Saturday, September 29, 2012

I Am The Night

20 years ago, inspired by Tim Burton's recently successful films, a group of writers an animators decided to make a superhero show that would transcend a kids show and would be right at home in a lineup aimed at their parents.

What they also did was create probably the definitive Batman.

I mean this. I love the Tim Burton films. I love the Christopher Nolan films. Even the Joel Schumacher films and the Adam West TV show are guilty pleasures to me. But when I think of any character from the Batman mythos, the first thing I think of is Batman: The Animated Series.

It distilled a then 52-year-old mythology into the purest essence of the characters, and it created wonderful, fun, and sometimes gritty stories.

I can't even describe just the pure gold of that series. All I can say is go out and get the first three volumes on DVD right now

Well, okay. I say just the first three because after the third season, they redesigned it to fit the new Superman show. This had the effect of changing all the wonderful character designs into everyone looking cheap and ugly. There's still some writing gems in that era, though not as much as the first seasons.

In fact, since I need to do one more of these before today is through, I'll let someone else suggest some of the better episodes for you:

Almost Got 'im....


  1. Very very late response, but the Adam West show isn't at all a guilty pleasure for me- it's a legitimately good, campy show that's a great send-up to the more inane aspects of superheroes in general. It overstays its welcome just a bit, but still a great piece of comedy.

    1. I think it's good comedy too, and it has a lot of talent behind it. It's just not a very good Batman adaptation (well, maybe of the comics at the time, but...)

    2. Meh, an adaptation has to be looked on for its own merits, not how it relates to its source material.

    3. Only if it improves on the original. Which in itself is based on how one subjectively feels about it in the first place.

    4. I think that only applies if they're actively trying to accomplish the same goals (the stage and film version of A Chorus Line, for example, is intending much of the same stuff, but the film is noticeably weaker at doing it).

      On the whole, though, adaptations should be treated as entirely separate from their basis, and a whole thing unto themselves. Constantly comparing it to the source only limits what the adaptation can do, and usually isn't in its favor.

    5. I take it as a case-by-case basis, based on what the source is and what the adaptation is trying to do. Usually I feel the more faithful an adaptation, the better. Though there are certainly exceptions.

    6. Usually a film benefits, though, if you take it individually rather than in comparison- I mean, there's a boatload of films where subjectively I completely prefer the original, but am still able to enjoy the movie on its own terms- the original Wizard of Oz fits well into this, as the film is (rightly) considered a classic, but is so different from the books in so many different ways (and in many ways I prefer the book, which is part of why I always liked Return to Oz better as a film). The film version of Cabaret also ditches about 80% of the stage version, including major characters and almost all of the songs, but is easily one of the best musicals of the past 50 years.

      For the most part I just view faithfulness as almost entirely irrelevant to the film's quality. There have been really bad and good adaptations that were entirely faithful, and there have been good and bad adaptations that changed everything. As long as it's good on its own merits, I don't really see the problem.

    7. I'm not trying to have an argument, merely stating my personal preference. And like I said, there are many exceptions where an adaptation was unfaithful to its benefit. I personally just generally prefer faithful ones. Just my style, not saying it's right or wrong. I more than anyone understand artistic licence.