Rupert Pupkin Speaks: My Warner Archive Grab Bag: BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD Season 1 on Blu-ray ""

Monday, November 25, 2013

My Warner Archive Grab Bag: BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD Season 1 on Blu-ray

First off, let me just say that this set looks spectacular on Blu-ray and is certainly one of Warner Archive's best releases of 2013. 
Second, this is a different Batman than I am used to seeing .This Batman is much more wisecracking a la a superhero like Spidermam (but he is more subdued than Spidey for sure). He is a tried and true hero, but carries with him this undercurrent of slightly gruff sarcasm. It's a nice change of pace from the Caped Crusader I'd become accustomed to. The voice characterization by Diederich Bader is pretty perfect too. Even though I still can't help thinking of OFFICE SPACE whenever I hear his voice, he quite embodies this Batman exactly as he should. 
The writing on the show is very solid. Each episode has lots of clever (but not too annoying) dialogue and some interestingly complex premises. And Batman and pals' adventures go well beyond the confines of Gotham City here. They are everywhere from space to medieval times. Each adventure has something of a fantastic nature to it. It really allows the show to be more expansive and creative and the show's creators do their best to keep things fresh and interesting. Almost every single show has some touches with an alternate dimension, planet or timeline. It's unexpected and quite welcome.
The series has a nice selection of guest heroes/villains. Green Arrow, Plastic Man, Aquaman, Red Tornado, Dr. Fate, Green Lantern, and The Flash join the Dark Knight in his  skirmishes with Grod, Black Manta, The Scarecrow, Bain and others. It's at once a nostalgic trip for me to see all these old villains from my Challenge of The Superfriends days mixed with a fresh new sensibility and a gorgeous new animation style. The show has an interesting structural conceit as well. Each episode has two sections. The first, is a very short encounter we usually join in progress. This section almost always has different sidekick heroes and villains than the main episode proper and it all occurs pre-credits. Usually it doesn't even tie into the main narrative storyline. Post credits, we get the main episode itself. It's a very neat to kick off each show with what is ostensibly a Batman short. Fun stuff.
Even the show's music score has a great air of creativity about it. It is a bouncy, jazzy big band type thing in many instances, but it is often changed up quite nicely depending on each episode. My favorite variation features the score taking on a feeling akin to Queen's score for FLASH GORDON. And speaking of music, one of the standout episodes is an entirely musical episode on the 2nd disc. I watched all the episodes with her and this one was easily her favorite, though she was a big fan of the show in general. I really really want to believe that this episode takes some influence from PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE, but I cannot be 100 percent sure.
The show would seem overall a good fit for kids I'd say, outside of the incessant punching that happens in any given episode. All in all, a good time for children and adults alike. As I mentioned at the top, easily one of my favorite Warner Archive discs from 2013.

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