A few weeks back Warner Brothers gave us Batman: The Animated Series – Volume One. They finally got smart and stopped releasing those silly 3 and 4 episode single disk releases and gave the fans what they had been clamoring for. The set is great, I just wish they had done it this way from the start. Yes, I am one of those guys who was out buying the single disks, just so I could have something on DVD.
The set is comprised of 4 disks with 7 episodes per disk. I am not sure of the season episode count, so I am not sure if this is part of season 1, or maybe season 1 and part of season 2. I am sure that this is either more or less than a full season as it is called Volume One as opposed to Season One. In any event, the episodes look and sound fantastic.
I guess a little background is in order, for the two or three of you who have not seen this series. It debuted 12 years ago to much praise. It is possibly the best incarnation outside of the original comic books. The approach was more cinematic, than “cartoony.” Each episode featured excellent writing, voice acting, animation, it was very much ahead of it’s time. While it was suitable for all ages to watch, it did not attempt to dumb down the material. They did not attempt to make it campy, or childlike in anyway.
The animation was always topnotch. It is very angular, square jaws, broad shoulders, very comic book looking. Music, beautiful, movie like scores topped off with a great theme by Danny Elfman. Voice acting was also great, you could not have picked better voices. Stories that focus on various characters other than Batman/Bruce Wayne. There is a Rashomon like story focusing on Detective Bullock, a tale of the Joker and and a random Joe with hardly any input from Bats.
Overall it is just a great series that was well ahead of its time. It paved the way for the Superman animated series, not to mention Justice League.
Video. I don’t think the series has ever looked this good! Colors are great, even in dark and shadow, where a lot of action takes place.
Audio. Also excellent. it is presented in DD Surround. No hiss or noise, everything is clearly audible. The music sounds wonderful.
Extras. This is a little light, but what there is, is nice. Especially the “Dark Knight’s First Night” featurette, which features the early animation and pencil designs for the series. There is also a tour of the Batcave featuring clips from the series. Two commentaries on the set, I have not listened to them, but already wish there were more. And finally a couple of trailers for other DC comics DVD’s.
Overall. It is impossible to go wrong with this set. Besides the quaility presentation, it is just a wonderful show for everyone. I cannot recommend this enough! Cannot wait for Volume Two.