Synopsis: Now in High Definition, all 109 action-packed episodes, 35 hours of crime fighting! The critically acclaimed, Emmy-winning series, that redefined the complex super hero to the Dark Knight that fans love today is now available in a Deluxe Limited Edition Blu-ray set! Also includes collectible Batman, Joker and Harley Quinn Funko Pocket POPS, 7 Exclusive Lenticular Collector Cards of Original Animation Artwork, plus 2 Bonus Discs of Animated Films Batman: Mask of the Phantasm and Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero! (Note: Please note the regular edition release does not include material exclusive to the Deluxe Edition.)
Batman: The Complete Animated Series Deluxe Limited Edition Enhanced Content includes 25 featurettes - led by an all-new, 60+ minute definitive Batman: The Animated Series making-of documentary, "The Heart of Batman" - as well as introductions to five episodes by producer Bruce Timm, and commentary on 12 episodes by various combinations of the production team: Bruce Timm, Eric Radomski, Paul Dini, Kevin Altieri, Michael Reaves, Boyd Kirkland, Shirley Walker, Glen Murakami, Dan Riba, and James Tucker.
Note: The review for Batman: The Complete Animated Series - Deluxe Limited Edition follows the video below.
Batman: The Complete Animated Series - Deluxe Limited Edition Review by James Harvey
Prepare to be amazed. As someone who has watched Batman: The Animated Series countless times since it debuted back in 1992, as someone who was impacted by it so much that it fundamentally changed the direction of my life, as someone who still loves the show to an unhealthy degree all these years later, watching it all on the Batman: The Complete Animated Series - Deluxe Edition Blu-ray set is nearly akin to watching the series again for the first time. The episodes look fresh, crisp, clear and at times positively mind-blowing and breathtaking. This collection is the real deal, folks.
I'd say a few words about Batman: The Animated Series, but honestly, what else is there to be said? This whole website is basically my statement on this truly groundbreaking show. Batman: The Animated Series is not only arguably the definitive take on Batman (it is) and a host of his villains (it is), and the best super-hero animated series ever made (it is), but it's also the series that helped revolutionize the animation industry. It also birthed a whole universe of fantastic animated cartoons, movies, comics and so on. Even to this day, its impact is still felt far and wide - there's a clear "before Batman: The Animated Series/after Batman: The Animated Series" delineation - and it'll likely stay that way for some time to come.
So, we know how amazing Batman: The Animated Series is, but what about the actual Deluxe Limited Edition Blu-ray release of the series? Honestly, whatever expectations I had were easily surpassed over and over when making my way through the collection.
Starting off with the physical aspects of the collection, it's a handsome package that Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has put together. First off, the set itself looks fantastic. The overall design, such as the hardcover booklet housed inside a sturdy cardboard box, is definitely eye-catching and aesthetically pleasing (especially with the black and red color scheme). It's also surprisingly hefty, too. The outer box, which holds the Funko minis and the lenticular collectors cards, is nice, though is easily prone to damage. The lenticular cards, neatly packaged away in a small folder, look great and make for a cool bonus collectible. Mileage will vary for the Funko minis, for sure. I personally have no issue with them, either way, and will keep them packaged in the set. All in all, the outer box provides a nice extra layer of protection for the contents inside.
The inner cardboard slipcase, which holds the hardcover booklet, is durable, high quality and tough. In addition to holding the discs, the booklet also includes a forward by Producer Alan Burnett and features artwork from the series. However, the sleeves in the hardcover booklet which houses the discs can be a bit too snug. The discs definitely need to be pulled out slow and deliberately in order to make sure no scratches or damage is caused along the way. Still, once removed, the discs are a breeze to slip back into each sleeve.
In terms of its physical presentation, Batman: The Complete Animated Series - Deluxe Limited Edition really pretty keen. Overall, it's sleek, has some weight to it, and it doesn't take up too much extra space on one's shelf, though there are a couple small things that could be an issue for consumers. Now, what about the actual content on the discs themselves? How do the episodes look? How are the bonus features? Well, as I said above, prepare to be amazed.
In terms of audio and video, the massive uptick in quality is immediately noticeable. Seriously, nearly every single episode looks marvelous. The rooftop scene in "Feat of Clay, Part Two" is just one of countless examples of just how much these HD masters absolutely shine. The red tint of Mr. Freeze's goggles are nearly hypnotic and just pop off the screen. "Over The Edge," the only partially digitally-colored episodes of the series, looks spectacular and, if the viewer didn't know any better, could easily be mistaken for a modern-day produced episode. I could gush over and over about how brilliant every episode looks. The process used to clean up and remaster the episodes thankfully didn't wipe away any details or simply blow up the image. Colors are deep and full, allowing the overall dark aesthetic to remain intact without sacrificing the show's overall color palette. The episodes look clear and vibrant in a way I wasn't expecting. Background details previously obscured and hard to make out look sharper. Every episode looks fantastic, even those where the flaws or mistakes come from the original masters. The episodes feel refreshed with these new HD remasters, especially installments from the The New Batman Adventures era.
Some episodes have spots that look soft, or have very noticeable scratches or dust, but that's due to those issues being present in the source material. It doesn't take away from the insane HD remaster quality in the slightest. Personally, I find it a nice reminder of Batman: The Animated Series' history. Also, blemishes and errors from the DVD transfers (such as the blurry issues from "Shadow of the Bat, Part Two") are also non-existent. There are bits of artifacting, but it's not really noticeable for the most part (though it is obvious in a some episodes, such as in the latter The Adventures of Batman & Robin-era and The New Batman Adventures-era installments), and to the best of my knowledge, the process used to clean up the episodes doesn't have many detrimental impacts. One notable exception is the freezing effect used on Mr. Freeze's helmet, which appears a little smudged. The clean-up process also muddies up some of the rain and mist effects used in some episodes, such as in "The Lion and The Unicorn" and "Riddler's Reform." That said, it's easy to miss and perhaps won't be caught by the majority of viewers. While it's not perfect, it's still an unbelievable transfer, and ultimately makes watching the series something akin to a revelation.
To view the titles cards from each Batman: The Animated Series episode in high-definition, click here.
To those not picking up the collection believing the upgrade to DVD and Blu-ray is minimal, I strongly urge you to reconsider. The difference is staggering and evident immediately upon starting up the first episode, and it's consistent through nearly every single episode. It's refreshing that even the lesser episodes received the same attention as the critically-acclaimed ones. Plus, it's been fun to catch new details missed due to the previously available video quality.
Like the video, the clarity of the audio transfer is also something of a revelation here, primarily the subtle sound effects missed on broadcast airings and the previously available DVDs. The original stereo audio is offered in 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio lossless and the tracks sound exceptional. Dialogue is crystal clear, be it in quiet character moments or during the action beats. The score, featuring some of the best music ever put to animation, sounds thunderous and epic (as it should). Sounds effects also pop here on Blu-ray, presenting an audio track that feels full bodied and breathes new life in the mix of each episode. I guarantee you, even to those who have watched these episodes countless times, you will hear (and see) new things you didn't before.
Looking at the new on-disc bonus content, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has put together an engaging 98-minute "Heart of Batman" documentary which revisits the creation and impact of Batman: The Animated Series. Interview subjects include the likes of Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, Eric Radomski, Alan Burnett, Kevin Conroy, Andrea Romano and Tara Strong, among others. However, Warner Bros. Animation President Jean MacCurdy presents a novel take on the show's development, offering a host of interesting tidbits, anecdotes and creates the overall atmosphere of what was happening at Warner Bros. Animation at time. She's absolutely fascinating and shines a new light on production details and stories fans have heard over and over. "Heart of Batman" gets its own disc in the collection, and is paired with a nearly 90-second standard-definition quick look at the creation of Harley Quinn.
This collection also included the recent Warner Archive Blu-ray releases of Batman: Mask of the Phantasm and Batman & Mr. Freeze: Sub-Zero. Those reviews can be found here and here, respectively.
In terms of other on-disc bonus content, the rest of it is ported over from the previous Batman: The Animated Series DVD volume releases. All the commentaries, featurettes, etc., is included on here, with the exception of some promotional spots, trivia and episode introductions from the original single-disc DVD releases, as well as the "Shades of the Bat: Batman's Animated Evolution" featurette included on Batman: The Complete Animated Series DVD collection (review here). If you've picked up the previous DVD releases, you'll be familiar with the ported over bonus content. It's a good move on Warner Bros. Home Entertainment to include nearly all of the previous bonus features, and it's been enjoyable to actually revisit it here in the Blu-ray collection. Note: a disc-by-disc breakdown of the bonus content can be found below the review.
Batman: The Complete Animated Series - Deluxe Limited Edition also includes a download code to redeem a digital copy of all 109 episodes of the series. While the codes originally redeemed the series in standard definition due to an error, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment states the code will properly offer the remastered HD episodes as intended, plus the set's two bonus movies.
While the package we get here is just overflowing with goodies - both with the main content and the bonus features - I definitely would've liked to have seen a featurette done on restoring the series. Clearly a lot of work went into this and it would've been interesting to see the process from start to finish, along with side-by-side comparisons. The talented crew who worked on remastering the series truly deserve praise for their work, and getting a featurette would've been a cool acknowledgement of all the hard work.
Also, it's odd that Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman isn't a part of the set, though that's likely due to the fact that it's been readily available on Blu-ray for some time and wasn't part of Warner's recent remaster efforts for Batman: The Animated Series and it's first two spin-off movies. In terms of other missing content, there's really nothing else noteworthy that's been left out. And, given that the The Batman/Superman Movie consists of three Superman: The Animated Series episodes, it's inclusion was not expected here. Same goes for some of the Batman-guesting Superman: The Animated Series crossover episodes and the infamous "lost episode," which is not an actual episode but the fully-animated cut scenes from the The Adventures of Batman & Robin Sega CD game. We get the entire Batman: The Animated Series proper and, with the included bonus content, it's a fairly extensive collection of extras.
Lastly, there is one very minor nitpick I have about the set's on-screen presentation. The music and sound effects used for the menu screens is from the Batman: The Animated Series - Volume Four DVD collection, and it's slightly odd since said sound effects consist of bat squeaks, computer beeps and clicks. This sounds a little odd and out of place on this release as Blu-ray menu is a basic still background image with a pop-up menu, none of which matches the sounds heard. Why not just use a music track with no sound effects? As I said, it's an extremely minor nitpick, but something I felt worth pointing out.
Batman: The Complete Animated Series - Deluxe Limited Edition is, unquestionably, not only in the running for the best Blu-ray set of 2018, but it's also one of the best Blu-ray collections of the last few years. The HD remaster quality is staggering and genuinely stunning. It's such a vast improvement in every regard, even if there are some minor issues with video quality - and even those are infrequent and barely noticeable for the most part. The best Batman cartoon ever made has simply never looked better, and that's not hyperbole. Tack on an engaging and interesting documentary on the show's place in history, and house it all in a handsome box set, and you have one release that can not be missed. Batman: The Complete Animated Series - Deluxe Limited Edition is worth every single penny, no doubt about it. Must Own!
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided a copy of this title to review, and thoughts and comments on said title are of the author. An additional copy of the collection was also purchased by the author. Batman: The Complete Animated Series is now available to own on Blu-ray from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.
Please note nearly 60 episodes of the series along with all of the bonus content were reviewed before collection's October 30, 2018 release. All remaining episodes were watched by November 12, 2018, with the review adjusted accordingly.
Batman: The Complete Animated Series - Deluxe Limited Edition Disc by Disc episode and bonus content breakdown:
Season One, Disc One
-On Leather Wings
-Christmas with the Joker
-Nothing to Fear
-The Last Laugh
-Be a Clown
-Two-Face, Part One
-Two-Face, Part Two
-It's Never Too Late
-I've Got Batman in My Basement
-Audio Commentary for On Leather Wings with Bruce Timm and Eric Radomski
-A Conversation with Bruce Timm: On Leather Wings
-A Conversation with Bruce Timm: Christmas with the Joker
-A Conversation with Bruce Timm: Nothing to Fear
-A Conversation with Bruce Timm: The Last Laugh
-A Conversation with Bruce Timm: Pretty Poison
-The Dark Knight's First Night Pilot Promo: Hosted by Bruce Timm
Season One, Disc Two
-Heart of Ice
-The Cat and the Claw, Part One
-The Cat and the Claw, Part Two
-See No Evil
-Beware the Gray Ghost
-Prophecy of Doom
-Feat of Clay, Part One
-Feat of Clay, Part Two
-Fear of Victory
-The Clock King
-Appointment in Crime Alley
-Audio Commentary for Heart of Ice with Paul Dini, Bruce Timm, and Eric Radomski
-Batman: The Legacy Continues Retrospective
-Tour of the Batcave
Season One, Disc Two
-Mad as a Hatter
-Dreams in Darkness
-Perchance to Dream
-The Cape and Cowl Conspiracy
-Robin's Reckoning, Part One
-Robin's Reckoning, Part Two
-The Laughing Fish
-Night of the Ninja
-Cat Scratch Fever
-The Strange Secret of Bruce Wayne
-Heart of Steel, Part One
-Heart of Steel, Part Two
-Audio Commentary for "Robin's Reckoning, Part One" by Bruce Timm and Eric Radomski
-Audio Commentary for "Heart of Steel, Part Two" by Bruce Timm, Eric Radomski, and Kevin Altieri
-Robin Rising: How the Boy Wonder's Character Evolved
-Gotham's Guardians: The Stalwart Supporting Characters
Season One, Disc Four
-If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Rich?
-Moon of the Wolf
-Day of the Samurai
-Terror in the Sky
-Almost Got 'Im
-Birds of a Feather
-What Is Reality?
-I Am the Night
-The Man Who Killed Batman
-Audio Commentary for "Almost Got 'Im" by Bruce Timm, Eric Radomski, and Paul Dini
-Voices of the Knight
Season One, Disc Five
-Paging the Crime Doctor
-Harley and Ivy
-Shadow of the Bat, Part One
-Shadow of the Bat, Part Two
-Blind As a Bat
-The Demon's Quest, Part One
-The Demon's Quest, Part Two
-His Silicon Soul
-Fire from Olympus
-Read My Lips
-The Worry Men
-Audio Commentary on "Harley and Ivy" by Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, Eric Radomski, and Boyd Kirkland
-Audio Commentary on "Read My Lips" by Bruce Timm, Michael Reaves, Boyd Kirkland, and Shirley Walker
-Gotham's New Knight
Season Two, Disc One
-A Bullet for Bullock
-House & Garden
-The Terrible Trio
-Time Out of Joint
-Audio Commentary on "Harlequinade" by Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, Shirley Walker, and Eric Radomski
-Video Commentary on "House & Garden" by Bruce Timm, Boyd Kirkland, and Paul Dini
Season Two, Disc Two
-The Lion and the Unicorn
-Make 'Em Laugh
Season Three, Disc One
-Sins of the Father
-You Scratch My Back
-Love Is a Croc
-The Ultimate Thrill
-Over the Edge
-Audio Commentary on "Over the Edge" by Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, Glen Murakami, and James Ticker
-Arkham Asylum: Examine the Top-Secret Case Files of the Dark Knight's Many Foes
Season Three, Disc Two
-Cult of the Cat
-The Demon Within
-Legends of the Dark Knight
-Girls' Night Out
-Beware the Creeper
-Audio Commentary on "Critters" by Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, Dan Riba, Glen Murakami, and James Ticker
-Audio Commentary on "Legends of the Dark Knight" by Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, Dan Riba, Glen Murakami, and James Tucker
Bonus Features Disc
-The Heart of Batman documentary
-Concepting Harley Quinn