Join 3,377 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Batman: the Animated Series
January 4, 2013 7:22 PM   Subscribe

Why the opening to Batman: the Animated Series is the best thing ever.

Dun dun d'DUNN dun...
posted by curious nu (54 comments total) 41 users marked this as a favorite

 
That opening theme is worth far more than however much it cost to write, perform, and record it.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 7:27 PM on January 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


I've always loved how the police zeppelins were out in force that night.
posted by Shadax at 7:29 PM on January 4, 2013 [12 favorites]


If there was a way I could capture that intro into a poster and put it on my wall...
posted by FiveNines at 7:43 PM on January 4, 2013


I should watch these again. It's been years.
posted by codacorolla at 7:48 PM on January 4, 2013


Batman has used guns. He didn't in a kids show. Just sayin'...
posted by CarlRossi at 7:49 PM on January 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I recently re-watched the entire series and the one thing I definitely didn't catch the first time around is the incredibly uneven quality between the animation studios, even within a single season.

Also this is probably the best annotations I've seen for BTAS.
posted by griphus at 7:50 PM on January 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


He didn't in a kids show.

I think Bob Kane was the only Batman writer who wrote him with a gun, not counting nostalgic flashbacks here or there.
posted by griphus at 7:52 PM on January 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Was there some question? (Barring the addition of Freddie Mercury in some way of course)

The Fleischer Superman's were just stupifyingly awesome animation and Batman: the Animated Series channeled all of that wonder into a Batman style format with the darkness and sharp lines, the "blue-black color scheme" etc.
posted by Smedleyman at 7:53 PM on January 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Batman has used guns. He didn't in a kids show. Just sayin'...

Batman didn't use guns. The guns used him. That is their power.
posted by Nomyte at 7:54 PM on January 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've been a comic retailer since 1988 and was at the yearly Diamond Comics Seminar (a comic book industry trade event) in 1992 when DC Comics presented us with an episode of the as yet unaired Batman: The Animated Series. When the opening sequence hit the screen in that darkened hall full of comic retailers and industry people, there was a sustained hush as everyone went absolutely silent, until the end when everyone burst into spontaneous cheers and applause. We all knew that minute-long segment was better than the entire 1989 BATMAN movie.
posted by Ron Thanagar at 7:54 PM on January 4, 2013 [25 favorites]


Batman.
Verb.
posted by Mblue at 7:57 PM on January 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hey wow here's a whole New Yorker article on Batman's gun.
posted by griphus at 7:57 PM on January 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's a good introduction, but my personal favorite is Invader Zim.
posted by Brocktoon at 8:28 PM on January 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Batman: The Animated Series is why I don't care for the Nolan version(s) (also, Batman's voice is all wrong in the Nolan films... they should of just dubbed it with Kevin Conroy's voice).
posted by littlesq at 9:28 PM on January 4, 2013 [14 favorites]


Yeah, definitely one of Chris Sims's best pieces.
posted by painquale at 9:28 PM on January 4, 2013


I shoulda been a blimp cop.
posted by MrBadExample at 9:45 PM on January 4, 2013 [9 favorites]


From IMDB:

The show's first opening sequence is essentially a remake of the pilot used to sell the show to Warner Bros. In the pilot, Batman foils a jewelry heist on a rooftop and leaves the robbers tied up for the police. The pilot can be seen as a special feature on Vol. 1 of the DVD collection.
posted by qwip at 9:57 PM on January 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have to admit... I get annoyed whenever there's a new animated Batman show/movie and it isn't Kevin Conroy. It's just wrong.
posted by drewbage1847 at 9:58 PM on January 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


I've really not watched enough of these.
I read an article last year about the titlecards (at io9) which made me want to buy them all.
posted by Mezentian at 10:18 PM on January 4, 2013


Batman with a gun :)
posted by asra at 10:30 PM on January 4, 2013


ick! Someone got Final Crisis in our Batman thread!
You are a very, very bad person!

So this isn't a negative post Title Card Love. I'm sure there was a Comic Book Urban Legends page about Batman and guns, but I can't find it now.
posted by Mezentian at 10:37 PM on January 4, 2013


The only thing I have against that intro, which is spectacular, nonetheless, is that it used the Tim Burton movie theme by Danny Elfman rather than the show's composer, Shirley Walker.

The theme finally opened in Mask of the Phantasm and ended up the theme for the show when they renamed it to The Adventures of Batman and Robin, which is not as good an animated intro as it definitely skews more towards showing a lot of action set pieces in rapid succession.

I actually think the Superman: TAS intro is just as good as B:TAS intro montage, but at least it sports Walker's music.

And of course, they collided with The New Batman/Superman Adventures, which has a nice thumpy theme song and includes the new stylized character design.

Meanwhile, let me throw in the dark horse: I absolutely love the intro for Batman Beyond.
posted by linux at 10:39 PM on January 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


I shoulda been a blimp cop.

In the criminal justice system, dirigible-based offences are considered especially heinous. In Gotham City, the dedicated detectives who investigate these airborne felonies are members of an elite squad, known as the Blimp Unit. These are their stories.

CLANG CLANG
posted by "Elbows" O'Donoghue at 10:40 PM on January 4, 2013 [25 favorites]


Things worth mentioning that weren't mentioned in the article:

1) The theme to the intro was written by Danny Elfman, notorious composer of Every Single 90s Theme Song
2) The unique dark style the show had was due largely to the choice of animating light colors on black paper

Batman: The Animated Series is why I don't care for the Nolan version(s)

I have the opposite opinion. I liked Nolan's movies more because they seemed inspired by Batman: TAS.
posted by girih knot at 11:03 PM on January 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


And I liked Burton's version because it was more like the comics and not like the TV version.
But I hate Nolan's version.

Do we need a Venn Diagram?
posted by Mezentian at 11:05 PM on January 4, 2013


The theme to the intro was written by Danny Elfman, notorious composer of Every Single 90s Theme Song

I sort of forgive Danny Elfman as I was a huge 1980s Oingo Boingo fan (until they sucked and started sounding like a Danny Elfman theme)
posted by mattoxic at 11:13 PM on January 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


I like all of them. Heath Ledger's Joker was epic.
posted by Brocktoon at 11:22 PM on January 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Adam West 4ever
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 11:30 PM on January 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Nice to see some empirical support for the awesomeness of B:TAS.
posted by immlass at 12:11 AM on January 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


And I liked Burton's version because it was more like the comics and not like the TV version.

Chris Sims has something to say about that as well.
posted by runcibleshaw at 12:18 AM on January 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I pretty much like all versions of Batman, except the Joel Schumacher films.
posted by crossoverman at 1:02 AM on January 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


And I liked Burton's version because it was more like the comics and not like the TV version.

Burton's films were much more like the Adam West show than like the comics. There was pretty much nothing of the comics in there, and Burton was pretty explicit about this.
posted by painquale at 1:23 AM on January 5, 2013


And I liked Burton's version because it was more like the comics and not like the TV version.

I hated it because they made Bruce Wayne into Clark Kent, the costume was ridiculous and Batman is just another, slightly schmucky action hero.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:30 AM on January 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


"I recently re-watched the entire series and the one thing I definitely didn't catch the first time around is the incredibly uneven quality between the animation studios, even within a single season."

Oh, yeah. A few years back some station was rerunning this show, and the varying quality of the animation was kind of amazing. One episode looked like I thought of BM:TAS looking, and the next looked like a bad student film or something. Animation is weird, because if you get caught up in the story enough (or you're young enough the first time you see it,) you can remember it looking a lot better than it really did. I went back to watch Heavy Metal a few years ago, a movie I grew up worshipping on VHS, and it was this embarrassing, juvenile, plotless mess that looked like bad Saturday morning cartoons circa 1975, with tits. Maybe if I saw it again now, my opinion would be less harsh... But damn, that movie looks so, so much worse than I remembered it.

Edward Gorey was a big fan of Batman: the Animated Series, so much so that he once said he'd try to get a little of that Batman flavor into a book he was working on. I have no particular point to make with that little factoid, I just really like that it's true.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 1:52 AM on January 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I went back to watch Heavy Metal a few years ago, a movie I grew up worshipping on VHS, and it was this embarrassing, juvenile, plotless mess that looked like bad Saturday morning cartoons circa 1975, with tits.

I can tell you never read the magazine.
posted by P.o.B. at 2:08 AM on January 5, 2013


The Animated Series is far and away my favorite take on Batman. It's amazing that they were able to distill everything good about the character and his mythos into that series while the comics were going through a full-blown Dork Age with Knightfall and everything around it. It has everything about Batman that I like and is definitely the medium I want my daughter to discover the character through.
posted by graymouser at 2:27 AM on January 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


"I recently re-watched the entire series and the one thing I definitely didn't catch the first time around is the incredibly uneven quality between the animation studios, even within a single season."

A prime example of this is the frustrating difference in quality between Feat of Clay part 1 and part 2. With part 2, oddly enough, being one of the most skillfully animated episodes of the whole series. Only a small handful of episodes were high quality animation. Disney's Gargoyles was similar. A few episodes looked really, really good. But most looked like crap.
posted by dgaicun at 3:06 AM on January 5, 2013


Batman's Gun is my new band name... the're like the Sex Pistols but a bit nerdier
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:16 AM on January 5, 2013


"I can tell you never read the magazine."

Wha..? I was never a regular Heavy Metal reader, but I certainly read plenty of it. I don't get your point.

I think the movie probably looked a lot better back in the days when Disney was mired in the post-Walt confusion and cheapo outfits like Filmation ruled Saturday mornings. Animation looked pretty uninspired for a long while there, and something like Heavy Metal could shine by comparison. I think that's part of why BM: TAS seemed so amazing, too. It's still a very impressive show, but it was stunning when it premiered. A truly dark, noir superhero cartoon, clearly aimed at adults at least as much as it was aimed as kids... These days that angular Timm/Dini look has become kind of a cliche, but back then there was no precedent for anything like it on TV.

It has been years since I saw Heavy Metal, but I remember the Den sequence looking particularly rushed and cruddy, while the animation of the sequence at the end, with the naked booby lady riding around on the weird bird monster, still looked pretty good.

I did love the film, growing up. But I think it's one of those things you kind of have to be a horny 14-year-old to truly appreciate.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 3:40 AM on January 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


In case anyone has avoided "Haters Gon' Hate", a complete redesign of Batman by Eliza Gauger... (warning: may require eye bleach after viewing)
posted by whorl at 5:28 AM on January 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Batman's Gun is my new band name... the're like the Sex Pistols but a bit nerdier

and a nice homo-erotic ring to it.
posted by mattoxic at 5:57 AM on January 5, 2013


I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Mask Of The Phantasm is the best Batman movie.
posted by vibrotronica at 8:03 AM on January 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker is up there, too.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:10 AM on January 5, 2013


I remember SubZero being the best, but I haven't watched it in ages.
posted by painquale at 9:23 AM on January 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


"...best thing EVER...."

Someone needs to try a beer, have some sex and watch a sunset.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 9:39 AM on January 5, 2013


I brought this up in the X-Men thread, but cartoon TV openings are great for this sort of thing.

The Real Ghostbusters shows the normal process of a busting, from the phone call to them trapping ghosts.

The Incredible Hulk has to show Banner changing into the Hulk and back. He also saves a woman from falling so you know he's not a bad guy.

I had not previously considered how the fight scene here sets up that Batman is not invulnerable, he's just highly skilled. He disarms them, and he dodges a punch. Superman wouldn't have bothered dodging.
posted by RobotHero at 9:46 AM on January 5, 2013


Someone needs to try a beer, have some sex and watch a sunset.

I've done all three in a single evening. The Batman:TAS theme is better.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:48 AM on January 5, 2013 [9 favorites]


I was never a regular Heavy Metal reader, but I certainly read plenty of it. I don't get your point.

Really? Then you realize that one of the biggest names in comic art was involved with the magazine and had a heavy influence not only on the look of a movie that you seem to hold such disdain for, but also a crapton of comic art to date.

A truly dark, noir superhero cartoon, clearly aimed at adults

A dark animated noir aimed at adults? Like the Harry Canyon sequence that later inspired another much loved noirish sci-fi film?

These days that angular Timm/Dini look has become kind of a cliche, but back then there was no precedent for anything like it on TV.

Noooo, there was plenty of precedent for it and that doesn’t take away from how great it is but you’re trying to hold up a weird comparison here to denigrate Heavy Metal.
Look, maybe it only kept your sticky 14 year old hands busy for awhile, and rotoscoping didn’t really bear out as a popular animation choice, but you obviously don’t understand Heavy Metal or the impact it’s had upon comics, animation, and pop culture so you might want to stop slagging on it now. Batman:TAS holds up just fine without you making bad comparisons.
posted by P.o.B. at 11:08 AM on January 5, 2013


Jeez, dude... Reasonable minds can disagree. I grew up loving Heavy Metal, but its charms did not last into adulthood for me. I wasn't using Batman to slag on Heavy Metal... But I will say that while a lot of Batman's animation doesn't look as good as I remembered it, the scripts still hold up.

"A dark animated noir aimed at adults? Like the Harry Canyon sequence that later inspired another much loved noirish sci-fi film?"

As I said, there was no precedent for it on TV. Before Batman, to see dark animation for adults you pretty much had to go to the movies.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:40 PM on January 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, man. So much nostalgia power slamming into me from the sound of that orchestral rush.

In the early nineties I was in elementary school, a latchkey kid who lived about 5-10 blocks from my school, so I walked home by myself every school day--maybe a 7 minute walk, not hard at all. Class let out at 3PM. The local Fox station aired Batman from 3-3:30PM and Spider-Man: The Animated Series from 3:30-4PM. I planned my afternoons obsessively around this hour.

Many days I wouldn't actually make it out of class until 3:10 at the earliest, so as fast as I walked, I still resigned myself to catching the tail end of Batman before Spider-Man came on. I set a timer on my parents' TV to turn it on at 3PM, so I could arrive home, lock the door behind me, and race straight to the TV, no precious remaining Batman time wasted in dropping my backpack or turning things on with a remote. I never got to see the opening Batcredits in those days.

But other days—when a teacher would let us out of class five minutes early for good behavior, when a friend's parent would offer to drive me home, when I had all my stuff gathered before the bell and was tensed to run—I would sprint for my front door like the forces of hell were after me. Bursting through my front door to the sound of those final notes, "Dun dun da DUUUUN dun," were the best days, because FUCK YES THE OPENING CREDITS ARE STILL PLAYING I CAN SEE THE WHOLE EPISODE.

A year or two into this, my parents got a VCR for their TV that could record on a timer. I learned to use it before and better than they did, because now I could tape that entire cartoon hour and watch it at my leisure—that is, immediately after I got home every day. I could fast-forward through commercials. I could see the entire Batman opening sequence for the first time and hum-sing along with the theme. The world was mine.
posted by nicebookrack at 6:01 PM on January 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


Kevin Smith interviews Bruce Timm (podcast)

There's a ton of Kevin Smith interviews with BTAS folks, in fact, and he gets some great stuff out of them. Nobody believes me on this.
posted by Artw at 9:46 PM on January 5, 2013


I believe in Kevin Smith. I believe in ArtW. I believe in Batman. Even when he's Osama Bin Laden.
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:08 PM on January 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't believe in Kevin Smith.
One episode of Comic Book DudeBros did that.

I do want to believe.
posted by Mezentian at 2:28 AM on January 6, 2013


Guns And The Batman: Why The Dark Knight Doesn't Use Firearms
posted by Artw at 1:17 PM on January 17, 2013


« Older An idea to mint a trillion dollar coin...  |  "'Personally, I think it’s sli... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments