Comics On TV: ‘Batman: The Animated Series’

by Ryan Rigley

Bad news struck for Batman fans last week when Christian Bale officially announced that he will not be appearing as the Dark Knight in the highly anticipated “Justice League” movie, set for a tentative 2015 release date.

However, since 2015 is still quite a ways away, we here at Splash Page thought it best to take a look back on a version of Batman that we all know and love: “Batman: The Animated Series.” Starring the vocal talents of Kevin Conroy as the Dark Knight, there’s not a single person that can deny the fact that “Batman: The Animated Series” is a true work of Batman art.

Series Statistics
Network: Fox
Broadcast Date: 1992 – 1995
Seasons: 4
Episodes: 85

Premiering on Fox Kids in 1992, “Batman: The Animated Series” was produced by Warner Bros. Animation and based on the artwork of Bruce Timm. This series was the first major step towards a complete DC animated universe, the likes of which can be seen in more recent shows like “Justice League” and “Justice League: Unlimited.”

Featuring a number of Batman’s greatest allies and enemies, “Batman: The Animated Series” has always been highly regarded as one of the best animated series of all time. In fact, the show has won multiple Emmy awards and has been nominated for even more. Ask any random person on the street and they’ll probably tell you that “Batman: The Animated Series” is the best non-comic book representation of the Dark Knight. I mean, how could it not be? Especially with this awesome theme song composed by Danny Elfman, the same man who scored the first live action “Batman” movie!

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Notable Episodes

Almost Got ’Im
Favoring Batman’s infamous rogues gallery as opposed to the Dark Knight himself, this episode revolves around a villainous poker game during which each of Batman’s enemies take turns sharing stories of how they almost defeated the Caped Crusader.

This Emmy-nominated two part episode revolves around Gotham’s district attorney Harvey Dent and Batman’s inability to save him from a fate worse than death – Harvey’s transformation into the dual-minded criminal known only as Two-Face.

Heart of Ice
Forever changing the way we think of Mr. Freeze, this episode gave the generic cold-themed mad scientist a truly tragic backstory, earning the series one of many Emmy awards. Making Freeze a criminal with good intentions is very reflective of just how sophisticated this series was.

Mad Love
Marking the first-ever appearance of Dr. Harleen Quinzel, a.k.a. Harley Quinn, “Mad Love” focuses on Harleen’s descent into madness at the behest of the Joker. What begins as an innocent psych evaluation, would eventually crash and burn. Soon, Harleen finds herself falling madly in love with the Clown Prince of Crime.

The Demon’s Quest
One of the most faithful comic book adaptations of the entire series, this two part episode sees Batman reluctantly teaming up with the demon known as Ra’s Al Ghul in an attempt to locate Robin and Talia respectively. Eventually, we discover that Ra’s has had ulterior motives the entire time and the whole thing culminates in an epic battle Batman and the Demon, sword fighting while the world explodes around them.

Still don’t believe that “Batman: The Animated Series” was the best Dark Knight adaptation ever? Well then, here’s a clip of Batman beating the ever-loving crap out of Bane, something that not even Christian Bale’s Batman could do.

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This is Comics On TV, the column that celebrates the classic comic book TV series that blazed the trail for modern day hits like “Arrow,” “The Walking Dead” and “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” If you have any favorite episodes of this week’s series, let us know in the comments below or hit us up on Twitter!