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Releases - DVD - Batman Beyond: The Complete Second Season
Packaging
Menus

Announce Date: 7/12/06
Street Date: 10/24/06
Closed Captioning: Yes
MSRP: $44.98
Packaging Type: Digi-Pack
Subformat: Multi Disc
Media Quantity: 4
Disc Configuration: 1) 9-Dual Layer 2) 9-Dual Layer 3) 9-Dual Layer 4) 9-Dual Layer
Sound Track Language: English
Run Time: 544
Subtitles:
Francais, Espanol

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio - 1.33, Standard [4:3 Transfer]

Sound Quality:
English: Stereo 2S
Episodes: Splicers; Earth Mover; Joyride; Lost Soul; Hidden Agenda; Bloodsport; Once Burned; Hooked Up; Rats!; Mind Games; Revenant; Babel; Terry's Friend Dates A Robot; Eyewitness; Final Cut; The Last Resort; Armory; Sneek Peak; The Eggbaby; Zeta; Plague; April Moon; Sentries of the Last Cosmos; Payback; Where's Terry?; Ace In The Hole

DVD Features
:
• Inside Batman Beyond: The Panel – Batman Beyond Season 2 Panel Discussion continues with Producer Bruce Timm, Producer Alan Burnett, Producer Glen Murakami, Producer Paul Dini and Moderator Jason Hillhouse
• "Splicers" Commentary – Producer Bruce Timm, Director Curt Geda* and Producer Glen Murakami, Voice Director Andrea Romano, "Terry McGinnis / Batman" Voice Will Friedle
• "Eggbaby" Commentary – Producer Bruce Timm, Director James Tucker and Producer Glen Maurakami, Voice Director Andrea Romano, "Terry McGinnis / Batman" Voice Will Friedle

* - It is mentioned in the commentary that Geda was unable to make it and James Tucker was in place of Curt Geda, despite not being associated with "Splicers."

Synopsis: WHV will be bringing you the second installment from the Emmy® Award Winning TV series, Batman Beyond. Batman Beyond: Season 2 features Terry McGinnis, the impetuous teenager who doubles as the crime fighting BATMAN. Still a newcomer to the scene, Terry lacks his mentor’s experience and doubts his fighting abilities. Taking down criminals like THE JOKERZ, SHRIEK and CURARE, helps build Terry’s confidence and makes him accept his role as GOTHAM CITY’S newest guardian. The 26 gripping adventures in this 4-disc collection will have you falling in love with Gotham’s newest BATMAN.

Review (Bird Boy): Just months (well, ok, technically half a year—time has just flown by this year!) after Batman Beyond’s first season hit DVD, season 2 will hit shelves on October 24th. Initial speculation on the set had everyone thinking that the second season, consisting of 26 episodes, would be split up into two volumes. Apparently not wanting to wait around to finish releasing the set and wait for a possible market “cool down”, Warner Home Video put out the entire set of Batman Beyond’s second season on one, four disc release. Whether this was their original plan or not, fans certainly have nothing to complain about on this set (though they will!): an excellent season with quite a few hit-and-miss episodes, but the overall quality of the show is still intact, even with Max wandering around in this season.

Batman Beyond starts off its second season with “Splicers”, a tale about teenagers splicing their DNA with that of animals. It’s essentially a “don’t do drugs!” “don’t give into peer pressure” type tale, but like all of the “after school special lessons” that Batman Beyond dealt with, it was done with a certain amount of poise so that it wasn’t crammed down your throat. And, of course, we get to see a giant, ugly monster pustulate and pop all over the place. On top of “Splicers” we have a large array of good ("Earth Mover", "Joyride", "Hidden Agenda", "Once Burned", "The Eggbaby", “Eyewitness”) mixed in with a bit of bad ("Rats!", "April Moon"..."Rats!"). In fact, as I watched some of these episodes for the first time in years, I realized that while Season 2 was considered the “worst” of the three, it contained some really solid stories and animation. “Eyewitness” remains a favorite of mine and I’m glad to finally have a copy of that wasn’t copied off of five other VHS tapes.

Overall you really can’t go wrong with this set—the season is really a lot of fun to watch for casual and hardcore fans and it makes a great companion piece to Season 1. Now we just have to wait for Season 3 to get one of the best (and most disturbing) Batman Beyond episodes (“Out of the Past”) on DVD.

The DVD
Unlike the last season of Batman Beyond on DVD, this set features a neat foil/reflective slip case. There’s no embossing done on this case like other DCAU seasons, but the foil reflective nature of the cover is very cool looking. The inside of the case is just like Justice League’s past two seasons, with double layer digipak trays and the disc information on the back “cover” of the digipaks. Disc art is a strange array of choices, with Mr. Freeze adorning disc one, despite his lack of presence in this season. Still, it’s only a minor part of the set, since you’ll only see the disc art when taking the discs in and out.

Moving onto the menus we have only static menus this time around, with theme music over the main menu only. Sub-menus are full of character art that is both related and unrelated to this season (just as they did with Season 1 and the discs of this set). It’s distracting at times to see the King Kobra on a menu full of episodes he wasn’t remotely related to, but it’s a minor qualm to have with the set.

Video is strong on the set, especially in later episodes as the show switched to digital coloring. There is the usual interlacing and aliasing that shows up and compression pops a bit more on the digitally colored shows, but it’s nothing that we aren’t used to. Audio is amazing to listen to, even though it’s merely a Dolby Surround 2.0 track. Having a proper receiver and speaker set up can do a lot for stereo tracks and this show sounds simply awesome in the right environment.

“Inside Batman Beyond: The Panel” picks up, quite literally, where season 1 left off. It appears to have been filmed on the same day as season 1’s, but that’s just an observation and not a complaint. The featurette goes through the good and bad of season 2 and even focuses on the debate the team had on “Earthmover”; this debate is also the most lively I’ve seen Alan Burnett talk on these featurettes in a long time. Lot of fun to watch, even if it doesn’t run too long.

The first of two commentaries on the set is “Splicers.” Great comments from the crew on this one, including the first voice actor of the DCAU to appear on the commentaries—Will Friedle! Friedle’s appearance was a major surprise to me when I first got these discs, as I hadn’t heard anything about his recording on this set. Definitely a cool surprise and he adds quite a few bits of information about the show, along with Andrea Romano who also joins the crew on both commentaries.

“The Eggbaby” commentary was just as entertaining as “Splicers” and contained a great deal of fun talk about how the episode is debated as being hated/loved by fans and how it was their first of Batman Beyond to win an Emmy. More insight from Will Friedle and Andrea Romano is spilled throughout the commentary; however, there are a few noticeably dull parts. Usually I never notice the dry spells as the episode audio cuts back in to fill the silence, but for some reason this commentary didn’t have any of that—instead we just get dead silence.

That does it for the special features on this set. Short and sweet this time around and the lack of bonus audio-only tracks is a bummer, but the set is still well worth owning. Pick it up, share it with your friends and family and be prepared to enjoy some future Batman butt kicking.

Review (Jim Harvey): Surpassing its’ original intention as a futuristic spin-off, Batman Beyond flew onto TV screens and became an instant hit. After a nearly flawless first season, The Tomorrow Knights hits a bit of a bumpy road in the second season. Thankfully, Warner Home Video has collected the entire second season into one complete collection, warts and all!

One can question the merit of this season. There are some true knockouts like “Eyewitness,” “The Eggbaby,” “Lost Soul,” “Earth Mover,” and I could go on. However, this season also brought us some of the first real stinkers of the series and the introduction of arguably the most controversial character in Batman Beyond’s short 52 episode life. Yes, I am talking about Max Gibson. There are other threads dedicated to this character, and whether or not she actually helped the Batman Beyond mythos, so I will not waste anymore time on her here.

As many noted, the second season is not as strong as the first. As the creative team moved away from the more corporate evil stories and into the high school, they ran into the proverbial wall that comes with the situation. As Bruce Timm says in one of the extra features on the set, you can’t really have every bad guy come from Terry’s school. If every teacher is a villain in disguise, every school chum involved in some nefarious plot, it becomes too hard to swallow too quickly (of course, if this happens, Jason Hillhouse has some great advice: time to transfer to a new school). So yes, we did see that start to happen in this season, but I don’t think it hindered the show.

The creative team realized what was happening, albeit a teeny bit too late, and moved away from it, resulting in such great episodes as “April Moon” and “Where’s Terry.” We finally did get to see more of Terry’s school life, and a lot of the clichés that came with it were thankfully avoided. Yes, there are some missteps along the way, but what series isn’t plagued with the odd mistake or misstep?

Also of note, halfway through the season, the show changed from being traditionally hand-colored to computer coloring, resulting in some rather bright episodes. The first episode to be computer colored, “Eyewitness,” oddly enough did not suffer this fate. There is a batch of episodes afterwards that come across as nearly blinding (episodes like “Zeta,” “The Last Resort,” and “The Eggbaby” come to mind, though I think it was intentional on “The Eggbaby”).

There are some misses, but I think the hits overpower them. Yes, the quality ranges from horrid (the woefully misguided “Rats”) to alright (such as “Zeta”) to genius (“Earth Mover” and “Lost Soul” are pure brilliance). It’s a season that shows the evolution of the show and gives a hint in what to expect for the final collection of episodes, due on DVD in March 2007 (almost a year after the initial season was released). It’s a great collection, giving us both the good and bad, and is definitely worth picking up.

As for the extras? We get a nice featurette, a continuation of the behind-the-scenes discussion presented on the first set. Again, there’s not a lot here that fans will likely not know, but to see the creators actually engage in discussion over certain episodes and dispute their merits is fascinating and engaging to watch. It’s not some run of the mill ‘pat yourself on the back’ featurette, but we see some actual engagement. The two commentaries are also nice treats, especially with the Will Friedle and Andrea Romano stepping in alongside the usual suspects. While the commentary on “The Eggbaby” can get a little dry, overall I find these commentaries to be engaging.

The audio and visual presentation is nice, though not perfect. There is no audio whatsoever when the conversation pauses on “The Eggbaby” commentary, and the episode is actually cut short during the end credits. It’s odd, but something I don’t find bothersome. The packaging is great, with a great looking foil cover adding some dimension to the cover art. As usual, the disc art is befuddling and amusing.

Is it a perfect package? No, not at all. I don’t think we’ll ever get a perfect DVD set, or one that lives up to the ridiculously high standards of a DCAU fan. I, however, find it to be a great set and a nice compliment to the DCAU DVDs already released. It’s highly recommended and worth picking up to not only completely your Batman Beyond and DCAU DVD collection, but it’s just worth picking up period. It’s a quality program that any animation fan can dig into.

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