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RELEASES - BLU-RAY - THE BATMAN: THE COMPLETE SERIES

The Batman: The Complete Series
Studio: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Release Date: March 1, 2022 (originally February 1, 2022)
Language: English, French, Spanish
Press Releases: Original Announcement, Delay Notice

Synopsis: The early years of the Caped Crusader get a closer examination with the fully-remastered The Batman: The Complete Series. The six-time Emmy Award-winning series premiered on September 11, 2004 on Kids’ WB. The Batman: The Complete Series follows 20-something-year-old Bruce Wayne’s early adventures as he balances his daytime persona as a bachelor billionaire with his nighttime guise as a caped crimefighter. Along the way, Batman is joined by allies Robin and Batgirl as they combat Gotham City’s Rogues’ Gallery, including updated versions of his familiar foes as well as a bevy of rarely seen villains like Killer Moth and The Everywhere Man. Join one of the most complex and intriguing character in comic book history for action-packed super heroic adventures that test the limits of this legendary character's extraordinary physical prowess and super-sleuthing skills.

Executive Producer Alan Burnett led an extremely talented team that included producers Glen Murakami, Jeff Matsuda and Linda Steiner, and supervising producers Michael Goguen and Duane Capizzi. Brandon Vietti anchored a group of eight series directors, while the episode writers featured an all-star roster of scribes including Bob Goodman, Paul Dini, Stan Berkowitz, Steven Melching, Greg Weisman, Joseph Kuhr, Michael Jelenic, Jane Espenson, Paul Giacoppo and Len Uhley.

Rino Romano (Spider-Man Unlimited) heads the cast as the voice of Bruce Wayne/Batman. Romano is joined by Evan Sabara as Dick Grayson/Robin, Danielle Judovits as Barbara Gordon/Batgirl, Kevin Michael Richardson as the Joker, Ming-Na Wen as Detective Ellen Yin, Tom Kenny as The Penguin, Clancy Brown as Mr. Freeze, Alastair Duncan as Alfred, Gina Gershon as Catwoman, Jason Marsden as Firefly, Steve Harris as Detective Ethan Bennett/Clayface, Mitch Pileggi as Commissioner James Gordon, and Adam West (Batman) as Mayor Grange. In addition, the series featured a who's who of popular actors destined for the voice actor hall of fame with an extensive roster of guest appearances.

The Batman: The Complete Series special features include:

-The Dark Dynasty Continues (New Featurette)
-Joining Forces: The Batman's Legendary Team-Ups (Featurette)
-The Batman Junior Detective Challenge (Quiz)
-The Batman Junior Detective Exam: Level 2 (Quiz) -Building Batman (Featurette)
-Gotham PD Case Files (Featurette)
-New Look, New Direction, New Knight (Featurette)
-The Batman: Season 3 Unmasked (Featurette)
-The Batman: Season 4 Unmasked (Featurette)

Note: The Canadian release does not include a digital copy.

Click the "Press Release" links above for more details!

The Batman: The Complete Series Blu-ray Collection
Review by James Harvey

Long overdue, the fan-favorite Kids' WB! animated series The Batman finally comes to Blu-ray with The Batman: The Complete Series, courtesy of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. And like the show itself, the end product is pretty excellent, save for a couple missteps. With a lighter, tech-heavy take on The Caped Crusader, The Batman offered up fun superheroics while making a host of interesting, bold chances with its massive cast of characters, though it occasionally stumbled with weak episodes and undeveloped foes. Still, the many pros outweigh the cons and, much like its Blu-ray release, The Batman deserves a spot in any Bat-fan's collection.

The Batman follows the early years of Gotham's resident vigilante as he balances his daytime persona as a bachelor billionaire Bruce Wayne with his nighttime guise as a caped crimefighter. The six-time Emmy Award-winning series, which premiered on September 11, 2004 on Kids’ WB, offered a closer examination of Batman's earliest years and his evolution from lone vigilante to mentor and world-saving superhero. Along the way, Batman is joined by allies Robin and Batgirl as they combat Gotham City’s Rogues’ Gallery, which includes both familiar faces and some new to the small screen. And The Batman's entire journey (well, almost) is now packaged in a slick six-disc set which collects all 65 episodes plus some special bonus content.

As with previous "complete" collection reviews, the focus will be more on the Blu-ray itself, but before we get to that, let's take a quick look at the cartoon! It's time to bring on The Batman!

The first Batman-centric cartoon following the ground-breaking Batman: The Animated Series, The Batman was a fairly straight-forward action series, though with an emphasis on martial arts, gadgets and tech (such as the "Bat-Wave"), and it did its job well, for the most part. After a bit of a bumpy first season, The Batman really found its footing during season two and would then stay fairly stable for the rest of its run. Sure, every season had a dud or two, but for the most part, each was also filled with a wealth of great episodes, with the exception of the ricketity initial season.

The Batman immediately set itself apart from its predecessor with wild, inventive design choices and action beats, fresh takes on classic faces, new additions to Batman's supporting cast, along with shuffling the established Bat-mythos around. Unfortunately, for all the work this series put into creating its own identity, it still could not escape Batman: The Animated Series' long, long shadow and dedicated fanbase. The Batman never set out to be the next Batman: The Animated Series, but a wealth of fans punished the series for just that reason alone anyways. That, coupled with the "Bat-Embargo" (in short, becuase of The Batman, nearly all of Batman-related characters were not allowed to be used on Justice League Unlimited to avoid brand confusion), directed a lot of undeserved resentment and unfair treatment toward the series. The Batman had a heavy cross to bear, being the first Batman-centric cartoon after Batman: The Animated Series, and The Batman's creative team was not only up to the challenge but pulled it off with style to spare.

That said, all of the aforementioned style does come at a cost. Since The Batman does focus more on its action sequences and tech gadgetry, the character development does suffer a little (plus nearly every character seems to be extremely proficient in martial arts, even when it doesn't necessarily make sense) and plots can occasionally be paper-thin or non-sensical. Outside of the Dark Knight himself and a handful of the series' regular players and rogues gallery members (such as Clayface), many of the opponents Batman faces throughout The Batman's run are fairly interchangeable and stay pretty stagnant in terms of character development across multiple appearances. Fortunately, it doesn't really impact the overall enjoyment as The Batman usually has a neat gimmick or twist to keep foes interesting and the show engaging.

Also breathing life into The Batman is its incredible cast of voice talent. Whether a regular character, a reoccurring one, or just a one-shot appearance, the talent involved is staggering. Rino Romano (arguably most well-known for his work on Spider-Man Unlimited and the early 2000s Spider-Man video-game series) does a great job as a younger Batman, his performance evolving alongside the Dark Knight himself in the show, both growing more and more confident with each passing season. Romano leads the pack, with other standouts including (but not limited to) Alastair Duncan as Alfred, Kevin Michael Richardson as the Joker, Ming-Na Wen as Detective Ellen Yin, Steve Harris as Detective Ethan Bennett/Clayface, and Mitch Pileggi as Commissioner James Gordon. And that just scratches the surface of The Batman's massive pool of voice talent.

As with its impressive character and talent roster, The Batman also has more than its fair share of stand-out episodes. Yes, there are some exceptionally weak installments during the course of the series but, on the opposite end, there are some real gems. Some, but not all, of the series' best episodes include "The Rubberface of Comedy," "The Clayface of Tragedy," "Meltdown," "Batgirl Begins," "Gotham's Ultimate Criminal Mastermind," "A Matter of Family," "Strange New World," "Seconds," "Two of a Kind," "Riddler's Revenge," "The Batman/Superman Story," "The End of The Batman" and "Lost Powers."

To break it down, simply, The Batman holds up way better than expected. It looks gorgeous from start-to-finish, without a poorly animated episode in the bunch. On top of that, the writing can be so charming (for lack of a better term) at times that even the weakest episode is still easily watchable. Given that the series is still a regular conversation topic among fans even nearly 20 years after its debut speaks to the show's impact, popularity and endurance. And, with the release of The Batman: The Complete Series on Blu-ray and Digital (in addition to the readily-available DVD season collections), it's a great time to either revisit this early 2000s actioner or finally check it out for the first time.

And now, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment brings The Batman to Blu-ray in a sleak, compact six-disc collection, housed in a slightly chunkier-than-usual case and slipcover. Inside is a small leaflet which provides a disc-by-disc detailing of The Batman: The Complete Series. It's a stripped-down release similar to the recent Superman: The Complete Animated Series collection, and it takes up very little shelf space.

Moving to the on-disc content, there's a good splash of extras scattered throughout the collection to go with the 65 remastered high-definition episodes. The Batman: The Complete Series breaks down as follows:

Disc One
Episodes: The Batman in the Belfry, Call of the Cobblepot, Traction, The Cat and the Bat, The Man Who Would Be Bat, The Big Chill, The Big Heat, Q & A, The Big Dummy, Topsy Turvy. Bird of Prey
Bonus Feature: The Dark Dynasty Continues

Disc Two
The Rubberface of Comedy, The Clayface of Tragedy, The Cat, The Bat and the Ugly, Riddled, Fire and Ice, The Laughing Bat, Swamped, Pets, Meltdown, JTV, Ragdolls to Riches

Disc Three
Episodes: The Butler Did It, Grundy's Night, Strange Minds, Night and the City, Batgirl Begins, Part 1, Bagirl Begins, Part 2, A Dark Knight to Remember, A Fistful of Felt, RPM, Brawn, The Laughing Cats
Bonus Features: The Batman: Season Three Unmasked, Joining Forces: The Batman's Legendary Team-Ups

Disc Four
Episodes: Fleurs de Mal, Cash for Toys, Thunder, The Apprentice, The Icy Depths, Gotham's Ultimate Criminal Mastermind, A Matter of Family, Team Penguin, Clayfaces, The Everywhere Man, The Breakout
Bonus Features: The Batman: Season Four Unmasked, The Batman Junior Detective Challenge, The Batman Junior Detective Challenge Exam - Level 2, Building the Batman

Disc Five
Episodes: Strange New World, Artifacts, Seconds, Riddler's Revenge, Two of a Kind, Rumors, The Joining, Part 1, The Joining, Part 2, The Batman/Superman Story, Part 1, The Batman/Superman Story, Part 2, Vertigo

Disc Six
Episodes: Whie Heat, A Mirror Darkly, Joker Express, Ring-Toss, The Metal Face of Comedy, Attack of the Terrible Trio, The End of the Batman, What Goes Up..., Lost Heroes, Part 1, Lost Heroes, Part 2,
Bonus Feature: Gotham PD Case Files, The Batman: New Look, New Direction, New Knight

It's hard to dispute the good package that Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has put together for The Batman: The Complete Series, even if it's not entirely complete. Still, there's some surprisingly informative, albeit-too-brief, extras on here which add up to well over an hour of bonus content. Let's take a look!

First, the collection's sole new feature is the "The Dark Dynasty Continues" featurette, a nearly 16-minute retrospective featuring new interviews from the cast and crew, including Duane Capizzi, Brandon Vietti, Sam Liu, Steven Melching, Rino Romano, Alastair Duncan and Andrea Romano. Creators discuss the development of the series, the artstyle, story-telling choices and hurdles, and even the show's score. It's a positive look back at the underappreciated series and its deserved place in the overall Batman media mythology. Fans will definitely enjoy it, as the new featurette nicely compliments both the series itself and even the other extra bonus content included here.

Ported over content includes "Joining Forces: Batman's Legendary Team Ups" (approximately nine minutes), which talks about the team-ups and how the producers decided which elements of the original comic book stories to include in the individual episodes, along with “New Look, New Direction, New Knight,” covering the production of the series and their goals for the series. It runs a little short at just over six minutes long. There's also "The Batman: Season 3 Unmasked" (nearly ten minutes long) which has interviews with crew and cast discussing the developments of the season, such as the inclusion of Batgirl. Similarly, "The Batman: Season 4 Unmasked" (also shy of ten minutes) has cast and crew talking about their feelings toward the fourth season and what the writers did to spice it up. Also included are the younger-skewing "The Batman Junior Detective Challenge" and "The Batman Junior Detective Exam: Level 2" quizzes and "Gotham PD Case Files" villains profile piece.

Unfortunately, a handful of bonus materials from the original DVD releases are missing, including the "Building the Batman," "Catching Up with...The Batman: Inside Season 2" and "The Batman: Justice League Profiles" featurettes along with some mini-games and trailers.The exclusion of the featurettes seems odd since similar special features, just from different seasons, made the cut. Both also featured words from the cast and crew.

The most puzzling omission in this collection though, one that will definitely give some fans pause, is the absence of the acclaimed The Batman vs. Dracula animated feature. A cool, creepy movie which spun out of The Batman, acclaimed by both fans and critics alike, the lack of The Batman vs. Dracula in this Blu-ray collection is a pretty glaring oversight, especially since it's already available on most digital platforms in high-definition. This set seems to continue Warner Bros. Home Entertainment's bizarre habit of leaving out key content in their recent "complete" collection releases. Perhaps in the future the studio should take a cue from its manufacture-on-demand label Warner Archive, who recently released Teen Titans: The Complete Series, which featured all key material, including its spin-off movie.

However, when it comes to audio and video quality, The Batman: The Complete Series absolutely soars. The quality of the high-definition transfer here is a striking leap from the previously-released DVD titles. The colors have never looked better, and the blacks never deeper. Even with the occasional instance here and there of compression and banding, everything really pops off the screen (particularly Gotham City's multi-colored skyline). The audio is just as robust, thanks to the excellent DTS-HD Master Audio track. While it's still a 2.0 track, it sounds full from end-to-end, and is a noticeable step-up from the standard definition DVD titles.

Lastly, the collection comes with a digital code for The Batman: The Complete Series (U.S.-only, however).

All told, The Batman: The Complete Series is a respectable release which does right (mostly) by the fan-favorite series. While the Blu-ray set is missing a couple key features, including a handful of archived DVD bonus extras and - more importantly - the The Batman vs. Dracula animated feature, it's still a hefty collection.

Fans finally get to enjoy The Batman on Blu-ray and, even with its shortcomings, the long wait was definitely worth it. The audio and video quality can't be matched, even compared to the high-definition digital options available, providing fans with the best possible viewing experience for each episode of the acclaimed cartoon. While there are a few gaps to be found within The Batman: The Complete Series, including some missing DVD extras and - more notably - the The Batman vs. Dracula animated feature, this Blu-ray release remains a worthwhile addition to any fan's collection. Highly Recommended!

Check out The World's Finest reviews for the Batman: The Complete Animated Series, Batman Beyond: The Complete Series, Superman: The Complete Animated Series, Teen Titans: The Complete Series, Legion of Super-Heroes: The Complete Series and Green Lantern: The Complete Animated Series Blu-ray releases! Also, discuss The Batman: The Complete Series by clicking here!

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