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Jane EspensonJane Espenson & Doug Petrie - "The Batman" Cartoon - Details
Saturday 30 September 2006, by Webmaster
The new season has kept us so hoppy we plum forgot the Saturday-morning cartoons came back last weekend. Happily the good folks over at The Kids WB hooked up with screeners containing this week’s (and last week’s) episodes of “The Batman” and “The Legion of Super-Heroes.”
“Team Penguin” is the title of this week’s “Batman,” and it introduces Batgirl to Robin, who was introduced to Batman in last week’s fourth-season premiere.
Some interesting sibling rivalry develops because newcomer Robin gets to know The Batman’s secret identity and play in The Cave, while Batgirl resents being held at arm’s length. There’s also some business with The Penguin rounding up his own Villains United by gathering up some of the lesser-known bad guys.
Those like myself - who haven’t paid much attention to “The Batman” in the past - may now want to consider setting their TiVos. (Note that SPOILERS for the remainder of the season ensue.)
“We are finally getting a chance to do the Batman show we’ve always wanted to do,” series producer Jeff Matsuda wrote Ain’t It Cool in early September. “The first thing we did was go out and improve the writing. I emailed [“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” vets] Jane Espenson and Doug Petrie and asked if they wanted to do some episodes and they agreed.
“Luckily they came on the same day and during the meeting we all just decided it would be better if they wrote a two parter together! So they went off and did a two part season finale with the introduction of Jonn Jonzz, the Martian Manhunter. They were so fun to work with and I saw the what I loved about ‘Buffy,’ ‘Angel’ and ‘Firefly’ in the way they broke down story and character development. The scripts came in and Michael Jelenic (story editor) and I close the door and giggled like school girls as we read.
“Paul Dini also agreed to do a script for us and came with a new Harley Quinn idea for our series. He did a sweet job and put in a song and dance number with Joker and Harley (geek squeal!) in the episode. It was great to see Harley and Bats together again.
“The season opens with the origin of Robin, and the death of his arents by Tony Zucco played Mark Hamill. Dick’s dad is played by non other than Kevin Conroy, so we get to see Hamill and Conroy mix it up again!
“The Dark Knight Returns 50-plus-year-old version of Batman is in this season as well, fighting an older more powerful version of Mr. Freeze alongside Nightwing and Oracle.
“The Black Mask finally gets the animated treatment this season with his Kitty Pride: Welcome to the X-men/Home Alone episode. It’s one of my favorite episodes of the season. Black Mask vs two meddling little kids, nice!
“Brandon Routh and Allison Mack came in to record the Everywhereman Script (Chloe finally gets Clark!). Robert Englund in the Riddler origin story, Killer Moth, Zombies, and Louis Gossett Jr, Whew!
“I also thought we needed to improve some of the art as well, so many characters went through a bit of revamping and honing. Batman, Bruce Wayne, Penguin all took a trip to the plastic surgeon and I think it went well.
“I hope you’ll give it a look, we really went all out this season to make a series we would love to see ourselves and so we did! Thanks for your time Herc!”
The Legion of Super-Heroes
Immediately prior to “The Batman” in most markets airs “The Legion of Super-Heroes.” As the proud and extra-nerdly owner of every one of the Legion’s comic-book adventures, I feel the geeky rush watching all the iconic DC heroes zipping to and from their bizarre upside-down-spaceship-looking headquarters in the Metropolis of 3006.
As with Adventure Comics #247, last week’s pilot saw Legion reps recruit a Smallville-dwelling Clark Kent to join them in the future. But the TV show, in a nod to the CW’s “Smallville,” has the Legion come upon Clark before he first donned the cape, and before he first discovered he could fly. And the three visitors from the future are not Saturn Girl, Lightning Lad and Cosmic Boy, but Saturn Girl, Brainiac 5 and Bouncing Boy. And Clark isn’t recruited to be the butt of a initiation prank (*choke*), but rather to tame a newly escaped. Fatal Five.
And there’s the fun for this longtime Legion fan: watching to discover which elements of the comic were kept and which discarded. Brainy is now more of a robot. Brin is more of a lycanthrope from the planet of Dr. Londo. Imra Ardeen of Titan is still hot, but sports pink bunny eyes.
Plus? In a nod to certain legal issues, Clark doesn’t call himself “Superboy”; in this version, he goes by “Superman.”
Every episode seems to feature Clark, Brainy, Saturn Girl, Bouncing Boy and Lightning Lad, but there are other members one expects will be rotated in and out as the series progresses. Triplicate Girl and Phantom Girl turn up in the pilot. Timber Goa ... er, Timber Wolf is introduced in episode two. And we learn in the first two episodes that Cosmic Boy, Colossal Boy, Shrinking Violet, Element Lad, Dream Girl, Sun Boy, Tyroc, Blok and others are probably lurking just off camera.
(No sign of Mon-El yet though ...)
Have a gander! They’re fun!
Saturday Morning. The Kids WB.