Fans of “Batman: The Animated Series” can officially rejoice — the series has been released as part of a limited edition Blu-ray set. Heavy emphasis on limited edition.
First airing in 1992, “Batman: The Animated Series” followed the success of Tim Burton’s 1989 “Batman,” starring Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson. This animated version of the Caped Crusader was unlike anything anyone had ever seen before. People expecting something akin to the campy 1966 “Batman” TV show starring Adam West, or the 1973 “Super Friends” cartoon, were in for a surprise. Instead of Batman facing goofy villains with even goofier schemes, this new show focused on powerful storytelling and didn’t shy away from the dramatic.
Created by Bruce Timm and Paul Dini, the show was brought to life by its cast and voice director Andrea Romano. Kevin Conroy, the Juilliard-trained actor, was cast as Bruce Wayne/Batman. He has since given voice to the Dark Knight in animated films, the wildly popular Arkham video games, and most recently the LEGO DC Super-Villains video game. Mark Hamill, famously known the world over as Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars franchise, took on the role of the Joker. Hamill joined Conroy in the LEGO DC Super-Villains game, although Hamill declared he was “retiring” from voicing the Joker in 2011 (he came out of “retirement” to voice the Joker once before for the 2016 release of “The Killing Joke.”
ITS CHRISTMAS IN OCTOBER! Just got home to find a giftie from WB. The new Blu-ray box set! Thanks Gary, you’re the best. pic.twitter.com/iQo6b10nK0
— Kevin Conroy (@RealKevinConroy) October 30, 2018
It should be mentioned that, without “Batman: The Animated Series,” one of the biggest and best-known villains would not exist. When writing the episode “Joker’s Favor,” Dini decided to create a throwaway character that would help the Joker in the episode. He then decided to keep her as the Joker’s sidekick and later, love interest. Yes, without this show, the world would not have Harley Quinn. Harley was originally voiced on the show by Arleen Sorkin, but when Sorkin stepped down, the job went to Tara Strong, who has voiced more than 1,000 characters, including Timmy Turner from “Fairly Odd Parents,” and Twilight Sparkle on “My Little Pony.”
— tara strong (@tarastrong) October 30, 2018
“Batman: The Animated Series” has been released on DVD in different ways, as select episodes, seasons, and a collector’s edition box set. This new Blu-ray box set features three Funko Pocket Pops (Batman, Harley, and Joker) and collector cards of original animation artwork. What makes this set worth it, however, is that Warner Bros. went back and digitally remastered all 109 episodes, so each punch, laugh, and Joker Fish are in HD. It also includes two Batman animated films: “Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero,” and fan-favorite “Batman: Mask of the Phantasm.” And you can digitally download it all.
As for special features, the set is chock full of “making of” documentaries and episode commentaries by the animation creators.
Originally, only 30,000 Blu-ray sets were going to be sold. Warner Bros. recently announced, based on strong demand, they were upping that number to 70,000, but if you’re hoping to get your hands on a copy, it’s probably best to get it now because it might not be around for Christmas.