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MAIN CHARACTERS GUIDES MEDIA REVIEWS BACKSTAGE RELEASES DISCUSSION

RELEASES - THE BATMAN: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON


Packaging



Menus


Art

Announce Date: 11/16/05
Street Date: 2/7/06
Closed Captioning: Yes
MSRP: $19.98
Packaging Type: Amaray Case
Disc Configuration: 1) 9-Dual Layer 2) 9-Dual Layer
Run Time: 276
Subtitles:
English, Francais, Espanol
Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio - 1.33, Standard [4:3 Transfer]
Sound Quality:
English: Stereo 2S
Francais: Stereo 2S
Espanol: Stereo 2S


Special Features
Featurettes
New Look, New Direction, New Dark Knight - Go Behind the Scenes to Explore the Development of The Batman series.
Building the Batman - Detective Ellen Yin investigates The Batman's true identity.
Gotham PD Case Files - Highly confidential profiles of The Batman's most dastardly foes.

Games
The Batman Detective Junior Challenge - Level 1 and 2
2 Cool Challenges - The Batman Big Chill Challenge and Create Your Own Villain.

Review by Zach Demeter: Arriving on televisions in September of 2004, The Batman premiered with some of the worst reviews that have graced a WB Animation show in a long time. Whether the negativity came from the backlash of Batman: The Animated Series fans getting angry a new “universe” taking over the airwaves or simply because the premiere episode…well, sucked, one thing is for certain: this is a new Batman for a new generation of television watchers and it certainly comes with its own amount of style.

This new DVD set collects the entire first season, comprised of thirteen episodes, on two discs. Six episodes were previously available in single disc, three episode collections, with the final two episodes of the season coming out randomly via a Wal-Mart Batman Begins bonus disc offer. Fans have no reason to feel cheated with this release—it gives us the entire season in one nice package (instead of split up on four single-disc releases like it was heading towards) and with a brief but interesting special feature.

Packaging is a standard two-disc flip-tray Amaray case with an insert telling what episodes and special features are on what disc. I don’t know why it always gets me riled up, but when I buy a DVD with no insert I immediately become angry as I look down at a DVD case that looks like someone broke into and stole something out of. Regardless of that, I am very happy to find the insert as well as a DVD offer (proof of purchase, original receipt and a check for shipping and handling will get you one of four DVDs [Batman: The Legend Begins, Batman: Tales of the Dark Knight, Justice League (“Secret Origins”) and Static Shock: The New Kid] for “free.”) accompany this DVD set.

The menu interface for this release is very nice. A clap of thunder starts us off and the animated menus (luckily no disturbing The Batman promotional art running along roof tops in very awkward fashion this time!) move us down Gotham City and to the main menu where characters give full turn-a-rounds and rotate (The Batman, Joker, Bruce Wayne, Penguin and Mr. Freeze) with The Batman theme playing in the background.

Special features are pretty sparse, with only one item being new (“New Look, New Direction, New Knight”). It’s a great feature that gives insight into how the production of the show started, what they wanted to do different and describe a few of the main characters and their motives. Plenty of storyboard art is thrown in throughout this featurette, but it unfortunately ends slightly after the six minute mark. The rest of the special features are from the previous two single disc releases and really don’t amount to much. Top it off with the “Junior Detective” quizzes (which are listed backwards on the menu for some reason) and a few trailers and that wraps up this release.

Video and audio are identical to the single disc releases. Sadly no chapters are given in this release (hopefully next time), but the digital transfer of the episodes is beautiful. Compression shows up frequently and a bit of interlacing shows its head but its standard for animation transfers in this day and age. Audio is strong with the Dolby Stereo sounding fairly good.

Despite it being a decent release, I find myself very disappointed by the special features. Much like its release day partner, Teen Titans: The Complete First Season, this DVD has mostly recycled features; yet unlike Teen Titans, these special features are simply not worth watching. I enjoyed the new featurette, but there really needed to be more.

The main attraction of this season set, of course, is the episodes. This can both be a positive and a negative, as the episodes range from great to “Oh my God I never want to watch that again.” Season two definitely picked up in quality and the third season of The Batman has been pretty satisfactory, but there is some fun to be found in this first season as well. Fans will already have it pre-ordered, but casual fans may want to catch this shaky season on re-runs before committing to a full purchase.

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