Batman the Brave and the Bold: Season 1

  • Series Title:  Batman the Brave and the Bold
  • Season:  1
  • Episodes:  26
  • Discs:  2 (Blu-Ray)
  • Cast:  Diedrich Bader
  • Original Network:  Cartoon Network
  • Production Network:  Warner Brothers (Animation)

I originally dismissed The Brave and the Bold when I saw an episode here and there on Cartoon Network. The production design reminded me very much of the 1960s Batman (starring Adam West) and the attitude of the show seemed extremely campy and silly, and I’m just not a fan of silly Batman.

However, I have a friend who basically nagged me to give this show a chance, so I finally purchased Season 1, and on Blu-Ray no less. It a way, it is nuts – very campy, and funny, but it’s to the point of such ridiculousness at times that it actually becomes very enjoyable to watch. If modern animated or even live-action Batmans are too much for you, give this series a try. The series is pretty much set in DC’s Silver Age (thus the campy style of Batman) but occasionally features heroes from the Golden Age (Jay Garrick’s Flash) and the Modern Age (Jaime Reyes’ Blue Beetle). Most of the episodes consist of two stories, a short piece with Batman and another hero teaming up against a villain, followed by a different unconnected story of Batman and a different hero teaming-up against a different villain.  Because the focus is on team-ups, we get to see several different characters from DC’s Silver Age, which one seldom sees in a TV Series or film.

Some notable episodes:

In “Invasion of the Secret Santas”, Batman and Red Tornado go up against Fun Haus, who’s brought flying saucers from a B Movie to life, as well as evil Santas, and other oddities. The story is very silly, which makes it fun.

in “Day of the Dark Knight!” Batman and Green Arrow, who are revealed to be competitive rivals, are brought back in time to Camelot by Merlin. One of them must take Excalibur from the Stone to defeat Morgaine, who has the demon, Etrigan under her power. Yes – this is as fun as you might expect. The opening sequence has Batman and Guy Gardner (Green Lantern) on Oa on jail duty.

“Dawn of the Dead Man” proper starts with Batman being buried alive by Gentleman Ghost. He astro projects himself to London, where he meets a ghost who will become the hero, Dead Man. Dead Man works with Green Arrow and Speedy to rescue the Caped Crusader. I loved this story, from a nearly dying Batman seeing his parents in a tunnel of light, to the whole tracing of Dead Man’s story (which also has a connection to Haly’s Circus), it’s actually just a great story.

In “Fall of the Blue Beetle”, there isn’t the standard stand-alone opening, rather the opening with Batman and Silver Age Blue Beetle (Ted Kord) proves to be a prelude to an adventure between Batman and Modern Blue Beetle (Jaime Reyes) who wishes to learn more about how he became a superhero and where his scarab came from – Jaime journeys to Science Island, Ted Kord’s secret base and meets “Ted Kord” – yet it isn’t Ted, it’s his evil brother Jarvis, who had caused the explosion that killed Ted. This is a brilliant back story piece, and the animation is actually very good.

In “Trials of the Demon” Batman is transported back in time to 19th century London, where he meets Sherlock Holmes and Watson, as well as Jason Blood (Etrigan the Demon), who’s been unjustly accused of murdering a series of women. The world’s two greatest detectives work together to clear Jason Blood, and discover the real culprit:  Jim Craddock. This serves as an excellent back story piece for the Gentleman Ghost. Batman is also upset that he can’t change history.  This story also features in the opening bit Batman and the Golden Age Flash, Jay Garrick, taking on Scarecrow and Scream Queen.

“Mayhem of the Music Meister!” has no opening story – instead the Music Meister has a dastardly plot to turn the whole world into a Broadway Musical – both villains (Black Manta, Gorilla Grodd, Clock King) and heroes (Batman, Aquaman, Black Canary, Green Arrow). So yes, and all-singing, all-dancing episode of Batman the Brave and the Bold is just as much fun as you might think. Music Meister is voiced (and sung) by Neil Patrick Harris, who even gets a “special guest villain” credit.

I can honestly say that I enjoyed Batman the Brave and the Bold, and I’ve ordered Season 2. The show is fun, and light, and at times it’s so out-there it’s basically crack-fic. And, though I must say, I still prefer more serious versions of Batman, this series, obviously in it’s own pocket universe of silliness, is fun and enjoyable to watch – and I don’t regret purchasing the Blu-Rays. By the way, when I bought the series from Amazon, the Blu-Rays were a better deal than the DVDs.

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