And You Thought It Would Fail: On its announcement and launch, many disliked the idea (a future-Batman who wasn't Bruce Wayne or any of the Robins, but in fact a Canon Foreigner who was in high school) on basic principle, and even more the notion that it was set in the continuity to Batman: The Animated Series (with many seeing TNBA as a weak follow-up and wanting a true sequel series). Instead, it became far and away the most successful legacy adaptation for DC, embraced by audiences of both the classic and new Batman, and seen to sit side-by-side with Frank Miller's Batman: The Dark Knight Returns as a "future Batman" story with Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker in particular considered not only one of the best DCAU films (if not the best) but one of the greatest Batman and Joker stories period, with many parts of it being adapted again in the Batman: Arkham Series. Terry McGinnis also came to be embraced as a worthy successor to Batman in the mode of Wally West and Kyle Rayner.
Author's Saving Throw: In The New Batman Adventures, Mr. Freeze went on a rampage due to losing his body and Nora, and was going to end it by essentially destroying Gotham. Fans complained about this due to undoing the ending of Subzero, where Freeze finally finds closure, as well as seeming out-of-character. Beyond dials him back, showing him trying to own up to his horrific actions in his sole appearance, but becoming a villain again after one more kick in the gut, and then finally dying, trying to keep Terry from saving his life.
Base-Breaking Character: Max. Fan reactions to her introduction ranged from considering her the best part of the series and thinking she was sold short (and often accompanied by shipping her with Terry) to considering her the worst character yet and hoping that she'd just die and stop taking screentime away from everyone else. Her status also extends to the development team; according to Bruce Timm, some of the writers were unhappy about her inclusion and used Bruce Wayne to voice their own opinions of her, while Alan Burnett at least wanted to promote her toLove Interest.
Complete Monster: Derek Powers, aka Blight, is the Arch-Enemy of Terry McGinnis, the new Batman. Seizing control of Wayne Enterprises and using it for illegal operations, he developed a chemical weapon for terrorists that an employee named Harry Tully leaked to Terry's father, Warren. Powers purposefully infected Harry Tully, later showing the Kaznian diplomat who bought the shipment Tully's gradual death at the hands of said chemical. Powers had his right-hand man murder Warren and frame The Jokerz. Infected by the chemical, he was saved but mutated by the radiation used, driving him insane in the process. Other crimes include committing industrial sabotage; hiring supervillain Shriek to murder Bruce Wayne then try to drive him insane; exiling his own son; polluting the ocean by dumping radioactive waste into it; and experimenting on, then later killing, Mr. Freeze. When his illegal dealings and mutations are publicly exposed, he goes into hiding, later attempting to murder his treacherous son and Batman before seemingly getting killed. A sociopath motivated by greed, power and wealth, Derek Powers was such a monster before becoming Blight that when Batman used You Killed My Father as a hint to his identity, he snarls at "how little that narrows it down".
Damsel Scrappy: Max Gibson is often considered this by her detractors. This tendency is best displayed in the episode "Final Cut", where she ignores Terry's instructions and snoops around for clues, leading to her getting attacked by an assassin. Terry has to leave his post protecting the assassin's target to rescue her, which results in the target getting mindwiped with a hidden bomb ready to explode thanks to his Dead Man's Switch.
Draco in Leather Pants: Inque get's them, she's attractive and tends to have the least amount of Kick the Dog moments amongst Terry's Rogues Gallery, but she's also self-serving and endangers a lot of people in the pursuit of profit. Comic adaptations tend to play up her sympathetic points and attribute her selfishness more towards self-preservation as her unstable body breaks down.
The Joker's personal gang of Jokerz, especially Dee Dee, are inordinately popular for only appearing in The Movie. Fans were naturally thrown a bone when Justice League Unlimited went to that time and they were used as Chronos' flunkies.
For someone who only appeared in 3 episodes, Melanie Walker made an exceptionally positive impression on viewers and shippers alike, being one of the most popular romantic alternatives for Terry.
Mad Stan was a one-note villain simply there to force Terry to miss his date with Dana. His outright insaneAx-Crazy personality made him popular among fans and he reappeared in several episodes, finally getting to be the main antagonist when The Zeta Project crossed over. The best part: due to Zeta's naive, cheerful nature, he and Stan actually get along well, resulting in this hilarious line:
Escapist Character: Terry McGinnis is arguably the member of the Bat-family across all media who is most enviable. He's incredibly handsome, popular in school, is in a relationship with a pretty girl, and of course he gets to be Batman, and follow in the footsteps of what is both In-Universe and out of universe, a legendary superhero, forming an Intergenerational Friendship with one of the greatest men of his time, and secretly being his long-lost son.
Also Inque and Batman. She even kisses him on the mouth to prevent him from relaying a warning to Bruce about her trap for him in one episode.
Fourth Wall Myopia: Dana gets a lot of flack from some fans for not always forgiving Terry when he misses dates because of Batman duties and making his life difficult, even though as far as she knows, he's just an old man's part-time assistant who's doing a very bad job of balancing his new responsibilities with his prior relationships.
Speaking of which, the concept of a gang dressing up as clowns to terrorize people may seem silly at first, but come 2016, there have been numerous complaints of clowns scaring people, to the point where they are being arrested.
Henry Rollins playing a quasi-suicidal mad bomber, after he severely hurt his reputation in 2014 with an article where he viciously insulted anyone who commits suicide, in response to Robin Williams doing it (and while he was currently on a show with Williams' daughter Zelda, to boot).
King completely forsaking Melanie/Ten (as well as hitting Jack for even mentioning her name) and cheating on his wife in "King's Ransom", unfortunately reflects on his voice actor George Lazenby's marriage problems with tennis player Pam Shriver in August 2008 that led to a bitter divorce and custody battle that involves Lazenby's alcoholism and violence towards his young children according to the court evidence brought on by his eldest daughter Melanie.
"Last Resort", became much more relevant and frightful in current times since the ongoing controversy over teenage rehabilitation camps with series of mistreatment and question methods on its clients.
During the earlier Batman series, Dick, Barbara and Tim were all excited and eager to join the "Bat Family". Even going as far as to continue to fight crime despite Bruce pointing out several times that the life of a crime fighter is both dangerous and taxing. Forty years down the road, all three blame him for all their suffering, even claiming Bruce "manipulated" them into joining the fight on crime. Harsh...
The hints of a past relationship between Bruce and Barbara were enough for viewers to react with Squick and No Yay. The film adaptation of Batman: The Killing Joke takes their relationship Up to Eleven with a Narm sex scene, which earned the film a great deal of negative criticism for prioritizing Fanservice over characterization.
Stephen Collins voiced a Villain of the Week who kidnaps his own teenage daughter for himself is more chilling considering the revelation of his real-life repeated statutory rape crimes he has committed. Also, the fact he plays an estranged family member that is driven to commit crime by the separation is much more wincing due to ugly divorce proceedings with his ex-wife Faye Grant that lead to said crimes being made public.
Heartwarming in Hindsight: The times where Bruce shows concern for Terry or warns him when he's engaging in risky behavior become more endearing when the Justice League Unlimited reveals in the episode "Epilogue" that Bruce is Terry's real biological father. Heck, the entire series which viewers saw as a story about a wayward teen finding a cranky mentor becomes this when you realize it's the story of a son coming to help his Dad in his final years, reclaiming his legacy and providing him companionship and love.
He Really Can Act: At the time of the series, Will Friedle was best known for his comedic role on Boy Meets World. While Terry never had any shortage of snarky one-liners, Friedle gave some pretty memorable dramatic performances (such as Terry mourning the loss of his father).
Being set in the future tends to attract this from time to time, whether it is Terry quipping "Who reads newspapers anymore?" (in "The Winning Edge") or reviewing the Presidents with "Clinton was the fun one, then came the boring one." (in "Mind Games"). By the time of the series a perfect score is 2400 (see the example in Second Place Is for Losers), which as of 2005 it has been.
In the pilot episode, a Jokerz member says "Let's put a smile on his face," while brandishing a knife. Ever since TDK came out, one may now consider it retroactive fanon that that particular Jokerz member was intentionally quoting one of the signature lines of his "hero."
In "Countdown," Zeta disguises himself as Terry in costume to escape the NSA. Diedrich Bader would later voice a different Batman years later.
During "Disappearing Inque" while interrogating a captured Terry about who Bruce is, Inque asks "Is he your father? Grandfather?" Come an episode of Justice League Unlimited a few years later, we find out Bruce is Terry's father.
"Zeta" starts off with a lecture about the theory that one's genetic makeup makes a person inclined to act a certain way and brings up the question of free will. Terry wonders if being Batman makes him naturally suspicious. As Terry would find out later, he does have Batman's genes that might make him naturally suspicious.
Melanie Walker (aka Ten) is the daughter of King (voiced by George Lazenby), in real life, George has a daughter named Melanie, who became one of the most successful real estate brokers in New York.
And then the Arrowverse cast former Glee stars as the Flash and Supergirl, which eventually resulted in a musical two-parter across the two shows.
While Terry and Max are going over Presidents for school, Max describes Clinton as "the fun one, then came the boring one." (the episode aired during the 2000 president elections) George W. Bush's stint as president was a lot of things, but it's probably safe to say that boring wasn't one of them. This would have been even more hilarious if Al Gore, who actually has a reputation for being boring, had won the 2000 election.
The respirator an elderly Bane wears in this movie is remarkably similar in appearance to the one he would wear in The Dark Knight Rises.
Terry, at one point, calls Ace "Scooby". Ace was voiced by Frank Welker, who would provide the voice of Scooby-Doo just a couple of years later, although he was no stranger to the franchise as he is also the voice of Fred.
Spellbinder's mask bears a resemblance to the first two worn by Tobi/Obito in Naruto.
When Bruce regains his youth, Terry refuses to be Robin. Terry's voice actor, Will Friedle, would later voice Tim Drake aka Red Robin in Batman Ninja.
The first episode has J-Man declaring his gang's name in front of Bruce before being beaten up. 17 years later, this was seen as a metaphor of the negative reception of Jared Leto's take of the Joker in Suicide Squad.
Willie Watt. A puny nerd relentlessly bullied in school, humiliated by the girl of his dreams, gets no care or understanding from his father's toxic masculinity- who expresses constant disappointment in Willie being a wimp, before finally being humiliated in front of the school at a dance. He uses a giant robot to go on a rampage at the school (with lots of undertones from real life school shootings). Things only get worse after he's arrested and nobody comes to visit him in prison. Ever.
Carter Wilson/Terminal. A top-notch and brilliant student who's still constantly scolded as a failure by his parents for not being the absolute highest performing student at the school. He's long since snapped, joining the Jokerz (and being exceptionally violent and unstable even for them) to blow off steam; eventually launching a campaign to kill Max for scoring higher than him on a test.
Jim Tate/Armory. An honest businessman and skilled weapons engineer dumped by his company after a buyout, screwed out of his retirement, can't find another job due to a lagging economy, and is the sole breadwinner for his family. He takes a job building weapons for mercenaries to continue making ends meet.
In "Out of the Past" when Bruce is looking through his photos of women he's loved over the years (Zatanna, Selina, Lois, Barbara, and at the end of the episode, Talia), expect a series of YouTube comments askingwhere's Wonder Woman/Diana or that the list should be a lot bigger.
The Jokerz who steal the prototype plane in Joyrides and brutally attack their rival gang with it, leaving property damage and alot of critically injured gang members. They end up laughing the whole time and don't feel any remorse for it and the guy in charge is more then happy to let the reactor of the ship overload because he wants the power the ship gives.
Ra's al Ghul. Murdering your daughter to save yourself via Brain Uploading and then parading around in her body, living her life. Geez.
Ra's actions are even more horrific than they might seem at first. Talia isn't just some disposable vessel Ra's birthed for this exact purpose, she's probably the only person in the entire world he actually cared about and one of the few who might be able to talk him down. Killing Talia shows just how far the man has fallen over the years and just how desperate to remain alive he's become.
And then Robert Vance, or at least the computer program with his memories depending on how you look at it, tries to do the exact same thing to his own grandson.
Deanna Clay attempting to murder Inque, her own mother, solely to gain full access to her bank accounts. Sure, Inque was a career criminal and gave Deanna up for adoption, but she clearly loved Deanna a lot, and obviously the feeling isn't mutual.
In "Rebirth, Part 2", Blight designs a virus that rapidly causes damage to cells in organisms. He shows the effects to one of his allies, first showing a plant utterly disintegrating in seconds due to the effects, and later on a cow and human. We never see the end result but judging by what happened to the plant and how the guy viewing looking ready to vomit, it's safe to assume it was a little messy.
"Out of the Past". Bruce and Talia Ra's. Terry and Bruce are as Squicked as you would expect. Bruce even lampshades it.
A lot of fans felt this way about the idea that Bruce Wayne dated Barbara Gordon after she and Dick Grayson broke up. Dick certainly thought so, and it's apparently the reason they never got back together after his return.
Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Most viewers would have no idea that Bruce Wayne's loyal guard dog Ace was a retooling of the '50s era Ace the Bat-Hound. Most viewers would not even know Ace the Bat-Hound existed (at least before the Krypto the Superdog show where he was a recurring character or his appearance in Batman: The Brave and the Bold). It also helped that the Justice League Unlimited episode "Epilogue" made it retroactive that in-universe, the dog was named after Ace of the Royal Flush gang after she died.
More than a few viewers found that the third season made both Dana and Max less annoying that than the viewers found them in the second season.
Shipping Goggles: Terry/Max shippers sometimes claim that the two are pining for each other or in denial about their romantic feelings, ignoring the time the two were on a date (as part of a case) and Terry even noticed how good-looking Max was, only for Max to completely ignore his notice and nothing else coming of it. When Terry gives Max a chaste peck on the cheek in the comic, shippers cried Ship Tease, ignoring how neither character treated it as at all romantic.
The first is Bruce retiring his cowl after being forced to use a gun, signifying how old and desperate he's become, complete with him shutting down the Batcave and claiming "never again" making it clear that this time it really is Batman no more.
The second is the penultimate scene at the end of the pilot when Bruce visits Terry and offers him an internship (which is actually a position as full-time Batman) and making it clear that Terry's life is going to get a whole lot interesting and dangerous, complete with an ominous handshake (that some note is a good guy version of a Faustian bargain):
The conversation between Barbara Gordon and Terry McGinnis in "A Touch of Curare" where Barbara reveals that she and Bruce dated years after she and Dick Grayson broke up, is also well remembered, as is Barbara lamenting that Bruce is "Such a great man, so alone."
"Out of the Past" has several, Old Bruce going over the slideshow showing his past loves, the a revitalized Bruce fighting alongside Terry, the Talia/Ra's reveal, and the final shot. And the prologue showing "Batman the Musical."
"The Call" is also well remembered especially for the reveal of Old Superman and the reunion between the World's Finest in the Batcave where we see Old Bruce next to Silver Fox Old Clark (owing to Kryptonian DNA). This episode was so popular that it led to the Justice League show and the future name of the Justice League (the JLU - Justice League Unlimited) became the name of the final series of the franchise.
"Babel" is well known for Terry McGinnis's moment when he rebukes Bruce by telling him, "I didn't do this for gratitude."
The fight scene with the Joker from the movie. Just the way Terry plays the Clown Prince of Crime like a fiddle showing off just how different the two Batmen are.
Batman Beyond is a Spider-Man cartoon, it has the Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World premise, Terry is a wisecracking teenage superhero driven by his desire to atone for his past misdeeds and the death of a father figure, he also lives with a maternal figure (Aunt May/ Terry's Mom) and he spends most of his time in an on-again off-again relationship with his girlfriend Dana Tan who's a party animal who he later marries (much like MJ). He's effectively Peter Parker in the Batsuit. Even the Rogues Gallery is pretty similar to Spidey's. (Inque = Sandman, Spellbinder = Mysterio, Stalker = Kraven, Shriek = Shocker, Blight = Green Goblin, etc.) Likewise, the Batman Beyond batsuit is aesthetically similar to Spider-Man's outfit, in that it's a full body suit with a face-covering cowl, unlike Batman who likes to show off his chin. It resembles Spider-Man's Symbiote outfit while the red bat logo fits the dominant colour in Spider-Man's outfit.
Interestingly, when Captain America: Civil War and Spider-Man: Homecoming came out many noted more than a few similarities between the MCU version and Batman Beyond. The hero is an apprentice to an Old Superhero (Iron Man/Old Bruce) who designs his suit that provides him several upgrades and inner gadgets. He also recruits him by personally visiting his apartment where he lives with his maternal figure (and brings him into his world) and the Hero passes his superhero activities as work for Mr. Wayne/Mr. Stark. He has a Sidekick who serves as confidant (Ned Leeds/Max) and his mentor sends him mixed messages about how they want him to be a superhero but also feel they aren't entirely ready and will ask for the suit back and respond with Anger Born of Worry, and at the end the hero is offered a spot in the Super Team (Avengers/JLU) but turns it down to remain solo). Likewise, Miles Morales's outfit is also quite similar to Batman Beyond's black-and-red motif.
Shriek's creepy little mutant henchman, who likes nothing more than to sit on the floor with a tuning fork that directly stimulates a body's pleasure center. Complete with eyes rolling back and moaning. Who else needs a shower after that?
One of Inque's darker attempts at killing Batman. She puts the squeeze on Terry in order to force his mouth open before shoving herself down his throat in order to suffocate him. After Bruce uses a fire hose to get rid of her, we get a Gory Discretion Shot that saves us from the view of Terry actually puking, but we hear every agonizing heave and see Inque's leftovers spilling onto the ground.
The idea that Bruce dated Barbara (see above).
Strangled by the Red String: Terry and Melanie. They met seconds after he got conveniently dumped by Dana, talked a little, kissed under the rain then they're a couple and Mel is unwilling to leave Gotham because of him. Maybe justified by the length of the episode. Also justified by her origins. She has days, weeks at most to get to know anyone, she hates her crime life, her family doesn't treat her well, and she can take out anyone who threatens her. She's clearly desparate and lonely enough to form a connection with someone. Anyone.So it makes sense that she would just rush into relationships. Just a couple of horny, lonely teenagers making a mistake.
An issue that fans took with the series was that several interesting villains were never used for more than three episodes at most before getting dropped for no apparent reason.
Blight was the biggest offender. He was the Big Bad of the first season and set up as the Big Bad of the series period... But nope, he never returned after the first season's finale. The character did reappear in the comics, however his body survived, but he doesn't seem to remember anything about his past life outside of hatred and a desire for vengeance for Batman and Paxton Powers, and was eventually made into a target for the Stalker, and was eventually killed by being caught in a blast furnace.
Given the number of shippers rooting for her, Melanie may also count as this. For one of the most popular romantic pairings in the show, you'd think she'd appear in more than three episodes. She does appear again in the comics though.
Most of Terry's supporting cast were sorely underused, most prominently his mother Mary, followed by his brother Matt and his girlfriend Dana. For all that they tried to make Terry different from Bruce, they neglected the characters in Terry's life that Bruce could never have had. Regarding Matt specifically, there are those who lament the missed opportunity of evolving Matt's character into a Robin Beyond to match Terry's Batman Beyond. It doesn't help that any recent comic that does/did feature Terry never bothers/ed to explore that avenue, either (assuming Matt shows up or is referenced at all), nor does some other fans' general ambivalence toward Matt, at the best of times, help either.
The writers admitted in retrospective that they didn't do much with Dana outside of making her a "nagging girlfriend." This is doubly shameful as Dana had a point. We, as the audience, knows why Terry is always late; Dana doesn't. Given how hurt and paranoid people get in real life when they are seemly being ignored by friends and loved ones, it's a miracle she was as understanding as she was. This was lost on much of the audience because of the writings' poor handling of her character.
Zander. Great Shadow Archetype, interesting version of a Sheltered Aristocrat, then, well... he's turned into a dinosaur and killed off. The writers lament this one in the DVD audio commentary track, in nearly those exact words.
Victor Fries is one of the few members of Batman's original rogues gallery to be given a comeback, able to maintain a conversation with Terry (unlike, say, Bane), given new motivations (either revenge on Powers or atoning for his past), and given a new, enhanced suit. Then he commits suicide. His perspective on the new Gotham and the new Batman are never explored.
Broken Base: Related to the similar issue regarding the animated series, the reveal in the Batman Beyond comics that Bruce had impregnated Barbara just weeks before she had re-entered a seemingly happy relationship with Dick was very divisive. Some found it gutwrenching, and thought it appropriately explained why Bruce, Dick, and Barbara were estranged from one another for so long, and that it at least did a good job of showing how toxic the relationship was instead of mentioning it as a Noodle Incident. Others thought it was too much like a bad soap opera, and that the Bruce-Barbara relationship should never have been revisited in the first place, or just retconned out altogether.
Douglas Tan, from the "10,000 Clowns" arc, is a disturbed youth obsessed with The Joker and his carnage, and dedicates himself to proving the fundamental meaningless of life and becoming the Joker's own Superior Successor. Fashioning himself "the Joker King", Douglas drugs dozens of Jokerz from around the nation into becoming suicide bombers, using them to wreak havoc across Gotham and cause thousands of deaths in an attempt to destroy the city, murdering his own best friend on a random whim just before the destruction starts. Douglas eventually decides to murder his entire family too, attempting to kill his comatose father in the hospital and only hesitating when his sister steps in the way—before deciding without another second of hesitation to kill her too.
Fanon Discontinuity: Some of the fans of the series aren't terribly fond of the comics. The fact that they were made without involvement by the original showrunners, contradict events and moments from the series and feature a questionable reveal about Bruce and Barbara's relationship only adds fuel to the fire. To some extent this is justified, as the comics are part of a Broad StrokesAlternate Continuity that only resembles the DCAU rather than actually taking place there, but many casual fans don't realise that distinction, which tends to annoy those more familiar with both.
The Woobie: Dick Grayson hasn't had a good life since he split with Bruce. He gets back together with Barbara and is ready to propose, only to find out from Bruce that she was pregnant with Bruce's child from a relationship that Barbara kept hidden from Dick. After a period of estrangement, he works with Bruce one final time, only to be shot and critically injured due to a tactical error on Bruce's part, and then left behind for the paramedics. In the future, he reaches out to Terry to mentor him. When Terry travels to the Justice Lords timeline to visit his alternate universe father, he neglects to answer a distress call sent by Dick, resulting in Dick's capture by Davis Dusk.