hybrid Tygrus.

“Moon of the Wolf” (11/11/92) – Professor Milo manages to turn ex-Olympic champion Anthony Romulus into a werewolf-like creature.

“Day of the Samurai” (2/23/93) – Kyodai Ken returns and kidnaps the star pupil of his former master for a scroll that teaches a Death Touch.

“Terror in the Sky” (11/12/92) – Batman investigates the return of Man-Bat, however this time it may not be Kirk.

“Almost Got ‘Im” (11/10/92) – Joker, Killer Croc, Penguin, Two-Face and Poison Ivy discuss the times they almost killed Batman over a game of poker.

“Birds of a Feather” (2/8/93) – Veronica Vreeland wants to make a splash with her next party, so she invites the recently reformed Penguin.

“What is Reality?” (11/24/92) – Riddle entraps Batman into a virtual reality computer game for the life of Gordon.

“I Am the Night” (11/9/92) – Mourning his parents causes Batman to be late to a police bust, resulting in Gordon getting hurt during the resulting shootout.

“Off Balance” (11/23/92) – Batman’s pursuit of Count Vertigo leads him to encounter Talia of the Society of Shadows, who ends up learning his identity.

“The Man who Killed Batman” (2/1/93) – When a small time thug believes he killed Batman, he ends up getting noticed by large gangs, Joker and Thorne.

“Mudslide” (9/15/93) – Clayface is forced to steal to pay for the procedure that will reconstitute his disintegrating body.

“Paging the Crime Doctor” (9/17/93) – When crime doctor Matthew Thorne has to operate on Rupert, he kidnaps Dr. Leslie Thompkins to assist him.

“Zatanna” (2/2/93) – Batman tries to prove Zatanna’s innocence in a robbery.

“The Mechanic” (1/24/93) – Penguin discovers Batman’s personal mechanic and sabotages the Batmobile.

“Harley and Ivy” (1/18/93) – Joker fires Harley and she joins up with Poison Ivy to become Gotham’s Queens of Crime.

“Shadow of the Bat: Part 1” (9/13/93) – Barbara Gordon begs Batman to appear at a rally for Gordon after he’s framed for bribery, and dons his costume herself when he refuses.

“Shadow of the Bat: Part 2” (9/14/93) – Robin encounters Barbara as Batgirl and the two work to capture Gil Mason.

“Blind as a Bat” (2/22/93) – Batman ends up temporarily blinded when trying to stop the Penguin and refuses to wait for his sight to return.

“The Demon’s Quest: Part 1” (5/3/93) – Robin is abducted, and Batman is forced to team-up with Ra’s al Ghul to find him after Talia is abducted the same way.

“The Demon’s Quest: Part 2” (5/4/93) – Batman and Robin discover Ra’s plans to use a satellite to destroy all the Lazarus Pits on Earth, and thus ending all life on the planet.

“His Silicon Soul” (11/20/92) – A robotic duplicate Batman turns up in Gotham, and after a fight with the real Batman seeks to continue HARDAC’s goals of robotic domination.

“Fire from Olympus” (5/24/93) – Maxie Zeus believes he’s THE Zeus and uses a stolen military weapon against Gotham City.

“Read My Lips” (5/10/93) – A new gang rises up in Gotham led by the wooden Scarface.

“The Worry Men” (9/16/93) – Veronica Vreeland returns from a trip with tiny dolls for her friends, which are actually hypnotic devices created by the Mad Hatter.

Season 2:
“Sideshow” (5/3/94) – Killer Croc escapes from prison and takes up residence with a group of retired circus freaks.

“A Bullet for Bullock” (9/14/95) – Bullock is forced to ask Batman for help when a hit is placed out on him.

“Trial” (5/16/94) – Gotham’s new DA Janet Van Dorn believes Batman responsible for the villains of Gotham, but ends up having to defend him when the villains put him on trial.

“Avatar” (5/9/94) – Batman and Talia have to recover an Egyptian scroll from Ra’s.

“House & Garden” (5/2/94) – Poison Ivy seems to have reformed and settled down, but wealthy bachelors turn up poisoned by an unknown toxin.

“The Terrible Trio” (9/11/95) – Three wealthy and bored socialites become the Fox, Shark and Vulture in order to rob Gotham blind.

“Harlequinade” (5/23/94) – Batman and Robin are forced to turn to Harley for help in stopping the Joker after he steals an atomic bomb.

“Time Out of Joint” (10/8/94) – The Clock King returns for his vengeance with a stolen device that allows him to warp time and move at super speeds.

“Catwalk” (9/13/95) – Catwoman teams up with Scarface to humiliate Veronica Vreeland, but Scarface sets Catwoman up for another crime.

“Bane” (9/10/94) – Thorne hires Bane to kill Batman, which he will before taking over Thorne’s empire for himself.

“Baby-Doll” (10/1/94) – Washed-up actress Mary Dahl kidnaps her former TV family out of jealousy over their more successful careers.

“The Lion and the Unicorn” (9/15/95) – Red Claw kidnaps Alfred for a secret he holds from his British spy days.

“Showdown” (9/12/95) – Ra’s recounts when Jonah Hex prevented him from destroying the transcontinental railroad in 1883.

“Riddler’s Reform” (9/24/94) – Riddler reforms and takes a job at a toy company, but Batman has his doubts.

“Second Chance” (9/17/94) – Two-Face is kidnapped before he has an operation that will fix his sanity.

“Harley’s Holiday” (10/15/94) – Harley is released, but a series of unfortunate events end up putting her right back in Arkham.

“Lock-Up” (11/19/94) – Former abusive Arkham guard Lyle Bolton becomes the vigilante Lock-Up and arrests anyone he decides has ruined the city.

“Make ‘Em Laugh” (11/5/94) – Joker uses Mad Hatter’s technology to get revenge on the judges who tossed Joker out of a comedy competition before he became the Joker.

“Deep Freeze” (11/26/94) – Billionaire Grant Walker kidnaps Mr. Freeze in order to freeze the world and remake it in his image.

“Batgirl Returns” (11/12/94) – Robin follows Batgirl as she teams-up with Catwoman to solve the theft of a jade cat statue.

Season 3:
“Holiday Knights” (9/13/97) – Ivy and Harley kidnap Bruce for his credit cards, Batgirl encounters Clayface while shopping, and Batman and Robin have to stop the Joker.

“Sins of the Father” (9/20/97) – Tim Drake becomes the new Robin after getting involved in Two-Face’s plot.

“Cold Comfort” (10/11/97) – Stuck in a robotic body and his wife remarried and moved away, Mr. Freeze lashes out at Gotham so they can share his misery.

“Double Talk” (11/22/97) – Scarface’s old gang wants their boss back, so they attempt to drive the reformed Ventriloquist back into the life.

“Never Fear” (11/1/97) – Scarecrow’s new gas eliminates all fear, making those exposed reckless and dangerous—including Batman.

“Joker’s Millions” (2/21/98) – Joker’s arch-rival wills him $250 million sending him on a shopping spree, but soon learns most of the money is fake as part of a practical joke.

“Growing Pains” (2/28/98) – Robin seeks to protect an amnesiac girl from her father, but soon learns they’re both part of Clayface.

“Love is a Croc” (7/11/98) – Baby Doll joins forces with Killer Croc, but their partnership hits the rocks when she learns he’s just using her.

“Torch Song” (6/13/98) – Pyrotechnic engineer Garfield Lynns becomes Firefly to get revenge on the pop star who spurned his affections.

“The Ultimate Thrill” (9/14/98) – Roxanne Sutton becomes rocket-riding thief Roxy Rocket for the next big thrill.

“Over the Edge” (5/23/98) – Batgirl is killed in the line of duty, and Gordon blames Batman for it and seeks revenge against him.

“Mean Seasons” (4/25/98) – An ex-model seeks revenge on her industry as Calendar Girl.

“Critters” (9/19/98) – A bankrupt genetic engineer’s giant mutant farm animals attack Gotham.

“Cult of the Cat” (9/18/98) – Batman has to rescue Catwoman from a cat cult that wants their statue back.

“Animal Act” (9/26/98) – Circus animals are committing crimes in the same town where Nightwing’s old circus is set up.

“Old Wounds” (10/3/98) – Nightwing explains to Robin how he split from both Batman and Batgirl.

“The Demon Within” (5/9/98) – Batman and Robin have to help Jason Blood regain control of his alter ego Etrigan from Klarion the Witch-boy.

“Legends of the Dark Knight” (10/10/98) – A group of Gotham kids tell stories about what they think Batman is really like.

“Girl’s Night Out” (10/17/98) – Livewire escapes in Gotham and joins forces with Ivy and Harley, leaving just Batgirl and Supergirl to stop them.

“Mad Love” (1/16/99) – Harley reminisces about when she fell for the Joker as she plots to eliminate her competition for his affections: Batman.

“Chemistry” (10/24/98) – Bruce, along with other wealthy bachelors, miraculously find their ideal mates and marry, and Bruce gives up being Batman.

“Beware the Creeper” (11/7/98) – A mixture of chemicals turn newsman Jack Ryder into The Creeper who wants revenge on the Joker and falls for Harley.

“Judgement Day” (10/31/98) – A vigilante dressed as a judge comes to Gotham and attacks Batman’s rogues’ viciously.

Movies:
“Mask of the Phantasm” (12/17/93) – An old love of Batman’s returns to Gotham at the same time a mysterious vigilante murders Gotham’s criminals.

“Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero” (3/17/98) – In order to save his wife with an organ transplant, Mr. Freeze kidnaps the best possible donor match: Barbara Gordon.

“Mystery of the Batwoman” (10/21/03) – Batman tries to figure out who the new Batwoman is while also stopping an illegal arms deal run by Penguin and Thorne.

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