Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Animated World of DC Comics: A tribute to times past: Batman & Robin team with Scooby-Doo (2011)

One of the cool things about Batman: The Brave & the Bold on Cartoon Network is that the producers have been willing to go the extra mile in terms of fanservice.

One such example comes in the episode, "Batmite Presents: Batman's Strangest Cases", which allows the producers a chance to pay homage to the Caped Crusader's two previous meetings with the teens of Mystery Incorporated on The New Scooby-Doo Movies nearly 40 years ago. In this flashback, Frank Welker pulls triple duty, as he subs for Diedrich Bader as the voice of Batman, in addition to his regular roles as Fred & Scooby. As was the case back in 1972, the Joker & the Penguin provide the opposition, plus, in a total homage to the series proper, song satirist Weird Al Yankovic is added to the mix.

Edit: 4/9/14: Unfortunately, the original video was deleted by YouTube due to copyright concerns. All we have now is a "Weird" Al-less teaser.

Admittedly, I wanted to post this sooner, like, around Halloween, but never got to it in time. Trying to compress a 1 hour drama into 8-9 minutes, though, isn't my cup of tea. Take it however you wish.

Rating: B.


magicdog said...

Kudos to those behind this crossover segment!

They got everything down perfectly from the animation errors, to the laugh track! My only nitpick with the ep were the voices of Batman and Robin. I wasn't fond of Frank Welker's Batman and it kept taking me out of the moment. I think it would have been better had Adam West done the voice and Casey Kasem should have reprised his role as Robin.

I loved how the creators went all out including having all those in-jokes and nods to the original show:

* Using the original SD title cards.

* The usher is the puppeteer from "The Backstage Rage".

* The use of Penguin & Joker as villians, like in both original segments.

* Their costumes (a tree spirit and troll) lined up next to the costumes of other classic SD villians.

* The admission that B&R couldn't throw a punch due to violence restrictions and giving the characters a chance to give it to the bad guys! Not to mention letting Shag & Scoob get in on the fisticuffs.

* Seeing the gang trying to fool the bad guys with the impossible "light and mirrors" projection trick the original villians used.

* Seeing the gang dance with one another like they used to dance on the original series.

* The animated safety segment intro seen on the Superfriends series! I nearly fell out of my chair when I saw that!

* And of course, Weird Al!

I think the segment deserved an A minus overall.

hobbyfan said...

It gets a B because it was overloaded.

1. It was part of the Batmite-centric episode.

2. While the SF Safety tip was nice, it was also feeling like it was forced, as if the writers knew this was their only chance to take this direction, meaning a full-on SF tribute show ain't happening any time soon.

3. Why Bader was subbed out for Welker, other than maybe Frank trying to pay homage to Olan Soule, the definitive Batman voice of the period, I don't know.

4. With Matt Lilliard voicing Shaggy, they might not have felt he could pull off a dual role, the way Casey Kasem always did back in the day, hence using another actor as Robin, one that I think may have already been used in the series in the same role.

I'll eventually get the DVD, and maybe I'll change the grade by then.

magicdog said...

I never would have expected Matthew Lillard to have done double duty as Shaggy and Robin as Casey Kasem had. I just would have wanted Kasem to voice Robin like he had done back in the day. Bader could still have done Bats, but Adam West would have been a good fit too (if Burt Ward could have done Robin, I could have lived with that too!).

hobbyfan said...

You have to look at the context of the period they were covering (early 70's). Olan Soule had come over from Filmation to continue as Batman. Adam West's first cartoon go-round was also at Filmation in 1977, with Ward as Robin. They wanted to capture the spirit of the period covered.

magicdog said...

I understand that, but if they really wanted to capture the spirit voice-wise, then they could have had Kasem do Robin's voice.

I remember Adam West & Burt Ward doing the 1977 Filmation incarnation, but West did come back to HB to do the role during the final season of the Superfriends ("Galactic Guardians") so it still wouldn't have been too out of place. Besides, it's always a treat to hear them in the roles they made famous in live action.

hobbyfan said...

Actually, West came to H-B a year earlier (the Legendary Super Powers Show season) when Olan Soule was switched over to voice Martin Stein, 1/2 of Firestorm. I see your point, but maybe Casey just wasn't interested in revisiting one of his other iconic roles one last time......