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Western Animation / The New Adventures of Batman

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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.

Not to be confused with The New Batman Adventures, the 1997 retool of Batman: The Animated Series. The episode Deep Freeze had a robot of Bat-Mite who says "I just wanna help!"

This series provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Clayface in the comics had blond hair in his human form as Matt Hagen, who in this cartoon is depicted with brown hair.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The Japanese version has a different opening and ending.
  • And I'm the Queen of Sheba: In "The Pest", the Joker responds to Robin's warning that the water-powered car will explode after coming into contact with salt by retorting that he's Santa Claus.
  • And Knowing Is Half the Battle: As one might expect from a Filmation cartoon, each episode ends with the heroes providing a moral for the audience, which are called Bat Messages.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Bat-Mite for some reason has green skin, as do other inhabitants of his home dimension Ergo.
  • Bait-and-Switch Credits: The Riddler appears in the opening sequence (strangely wearing a red suit), but never in the show proper. Ironically, he would be one of the only 2 Bat-villains to appear as a member of the Legion of Doom in Hanna-Barbera's Challenge of the Superfriends.
  • Bald of Evil: Zarbor is a villain from Bat-Mite's home dimension Ergo with a bald head.
  • Brainwashed: Happens to Batman and Robin twice (and another time, they were just pretending to be).
  • Broken Aesop: Bat-Mite attempts to invoke this in "Reading, Writing and Wrongdoing": The episode's moral lesson is that you can't get something for nothing; Bat-Mite then complains that the Dynamic Duo get his services free of charge all the time. However, Batman and Robin defy the brokenness by saying "We pay dearly" for Bat-Mite's involvement.
  • 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.
  • Clear My Name: "Trouble Identity" has Batgirl having to prove her innocence after Catwoman disguises herself as the former to frame Batgirl for stealing an invention that can create fine fabrics from trash.
  • Easy Amnesia: After smacking his head trying to stop a runaway truck, Batman loses his memory; however, the trope is also inverted in that the Bat Computer quickly creates a "formula" which restores his memory in short order.
  • "Everybody Laughs" Ending: Almost every episode ends with the heroes laughing.
  • Exact Words: Catwoman frames Batgirl in "Trouble Identity" for stealing an invention. Batman recognizes Batgirl is innocent, but without evidence to prove it, he tells her and Gordan that she'll be delivered to the police station soon. He then privately tells Batgirl that they're taking a little detour to Catwoman's location first.
  • Fat Bastard: Sweet Tooth and his band of candy-addicted children are overweight criminals.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Time and time again, Batman, Robin and Batgirl express their frustration at Bat-Mite's misguided efforts to "help" them and have on occasion been indicated to resent his mere presence.
  • Glad I Thought of It: Mr. Freeze is prone to taking credit for ideas his henchman Professor Frost came up with.
  • Goofy Print Underwear: Bat-Mite is shown wearing heart-print boxers in the Bat Message segment of the second part of the two-part episode "Have an Evil Day".
  • Great Gazoo: Bat-Mite.
  • Harmless Freezing: When Batman and Robin get frozen by Mr. Freeze. For Robin, at least, they make a token nod to biology by carving a hole in the ice for him to breathe/talk through.
  • Heroic Wannabe: Bat-Mite constantly wants in on the action and to help his heroes, only to usually cause malfunctions or other screw-ups.
  • An Ice Person: Mr. Freeze, of course.
  • Incredible Shrinking Man: "Bite-Sized" has the villain Electro shrink our heroes.
  • Lame Pun Reaction: In "This Looks Like a Job for Bat-Mite", Bat-Mite groans at Zarbor's "up-pity" pun.
  • Laughing Mad: The Joker punctuates every line with maniacal laughter. Likewise, the Penguin punctuates every line with a Burgess Meredith-esque quacking laugh.
  • Lethal Chef: One recurring gag is Dick/Robin's lack of culinary prowess. He burns the popcorn and, while grilling, flips a hamburger into a nearby torchiere (although that last one was more Bat-Mite's fault). His "specialty", though, is peanut butter sardine soup; when he serves this up, even Bat-Mite decides it's time to go home.
    Batman: Believe me, anything that gets rid of Bat-Mite, I love! [Takes a bite, nearly gags]
  • Lighter and Softer: As Batman in the comics was getting increasingly dark, this series reveled in the camp.
  • Mars Needs Women: The Ergonian Bat-Mite is sometimes shown to have a crush on the human Batgirl.
  • Minimalist Cast: In terms of voice talent; only four such credits were shown: West, Ward, Melendy Britt, and Lennie Weinrib.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
  • Pungeon Master: Mr. Freeze uses tons of ice-themed puns... an inspiration for Joel Schumacher, perhaps?
  • Reality Warper: Bat-Mite and Zarbor.
  • Robotic Reveal: Zig-zagged in "The Chameleon", where Batman deduces that the titular villain's shape-changing abilities are because he is a robot, but the Chameleon turns out to have been controlled from within by a diminutive human scientist named Dr. Devious after being destroyed.
  • 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.
  • Theme Naming: Mr. Freeze's henchman is one Professor Frost.
  • Truer to the Text: Commissioner Gordon in this cartoon has an appearance more accurate to how he looked in the comics than his depictions in Batman (1966) and The Adventures of Batman.
  • Unconventional Food Usage: In the episode "A Sweet Joke on Gotham City", Bat-Mite captures the villain "Sweet Tooth" in his candy-warehouse hideout... by tying him up with long strands of licorice.
  • Unwanted Assistance: Bat-Mite always wants to help Batman, Robin and Batgirl in fighting crime, but more often than not only frustrates them by inadvertently making things worse.
  • Villainous Glutton: True to his name, the villain Sweet Tooth loves to eat candy and other forms of junk food.
  • A Weighty Aesop: An early example occurs in "A Sweet Joke on Gotham", where Sweet Tooth's gang is comprised entirely of kids he's indoctrinated into eating nothing but candy every hour of the day. Predictably, they turn out to be rather useless when it comes to fighting three energetic crime-fighters with balanced diets, and their teeth are in terrible shape.
  • You Don't Look Like You: Bat-Mite looks very different from how he appeared in the comics, having green skin, rounder eyes with yellow sclera and a purple costume.