20th Anniversary of "Batman Beyond!"

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wonderfly

Is this the future?!?
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20 years ago, on this date, Batman Beyond premiered in Prime Time (on a Sunday night!) on "The WB" network! It started airing on Saturday mornings the following Saturday.

Here's the intro from that broadcast, the first night:


I've told this story elsewhere here on the forums, but personally, I had just gotten "The WB" channel in late 1998 (for the first time). Thus, I also started watching "Kids WB" for the first time right around this period. I started seeing promos for the upcoming "Batman Beyond" show and I remember tuning in. THAT was the moment where I fell in love with the DC Animated Universe all over again. From there, I went on to start watching "Superman The Animated Series" for the first time, along with "The New Batman Adventures".

I look at "Batman Beyond" (and the addition of "Pokemon" a month later, in February 1999) as the start of the 2nd phase of the "Kids WB" programming block. Over the next couple of years, "Kids WB" would become a more "action" oriented block, with "Static Shock", "Max Steel", "Jackie Chan Adventures", "X-Men: Evolution", "Cardcaptors", "The Mummy" animated series, and finally "Yu-Gi-Oh". I know some people preferred "Kids WB" from 1995 to 1998, and others preferred "Kids WB" from 2003 to 2006, but 1999 to 2002 was personally my favorite period in "Kids WB" history, and that all started here with the premiere of "Batman Beyond".

EDIT: Oh, and one more thing: "Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker" is the best of the animated "Batman" films. (Take that, "Mask of the Phantasm!"). ;-)

What are your thoughts on this show, 20 years later?!?
 

Red Arrow

ça va nog wel
First DCAU show I have ever seen.

Good animation, awesome intro, terrible background music that ruin the fights for me. The plots themselves are a toe-curling mixture of wanna-be-edgy and bland teen drama. The characters lack any depth. So much missed opportunity...

Now I finished season 1 of Batman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond is even more painful to watch IMO. Batman TAS hasn't aged a bit, it's timeless.

Sorry, to each their own, I guess :D
 
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Yojimbo

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I still love the series, the opening title sequence, the what I think was a successful attempt to forge a path into new territory in the overall Batman mythos, create a valid and popular heir to the mantle, created one of the best Batman movies ever -- I still hope to see it again in animation in some form.
 

Light Lucario

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It is amazing that the series is already twenty years old. I'm still thrown off by being able to remember things that happened that long ago myself.

I love Batman Beyond. It was one of my favorite Kids' WB shows back in the day. The action was cool, Terry was a likable lead, I liked how they didn't rely completely on reusing classic Batman villains for him to fight, the artwork was pretty cool and most episodes were engaging to watch. In retrospect, it's kind of amazing that they actually made a Batman series where Bruce wasn't Batman proper himself and that it still worked. A concept like that would feel rather refreshing at this point. I like Bruce as Batman, but Terry offered a different take that helped to make Batman Beyond feel more distinct than it could have been otherwise.

I rewatched most of the series not too long ago and I thought that it held up extremely well. It was still fun to watch and it still made me wish that the series had lasted a bit longer. It had a good run of three seasons, but it felt like it should have ended its TV run on a bigger note than it did. It's hard to feel too upset about that considering that it had two good finales in the form of Return of the Joker and the JLU episode Epilogue. I don't know if I'd say that Return of the Joker is the best Batman movie. I remember really enjoying Mask of the Phantasm, but it would be within the top three easily at least.

I would absolutely love it if there could be some return to Batman Beyond, or at least some of the characters. A reboot would be cool, but unlikely. Having a few animated movies featuring some of the Batman Beyond cast would be neat though. It's a great series, easily one of my favorite Batman series and I hope that it keeps getting more attention over the years.
 

Dudley

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It’s been years since I sat down and watched an episode but I remember this being my favorite Batman cartoon alongside Brave and the Bold.
 

jaylop97

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My relationship with this show is always very close. I think I only caught in Cartoon Network, over Kids WB', since I don't have a lot of m memory of it on WB, even so it always stuck with me. I first rewatched it in 2010 when it was available on the Hub. I always watch it on occasion with my brother because we are very attached to the atmosphere this show had, always feeling 90s yet being set in the future, helps out when the show came in 99.
 

wonderfly

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I rewatched most of the series not too long ago and I thought that it held up extremely well. It was still fun to watch and it still made me wish that the series had lasted a bit longer. It had a good run of three seasons, but it felt like it should have ended its TV run on a bigger note than it did. It's hard to feel too upset about that considering that it had two good finales in the form of Return of the Joker and the JLU episode Epilogue. I don't know if I'd say that Return of the Joker is the best Batman movie. I remember really enjoying Mask of the Phantasm, but it would be within the top three easily at least.
Yes, when "Return of the Joker" came out on video in December of 2000, I considered that to be the finale for the series (even though there was still 3 or 4 episodes left to premiere on Kids WB (in 2001). At the time, knowing that there was only a handful of episodes left, I also considered "Return of the Joker" to be the official end of the DC Animated Universe.

And then a few months later, I heard that a "Justice League" series was coming to Cartoon Network...

Here's a promo on Kids WB for "Return of the Joker" from December, 2000.


In retrospect, it felt like Kids WB really abandoned "Batman Beyond" after "Return of the Joker". They were making way for all of the other cartoons ("X-Men: Evolution" had just premiered in November 2000,. for instance)...luckily, the show got picked up by for a healthy rerun broadcast period by Toonami (starting in October 2001).
 

RoyalRubble

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I thought the show was great, and it still holds up pretty well. A very nice upgrade of the Batman mythos, and I especially liked how they created a completely new character for the role, while also continuing Bruce's story. It had some interesting ideas and concepts in there, and I always liked when they included some nods to Batman TAS. It's cool how more stories were expanded or given some sort of origin when Justice League Unlimited came along, but that's more of a DCAU observation. Batman Beyond can stand on its own, as a sequel to BTAS.

I liked Terry, one of the few characters created for animation who were so cool or popular they were eventually introduced in the comics continuity as well. Even without the twist/big revelation from "Epilogue", the character is interesting enough.

The futuristic villains they brought in were pretty cool - Powers/Blight was an interesting antagonist for the 1st Season. Then we had the likes of Inque, Mad Stan, Spellbinder or Curare. I also liked the Kobra stories they did. Some others were kind of lame, such as Patrick the Rat Boy or Cynthia the android, but I think they more than made up for that with Melanie/Ten (probably one of my favorite characters on the show).

All in all, a great show that had a pretty good and succsessful run. 52 episodes, some appearances in other DCAU shows, a spin-off series, a pretty awesome animated movie, as well as an equally awesome animated short.
 

RoyalRubble

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Not to get too much off-topic here - but I think this was the most succsessful animated re-imagining of a super-hero in a futuristic setting.

Spider-Man Unlimited was pretty good as well, but I don't think it came too close to this (and the fact that show never got a proper conclusion doesn't help either).

I watched the first episodes of Zorro: Generation Z sometime last year, and it was decent enough but I lost interest soon enough.

I only vaguely recall seeing bits and pieces from Phantom 2040 (this is actually an even older show, from 1994), so I can't really make a fair comparison, but I am not too familiar with the character to begin with.

There are probably more such shows, but these were the first to come in mind.
 

Christopher Glennon

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Thanks for sharing that intro (had to laugh at the Batman and Robin stuff, that aged reeeeaaaal well)! A blast from the past and yet it doesn't seem like that long ago. I'll go back to the show from time to time. Not as much as BTAS or JLU, but I plan to do a rewatch of the whole series some day.

I would absolutely love it if there could be some return to Batman Beyond, or at least some of the characters. A reboot would be cool, but unlikely. Having a few animated movies featuring some of the Batman Beyond cast would be neat though. It's a great series, easily one of my favorite Batman series and I hope that it keeps getting more attention over the years.
I remember when I was hoping some day we'd get to see the "Near Apocalypse of '09" as a movie or something, kind of bridging Batman Beyond and JLU. And now that'd be like a decade in the past! Was Batman Beyond 40 years in the future? We're halfway there already.

I could see DC trying to do a live action adaptation. Maybe around the time of the 25th anniversary. It'd be interesting to see their take on how technology has advanced and continue to speculate what it'd be like. Sadly, with the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, I could see Mad Stan being super relevant.
 

Baloo

You better believe it!
I never got into the show the same way I did with Batman: TAS, but I think it's fine. I like the idea of having someone younger take over the role of Batman for Bruce Wayne, and there's a moment or two I remember, such as one episode showing an older Bane in terrible condition due to his overdose on drugs. I don't think it's all that memorable and Batman: TAS is definitely a lot better, but I think it's a decent show, and I wish it a happy 20th anniversary.
 

Frank98

Keep moving forward
I think this show is the other side of the coin of Batman TAS.

In Batman TAS, what we remember the most is the great character drama, the sophisticated dialogue and voice acting, and the great noir/art deco, retro visual style and designs. The animation is often lacking and unpolished, and the fights are very weak.

I think Batman Beyond, thanks to its extremely stylized art style and animation, can provide better fights, with better choreography and ideas, and more consistent animation. But the characters are weaker, especially the villains. Most of them feel like watered-down versions of previous Marvel or DC villains. I don't think it's a coincidence that many of the best episodes are the ones involving Bruce Wayne or past villains and characters - Mr. Freeze, Ra's al Ghul, the Justice League... It was a good attempt, but it didn't completely live up to Batman TAS.
 

wonderfly

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Christopher Glennon said:
I remember when I was hoping some day we'd get to see the "Near Apocalypse of '09" as a movie or something, kind of bridging Batman Beyond and JLU. And now that'd be like a decade in the past! Was Batman Beyond 40 years in the future? We're halfway there already.
I think the opening sequence from the first episode (with Bruce having a heart attack) occurs "a few years from now". The next scene (introducing Terry McGinnis) occurs "20 years later". So it's supposed to be a total of either 30 or 40 years in the future.

EDIT: Yeah, wikipedia and this recent news article are saying that opening seen (with Bruce Wayne having a heart attack) occurred in 2019.

Baloo said:
I don't think it's all that memorable and Batman: TAS is definitely a lot better,
...As long as the criticisms are "It wasn't as good as 'Batman: The Animated Series'", I can buy that. But I think it's held up on very well on it's own, and doesn't feel very dated at all. It doesn't scream out "It's the late 90's!" too much. If anything, Nightwing's ponytail in "The New Batman Adventures" screams out "it's the 90's!" more than anything here. The show creator's vision for the future isn't laughable (after some initial absurdities in the early episodes).

Here's a promo from October 1999 on Kids WB that I found interesting:


Yeah, that "High School Zero Gravity Lacrosse" game from the early episodes never really came into existence...

Even if they had separated this from the Batman mythos and just had it as a near future sci-fi/superhero story, I think it would've worked. But tying it to the Batman mythos, instead of giving it useless baggage, actually strengthens the story.
 

Yojimbo

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I think the opening sequence from the first episode (with Bruce having a heart attack) occurs "a few years from now". The next scene (introducing Terry McGinnis) occurs "20 years later". So it's supposed to be a total of either 30 or 40 years in the future.

EDIT: Yeah, wikipedia and this recent news article are saying that opening seen (with Bruce Wayne having a heart attack) occurred in 2019.
Actually. The 30-40 years thing was either a mistake or fixed later on. Bruce Timm's final word was that the Batman Beyond era is 50 years from the last known present event (JLU). So Beyond takes place in the early 2050s. And thus, Bruce's heart attack is in the 2030s.
 

iammattie

Active Member
Actually. The 30-40 years thing was either a mistake or fixed later on. Bruce Timm's final word was that the Batman Beyond era is 50 years from the last known present event (JLU). So Beyond takes place in the early 2050s. And thus, Bruce's heart attack is in the 2030s.
This is still so weird to me because it contradicts everything we see on screen with the exception of Mr. Freeze saying he's been that way for 50 years (which still works if you assume he's talking about Heart of Ice rather than becoming just a head), the mentioned 50 in Once and Future Thing (although... messed up timelines can do that.) and the Intro 65 years tag in Epilogue (It definitely contradicts dialogue in that episode, and early press for Epilogue had it set 50 years in the future, so I think the 65 was a last minute change).

But that's just one me and Timm will one-sidedly argue about until I die.

That being said, it's so weird to me that this was 20 years ago. This is one of three DCAU series premieres I caught when I was younger (the other two being Secret Origins and Initiation), and something about it always stuck with me more than the other two. This was the cutting Edge NEW Batman. Now we're at a point where every living child and teenager has never been in a world without Batman Beyond. Such a bizzare thing to think about.

I'll agree with the sentiment that some have voiced here, some of the stories haven't held up too well. However, this is still one of my all time favorite parts of this universe. The aesthetic is just fantastic and for the most part really outshines the failings of some of the scripts.

Tons of great creepy moments in this show as well. Inque forcing herself down Terry's throat? Digital Robert Vance? The Earth Mover reveal is certainly something I've never been able to shake from my memory the first time i saw it as a kid. give me the jibblies just thinking about it.
 

wonderfly

Is this the future?!?
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Actually. The 30-40 years thing was either a mistake or fixed later on. Bruce Timm's final word was that the Batman Beyond era is 50 years from the last known present event (JLU). So Beyond takes place in the early 2050s. And thus, Bruce's heart attack is in the 2030s.
Batman (Bruce Wayne) was obviously in his mid to late 30's by the time of "The New Batman Adventures"/"Justice League".

If you place the main "Batman Beyond" story 50 years in the future, Bruce Wayne is in his mid to late 80's.

That just...doesn't feel right.

OBVIOUSLY, BRUCE TIMM IS WRONG!!!!! :)
 

Red Arrow

ça va nog wel
I don't think Bruce Timm cared that much about age consistency. I mean, The New Batman Adventures clearly takes place after BTAS, even though Bruce Wayne looks a lot on younger in TNBA. (or maybe that's just me?)
 

Yojimbo

Yes, have some.
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Batman (Bruce Wayne) was obviously in his mid to late 30's by the time of "The New Batman Adventures"/"Justice League".

If you place the main "Batman Beyond" story 50 years in the future, Bruce Wayne is in his mid to late 80's.

That just...doesn't feel right.

OBVIOUSLY, BRUCE TIMM IS WRONG!!!!! :)
I pegged him as just making 40 when JLU ends, and 90 in the Beyond premiere and thanks to medical advances, 105 in Epilogue.

To each their own.
 

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