Saturday, December 03, 2011

Geek TV #10.1: Batman: The Animated Series

batmantas1Yes, it's another installment that'll go on for at least two posts, thanks to my going a bit overboard with it!


Concept: The Caped Crusader as you'd never seen him before, combining elements of pretty much every variation of Batman (especially the comics) and picking out which pieces to use. The best Batman presentation ever done outside of comics, in my opinion.


Total Episodes: 85

Original Air Dates: 1992-1995

Original Network: Fox

Geek Factor: 10

Characters:
Batman/Bruce Wayne (Kevin Conroy): After his parents were killed by a criminal when he was just a child, Bruce Wayne vowed to battle crime, eventually being influenced to take the identity of Batman, the Gotham Guardian!
Alfred Pennyworth (Efrem Zimbalist Jr.): Faithful butler to Bruce Wayne, and one of the few people aware that Bruce is Batman.
Commissioner James Gordon (Bob Hastings): The man in charge of the Gotham Police Department, and one of Batman's greatest allies.
Dick Grayson/Robin (Loren Lester): Youthful ward to Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson is the only surviving member of “The Flying Graysons,” avenging their deaths by taking on the identity of Robin to put their killer to justice.
Summer Gleeson (Mari Devon): Television news reporter.
Detective Harvey Bullock (Robert Costanzo): Tough-as-nails police detective, apparently anti-Batman, but will admit that the Caped Crusader has his uses when pressed.
The Joker (Mark Hamill): Crazed clown prince of crime... who is the scariest person in Gotham? Some say Batman, others say The Joker!
Harvey Dent/Two-Face (Richard Moll): Former district attorney, “Apollo” Dent's face was horribly scarred by acid on one side, bringing Harvey's evil alternate personality to the surface. Obsessed with duality and the number two.
Harley Quinn (Arleen Sorkin): The Joker's sidekick, slavishly devoted to “Mister J,” as she calls him, no matter how often the Joker mistreats her.
Mayor Hamilton Hill (Lloyd Bocner): Harried mayor of Gotham City, one wonders how he gets himself re-elected!
Lucius Fox (Brock Peters): The man behind the daily operations of Wayne Enterprises.
Dr. Pamela Isley/Poison Ivy (Diane Pershing): Plant-obsessed eco-terrorist who's not beyond using her looks to accomplish her goals. Best friend with Harley Quinn, the two of them occasionally team up together.
Selina Kyle/Catwoman (Adrienne Barbeau): Feline temptress and cat burglar, she is more than a little attracted to Batman (and the feeling is mutual).


Geek Guest-Stars:
George Dzundza, who voiced Arnold Wesker/The Ventriloquist and Scarface, had previously appeared in a 1986 episode of The Twilight Zone, and went on to do the voice of Perry White on Superman: The Animated Series, continuing to voice the Ventriloquist in The New Batman Adventures. His most recent geek credit is an episode of Stargate SG-1.
 
Neil Ross, who voiced a number of characters, has had a major career in voicing animation; prior to Batman: The Animated Series, he was the voice of Norman Osborn on Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends as well as the concurrent Spider-Man syndicated series, voiced Shipwreck on G.I. Joe: The Revenge of Cobra and added Buzzer and Dusty in the subsequent G.I. Joe animated series, voiced Keith, Pidge and others on Voltron: Defender of the Universe, voiced Slag, Bonecrusher, Hook, and others on The Transformers, voiced Nightcrawler on the Pryde of the X-Men pilot (direct to video), Morocco Mole on Yo Yogi!, and did voices for The Pirates of Dark Water, The Little Mermaid (TV series), Darkwing Duck, Animaniacs, and many other shows. Since Batman, his roles included Doctor Doom, the Puppet Master, the Super-Skrull, and others on the 1994-1996 Fantastic Four, Fin Fang Foom, Blizzard, Yinsen and others on the 1994-1996 Iron Man, had two parts on Superman: The Animated Series, voiced Lt. Mitch Kellaway on The Mask animated series, reprised his role of Norman Osborn on the 1995-1998 Spider-Man, reprised his role of Keith (and voicing other characters) in Voltron: The Third Dimension, voiced Vulturo, Dr. Benton Quest and others on Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, and did a multiple of voice roles in other cartoons as well as video games.
batmantas2
Paul Williams voiced the Penguin, and prior to that, he played Virgil in Battle For the Planet of the Apes, Swan in Phantom of the Paradise, and provided the voice of Garen on The Pirates of Dark Water. He also voiced Mr. Cairo on Phantom 2040, was Mother of Invention in the 1995 The Tick, played Taq in an episode of Babylon 5, reprised his role of the Penguin on Superman: The Animated Series and The New Batman Adventures, and appeared in episodes of Star Trek: Voyager and Dexter's Laboratory.
Aron Kincaid,who voiced Killer Croc, had previously played Sky Lynx on The Transformers, and has done additional voices for a number of other animated shows, as well as on-screen appearances in minor roles in Planet Earth (TV movie), Mr. Merlin, Get Smart, The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini, Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine, and others.
The always-amazing Frank Welker, a legend in voice work, provided the voice of Catwoman's pet, Isis, in nine episodes, and his credits would make this the longest post ever if I listed them all! He also did voices on Superman: The Animated Series.
Ed Asner voiced the gangster Roland Daggett, but he had previously appeared in episodes of The Outer Limits, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Girl From UNCLE, The Wild Wild West, The Invaders, Mission: Impossible, had a regular part in some little-known sitcom called Mary Tyler Moore, and then started doing some voice acting in animation, beginning with playing Chief Abalone in Fish Police, and providing voices in an episode (or more) of Animaniacs, Dinosaurs, Duckman, Gargoyles )Hudson), Captain Planet and the Planeteers (he was Hoggish Greedly), Freakazoid! (Sgt. Mike Cosgrove), the 1994 Spider-Man (where he played J. Jonah Jameson), and other shows, also making single appearances in The X-Files and Hercules. Oh, and let us not forget Superman: The Animated Series, where he voiced Granny Goodness, reprising that role in an episode of Justice League. His most recent geek credits are voicing Uncle Ben Parker on the 2008 Spectacular Spider-Man and vocing Carl Fredricksen in the great Pixar film Up.
 
After doing the voice of Barbara Gordon/Batgirl from 1992 to 1994, Melissa Gilbert also appeared in three episodes of Babylon 5, and a 1998 episode of The Outer Limits.
Linda Gary, a noted voice actress, voiced Dr. Nora Crest and two other parts. She's also done additional voices for Scooby-Doo and Scrappy Doo, was the voice of Webwoman on Tarzan and the Super 7, did Mara and a few other characters on Blackstar, voiced Miss Grimm on The Kid Super Power Hour With Shazam!, was Aunt May on the 1981-1982 Spider-Man, voiced Teela, the Sorceress, Evil-Lyn and others on He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, did several parts on The Transformers, voiced Shadow Weaver and others on She-Ra: Princess of Power, and played Aunt May Parker again on the 1994-1997 Spider-Man animated series. During this period of time, she voiced bit parts in many other animated tv shows and movies. She died in 1995, apparently having already done all the voicework needed for those last Aunt May appearances.
David Warner was an inspired choice for Ra's Al Ghul, but prior to that, his best-known geek role was probably Ed Dillinger/Sark/Master Control Program in TRON or Evil Genius in Time Bandits (or maybe playing Jack the Ripper in Time After Time). He also played the Monster in a 1984 TV movie version of Frankenstein, appeared in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (in the latter as Chancellor Gorkon), playing Professor Sumerlee in The Lost World and Return to the Lost World in 1992, an appearance on Tales From the Crypt in 1992, playing Gul Madred in Star Trek: The Next Generation, appearing in an episode of The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr., playing Jor-El in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, appearing in an episode of Babylon 5, as well as several other parts in cartoons and other genre pieces before Batman: The Animated Series. He later voiced Archmage in four episodes of Gargoyles, voiced The Lobe on Freakazoid!, voiced Herbert Landon and The Red Skull on the 1995-1997 Spider-Man, voiced Doctor Vic Frankenstein on Toonsylvania, appeared in two episodes each of Total Recall: The Series and the 1995-1999 The Outer Limits, voiced Alpha on Men in Black-The Series, returned as Ra's in Superman: The Animated Series and Batman Beyond, and many other parts since, including Lord Azlok on the 2009 TV Mini-Series Doctor Who: Dreamland

Next week: The Conclusion! 

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