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Charles Valderrama
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Posted: 05 September 2017 at 2:45pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

25 years ago on this day, an animated series featuring Batman premiered and presented the BEST adaptation of the Dark Knight anywhere outside of comic books. Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, and many talented writers and animators delivered an unforgettable animation style, great character designs, distinctive music, and a cinematic approach to storytelling that made the series an instant classic, and its unique noir-influenced art deco style provided a timeless appeal.


-C!
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Brandon Frye
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Posted: 07 September 2017 at 11:23pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 08 September 2017 at 5:05am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Really great show. Timeless in many respects. And it gave us a wide ranger of rogues.

As I stated in the TV thread, I've been watching some episodes on DVD.
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Rob Ocelot
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Posted: 08 September 2017 at 5:49am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

A nearly perfect series, with some brilliant casting (there's a reason why Andrea Romano was *the* choice for casting DC animated properties for a couple decades).

Beyond Conroy and Hamill we have:

*Paul Williams as the Penguin
*Richard Moll as Two-Face
*Ron Perlman as Clayface
*Roddy McDowall as The Mad Hatter

Then you have Arleen Sorkin's Harley Quinn which is in a whole other class of casting genius.

Over the past couple of years I've been working on a list of DCAU characters who were modeled on real people (usually, but not always after their voice actors).  Maybe I'll get around to posting it in a few days.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 08 September 2017 at 6:02am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

An example of Hollywood showing the comics how to do it right -- which usually means Hollywood missing the point, but in this case meant a distillation of most of the elements that had worked so well in the characters, and in the comics had largely been forgotten.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 08 September 2017 at 8:10am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

B:TAS was smartly animated, got the tone right and had something worthwhile for both kids and adults.  In the wake of most of the generally off model and wrong-headed material which has followed from the movie division, this noirish WB effort was surprisingly nifty and consistent. 
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Charles Valderrama
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Posted: 08 September 2017 at 11:39am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Batman:TAS remains the gold standard on how to improve and update characters, especially villains. I never cared about villains like Mr. Freeze or Clayface until they appeared on this series with their revised origins.

-C!

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Adam Schulman
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Posted: 08 September 2017 at 12:33pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

For me, the greatest accomplishment of this series is that I can't read a comic with Batman in it without hearing Kevin Conroy's voice. He is The Voice of Batman, period. All other people, in movies or cartoons, don't have his voice and are therefore Doing It Wrong.

Same deal with Mark Hamill and the Joker, but to a slightly lesser extent. Jack Nicholson sounded (and acted) like the Joker even if he was too short, portly and old to really look like him. (No offense meant to the senior citizens in this forum.) But Hamill was and is superior. 

And the music was perfect. 
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Andrew W. Farago
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Posted: 08 September 2017 at 1:07pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

I'm not sure if I saw this show on day one, since it kicked off with a Saturday primetime airing of part one of "The Cat and the Claw," but I absolutely watched "Heart of Ice" on Labor Day 1992. After that episode, I was hooked and made sure to get home by 4:30 every afternoon.
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Rob Ocelot
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Posted: 08 September 2017 at 5:45pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

The initial airings of the show were a bit weird, some episodes like "The Cat and the Claw" aired in prime time while others were stripped daily... and other later episodes aired only on Saturday mornings. 

The end result is there are three official episode orders for the show.  

*by airdate -- which screws up the prime time episodes, because the second part of two parters would have a bunch of the daily stripped episodes in between.  Unfortunately many online databases use this order, which makes no end of trouble if you are using a streaming box or server.

*production order -- which also doesn't always work for the two parters, because sometimes the first and second parts were animated by different animation outfits (which were in both Korea and Japan) and thus have two different production numbers.  Some episodes, like "Christmas with the Joker" were produced first but held back because of continuity (Robin is introduced later, but he's in CwtJ).

*DVD order -- which kind of hybrids the two orders... it's mostly production order (except for CwtJ) but keeps the two parters together.  Even then, it's still not quite optimal.

Unfortunately, the only Hi-def treatment we are going to see for this series is the recent Blu-ray of MASK OF THE PHANTASM.   Bruce Timm has been adamant that WB isn't interested in a hi-def upconversion of the DVDs and the original animation and film elements are scattered to the four winds.  The existing DVD's are pretty terrible and upconversion would be a massive undertaking, and likely (as Timm has pointed out) would destroy some of the mood if the visuals were cleaned up too much.   

I've done my own upconversions of the episodes with TMPGenc and got good results, with some problems with bright scenes and thin lines (which aren't very plentiful in BTAS).   A Blu-ray version is more than possible with some care and a few more $$$ and would sell quite well IMO.  Remember though, this is the same WB who wouldn't know a gift horse if it ran over them (see their treatment of Babylon 5).
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 08 September 2017 at 6:00pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Oh, just thought I'd add this: us Brits saw the show before anyone in the US. Ha, ha, ha. Gotta go! ;-)
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Wallace Sellars
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Posted: 09 September 2017 at 6:24am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

I'm not sure any other cartoon has so perfectly portrayed comic book
superheroes.Like Adam, I consider the BTAS voices of Batman and Joker to be
there "true" voices.

[Edited to change "bother" to "be there"]

Edited by Wallace Sellars on 10 September 2017 at 6:51am
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John Byrne
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Posted: 09 September 2017 at 6:50am | IP Logged | 13 post reply

The voice casting on BTAS really broke the mold. Before this show, mostly, villains cackled and heros were sonorous. Here, the voices really fit the characters.
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Vinny Valenti
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Posted: 09 September 2017 at 10:40am | IP Logged | 14 post reply

Mucho kudos to Kevin Conroy for giving us distinct voices for Batman and Bruce Wayne that were still believable as coming from the same guy. 
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 09 September 2017 at 11:12am | IP Logged | 15 post reply

The voice casting on BTAS really broke the mold. Before this show, mostly, villains cackled and heros were sonorous. Here, the voices really fit the characters.

***

Prior to this cartoon, the only distinctive voices for me were those who did the voices of Peter Parker and Jonah Jameson in the 1967 SPIDER-MAN cartoon. Oh, and I did like Michael Bell's various performances voicing Bruce Banner, Dr. Octopus and others in THE INCREDIBLE HULK.

But the rest, not so much. I saw an animated BATMAN (70s, perhaps?) where the voices matched what you just said. And when the Joker and Penguin appeared in a SCOOBY-DOO episode, they just sounded generic.

So in many ways, BATMAN: TAS was a step up.
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Brian Rhodes
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Posted: 09 September 2017 at 12:06pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply

Kevin Conroy's Batman was/is simply the best. Same with Hamill's Joker.

Along with phenomenal casting, the show also had a perfect tone and a distinct look.

And it led to the production of the Superman and Justice League animated series. Extra annoying that DC/Warner have an exceptional template for a "shared universe" and virtually no legal hurdles with the use of characters, and yet, still can't pull their shit together.
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Rob Ocelot
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Posted: 09 September 2017 at 12:59pm | IP Logged | 17 post reply

It's puzzling why they don't continue telling stories in the DCAU mold.

The recent terrible BATMAN AND HARLEY QUINN film though kind of shows that you can try and put all the same ingredients together in the same bowl and without the right combination of creative vision and creative restraint you will not get a cake that tastes the same as the one you did 25 years previous.  Case in point: fart jokes, 60's Batman-esque fight captions, musical numbers, and overt (as opposed to implied) sexuality spoil the BTAS mood.  It might look like BTAS (or actually it's sequel, NEW BATMAN ADVENTURES) but it sure as heck didn't feel like it.

Perhaps it's better they did quit while they were ahead and on the top of their game.with JLU.

edit: that said, I think they could have done a John Stewart/Guy Gardner Green Lantern series or even a Flash show post-JLU.


Edited by Rob Ocelot on 09 September 2017 at 2:00pm
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 09 September 2017 at 3:09pm | IP Logged | 18 post reply

And it led to the production of the Superman and Justice League animated series. 

***

I could be wrong, but SUPERMAN: TAS didn't seem to soar quite so high. It doesn't appear to have left a lasting impression in the same way that BATMAN: TAS did.
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Brian Rhodes
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Posted: 09 September 2017 at 3:48pm | IP Logged | 19 post reply

BTAS was the pioneer and definitely the high mark of the DCAU, for reasons listed above (voice work, design, blending source and other elements well). It just fired on all cylinders.

Also, though, it was FINALLY Batman done right in a medium outside of comics. I still love the Adam West series. I have a soft spot for the Burton/Keaton pair of films. I liked Superfriends enough. But, while each previous non-comic book Batman version seemed to have elements to embrace, each also had their downsides, their little nags. Some, not so little (I'm looking at you, Batmite).

Here, we had a Batman with the right costume! Evil, white eye slits in the cowl. Gray suit with the black gloves, boots, trunks, cape and cowl with blue highlights; the yellow oval and streamlined utility belt (both would later disappear, along with the blue highlights). He could fight, he was really smart, and you could really believe those Gotham criminals would be afraid of him. No rubber suit. No Biff Bam Pow. No Batmite.

And that voice. Wow.

With Superman, I think we all got spoiled by Chris Reeve's portrayal. We had seen a Superman with the right look, the right costume, the right demeanor. And George Reeves was no slouch, either.

So, by the time STAS came along, we had already seen some really good takes on the character. With Batman, we were hungry for it.

The Superman show was solid, though. Again, good casting and a great tone. And it incorporated a lot of elements from JB's Man of Steel reboot, which didn't hurt my feelings any.

STAS was good. BTAS was kinda revolutionary.


Edited by Brian Rhodes on 09 September 2017 at 9:31pm
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 09 September 2017 at 3:57pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

Good point, Brian. Hadn't thought of it that way.

I did like, although I rarely saw it on the newsstands, that BATMAN: TAS got its own comic book!
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Brian Miller
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Posted: 09 September 2017 at 5:58pm | IP Logged | 21 post reply

And it was an AWESOME book. JB did a story that appeared in an annual, I believe. 
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Adam Schulman
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Posted: 10 September 2017 at 12:01am | IP Logged | 22 post reply

Clancy Brown was perfect as the voice of Lex Luthor, we all must admit.

It's been a long time since I've watched either S:TAS or the Justice League "Timmverse" series but I can't remember any notable difference between Tim Daly or George Newbern as Superman. I just remember the JL cartoons better, in particular Superman's rage at Darkseid for having manipulated him.
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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 10 September 2017 at 5:28am | IP Logged | 23 post reply

I was rather disappointed though when they changed the animation style - I think the catalyst was the World's Finest three-parter/feature/movie/whatever you want to call it, when Superman met Batman "for the first time."

A couple of the changes I noticed after that was that the animation style seemed a little bit simpler... they changed Batman's appearance a little, and the Joker's appearance a LOT. Also, Kevin Conroy stopped differentiating between Bruce Wayne's voice and Batman's voice - a crime, in my opinion.

But as noted, this is, to me, still the gold standard that opened up a whole new universe of animation style... one so good that its style, and a character or two, carried over into the comics. 
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John Byrne
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Posted: 10 September 2017 at 5:49am | IP Logged | 24 post reply

Along with phenomenal casting, the show also had a perfect tone and a distinct look.

I was reminded of how Neal Adams, in the Sixties, had revolutionized Batman thru the simple expedient of drawing all the scenes as if they were happening at night, unless the script specifically required otherwise.

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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 10 September 2017 at 6:47am | IP Logged | 25 post reply

I'm not sure if I saw this show on day one, since it kicked off with a Saturday primetime airing of part one of "The Cat and the Claw," but I absolutely watched "Heart of Ice" on Labor Day 1992. After that episode, I was hooked and made sure to get home by 4:30 every afternoon. 

-----

"The Cat and the Claw Part I" aired in the Saturday morning slot, I believe. "On Leather Wings" aired on Sunday primetime the following day. I recall the latter being the first episode I watched and taped on VHS, but I also remember watching the second part of "The Cat and the Claw" on its original airdate and having seen the first part. So either they reaired part one, or I did see the first Saturday morning showing. BTAS was the first show I taped religiously, but I tossed out all my tapes when I got the DVDs, so I can't go back and check.
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