Warner Bros. Bringing A New Animated 'Batman' Series To TV
I read how Warner Bros. Animation has described their brand-new, animated "Beware The Batman" series that studio executives say will debut sometime in 2013. As the allegedly "creative" people who are given millions of dollars of others people's money often do, I was left wondering at what point and via what process this was concluded to be a good idea.
I was left only with the conclusion that at least some of these developers of first-run programming would probably just answer me sincerely with something Rory Cochrane said sarcastically in "Empire Records."
"Who knows where thoughts come from? They just appear!"
According to Super Hero Hype, Warner Bros. Animation Executive VP of Creative Affairs Sam Register - who, it should be noted, should know better than to stamp his approval on what I'm about to describe, since he co-produced the excellent animated "Teen Titans" adaptation - explained that this series would delve deep into the stories of Batman's most obscure foes, since he said there are "too many" Joker stories.
Instead, the CGI animated anthology will depict a "classic-looking" Batman battling Gotham's most evil alongside a "gun-toting" Alfred Pennyworth and a female ninja sidekick name Katana, who Register claims will not replace Robin. Rather, the Boy Wonder will also make appearances but with no specification as to which "Robin" will be portrayed - Dick Grayson, Jason Todd or Tim Drake. Though Register confirmed that the series would include Batman's best-known adversaries, Register referenced Professor Pyg as being among the rare villains making an appearance.
If ever there were an article where I wish I could have to one day come clean and admit, "It was a slow day and I made the whole thing up," it's this one. That would mean it's at worst a blatant lie, and at best, a wild fever dream brought on by excessive energy-drink consumption. Either way, it would mean this isn't actually going to be a thing that exists.
Like Morgan Freeman in "The Shawshank Redemption," that's what I'd like to say.
But alas, Strike Three just came down the pike, and it's a 98-MPH fastball to the nuts of my hopes that Warner Bros. might one day once more pump out a great animated "Batman" series on part with the superb "Batman: The Animated Series" the Paul Dini and Bruce Timm created for the Fox Kids animated block in the early '90s.
I'm now completely resigned, though, that for all that Warner Bros.' live-action counterparts suggest otherwise, Warner Bros. Animation just possesses no further regard whatsoever for truth to Batman's legacy. What really makes that crushing is the fact that executive producer Glen Murakami was a character designer on "Batman: The Animated Series" under Bruce Timm, was a "Superman: The Animated Series" art director and produced the equally stellar "Batman Beyond," "Justice League" and "Teen Titans."
That's what makes everything I'm about to nitpick all the more disappointing to a "Batman" fan like myself: history with these characters means these individuals should know better than to do what they're doing.
Problem Number One: this "gun-toting Alfred Pennyworth" crap. If there is a single characteristic that makes Batman who he is, it's that he refuses to kill - bedrock for his entire relationship with The Joker - and he abhors guns. In "Batman Beyond," reaching for a nearby gun in desperation to ward off a thug alarms Bruce Wayne so much, that he retires as Batman. Please, for the love of Heaven and Hell, explain why he would go along with Alfred packing heat.
Why is Alfred even going into battle in the first place?!
Problem Number Two: why does Batman need a ninja sidekick? There's Robin. There's Batgirl. If we're going deep enough into the lineage, there's Dick Grayson as Nightwing. When these are all right there within the lineage, why are we inventing whole new characters?
Then there's my biggest problem: I'm firmly convinced that whoever really created this series has never read a "Batman" comic or graphic novel . . . or at the very least, never a good one. These series shouldn't be made by anyone who can't treat the source material with something passably resembling respect.
It's time to give up, fans. The glory days are done. Kevin Conroy (long-time voice of Batman) and Mark Hamill (equally long-time voice of The Joker) have both announced that their voice acting for the upcoming "Batman: Arkham City" video game will be the pair's last go-round reprising those recognizable roles. And if Murakami and Register have given up on doing right by Batman's great animated legacy, then it's time we just find comfort in the superb DVDs of "Batman: The Animated Series" and "Batman Beyond."
Clearly, it's never going to get better than that.