New Batman stories: Could the upcoming HBO series be as good as ‘BTAS’?
Is the world ready for a new Batman animated show? Oh, come on. The answer is “always”. Ever since Batman: The Animated Series gave us a magnificent depiction of the dark knight in the mid-90s, DC fans have been chasing that high on every new Batman project that gets greenlighted. And it looks like HBO Max gets to take a shot at fulfilling those expectations now.
That’s right. HBO Max is trying its hand at living up to Batman TAS’s legacy with Batman: Caped Crusader, a new animated show that happens to have Bruce Timm attached as executive producer. Timm co-created Batman: The Animated Series, so we like HBO’s chances of delivering something memorable here. How about you? Let us fill you in on some of the other details that have been revealed so far.
Bat-ssembling the team.
Bruce Timm isn’t the only big gun behind the new animated show. Caped Crusader also has J.J. Abrams & Matt Reeves as its other executive producers. You know Abrams from . . . well, everything (Lost, Star Trek, Star Wars, you name it.) As for Reeves, well, the filmmaker behind Cloverfield and the best Planet of the Apes movies is also the man responsible for the upcoming The Batman movie. Appropriate!
In the official announcement regarding Caped Crusader, the three creators are quoted as saying: “We are beyond excited to be working together to bring this character back, to tell engrossing new stories in Gotham City. The series will be thrilling, cinematic, and evocative of Batman’s noir roots, while diving deeper into the psychology of these iconic characters. We cannot wait to share this new world.”
Now, let’s stop picturing Timm, Abrams, and Reeves saying all that in unison, and focus on how that description sounds a lot like Reeves’s upcoming The Batman film. We’re down for a noirish Bats, even if that means we can forget about any of his Justice League buddies ever making an appearance on the show. Let’s see Bruce Wayne go all Sherlock Holmes in this new Batman series!
Here’s the thing: if Batman: Caped Crusader was being released in a vacuum, it would probably be a smash hit no matter what. Instead, it’s being released in a world where Batman: The Animated Series ran for eighty-five much-beloved episodes. Every Bat-project since then has been compared to some extent to Bruce Timm & Paul Dini’s seminal animated show.
Think about it: Batman TAS gave us Kevin Conroy as the dark knight, one of the most celebrated voice performances in pop culture. It also allowed Mark Hamill to transcend the role of Luke Skywalker by voicing what many consider to be the perfect Joker. TAS was also the vehicle for the ultimate Mr. Freeze story, the Emmy-winning “Heart of Ice”. And, of course, then there’s Harley Quinn.
We wouldn’t have Harley Quinn without Batman: The Animated Series. The character was introduced in the show, and proved so successful that it was then adopted by DC comics, going on to become one of the most popular characters in the DC universe. Just ask Margot Robbie. Will Batman: Caped Crusader provide us with anything like that? We can only hope.
Down the Bat-line
Speaking of Harley Quinn, the third season of her very own animated show is set to debut on HBO Max later this year, after having its first two seasons on DC Universe. Harley Quinn is just one of several Batman-related projects in our future, in addition to Matt Reeves’s The Batman, and its live-action spinoff focusing on Gotham PD – also developed by Reeves.
And then there’s whatever’s going on with Bat-Keaton & Batffleck over in the ever-gestating Flash multiverse movie.
Basically, what we are saying is: it’s a good time to be a Batman fan. Enjoy it!
What’s your favorite Bat-incarnation? Are you excited about any of the upcoming new Batman projects? Let us know in the comments!