Beware The Batman: Bringing Some Dark Back to The Dark Knight on the Small Screen

Beware the Batman promotional posterWith The Dark Knight Rises still relatively fresh in most people’s minds, DC and Cartoon Network have decided it’s time to bring a new incarnation of Batman to the small screen, and this past Saturday, Beware The Batman premiered. My favorite incarnation of Batman ever was the 1990’s Batman: The Animated Series, which was surprisingly dark and gritty for being a children’s cartoon. More recently, shows like The Batman and Batman: The Brave and the Bold have definitely skewed towards a younger audience, so I haven’t been that interested in them.

Beware The Batman, however, looks like it’s bringing some of the dark back to The Dark Knight on the small screen, so I checked out the premiere episode, titled Hunted. There were a number of things I liked, as well as disliked about this new Batman, and below is a short breakdown.

Liked:

1. The look – The sleek, CG animation works well for a dark incarnation of Batman. The character art is well defined, and the scenery quite nice.
2. The villains – Rather than going to the well of popular villains like The Joker, The Penguin, The Scarecrow, or Catwoman, the first episode’s villains are Mr. Toad and his boss Professor Pyg. I am completely unfamiliar with these characters, and while they were a tad cheesy, it was still refreshing to see something I have not seen portrayed on the small screen in a Batman series before.

Disliked:

1. Alfred – A character that in every version of Batman I’ve ever seen has been a kind, gentle soul, who the Wayne’s trusted to raise and take care of Bruce as his personal butler in their absence. In Beware The Batman, while still called Bruce’s “butler,” Alfred is a tough, ex-spy who is Bruce’s trainer and sparring partner. The character may work (though without spoiling things, it looks like they may be planning to write him out of the show pretty quickly), but being familiar with Batman, it just felt off.
2. Batman/Bruce Wayne’s voice – If you’ve ever seen Batman in animated form, or in a video game, the voice you most likely associate with Batman is actor Kevin Conroy, who has been voicing the character since 1992 in almost all animated projects, as well as the extremely popular Arkham games for PS3/Xbox 360. To me, Kevin Conroy IS Batman. The new actor voicing him, Anthony Ruivivar, is not bad by any means, but it’s just a little tough to hear a different voice coming out of Batman’s mouth after hearing the same one consistently for over 20 years. I’m sure I’ll get used to it.

Overall, I’d say my issues with the first episode were minor. Beware The Batman looks like it has the potential to go in some interesting directions, and I’ll definitely watch a few more to see if it can keep an adult’s interest like the 90’s series did so well.

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