Alternative Character Interpretation: Were Chief Rojas's reasons for going after Batman legit because he believed Batman to be a menace or was it because of something else? Depending on your views, Rojas might've been a Dirty Cop. He did once say that about Ethan Bennett that "He never knew how to play ball." Plus there's his timing of partnering Ellen Yin and Bennett up shortly after Thorne was defeated and some of his tactics in hunting Batman were similar to the comics version of Gillian Loeb.
After the mixed reception of the Joker in his debut, his feral persona and combat skills were toned down later in Season One to be truer to his traditional depiction, as well as replacing his tie dyed straitjacket with his traditional purple tux.
Season 3 onward has a much more traditional Batman feel to it, with the removal of Ellen Yin and Chief Rojas, plus the introduction of Batgirl and Commissioner Gordon becoming a regular. Season 4 gives Batman his trademark Lantern Jaw of Justice and introduces Robin.
Badass Decay: All of Batman's Rogues gallery suffered from heavy downgrades as the show continued. This comes to a high point in Rumors, where Batman and Robin take on the entire villain line up, defeating all of them with ease. However, Catwoman may be the only exception since she never has a pathetic moment in the entire series and always gets away. Sadly, she never turns up again after this particular episode.
While he may not be considered part of the normal Rogues gallery, Hugo Strange was another exception, becoming even more dangerous as the show progressed through nothing but the power of his mind. He was the only other villain present in Rumors besides Catwoman to have the sense to avoid the big fight altogether.
A villain that stands out is Bane. In his first appearance, he was The Juggernaut, defeated Batman in a Curb-Stomp Battle and was only defeated via Batman using a robot suit, and even then only barely. After this, he was mostly reduced to just having his Venom shorted out in seconds or busting open bank vaults like C-list villains.
The Joker. His unconventional design, which has given him the Fan Nicknames "Dreadlock Joker" or "Rasta Joker", is one of the biggest things detractors use against this show, with his huge dreadlock-like hair, more brutish build, bare feet, red eyes and also monkey-like mannerisms. His first costume was also unlike any previous look, though he got the purple suit back and his feral behavior toned down after his debut. However, there are those who thought this drastically different Joker was an interesting interpretation.
The Penguin. Some fans found him to be an interesting take on the character for his fighting skills, his two henchgirls, having a family feud with the Pennyworths, and being a bit of a throwback to the Batman Returns incarnation where Penguin is portrayed as more of a greedy slob and less of an aristocrat. Others, however, believed him to be one of the most annoying and overused characters in the series and found it really absurd that a short fat guy like Penguin could leap twenty feet in the air and fight Batman (and sometimes even get the better of him) like a Shaolin kung fu master.
Broken Base: Seasons 1 and 2 versus Seasons 3, 4, and 5. Fans of the latter praise the generally more mature stories, more fleshed out characters, and the traditional Batman cast, and accuse the first two seasons of being simplistic and poorly written. Fans of the former praise the emphasis on inventive action scenes, original characters, and unique takes on the Batman mythos, and accuse the later seasons of abandoning what made the show interesting in an effort to shoehorn it into a homogenous DCAU mold.
The Joker was once a man who wanted to make people laugh, but after he fell into a vat of chemicals, he became an insane, murderous Monster Clown and Batman's Arch-Enemy. Devoid of any empathy, Joker commits crimes he views as "jokes" at the expense of Gotham. Terrible things he's done include poisoning people with his deadly laughing gas; putting people in various death traps; torturing Detective Ethan Bennett for hours and causing Bennett's mutation into Clayface (for no reason other than to see what it would do to him); impersonating Batman and gassing people for minor crimes; using Bane's venom to go on a rampage; attempting to drop a teenage boy into a vat of chemicals; frequently mistreating his henchman and his girlfriend Harley Quinn, as well as abandoning them to be arrested or even to die; and filling the abandoned tunnels and mine shafts beneath Gotham with miles of dynamite to collapse the city to oblivion.
Professor Hugo Strange is an amoral psychiatrist who slowly graduates to one of the most wicked villains Batman ever faced. His stint as a psychiatrist ending after he toyed with his patients' well-being just out of curiosity, notably curing Arnold Wesker of his split personality Scarface only to break his mind again, Strange became a full-fledged supervillain when he infected Batman with a hallucinogen that made him attempt to transform the entire population of Gotham into zombies under Strange's control. In his grandest moment of depravity, Strange allies himself with the alien race known as the Joining, selling out humanity to be destroyed by the Joining and assisting the aliens in incapacitating the Justice League, all for nothing more than the promise of ultimate knowledge of the universe.
Quite a few of the villains got their own fanbases: Hugo Strange for being a Magnificent Bastard voiced by the one and only Frank Gorshin. The Riddler for his Dark and Troubled Past, his new gothic look, and being cool as well as voiced by Robert Englund. Clayface got this status for being an outright tragic character as well as his alter ego, Ethan Bennett. Poison Ivy for her new backstory and interesting flower-esque makeover.
The Joker's design for this series has proven quite contentious, as he first appeared wearing a tie-dye straightjacket with ripped sleeves instead of his usual purple tux. Even when he got that, his Anime Hair and bare feet were still not received well.
Riddler's Marilyn Manson-esque design, while not terrible, definitely looked unusual for the character and took the fans some getting-used-to.
Foe Yay: Batman and Joker. What, this surprises you?
"Back off Tubby! Batsy's mine!"
"The Batman? What if I hadn't been decent?"
"Can't stay away from me, can you Batman? I guess opposites do attract."
"If you really want to get inside my head, Batman...I'll take you so far in...you'll never find your way out!" *puts the miniature sized Batman in his mouth and swallows him down*
Joker: Do you really think I'd send a flunkie to eliminate my favourite sparring partner? I reserve that pleasure for me alone. Batman: Then why- Joker: BECAUSE I MISS YOUR COMPANY, BATMAN!
Growing the Beard: Depending on whom you ask, this is seen to happen around the beginning of either season 2, 3 or 4.
The two-part season 1 finale is when fans generally thought the show stopped being a 22-minute toy commercial.
Harsher in Hindsight: In the series, Chris Hardwick voiced Green Arrow. Given Ollie's involvement in Dr. Light's mindwipe in Identity Crisis after Light raped Sue Dibny and the allegations against Hardwick by Chloe Dykstra, it became this.
The show's depiction of Joker somewhat prefigures the wildly popular version from The Dark Knight with his messy hair and grungy appearance, a departure from his usual clean-cut Sharp-Dressed Man style.
Black Mask's first Number One, Marty's video game persona Captain Slash, and the Shadow Thief were all voiced by Diedrich Bader, who would later voice Batman in Batman: The Brave and the Bold. For extra hindsight hilarity, the Shadow Thief's appearance was in the fifth season, where a good deal of the episodes had Batman teaming up with other DC superheroes, which was the basic premise of The Brave and the Bold.
The Artifacts episode's false assumptions on Thomas Wayne as Batman became more of a prediction since Flashpoint had an alternate Batman as secret identity of Thomas Wayne. Though Harsher in Hindsight since he became The Alcoholic after lost of his son and transformation of his wife into Joker
This isnt the only Batman adaptation where The Joker decided to become a ruthless vigilante
The titular villain or "Rumors" is a bodyguard who failed to save his boss from being crippled by the Joker, so he became a vigilante to wipe out all criminals out of the guilt from his failure. He later even says that "this was all for him". Hugo Strange naturally has some fun with this.
Hugo Strange: You didn't capture us so you could "save Gotham". No, you're trying to erase your own failure, of not saving your boss.
Rumor: (a little TOO defensively) That's not true! Shut up!
Magnificent Bastard: Out of all the villains in Batman's Rogues Gallery, Professor Hugo Strange is perhaps the most dangerous of them all. Fascinated by the Batman's crusade against crime, Hugo Strange studies on the minds of criminals apprehended by Batman as means to understand the Dark Knight himself. Using his criminal studies as his foundation, Strange launches various schemes to psychologically destroy Batman such as creating the hyper-intelligent criminal AI known as D.A.V.E., manipulating Batman to spread a fear toxin across Gotham, and capturing members of the Justice League for the Joining. He has come close to victory many times if not for the last minute gambits on Batman's part; and he takes his losses in stride, biding his time for the next opportunity to come. Strange respects Batman's intelligence, citing him to be the most dangerous member of the Justice League, while the Batman begrudgingly respects Strange as a brilliant psychiatrist who can mess with people's heads. Armed with nothing more than his brilliant intellect and morbid curiosity in a world of combat-prone villains, Hugo Strange certainly earns the title of "Gotham's Ultimate Criminal Mastermind."
The Riddler in "Riddler's Revenge", where Batman even comments the villain wasn't the villain, as his old partner/love interest needlessly and remorselessly betrayed him and ruined his chances at a good, normal life back when he was desperately trying to seek one.
Francis Gray is portrayed very sympathetically, and is even given a second chance.
Moral Event Horizon: Joker's torture of thugs is certainly crossing this, plus what he did to Ethan.
Tony Zucco crosses it in the first ten minutes of his appearance by killing Dick Grayson's parents (before he became Robin) just because Dick called the cops when Zucco got a bit threatening.
Popular with Furries: Thanks to this incarnation of Killer Croc being more beast-like, wearing nothing but a vest, being a Genius Bruiser and having a pretty good Cajun accent, the scalie fandom naturally liked him. Even a few outside the fandom find him sexy.
Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Batgirl's overexposure in Season 3 had turned many against her, but the focus on her was toned down to more appropriate levels in Seasons 4 and 5, bringing these people back around to her side again.
Ellen Yin in Season 1 was not well-liked at all for constantly trying to bring down Batman and being suspicious of his hero status (as opposed to her partner Ethan, who believed in Batman as a force of good), but became more popular in Season 2 when she had a complete turnaround, becoming Batman's frequent partner and ally among the GPD.
Replacement Scrappy: Basil Karlo. It really doesn't help that his introduction episode is the last time Ethan even appears, and that Karlo was so uninteresting that he barely even had any speaking lines in all his subsequent appearances.
The Scrappy: Donnie/Prank is generally considered to be a pretty pointless and annoying character, who Harley Quinn should have taken the place of. Thankfully she does end up appearing.
Chief Rojas is practically a Hate Sink as he has NO redeeming qualities whatsoever as he's just a self-righteous Fat Bastard. Thankfully, Commissioner Gordon came into the picture.
The episode "Rumors" involves a new vigilante capturing all of Batman's rogues with the intention of eventually executing them. Batman is naturally against this. While this is a common story for Batman, and his moral code is much easier to justify in this series since the villains have a much lower body count and haven't been at this for years, Batman doesn't really offer any rebuttal beyond "my way is right". It's also pointed out that Gotham didn't have criminals like them before Batman, something he never acknowledges in the episode. Ultimately, the story doesn't do much to disprove Rumors' arguments, and it comes off as "the hero is automatically right".
Despite his idiocy and stalwart hatred of Batman beyond all reason, Rojas is correct that Batman is a vigilante and should be persecuted like the rest of the Rogue's Gallery in episode 12. His reasons for wanting to do so aren't so golden, but vigilantes are criminals. It doesn't help that in the very next scene that episode, Batman's fight with Joker's thugs causes about as much property damages as Joker himself does.
Tear Jerker: The endings to "White Heat" and "Riddler's Revenge", as well as every episode featuring Clayface.
The Riddler's backstory is especially notable (as well as overlooked) the fact that this Riddler has the most tragic origin of all the animated Riddlers.
The show was great at introducing new villains, but struggled with follow-ups; the majority of villains only have one or two episodes (including their debut) before getting relegated to team-ups and cameos, including A-listers such as Bane and Poison Ivy. Part of the reason Joker and Penguin were so contentious is because fans felt that they were overused in comparison to other villains.
Detective Ellen Yin is the most blatant example of this trope, being a major character in the first two seasons and frequent partner to Batman in the second, and she had garnered something of a fanbase. Afterwards, she is written off the show without explanation and never referenced again outside of the episode that takes place in the future, Artifacts.
Tough Act to Follow: The series itself got this treatment in relation to the DCAU, which continued to air concurrently. In contrast, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, the series to come afterwards, got less of the same treatment still in relation to the now-concluded DCAU. This was due to its much Lighter and Softer bent which helped it to carve its own niche, whereas The Batman got compared to the DCAU at every turn because the overall tone was similar. Also, The Brace and the Bold was the second non-DCAU Batman show and made after it ended, so the blow was lessened for DCAU fans, while The Batman was the first and was made while the DCAU was still ongoing.
Rino Romano got this as the new VA for Bruce Wayne who wasn't Kevin Conroy. Fans did warm up to him in due course, though, as they accepted that he was playing a much younger Bruce from the start and he grew into the role alongside Batman developing a Bat-Family.
In quite a few interviews, Kevin Michael Richardson admitted that he felt this way when he was told by his agent that he was going to audition for the Joker, even to the point of asking, "Isn't Joker Mark Hamill's territory?" And considering that the Joker became easily the biggest Base-Breaking Character in the whole series, he was kinda right. However, as time has passed, most complaints and jibes leveled at the Joker are mainly for his design, while his vocals alone are usually considered respectable among the plethora of Joker voices.
This is especially notable when you realize how obviously the writers went out of their way to stand on their own, away from the influences of Batman: The Animated Series. By not doing Mr. Freeze's famous origin, making the Penguin his rude disgusting persona instead of his gentleman persona, Joker's design, and Harley Quinn having a completely new originnote but still written by Paul Dini.
Ugly Cute: The Penguin is depicted as pretty disgusting a majority of the time, but despite this a lot of his fans find him adorable. His voice is also endearingly grating and Tom Kenny later reused it for the Ice King in Adventure Time, who got a similar reaction.
The Un-Twist: It is virtually unthinkable to not give Mr. Freeze his tragic backstory in any modern incarnation... but this series decided to give a more traditional supervillain origin. Although barring that, this version of Freeze has his own merits as he still isn't outright evil and his powers were appropriately unique compared to other criminals Batman faced.
Vindicated by History: The show is much better received and looked back upon these days than it was when it was airing. The passage of time, more Batman-related animation outside the DCAU (such as The Brave and the Bold, Beware the Batman and the various DC Universe Animated Original Movies), more controversial Batman-related products in general, and the rediscovery of the series on Netflix help with this. While previously it was reviled, derided or dismissed by many just for not being the DCAU, and blamed for DC or WB's arbitrary "Bat-Embargo" that kept many Batman characters off limits from Justice League Unlimitedfor fear of confusion, over time the acrimony has largely cooled and many are now judging this on its own terms.