I know that Bat-fan’s opinions are split when it comes to BATMAN BEYOND
, but I for one have always liked the series. As I’ve said before, I found it to be an interesting and respectful take on Bruce Wayne’s -- and The Batman’s -- future in the DC Animated Universe.
Consequently, I was excited to watch the recently released BATMAN BEYOND: SEASON ONE DVD collection (Warner Home Video).
A quick synopsis of the series’ premise for any of you who are not familiar with it. BATMAN BEYOND is set in a future Gotham City about 40 years down the line from the events depicted in BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES. Bruce Wayne is no longer The Batman. A heart attack years earlier hit him while he was in the midst of taking out a group of kidnappers. To save himself, The Batman picked up a gun and considered using it on one of the thugs to save his life. He didn’t have to pull the trigger, but the whole ordeal caused Bruce to “retire.”
Now an old, bitter, and reclusive man holed up in Wayne Manor, The Batman is reborn after Bruce’s life crosses with that of young Terry McGinnis. McGinnis eventually dons the mantle of the Bat -- at first without Bruce’s knowledge and approval. In time, Bruce finds a kindred spirit in McGinnis and eventually gives his blessing to Terry’s new “career.” The two form a partnership and thus The Batman returns to Gotham.
The DVD set itself is what one would expect from the standard TV series season packages. The menus are impressive, much better than we’ve seen on the earlier animaged BATMAN sets. The dark red and black -- reminiscent of the BEYOND Bat-costume -- works superbly, bold and smart at the same time.
As far as the “special features” are concerned, “Inside Batman Beyond“ is a quite enjoyable and informative feature and is moderated by Jason Hillhouse. If you’ve seen any of the previous features like these, then you already know the drill and what to expect. With that said, it’s always interesting to hear from the creative team, especially since there isn’t a ton of info out there about BATMAN BEYOND.
Also included is an isolated scores feature that allows you to hear the music from BATMAN BEYOND. As a bonus, it also features tracks not found on the BATMAN BEYOND soundtrack that was released when the show was still airing on television.
The commentaries from the people behind the show are quite good. They live up to what you expect from such features and you won’t be disappointed. Included in the commentaries are producers Bruce Timm, Alan Burnett, Glen Murakami, director Curt Geda, and story editor Stan Berkowitz. One interesting revelation is that Bruce Wayne in the series is 80 years old and the network didn’t want his age mentioned!
As far as the episodes themselves, all 13 found in season one that aired on TV are here. Both Will Friedle as Terry McGinnis/The Batman and Kevin Conroy (reprising his role as Bruce Wayne from B:TAS give strong voice performances. Guest voice actors from season one include Stockard Channing (Barbara Gordon), Teri Garr (Mrs. McGinnis), Cree Summer (Max Gibson), Robert Davi (Magma), Laura San Giacoma (Freon), Corey Burton (General Norman), Sherman Howard (Derek Powers), George Lazenby (King of Royal Flush gang), William H. Macy (Herbst), Paul Winfield (D.A. Sam Young), Cary Elwes (Paxton Powers) and Larry Drake (Jackson Chappell).
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed BATMAN BEYOND: SEASON ONE. My only gripe is that the commentaries were a tad short and wished they were longer. Other than that, I thought it was top-notch and recommend it to all Bat-fans.