Monday, April 21, 2014

From Batman TBATB to Beware the Batman

They couldn’t be any more different, but they’re both rather good series. But how did we go from the light-and-zany TBATB to the gritty BTB? Let’s take a look.

Batman: Beware the Brave and the Bold
Batman: the Brave and the Bold was canceled after it hit the 65-episode-limit, like Teen Titans, Justice League (the 39 JLU episodes are officially a separate series), and numerous other shows before it. And then we got Beware the Batman as its subsequent DC Nation replacement.

Some information states that TBATB was cancelled to make room for BTB, but the official statement is that it was a mutual decision all around. I’m fairly skeptical that it was a completely mutual decision, mainly because the final season was 13 episodes instead of the 26 of the first two seasons, and “Time Out for Vengeance!” has an open ending that’s never followed up on, despite massive sequel-baiting. And finally, the final episodes were aired with little advertisement on a very erratic schedule, with up to a month between new episodes. Clearly, somebody involved with the show wanted it to continue while Cartoon Network didn’t, and the decision was ultimately made to cancel it by both sides.

The final episode, “Mitefall!” passed the torch in a metafictional way where the 5th-dimensional imp Bat-Mite was purposefully scheming to get the show canceled to make way for a newer, darker Batman series. Which, in an ironic twist for Bat-Mite, was announced as a Bat-Girl series.

Just so you know, this lady isn't Batman.
This was mainly because the show that eventually became Beware the Batman wasn’t fully formed yet. Beware the Batman, as we know it today, was pitched with a few other ideas, the most notable two of these ideas being an idea loosely based on Cataclysm and No Man’s Land (described as being similar to Escape from New York), and one where Batman and Superman shared an apartment.

As Beware the Batman was being produced, the CGI was described as “cutting-edge,” and it is quite notable. A few objects, such a Batman’s belt, were built in real-life to make the CG versions as realistic as possible. Gotham City itself was created as a full 3-D model, instead of just a few “sets,” which allowed an entire city’s worth of locations for episodes.

Greg Weisman, after his DC Nation show Young Justice was canceled, joined the writing staff for Beware the Batman, joining Jim Krieg as the only writers to have worked on both Batman: the Brave and the Bold and Beware the Batman.

Between the end of TBATB and the beginning of BTB (11/11/11 - 7/13/13), the first notable event to mention is the release of promotional art featuring Alfred with two pistols.

There was a lot of backlash over the gun-hating Batman’s butler dual-wielding guns. But as it turns out, the art wasn’t supposed to be seen by the public, as it misrepresented Alfred’s role. According to producer Glen Murakami, "You can't have an action pose of a guy standing with a tray.”

The second thing important to note is the 2012 Aurora shooting. This incident led to the subsequent change to all the guns in Beware the Batman into lasers, similar to the earlier censorship in Spider-Man: the Animated Series back in the 90’s.

Beware the Batman lasted for 11 episodes on Cartoon Network, before being put on “hiatus.” Two additional episodes were added to the DVD set, a few more have aired on TV in New Zealand, of all places, and despite promises that Beware the Batman would air in February of 2014, Cartoon Network released a 2014-2015 schedule that (as of 4/21/14) does not include Beware the Batman. (More info on that can of worms here.)

All in all, the transition between the two shows was exceptionally smooth with little behind-the-scenes dirt to dig up. If only the warring factions of Batman fans could get along the same way.

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