In a surprise press release last week, Warner Home Video announced a blu-ray and DVD release for Beware the Batman, the most recent animated iteration of the Dark Knight Detective. This was a surprise because the announcement was last week and the disc comes out today. While there may have been some rumblings earlier in the month about a possible home video release, most DVD announcements usually give buyers way more lead time than just “next week.”
Though it was a pretty big departure from how Batman has typically been depicted in animation, Beware’s dark and emotional storylines quickly attained a loyal following every Saturday morning. Unfortunately, the suits at Cartoon Network didn’t feel that enough of these loyal fans were watching and unceremoniously pulled the plug after only airing for a few months. Though it was never officially cancelled, it was never not cancelled either (and the rest of the episodes haven’t seen the light of day ever since).
But hey, we fans are getting a blu-ray (available today only at WBShop.com), so hooray?
I admit that I was a bit skeptical when I first saw the designs for the show. It didn’t help that I had preconceived notions about the CGI animation too. But after watching a few episodes, I was sucked in by the terrific voice acting and appreciated the way the show’s creative team decided to do something different with the Bat universe.
See, in the world of Beware the Batman, there’s no Robin, no Joker (or any of the classic rogues gallery, really), Alfred is a bruiser with a sawed-off, and Batman has an adversarial relationship with Gordon. I mean, if you thought Nolan took liberties with the mythos, you’d probably cry “blasphemy” for the changes Glen Murakami and company were responsible.
But everything is executed so well, you actually buy in to all of the differences because the essence of the characters remain, and that’s what makes this Batman story work.
I also appreciate how many Asian Americans are involved in both the cast and crew. In addition to the already-mentioned Murakami (who’s responsible for the show’s creation and development), other prominent Asian Americans on the show include director Sam Liu, voice actress Sumalee Montano (who portrays Katana — Batman’s non-Robin sidekick), and the first ever Asian American Batman(!) Anthony Ruivivar.
Okay, so Bruce Wayne is technically (probably?) not Asian on the show, but much like Dean Cain will always be our Asian American Superman, Ruivivar is as close as we’re gonna get to an Asian Bats.
Anyway, if you’re a fan of Batman, but didn’t give this show a shot, you should totally reconsider. Though I guess the problem is that if you do end up liking it, you’ll be just as pissed as we fans are that WB isn’t going to continue it. The one silver lining? Since the blu-ray will include 13 episodes, that means that several of the unaired episodes will finally be seen. So hopefully we can get some closure that way. Though, I don’t understand why they’ve labeled the set as “Season One — Part One” when the “back nine” episodes were never produced.
I guess WB just likes messing with folks.