Comic Bratwurst: Is the Batman Animated Series... overrated?

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Posted by Shallbecomeabat (33 posts) - - Show Bio

I know, I know, its a hugely unpopular opinion. BUT hear me out. I am not saying it wasn't good AT THE TIME, but apart from a few standout episodes (over the edge, vendetta, heart of ice, etc.) and the Mask Of The Phantasm movie (which is still great) the series hasn't aged well at all.

A whole lot of it, is downright goofy and stupid. Just look at episodes like feat of clay, where Batman gets knocked down by a normal guy who lies on his back, or the really cheesy "I am the night, I am vengeance, I am Batman!" speech.

Look it up and try not to laugh or cringe at the ridiculousness of it all, I dare you.

To be honest... and to add insult to injury... I heavily dislike Kevin Conroy as Bruce Wayne/Batman. He just sounds too pompous and too... how do I put this... royal? You know, like some guy, riding on a horse, with a lance and a shield, talking to some townsfolk. He is the worst part in the Arkham games for me and a recurring reason to switch the games audio to German, even when I absolutely HATE German dubbing on everything.

Lets rewind for a second.

I am Marius from Germany and I read comicbooks since I was eight years old (20 years ago now... Gosh I am getting sooooooo old).

My father died of cancer a few weeks after my birth. When I was eight, I discovered a huge box in our attic, with his name on it. In it, there were a lot of american comic books, all in english, with all kinds of superheroes. I think I maybe started to read because it was something that brought me closer to this man I never got a chance to know, but maybe it was only for all the colorful characters and the action.

Anyway, since I am German, I kinda learned the english language by reading comicbooks, even before I was being taught english in school. I basically never had to do that much to get a good english grade, which was a very nice side effect comics had for me. I always enjoyed Batman the most. I love everything Batman. All animated shows, the Nolan movies (did not like the Burton ones because of his killing streak there and I won't talk about the Schumacher ones), videogames, Kotobukiya statues, prop replicas etc. So, yes, my living room looks kinda like the batcave;-)

And thats a very important factor of all this...

I grew up with that show.

That show made me even more of a Batman fan and made me search out a comicstore, after I finished the comics I inherited after my fathers death. On a deep, primal level, I love this show. What irks me is that it is held up by some fans today as the best interpretation of batman and I strongly disagree.

In Germany you don't get the BTAS on DVD. It never got released here. So imagine my face when I saw the first two seasons at HMV in London a few years back. I was like you guys... in my mind BTAS was the holy grail... I remembered the darkness, the seriousness of it all... then I got home and watched it again. Oh boy.

I think the time has come to look at TAS at face value and be honest to yourself. It was a nice little show, we owe one of the best Batman movies ever to (Mask of The Phantasm) and the start of the great DCAU, which peaked quality wise with JLU, which is indeed as good as you remember it.

It took us kids seriously as an audience and I am forever grateful for that, because for the first time in my life I didn't felt belittled by a TV series for kids and it made a lot of us fans, but it wasn't what we made it out to be. It is a show, a lot smaller than the legend it created, no matter how much we loved it at the time.

Better yet, don't look at the show again and keep it in your heart, filled with warm memories and don't ruin it for yourself like I did. I still blame HMV.

#1 Posted by Shallbecomeabat (33 posts) - - Show Bio

What do you guys think? Do you still enjoy the show, or do you see it the same way?

#2 Posted by Selinaky (692 posts) - - Show Bio

I never actually watched the show as a child. I started getting into Batman in my early teens, and when I was 18 (around 2 years ago) I bought BTAS on DVD after I heard great things about.

I really enjoyed them, and for me there was no nostalgia factor in that. I just liked them because I found the stories interesting and how they depicted Batman and Bruce Wayne (not gonna lie, love Kevin Conroy). It may not be as sophisticated as shows of today, but it has a great charm... I kinda like the cheesiness. That's also one of the reasons I love Batman: The Brave and the Bold, haha.

#3 Posted by Imagine_Man15 (1810 posts) - - Show Bio

I do still enjoy the show. I agree some elements just seem silly now, but it was still, for the most part, very well made and well written and I like to go back and visit some of my favorite episodes from time to time on VHS. I am among one of the few people who doesn't like Kevin Conroy as Batman. His voice just never felt... right for the character, to me.

And, regardless of how corny it was, I love the "I am Vengeance, I am the Night, I am Batman" speech.

#4 Posted by mk111 (3148 posts) - - Show Bio

I like the show. But here is the thing: Even if the show isn't that great, it would still be the best Batman series. The Adam West show was silly, The Batman was mediocore, and Brave and the Bold was fun, but that was about it. Batman Beyond was awesome, but its a sequel to Batman: TAS.

#5 Posted by Joygirl (20795 posts) - - Show Bio

Did you just diss the "I am vengeance, I am the night, I am Batman" speech? Even more importantly, did you just diss Kevin Conroy? Everyone hold still, I'll go get the rail.

#6 Edited by Dark_Vengeance_ (15323 posts) - - Show Bio

@Joygirl: Remember to bring a crowbar, this joker deserves poetic justice.

#7 Posted by batshrine (1080 posts) - - Show Bio

Wasn't there a thread just like this recently...

#8 Posted by Smart_Dork_Dude (2956 posts) - - Show Bio

My personal opinion? Not really. I mean, saying it's the best animated series ever like some people do is taking things a bit too far as there are other great animated series out there. Deadman Wonderland comes to mind, along with Avatar the Last Airbender and Legend of Korra. Those are great shows and animation wise DO top Batman TAS. However Batman TAS is truly the best SUPERHERO animated series. It just gets its character.

#9 Posted by batshrine (1080 posts) - - Show Bio

@Smart_Dork_Dude: I wouldn't say the best, but definitely in the Trinity up there with JLU, and Young Justice (i'm a huge fan).

#10 Posted by ULTRAstarkiller (7280 posts) - - Show Bio

It was awesome and even though my childhood was with The Batman and brave and the bold i still love this show and regard it as the best batman show

#11 Edited by havoc1201 (562 posts) - - Show Bio

i still love it and i watch it with my daughter now and she loves it and i agree with the crow bar statement ... to go against TAS is to go against the comic gods

#12 Posted by JLDoom (2358 posts) - - Show Bio

I dont think its overrated

#13 Posted by MrShway88 (720 posts) - - Show Bio

I love this cartoon and my opinions for it has only grown. And Kevin Conroy is Batgod.

#14 Posted by BatWatch (3947 posts) - - Show Bio

I agree that it wasn't a perfect show, and I'll even go as far as to say it may be overrated, but it is still pretty darn good. I've been rewatching a lot of the episodes, and I still love it. Gratned, it does have some moments which are less than amazing like the one you mentioned.

#15 Posted by Avenging-X-Bolt (14182 posts) - - Show Bio

@Selinaky said:

I never actually watched the show as a child. I started getting into Batman in my early teens, and when I was 18 (around 2 years ago) I bought BTAS on DVD after I heard great things about.

I really enjoyed them, and for me there was no nostalgia factor in that. I just liked them because I found the stories interesting and how they depicted Batman and Bruce Wayne (not gonna lie, love Kevin Conroy). It may not be as sophisticated as shows of today, but it has a great charm... I kinda like the cheesiness. That's also one of the reasons I love Batman: The Brave and the Bold, haha.

same.

#16 Posted by Vance Astro (89265 posts) - - Show Bio

YOU DON'T LIKE KEVIN CONROY AS BATMAN!? DAFUQ IS WRONG WITCHU!?

Moderator
#17 Posted by iaconpoint (1382 posts) - - Show Bio

Overrated and you don't like Kevin Conroy??? How dare you! Why you've just called down the thunder mister!

#18 Posted by thephantomstranger (132 posts) - - Show Bio
#19 Posted by x_29 (2375 posts) - - Show Bio

This was the best superhero cartoon of the 90's and it still holds up pretty well today.

@Vance Astro said:

YOU DON'T LIKE KEVIN CONROY AS BATMAN!? DAFUQ IS WRONG WITCHU!?

I know right.

#20 Posted by deaditegonzo (3728 posts) - - Show Bio

As whole, Batman, and comics in general, are full of campiness and cheesiness. The Nolan Movies, maybe the most straightfaced and realistic portrayal of a Comic Book character ever, still had ridiculousness if you looked for it. The Bat voice anyone? And if you get right down to it, Batman is a guy in Bat Pajamas that knows kung fu. I think it is all a matter of perspective, and if you try to take it too seriously, you will be disappointed. I have to say, his speech up there is all kinds more dignified than Bale Batman saying "Oh so thats how that feels." or "Its not a car."

And yes, without TAS Batman, we'd never have Batman Beyond which is just about the best Bat thing ever.

#21 Posted by gotwillpower (718 posts) - - Show Bio

Consider Alexander Pope's, "An Essay on Criticism." He explains that to criticize something out of context is to offer worthless conjecture. Just because something like TAS doesn't age well doesn't mean it isn't great.

On that note, I think TAS is more enjoyable than most modern animated television shows.

#22 Edited by Nathaniel_Christopher (1715 posts) - - Show Bio

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBl8h-SCrgA

Excerpt from BTAS Episode 7, Forgotten

1:15-1:41

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzKSkAS24TM

Excerpt from BTAS Episode 14, Heart of Ice

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEgTcullKJI

Excerpt from BTAS Episode 20, Feat of Clay

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dslipXaezGk

Excerpt from Episode 10, Two-Face

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gyYG0fDL3HQ

Excerpt from BTAS Episode 18, Beware of Gray Ghost

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqHx9Ef7R_M

Excerpt from BTAS Episode 20, Appointment in Crime Alley

Just a few specific episodes and moments from the series that I think show why exactly the show isn't underrated. First, I started watching the series again the other day and was not only surprised to find out how much I remembered about it, but that the moments that resonated with me as a child still resonate today. For that reason alone i'd say the show has held up extremely well over time and is therefore a classic. Does the animation look a little worse when compared to that of today? Of course, but that's to be expected and is inevitable, yet there are many shows that it can be compared to from today with worse animation. When I watch it, the animation doesn't take away from the show, and still looks fairly good.

In terms of it being goofy at some points, i'll agree, but that's part of its charm. Batman could be goofy, and he could be dark, he could be romantic, he could be sympathetic, etc. Various traits of the character that have been more prevalent at certain times are all brought together into this portrayal, and I feel it's better for it. And this extends to other characters as well, without taking away from any of them. A good example besides Batman is the Joker:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FK332cDUh8U

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=49KjkcPRKNU

Wacky, nonsensical, campy, menacing; different portrayals of the character rolled into one that stayed true to him, and again I believe he was better for it.

The series didn't take one view of a character and run with it, they changed throughout the series. Sometimes it was goofy, and sometimes it was serious, but at both times the writers got their message across and didn't stray from the tone. There was always the sense that a villain was a villain. That's what's right is right, and what's wrong is wrong, but that the line between a good and a bad person isn't as large as some would like to believe. The messages delivered were powerful and well done, backed up by the events of the episode. The music was and is iconic, and i've always felt they managed to line up the soundtrack with whatever was being shown on screen. The writing was concise and excellent, with some stories taking on a legendary status. (Heart of Ice anyone?)

Something this series did that very few portrayals of Batman do was make Batman and Bruce Wayne equal aspects of the character, and I personally prefer that to him hiding away in the cowl all the time. He used both parts of himself to honor his past and sought to do good at all times, instead of abandoning one for the other, or only having Bruce Wayne be an identity for him to mask his activities as Batman. Everyone has their own tastes, but I think Kevin Conroy nailed it as Batman. And all of this was happening while there was still a solid supporting cast of classic characters that Batman really couldn't be Batman without (By that I mean they have their own important place in the mythos)

As i've noted everyone has their own personal opinion, and mine is that the show's easily one of the best DC animated series ever created, if not the best, and that it's more than withstood the test of time. What's most amazing, is that when watching the Grey Ghost episode the other day, I found that i'd now taken the spot of Bruce Wayne in that episode. I can vividly remember sitting down in front of my tv and watching it when I was a kid and being engrossed in the show, and I can still do the same thing now years later and enjoy it just as much.

#23 Posted by FatihBATMAN (1395 posts) - - Show Bio

@Shallbecomeabat I disagree with you, ive bought the complete animated series, and the only thing thats not in my taste is the animation, and thats it. It was great for its time, the whole atmosphere, everything :)

#24 Posted by Shallbecomeabat (33 posts) - - Show Bio

Hey guys! Thanks for the replies! Really love the feedback and the high level of the general discussion. I love the crowbar threats^^ I think you could read from my initial blog that I don't think the show is bad or anything and, yes, I also think its the best solo Batman TV show thus far, but it hugely dissappointed me when I rewatched it a couple of years ago. Maybe its my own fault of overhyping it in my head all those years, since I really did not saw a single second of it after it went of the air in the 90s. And to all the Conroy lovers who are appalled by my disliking of him... take my view with a grain of salt, since I am one of the few who truly thinks Bales Batvoice is as good as it gets :-) Again, thanks for the replies. Especially @ Nathaniel_Christopher for the long and well thought out post. I am always pleasantly surprised if I can find a nice and interesting discussion in the internet. Its a rare thing, sadly.

#25 Posted by havoc1201 (562 posts) - - Show Bio

@Shallbecomeabat said:

Hey guys! Thanks for the replies! Really love the feedback and the high level of the general discussion. I love the crowbar threats^^ I think you could read from my initial blog that I don't think the show is bad or anything and, yes, I also think its the best solo Batman TV show thus far, but it hugely dissappointed me when I rewatched it a couple of years ago. Maybe its my own fault of overhyping it in my head all those years, since I really did not saw a single second of it after it went of the air in the 90s. And to all the Conroy lovers who are appalled by my disliking of him... take my view with a grain of salt, since I am one of the few who truly thinks Bales Batvoice is as good as it gets :-) Again, thanks for the replies. Especially @ Nathaniel_Christopher for the long and well thought out post. I am always pleasantly surprised if I can find a nice and interesting discussion in the internet. Its a rare thing, sadly.

I also loved Bales voice in a lot of comics he talks about the growl in his voice most recently in Batman and Son so i think that take was the closest to the comics but not many people liked it i guess.

#26 Posted by WaveMotionCannon (6121 posts) - - Show Bio
@Vance Astro THIS!!
#27 Posted by The Stegman (28095 posts) - - Show Bio
@Vance Astro said:

YOU DON'T LIKE KEVIN CONROY AS BATMAN!? DAFUQ IS WRONG WITCHU!?

#28 Posted by Shallbecomeabat (33 posts) - - Show Bio

@gotwillpower I did talk about the context. I said that it wasn't bad at its time, I even said I loved it at its time, but that, in my opinion, it hasn't aged well and that its, for me at least, not watchable anymore (again, apart from a few standout episodes and the movie). Where is that worthless conjecture? Its my own opinion. I just wanted to ask the community about their feelings to that, since I cannot understand the hype the show is still getting today. In my eyes, Last Airbender, Young Justice, Batman Beyond (which doesn't really count as a Batman show in my book, since it doesn't feature Bruce as Batman) and the DCAU Justice League where all better shows, but don't get nearly the amount of love BTAS gets. Again. If you still love it that much, I am happy for you. I don't say its bad or a bad interpretation of the character. I just say that I don't enjoy it anymore.

#29 Edited by Whodid (82 posts) - - Show Bio

I didn't get much chance to watch it when I was younger due to not having the right TV channels and all that, so I started getting them on dvd a few years ago about the time the dark knight came out, and I loved them then and now; so there wasn't a lot of nostalgia apart from mask of the phantasm loved that when I was a kid love that now. So while I disagree with your points on the show and Kevin Conroy you are entitled to your opinions and they were very well described so I can respect your views, and I am interested to what your opinions on Mark Hamill as the Joker are.

#30 Posted by Shallbecomeabat (33 posts) - - Show Bio

@Whodid Thanks for the reply. To answer your question... I ABSOLUTELY LOOOOVE MARK HAMILL'S JOKER! He is the biggest reason for me to play the Arkham games in english since his awesomeness overshadows the problems I have with Conroy. To me, he sounds like the perfect Joker but I like his darker voice in the games a bit more than his turn in BTAS. He also is one of the big reasons I still love Mask Of The Phantasm as much as I do today. I just loved it that he was allowed to take the character further than on the regular show. Mask Of The Phantasm is still one of my top three Batman movies of all time. I really hope he plays Joker again in one of the great DC Universe animated movies, which I also love (Under The Red Hood the most). I would love to hear him do Joker for a animated version of Killing Joke or R.I.P.

#31 Posted by Whodid (82 posts) - - Show Bio

Well we share the same opinions on Mark Hamill then, I seem to recall Hamill saying that if the Killing Joke was to be done animated he would do it if asked, because its one of his favourite Joker stories, in fact he said he will voice Joker but only when really good projects come up. Also I really liked Under The Red Hood too.

#32 Posted by Shallbecomeabat (33 posts) - - Show Bio

See? Not all hope is lost then :-)

#33 Posted by FatihBATMAN (1395 posts) - - Show Bio

@Whodid said:

in fact he said he will voice Joker but only when really good projects come up.

Nice! where did he say that :D?

#34 Posted by Whodid (82 posts) - - Show Bio

@FatihBATMAN: It was in an interview ages ago back when Arkham City came out or around then anyway.

#35 Posted by FatihBATMAN (1395 posts) - - Show Bio

Cool :)

#36 Posted by HushoftheWind (1202 posts) - - Show Bio

You people must had a visit from a screaming Black Canary if you think Mr. Conroy didnt do the voice of Batman Justice. I understand the percentage will hardly ever be 100, but some of the cons you named were just meager. Really? he sound too royal and regal!? Man! That's what comes to mind when I hear him. When Mr. Conroy is in is bat role I hear vengeful, calculative, dark, HERO who is all business. While i'll admit at points the series didnt age well at all, especially if you take account with Batman struggling to take out 2 or 3 thugs helmed by the like Joker, Two, Riddler, etc. that always urked me, but I digress. The main point is Kevin Conroy did nothing but great things as being the voice of Batman, his talents only grew as the series progressed and launched into new series with Batman/Superman adventures, Justice League, and JLU.

#37 Posted by megame23 (11 posts) - - Show Bio

When I read the comics, I often think of what the characters are saying in the voices used in this show. In particular Mark Hamil's Joker, I always imagine it as Mark does it when I read joker, to me that IS the voice of Joker.

I've also been re-watching the series, I think many episodes are indeed amazing. but then theres episodes like "Baby-Doll," which are painful to watch, so its like any cartoon in that sense, most cartoons do have some painful episodes. But when they were on in this show they were dead on.

#38 Posted by Hazlenaut (2096 posts) - - Show Bio

Third season the continuity and art hurt itself I felt that it was getting little weaker calendar lady walked similar story of Baby Boll but in the end it was just disappointment and you have ask really which made it forgettable I can see her wanting to gain attention she could be the next poison ivy. Hint hint and ding ding light up the bill board here your free be.

#39 Posted by Eternal19 (2161 posts) - - Show Bio

It was the best batman show and it set the tone for superhero shows after it. So, i think it deserves the acclaim that it gets

#40 Posted by ZEELLO (233 posts) - - Show Bio

@Shallbecomeabat said:

To be honest... and to add insult to injury... I heavily dislike Kevin Conroy as Bruce Wayne/Batman. He just sounds too pompous and too... how do I put this... royal? You know, like some guy, riding on a horse, with a lance and a shield, talking to some townsfolk.

Royal? You make it sound like such a good thing. xD

#41 Posted by Twentyfive (2918 posts) - - Show Bio

Batman the animates series is overrated as hell.

But still, it is better than 99.99% of the stuff put out since.

#42 Posted by Joelislegend (231 posts) - - Show Bio

Kevin Conroy IS Batman. I hate when I watch any other Batman animated movie and it's a different voice. It just doesn't work for me.

And yeah I loved BTAS. Compare it to what our kids are stuck with. OOOO GREEN LANTERN ANIMATED SERIES. All crappy CGI. Beware the Batman etc... BTAS kicks ass.

#43 Posted by Shallbecomeabat (33 posts) - - Show Bio

I have to admit I kinda like the GL animated show. Not from the look, but its pretty cool storywise and all. I expected a lot less quality.

#44 Posted by FadeToBlackBolt (23390 posts) - - Show Bio

Oh go die, moron. 

#46 Posted by Joelislegend (231 posts) - - Show Bio

@Shallbecomeabat said:

I have to admit I kinda like the GL animated show. Not from the look, but its pretty cool storywise and all. I expected a lot less quality.
WHY!!!!!!!!!!! WHY!!!!!!!!!!! WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!
#47 Posted by Nathaniel_Christopher (1715 posts) - - Show Bio

@Joelislegend said:

@Shallbecomeabat said:

I have to admit I kinda like the GL animated show. Not from the look, but its pretty cool storywise and all. I expected a lot less quality.
WHY!!!!!!!!!!! WHY!!!!!!!!!!! WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!

I'll personally say that some of the storylines in the show aren't bad. Similar to the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon or The Batman, I don't like it for the most part, but there are some diamonds in the rough (LOL watching Aladdin)

#48 Posted by God_Spawn (39168 posts) - - Show Bio

@FadeToBlackBolt: Fade, chill.

Moderator
#49 Posted by Metric_Outlaw (71 posts) - - Show Bio

I agree, I think its a perfectly fine show but the way some people refer to it as some sort of infallible god of TV series bothers me.

#50 Posted by Skewer (348 posts) - - Show Bio

I don't think it's in any way overated, in fact it very much deserves its credit it earns from fans.

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