Monday, February 7, 2011
Why Batman: The Animated Series Is The Greatest Saturday Morning Cartoon In TV History
Before Joe Lieberman came in and toned down the violent nature of kid's cartoon shows in the mid 90's, networks carrying animated TV series' targeted towards younger viewers began creating cartoons that fit the "young adult" label; delving into broader, more mature concepts and ideas that were typically saved for shows our parents watched after 9:00 PM. BTAS and X-Men is where it all started.
Even though X-Men rocked my world, I was always much more partial to the Dark Knight's time slot and made sure I was awake with my batwings on every Saturday. While many of the other shows relied on flashy effects and booms and explosions to keep the kid's attention, BTAS stayed much simpler and less complex visually. And to this day, the show remains a cult classic with Batman fans, old and young alike.
The show took major risks by tackling ideas that most parents probably wanted to keep their kids away from. Examples: Poison Ivy making plant-like copies of her husband because she never wanted her new found love to end, Robin dealing with the discovery of his parent's murderer, Batman confronting his father's legacy, and the list goes on. I was lucky enough to have a mother who relished the fact that I was thinking critically about comics and cartoons where all the rest of my friends were wondering what that thing dangling between their two legs was.
But let's look even further into that dark and well-written kid's shows and find out the work that went into each individual episode. The scripts took the show to incredible bounds, allowing for even more dark and twisted cartoon shows to emerge. But the most impressive aspect of the show was it's musical setting. How many of you knew that each episode had it's own specific theme song? I'm not talking about the Danny Elfman musical score that would start the show off weekly, I'm talking about after the fact, when the episode's title screen came up with it's painted still...THAT music was unique to it's specific episode. Great care was taken when it came to the music of the show, because that's where the heart of BTAS lay.
Of course we can't forget the amazing voice talents of Mark Hamil (The Joker), Kevin Conroy (Batman), Ron Perlman (Clayface), Helen Slater (Talia), John Glover (The Riddler), which helped boost the show's already awesome standard of quality. I wish I could spend as much time as I would like and praise this show's almost perfect execution in creating a new wave of kid's cartoon shows, (There's a disertation somewhere in this right?) but I can just simply ask you to get Netflix or buy one of the box sets and see it for yourself. In the meantime, check out this incredibly awesome Theme song opener, because I know we all love it!