Deserves Far More Attention Than It Currently Receives
This is not Batman the Animated Series. It will NEVER be Batman the Animated Series. That being said, this is still a pretty solid show once you get past the boring bits.
The first few episodes are the worst. Granted, that's not unheard of for a new show, but it's only when an overarching storyline is established that the show starts to take off.
The show seems to take the Batman: Year One approach of giving us a Batman who hasn't quite fleshed out his routine yet. In the early episodes, he makes mistakes in battle and gets clocked more than once which results in a pretty noticeable injury. Anthony Ruivivar is no Kevin Conroy but his Batman sounds right nonetheless. It's his Bruce Wayne that's not quite up to snuff, since there's usually a subtle voice change between the two characters. Still, nothing distracting.
The supporting cast, for the most part, are good as well. The show takes the former MI6 version of Alfred and runs with it, though I'd be lying if I said it would've been stronger if they HADN'T told us about it from the get-go. Lt. Gordon keeps with the Batman: Year One feel in that he doesn't wholly trust Batman at first and even makes a few attempts to arrest him. That and he's Lt. Gordon, not Commissioner Gordon. Katana takes a while to flesh out her character, but eventually the plot allows her to develop a character that is similar but still different from Batman's. If only her costume was the same...
The one character they messed up was Barbara. They took this great female character and turned her into the Barbara Gordon from Frank Miller's All-Star Batman and Robin series: a devoted fangirl who spends just a little too much time thinking about Batman. This is sorted out later when she becomes Oracle (thankfully without taking a bullet to the spine), but not until the post-cancellation episodes.
The villains are a mixed bag. The best of the bunch is Deathstroke, to whom the entire storyline of the post-cancellation season is dedicated. I say he's the best because he'll be involved without you knowing it until you watch the entire arc, after which all the pieces fall into place and you realize just what an awesome villain Glen Murakami made him into. Then again, Glen made him just as awesome in his Teen Titans cartoon, so I think he's just good at it. Second best is Professor Pyg, who's not as violent here as he is in the comics but his professional approach to villainy makes some of his dialog pretty funny to boot. He gets a bit weaker in his final outing in Season 1, mostly due to the generic plot of the episode. For third-placer Anarky, it's the opposite. He starts off as this weak pseudo-Nolan Joker out to spread anarchy and chaos, though in post-cancellation his dialogue's finally ironed out and he becomes engaging, even pairing up with Harvey Dent. Yeah, Harvey Dent's in the series, and I don't think it will come as a surprise to anyone that he goes bad by the end. In fact, he's pretty much rotten from the get- go, constantly at odds with Batman while being best friends with Bruce Wayne. Tobias Whale is more or less your clichéd crime boss character, and Magpie... Well... I really don't know what to say on Magpie. She's the only reoccurring villain who's rather inconsistent. First she's a mental case (you know, ASIDE from the usual mental cases), then she's a pseudo-Catwoman, then she's a DIFFERENT mental case, and then she's just a prop in the background. Fortunately, there are only a few episodes devoted to her, and then she's sort of forgotten about. I like to think she's replaced by Deathstroke.
I once heard from someone that works on this show that it would be getting a second season, and just as well since Episode 26 ends on not one, not two, but FOUR cliffhangers, two of which involve The Terminator himself. I only hope CN takes it off Toonami and puts it back on the afternoon block where Justice League and previous DC shows once stood. And now that it's been almost a year since its cancellation, might as well wish Bob Kane and Bill Finger would rise from the dead and tell WB to stop mucking up their comic adaptations.
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