Thursday, April 26, 2012

"Batman: The Brave and The Bold" (Sam Register, 2008 - 2011)



Episodes Directed by …

Ben Jones (25 episodes)
Michael Chang (17 episodes)
Michael Goguen (15 episodes)
Brandon Vietti (9 episodes)

Episodes Written by …

Steven Melching (11 episodes)
Thomas Pugsley (9 episodes)
J.M. DeMatteis (8 episodes)
Joseph Kuhr (7 episodes)
Todd Casey (6 episodes)
Paul Dini (5 episodes)
James Krieg (5 episodes)
Adam Beechen (3 episodes)
Jack Cole (3 episodes)
Paul Giacoppo (3 episodes)
Michael Jelenic (2 episodes)
Dean Stephan (2 episodes)
Greg Weisman (2 episodes)
Matt Wayne (2 episodes)
Dani Michaeli (1 episode)
Jake Black (1 episode)
Marsha Griffin (1 episode)
Stan Berkowitz (1 episode)
Kevin Hopps (1 episode)
Alan Burnett (1 episode)
Gail Simone (1 episode)
Alexx Van Dyne (1 episode)

Based on the DC Comics Characters Created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger

Series Executive Produced by Sam Register

Series Produced by ...

James Tucker
Michael Jelenic
Linda Steiner
Amy McKenna

Series Art Direction by …

Lynell Forestall

Casting and Voice Direction by Andrea Romano

Series Editing by Christopher D. Lozinski

"Batman: The Brave and The Bold" Theme Composed by Andy Sturmer 

Original Television Scores Composed by …

Kristopher Carter
Michael McCuistion
Lolita Ritmanis
Diedrich Bader ... Bruce Wayne/Batman (Voice)
James Arnold Taylor … Green Arrow (Voice)
Dee Bradley Baker ... Clock King (Voice)
John Di Maggio ... Aquaman (Voice)
Jeff Bennett ... Captain Marvel (Voice)
Greg Ellis ... Gentleman Ghost (Voice)
Tom Kenny ... Plastic Man (Voice)
Will Friedle ... Blue Beetle (Voice)
Kevin Michael Richardson ... Black Manta (Voice)
Corey Burton ... Doc Magnus (Voice)
Jason Marsden ... Paco (Voice)
Grey DeLisle ... Black Canary (Voice)
Jim Piddock ... Calendar Man (Voice)
Tara Strong ... Billy Batson (Voice)
Zachary Gordon ... Young Bruce Wayne (Voice)
Gary Anthony Williams ... Mongul (Voice)
R. Lee Ermey ... Wildcat (Voice)
Lex Lang ... Dr. Polaris (Voice)
Stephen Root ... Woozy Winks (Voice)
Armin Shimerman ... Ace (Voice)
Oded Fehr ... Equinox (Voice)
Scott Menville ... Metamorpho (Voice)
Bumper Robinson ... Black Lightning (Voice)
Clancy Brown … Mugger (Voice)
Kevin Conroy ... Batman of Zur-En-Arrh (Voice)
Mark Hamill ... Spectre (Voice)
Neil Patrick Harris ... The Music Meister (Voice)
Alexander Polinsky ... G'nort (Voice)
Jeremy Shada ... Young Robin (Voice)
Crawford Wilson ... Robin (Voice)
Tom Everett Scott ... Booster Gold (Voice)
Marc Worden ... Kanjar Ro (Voice)
Thomas F. Wilson ... Cat-Man (Voice)
Jennifer Hale ... Poison Ivy (Voice)
Andy Milder ... Jay Garrick (Voice)
Nika Futterman ... Catwoman (Voice)
Phil Morris ... Jonah Hex (Voice)
Paul Reubens ... Bat-Mite (Voice)
Billy West ... Skeets (Voice)
Vicki Lewis ... Wonder Woman (Voice)
Adam West ... Proto-Bat (Voice)

Batman defends Gotham City, the world and the universe at large everywhere and in any time with the assistance of various DC Comics Heroes, historical figures and intergalactic entities.


Key Episodes:

“Rise of the Blue Beetle!”
“Evil Under the Sea!”
“Enter The Outsiders!”
“Journey to the Center of the Bat!”
“The Color of Revenge!”
“Legends of the Dark Mite!”
“Last Bat on Earth!”
“When OMAC Attacks!”

“The Fate of Equinox!”
“Mayhem of the Music Meister!”
“Death Race to Oblivion!”
“The Golden Age of Justice!”
“Clash of the Metal Men!”
“A Bat Divided!”
“Sidekicks Assemble!”
“The Super-Batman of Planet X!”
“Chill of the Night!”
“The Siege of Starro! Part 1”
“The Siege of Starro! Part 2”
“Requiem for a Scarlet Speedster!”

“The Last Patrol!”
“The Mask of Matches Malone!”
“Emperor Joker!”
“The Criss Cross Conspiracy!”
“The Plague of the Prototypes!”
“The Knights of Tomorrow!”
“Darkseid Descending!”
“Bat-Mite Presents: Batman’s Strangest Cases!”
“Joker: The Vile and the Villainous!”
“Shadow of the Bat!”
“Night of the Batmen!”
“Battle of the Superheroes!”
“Time Out for Vengeance!”
“Bold Beginnings!”


As a fan who’s been suspect to the genesis of Batman from cornball cultural powderpuff to vengeful Dark Knight, it’s always fun to see the concept of multiple interpretations take root in actual practice.


When “Batman Begins” hit movie screens with a darker, more grounded iteration, television offered lighter fare with “The Batman.” It was as if Warner Brothers could sense the widespread appeal and sought to give everyone a Batman they could enjoy depending on which way they wanted to go.

It’s a smart move on part of the studio, ensuring that no one be made to feel left out of the fandom while making the effort to aid in the education of fans that there’s no right or wrong way to interpret Batman.

The approach worked so well at the time that it was used once more in the height of appreciation for the character in 2008.

Although, interestingly and in hindsight, extremity was the way to go both ways.

“The Dark Knight” created a bleak portrait of Gotham City that was plagued by chaos and hopelessness privy to the Joker’s madness as it corrupted the proceedings, destroying everything in its path in a swirl of death and tragedy. This darkness was only hinted at in “Batman Begins,” pushing the envelope even further.

And simultaneously, the same emphasis was put on part of the televised caped crusader as 2008 introduced fans to “Batman: The Brave and The Bold,” which is far and away lighter and brighter than “The Batman” ever actually was.



Named after the popular DC Comics book of the same name that ran in uninterrupted publication from 1955 to 1983 (with a subsequent mini-series from 1991 to 1999 and a new ongoing title that’s been going since 2007) The series follows the framework of the comic by partnering an established Batman with a number of fellow DC Comics heroes including Aquaman, Red Tornado, Green Arrow, Plastic Man, Blue Beetle, Metamorpho and several others.

What I immediately love about this idea is that the show uses Batman’s popularity as a catalyst for introducing viewers to B and even C-level DC characters they might have otherwise never known.

It still retains the focus on Batman, sure, but now kids could walk away from an episode with a newfound fondness for someone like B’wana Beast or Deadman or Elongated Man; or, at least, knowledge of their existence.

The show’s tone is often labeled to be in line with the mid-60s television series starring Adam West, and I can definitely see that. But it’s far more in sync with the Silver Age in the comic books more than anything.


Because of that approach, it’s just amazing to find a Batman heavily influenced by Dick Sprang’s design aesthetic in the same year of Christopher Nolan’s haunted urban soldier.

Hell, a child growing up on a Silver Age visualization of the DC universe is in and of itself incredible.


From donning Catwoman in the classic costume complete with a green cape to dressing Mr. Freeze in the sci-fi spaceman tone he originated in, the visual approach can also easily lend itself to the treatment of the characters in the Filmation cartoon series.

This liberation of whimsy breaks the mold of previous animated encounters, creating a world where there were no bounds to hold the dark knight or his adventures back.


From travelling to distant colorful galaxies to being thrown back into the throes of time to encountering alternate dimensions and parallel universes complete with their own Batmen, it’s such a wonderfully amped up comic book zaniness that you can’t help but fall in love with if you allow yourself to.

What really sets “The Brave and The Bold” apart is that, for several episodes more specifically towards the end of its broadcast run, it became incredibly self-conscious about the source material, even more than “Batman: The Animated Series” or “The Batman.”


This is demonstrated in one of my favorite episodes, “Bat-Mite Presents: Batman’s Strangest Cases!”


Overseen by Bat-Mite, played in a very clever casting choice by Pee-Wee Herman himself, Paul Ruebens (who’d previously enjoyed a small cameo as the Penguin’s father in “Batman Returns”), the episode pokes fun at the bizarre and irreverent within Batman’s pantheon.

First, of all things, it opens with homage to “Batboy and Rubin,” the Batman parody that showcased frequently in MAD Magazine specifically during the heights of the character’s popularity with the 60s show and the Burton/Schumacher movies.

Can you imagine? The idea of a “Batman” show being so open and receptive to the character’s history in ALL its aspects that it would willingly acknowledge something like that is just fantastic.



From there, we’re given a hilarious romp that hits everything from “Bat-Manga” and the wild interpretation of the character in the land of the rising sun to a satirical mockery and parody of the legendary team up of Batman and Robin with Scooby Doo, rushing to beat Joker and Penguin to a buried treasure left behind by a long passed mobster in an abandoned theatre.


There's even an inexplicable cameo from Weird Al Yankovic. WHAT!??


Bat-Mite is rightfully impish and obnoxious when he pops into the show, not unlike his predecessor from the Filmation show, and Ruebens does a terrific job with him.

I love the moment of mischievous deviancy when he tries to convince Batman of how glamorous his battle with the Joker has been through the years. That moment when he nods to the death of Jason Todd as a result of calling in to vote, which actually happened with the comics in reality, really hits home just how crass the character is.



“Guess how I voted...”


The homages didn't end with Bat-Mite, as the show sought to pay dividends to several incarnations on multiple occassions, such as the wonderful scene that features Batman battling against a brain-washed Superman while armored in the supped-up Batsuit straight off the pages of their conflict at the end of Frank Miller's "The Dark Knight Returns!" 

Given the aesthetic with this incarnation, we’re given a Batman that exudes overconfidence to a point that’s almost frustrating; I love the character, but it’s clear that he wins the day because the scripts demand it.


Even so, Diedrich Bader lends his pipes very well to this authoritative caped crusader and he clearly dominates the show as it rests on his broad, caped shoulders.

“The Brave and The Bold,” as with all animated projects from DC Comics, gained the advantage of having a tremendous laundry list of guest stars and talented recurring voice actors.

As a long time Kubrick fan, it was great to hear the iconic grizzled edge of R. Lee Ermey, perfectly suited for the boxing legend turned hero Wildcat.


Neil Patrick Harris, stemming from his roots both on Broadway and in fan favorites such as Joss Whedon’s film “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” lends his delightful theatricality to the lovably villainous Music Meister in one of the show’s most critically acclaimed episodes.

The legendary Kevin Conroy returns to the booth to provide the voice for the galactic Batman of Zur-En-Arrh and Adam West, still going strong after over forty years, plays the role of Proto-Bat. What’s interesting here is consider such longevity; how bringing Adam back into the Batman property with the Grey Ghost when Kevin was starting out has now translated to Kevin as well with his cameo work both in “The Batman” and here.

The show even manages to scoop up a two-episode performance from the Clown Prince of Crime himself, with Mark Hamill lending his talents to the otherworldly Spectre.


The music of “The Brave and The Bold” is admittedly one dimensional and cartoony but given the mold of the show, it’s no surprise. The theme composed by Andy Sturmer is delightfully infectious in its own right.

In spite of the darker psychological layers added to the character over the years, Batman is, in essence, a creation of comic books. Comic Books are built upon a foundation of being fun and “The Brave and The Bold” is just that.

Zany, colorful, bombastic FUN!



Chas Blankenship's 'Bat-Mania' 2012 is Proud to Present "Bat-Mite Presents: Batman's Strangest Cases!" from "Batman: The Brave and The Bold."

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