In the summer of 2018, the Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group released a special edition of the classic 1960s television show, Batman, which was filled with Easter Eggs and little references to other DC characters and movies. The new four-disc set, featuring all the episodes from the first two seasons, includes some interesting behind-the-scenes material and offers a nice variety of storytelling. While the set doesn’t reinvent the wheel, it does offer a wealth of stories that didn’t have their final airing on television because of the show’s original run on ABC. So if you’re a fan of the Caped Crusader, this set is for you.
Fifty Shades Of Grey
The first season of Batman focuses on Batman’s transition from being a successful detective to a superpowered crimefighter. This is mostly done through observing Commissioner Gordon and the other police officers as they deal with the violent crime wave that plagues Gotham City at the time. These crimes often have a sexual element to them, which is reflected in the stories. The first notable story is “The Riddler” and “The Secret Wars Of The Batman”, two episodes that are inspired by DC’s Secret Wars series. Other than that, the stories are mostly self-contained, with occasional references to other characters and/or media. There’s even one story that is set squarely in Arkham Asylum, which was first featured in the 1960s Batman television show. The first season ends on a cliffhanger, which is resolved in the second season.
The second season of Batman takes place 10 years after the first. Bruce Wayne is now a billionaire whose businesses span the globe and whose personal life is dedicated to combating crime and injustice. The stories from this season revolve around Batman’s struggle to find the best way to help those who need it, as well as his continued efforts to rid Gotham of its most dangerous inhabitants. The season is filled with memorable scenes and characters that have since become iconic in their own right. Among those are Alfred Pennyworth and Selina Kyle. The season ends on a cliffhanger, which is resolved in the third and final season.
The third season of Batman is quite a change from the first two. It is set in the sixties and focuses on the Joker, a criminal mastermind who’s obsessed with Batman. The stories are full of pop culture references, heavy-metal music, and psychedelic imagery. The season is quite a bit darker than the previous two and ends on a tragic note, albeit one that sets up the events of the upcoming movie, The Dark Knight. The Joker is clearly the focal point of the stories this year, as his warped take on humor and his bizarre actions are the driving force behind much of what happens. This is particularly evident in the season finale, “From The Ashes” when we first see the Clown Prince Of Crime and all the events that led up to his downfall. While the third season is quite a bit different from the first two, it’s also possibly the best of the bunch. The showrunners cleverly weaved a tapestry of DC characters and places, which only served to make each episode more interesting and exciting.
The Mutant Leader
The fourth and final season of Batman is a prequel to the events of the Dark Knight. It is set in the 70s and follows Victor Fries, a wealthy industrialist whose company, Wayne Enterprises, makes scientific equipment and weapons. Fries is in a fight for his life after contracting a deadly, plague-like virus that was created by his own scientists. The stories are quite a bit different from what came before. They are much more adult in nature and really delve into the psyche of the main character, Batman. Fries’ struggle to maintain a sense of humanity in the face of such a terrible affliction is what drives much of what happens in the season. The main villain, alongside Fries, is known as the Mutant Leader. This is the first appearance of the Joker in an installment of Batman, which was first published in 1981. The fourth and final season is a much more personal affair for the main character. It’s difficult to find the right words to describe this season, as there’s a depth and an intensity to it that’s quite unprecedented. Suffice to say that this is the darkest of the four seasons, as far as the overall tone of the stories is concerned, and it’s the one that will stick with you most strongly afterward. It’s a fitting end to a show that defined an entire generation and inspired countless others to become heroes themselves.
While the four-disc set is a nice addition to any collection, it’s the individual stories themselves that make this set so special. Not only do they offer a wealth of material, but it’s also the opportunity to catch up on episodes that you may have missed during the show’s original run. It is also a nice reminder of how far the Batman franchise has come since its inception in the 1940s. This set is a must-have for anyone interested in Batman or comic books in general. It also makes a great gift for any fan of the Dark Knight.