Friday, April 28, 2006

Et Tu, Harley?

"The Batman," aka "The Show That Is Not 'Batman the Animated Series,'" aka "Batmanime," will be adding Harley Quinn to its roster of re-designed villains. The good news is that the episode is written by Harley's co-creator, Paul Dini; the bad news is that he doesn't know if Arleen Sorkin will be doing her voice.

The thing about "The Batman" or, really, any animated Batman show is that because the '90s series was so good, and because it became so much a part of the way my generation thought about Batman, it's almost made the character less adaptable for television. There was no problem doing a Batman series with a different style and approach than the old Filmation version, but after "Batman: the Animated Series" it just seems like Kevin Conroy is the voice of Batman/Bruce Wayne as much as Daws Butler is the voice of Huckleberry Hound. It's not surprising that Warner Brothers would want to make a new Batman series in the style that kids expect now (fake anime; lots of jumping and kicking); but it somehow seems almost sacrilegious. Some comic-book characters can be adapted and re-adapted for television every so often; Batman may be a prisoner of WB's mid-'90s success.

On the other hand, "The Batman" seems to be a relatively successful series, and it won an Emmy, so what do I know?


Anonymous said...

I saw The Batman once and it was crap. Nowhere near as good as the classic Timm series.

Do you prefer the old designs or the newer streamlined ones? I gotta go with the old.

Kenny said...

The Batman has some interesting designs, which range from stylish to ill-conceived. Some redesigns are cool to look at, but you hate to think they might define the character in the eyes of a generation. Barbara/Batgirl as anime girl is kind of cool.

But the one episode I saw ("Brawn," in which the Joker uses Venom to be big and strong and steal large objects like big gold city monuments (?!), causing an insecure Batgirl to try to pump up, and later use the robot Batsuit to match him, before she realizes that brains can defeat brawn by remembering to disconnect the venom supply just like they always to with Bane) was just so lame. Constant fighting with no ups and downs, no drama, no story, and a painfully obvious and insincere "lesson."

Loren said...

"The Batman" may have won two Daytime Emmys last week, but given its competition, that's not saying much.

In "Outstanding Special Class Animated Program," the other nominees were Coconut Fred's Fruit Salad Island, The Save-Ums, and Tutenstein.

In "Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing," (which doesn't speak at all to the quality of the show's writing or look), the competition was Coconut Fred, Johnny Test, Loonatics Unleashed, and Xiaolin Showdown.

In other words, today's daytime animation lineup doesn't really have much to offer.

Anonymous said...

It's kinda funny how it got labled as Batmanime, because it looks less anime-like than Timm's DCU (from say Gotham Knights onward). It's hard to watch the show; the designs look incredibly "overdrawn". When I look at anime, I generally see fewest number of lines to make an impression (though Yu-Gi-Oh has managed to confuse the point, looking in places overdrawn as well).

I guess I'm saying that I think BT's designs are more streamlined than Matsuda's, disagreeing with Jorge Garrido above.

As for content of the writing, I can only remember getting into a few episodes from last season. Coincidently enough, they were all written by Greg Weisman of Gargoyles (right before he became story runner for W.I.T.C.H.). Gargs was always a show I enjoyed.