1977 series created by Filmation
, the Spiritual Successor
to the company's earlier 1968-69 series, retaining most of the character designs.
As might be expected, the eponymous hero fights crime in Gotham City, assisted by Robin and Batgirl, encountering the classic rogues gallery (including The Joker
, the Penguin, Mr. Freeze, and Catwoman) as well as some original villains. Complicating matters is The Scrappy
and The Millstone
, Bat-Mite (voiced by none other than Filmation producer Lou Scheimer), a well-meaning imp from another dimension called Ergo, who considers himself Batman's biggest fan
. As a result, he wears a variant of Batman's costume and attempts to help him, only to often create more problems
. Missing is Alfred, the faithful butler of Batman's alter-ego Bruce Wayne.
The series' inspiration is clearly the campy 1966-68 live-action series; Moral Guardians
prevented the appearance of any significant fisticuffs, though, and Bat-Mite will probably make you want to strangle something note
. In the plus column, the rotoscoping-based animation is a bit more fluid than direct competitor Super Friends
(if clearly and often recycled
), the presence of Adam West and Burt Ward adds an air of cool to the proceedings, and the music's groovy. It's also notable for being the first animated appearance of Clayface.
The bottom line is that it's a minor but fun little series, and a stepping-stone to what would come
. (Seriously, though, you'll be begging for Bat-Mite to suffer the brunt of one of the Dark Knight's angrier incarnations.)
This series provides examples of:
- Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The Japanese version has a different opening and ending.
- Bait-and-Switch Credits: The Riddler appears in the opening sequence (strangely wearing a red suit), but never in the show proper.
- Brainwashed: Happens to Batman and Robin twice (and another time, they were just pretending to be).
- Canon Foreigner: Some villains (like Electro, Professor Bubbles, the Chameleon, Sweet Tooth, and Zarbor) were created just for the show.
- Character Development: Over the course of the series, Bat-Mite makes a visible transition from more trouble than he's worth to a mixed blessing, and finally a genuine asset (albeit still rather annoying) by the end.
- Exiled from Continuity: Due to competition from Superfriends, Batman couldn't use Scarecrow, the Riddler, or Solomon Grundy. Superfriends in turn wasn't allowed to use the Joker, originally planned to be a member of the Legion of Doom. Joker did eventually appear in The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians, after this show was off the air.
- Everybody Laughs Ending
- Great Gazoo: Bat-Mite.
- Guilty Pleasure
- Harmless Freezing: When Batman and Robin get frozen by Mr. Freeze.
- An Ice Person: Mr. Freeze, of course.
- Incredible Shrinking Man: "Bite-Sized".
- Laughing Mad: The Joker punctuates every line with maniacal laughter. Likewise, the Penguin punctuates every line with a Burgess Meredith-esque laugh.
- Lighter and Softer: As Batman in the comics was getting increasingly dark, this series reveled in the camp.
- Limited Animation
- Never Say "Die"
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Sweet Tooth sounds like Paul Lynde.
- Obvious Trap
- Pun: Too many bad ones to list.
- Pungeon Master: Mr. Freeze uses tons of ice-themed puns... an inspiration for Joel Schumacher, perhaps?
- Reality Warper: Bat-Mite and Zarbor.
- Rogues Gallery
- Soft Glass: Somewhat averted, as Robin is sure to throw a metal trash-can lid through any window he attempts to get through.
- Stock Footage: A Filmation standard, taken to an extreme when Batman and Robin launch themselves from the Batmobile in order to spend a minute on Stock Footage before returning to the Batmobile.
- Sweet Tooth: One-shot villain Sweet Tooth, who liked sweets a lot. His villainous scheme involved a plan to turn Gotham's water supply into chocolate syrup.
- A Weighty Aesop: An early example occurs in "A Sweet Joke on Gotham", where Robin goes undercover to infiltrate Sweet Tooth's gang of teenagers. A plot point is made of how unfit and ill Robin becomes from living on Sweet Tooth's diet of sweets.