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The Batman (No, Not That One) Lands on Blu-ray

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The Batman Complete Series

It's hard to believe it was nearly 20 years ago that The Batman debuted on television (and don't even get me started on how many yesterdays it was since Batman: The Animated Series began!), but fans of the show can now binge the entire series with this 6-disc Blu-ray collection from Warner Brothers.

The Batman starred Rino Romano as a young Bruce Wayne, who was still early enough in his Batman career that he had yet to encounter his iconic villains, such as The Joker (Kevin Michael Richardson), Penguin (Tom Kenny), or Catwoman (Gina Gershon). In fact, it wasn't until late in the second season that the audience is introduced to Commissioner James Gordon (Mitch Pileggi). Until that time, Batman's encounters with the Gotham PD were confrontations with Detectives Ellen Yin (Ming-Na Wen) and Ethan Bennett (Steve Harris). This wasn't necessarily a bad thing, as the new characters were blank slates upon which we could witness character growth. Yin and Bennett are under orders from Chief Rojas (Jesse Corti) to bring in The Batman as part of the departments zero tolerance policy against "freaks." Bennett, however, is sympathetic to Batman's mission, while Yin is determined to do her job, slowly coming around the more she sees Batman in action -- particularly after she loses her partner, who is tragically transformed into the villain, Clayface.

Yes, you're correct: Clayface in the comics was never Ethan Bennett. And Joker never had Rastafarian locks, and Riddler was never a lanky goth. There were definitely reinterpretations aplenty with the launch of the series. Bruce himself was a more relaxed individual whose favorite meal largely consisted of nachos, a specialty of his faithful butler, Alfred (Alastair Duncan). It seemed very out of character in a lot of places -- which perhaps drove the change of direction with the third season. The introduction of James Gordon came with his daughter, Barbara Gordon (Danielle Judovits), who quickly adopts the identity of Batgirl and appears regularly. The theme song also changes, adopting many of the riffs of Neal Hefti's 1966 iconic theme song (which reminds me, Adam West had regular work here with the recurring role of Mayor Grange). Robin (Evan Sabara) gets introduced soon after, followed by the rest of the Justice League, which saw the stories of the Gotham PD detectives all but disappear from the series.

This series is collected on 6 Blu-ray discs, and comes with a digital code. The discs include a handful of special features exploring how this version of the Dark Knight differed from past interpretations, while providing insights into the villains and supporting cast of the show. With hype over The Batman movie currently in theaters, Warner Brothers picked the perfect time to release this series onto Blu-ray.

Grade: 
4.5 / 5.0