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Batman The Brave and the Bold: The Complete First Season(TV) (2008-2009)
Batman isn't going at it alone this time! From Warner Bros. Animation comes the latest interpretation of the classic Batman franchise. Our caped crusader is teamed up with heroes from across the DC Universe, delivering nonstop action and adventure with a touch of comic relief. Blue Beetle, Green Arrow, Aquaman and countless others will get a chance to uphold justice alongside Batman. Though still based in Gotham, Batman will frequently find himself outside city limits, facing situations that are both unfamiliar and exhilarating. With formidable foes around every corner, Batman will still rely on his stealth, resourcefulness and limitless supply of cool gadgets to bring justice home.
For more about Batman The Brave and the Bold: The Complete First Season and the Batman The Brave and the Bold: The Complete First Season Blu-ray release, see Batman The Brave and the Bold: The Complete First Season Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on March 8, 2014 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Julie Newmar, Diedrich Bader, John DiMaggio, Alan Tudyk, James Arnold Taylor, Dee Bradley Baker
Directors: Ben Jones (II), Michael Chang, Michael Goguen, Brandon Vietti, Lauren Montgomery
» See full cast & crew
Batman The Brave and the Bold: The Complete First Season Blu-ray Review
Never judge a show by its screenshots...
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, March 8, 2014
Simmer, simmer. Hear me out. Batman: The Brave and the Bold deserves a fighting chance to win you over. Not by way of episode clips and YouTube videos, but a real, honest to God, in-the-face-of-cynicism shot at earning a cozy corner of your DC fandom. I know at first glance, peering through the kid-friendly trappings and Saturday Morning Cartoon fisticuffs, it's hard to believe. But the Dark Knight is... dark!, you say. And you're right. An emotionally scarred, near-psychotic vigilante dressed as a bat desperately needs to be dark. Otherwise it's all a bit silly. (The Adam West TV series, the cheesier runs of "Detective Comics" and Batman & Robin, anyone?) Yet James Tucker and Michael Jelenic's The Brave and the Bold manages to walk a very tight rope between corny cowl and classic Bats, and even makes it look easy. Once you warm to the premise -- and you will warm to the premise -- there's a lot to love, including a fantastic voice cast, spirited animation, dozens upon dozens of obscure character cameos, and plenty of opportunity for father-son bonding. Not a parent? Don't worry, you don't need a kid to enjoy B&B, just an open mind, a good sense of humor and a willingness to have a little fun.
The setup is deceptively simple. Each episode finds Batman (Diedrich Bader) teaming up with one of several lesser known and/or under-appreciated heroes -- Blue Beetle (Will Friedle), Aquaman (John DiMaggio), Plastic Man (Tom Kenny), Green Arrow (James Arnold Taylor), Red Tornado (Corey Burton), Doctor Fate, Black Canary, Bat-Mite, Huntress, B'wana Beast, Elongated Man, OMAC, Jason Blood, Kamandi, even Jonah Hex and countless more -- to bring down whatever random baddie or villain league the showrunners yank from the farflung corners of the DC Multimediaverse. Superman? Wonder Woman? The heavy hitters? They're hardly involved, if at all. (Green Lantern shows up. Briefly.) The result? There's a wholly unpredictable and irresistibly exciting adventure packed into each and every episode. The villains employed are just as much of a sweet surprise as the heroes too, and familiar faces are few and far between. Half the fun of watching The Brave and the Bold is seeing who pops up next, and exactly how and why they're making an appearance.
The series lacks weight and high stakes, of course. But only by design. The Brave and the Bold is steeped in comics lore and revels in the number of characters it can cram into any given episode. Lifelong comicbook junkies should be prepared to endure geek-out after geek-out; casual fans can play round after round of superhero grab-bag, even if 50% of the names and origins of the many, many alien races, talking beasties and super fiends escape them; and newcomers needn't concern themselves with learning any of it. The show is as much a crash course in DC Comics color as it is an introduction to the wild and wacky denizens of Batman's extended world. It's that rare television experience that can appeal to all walks of comic-geek life, and even softened this cold Marvel purist's heart enough to make room for a few hundred DC characters looking for a good home and an ounce of respect.
The Brave and the Bold still won't win over everyone. It's an acquired taste I suppose; its greatest hurdle convincing adults it has as something to offer. Stylistically there are seemingly insurmountable obstacles, and the joke-a-minute dialogue (full of wit as it is) and whipped cream action sequences (invigorating as they are) may not help. Accept this smartly penned incarnation of Batman on the series' terms, though, and you'll quickly discover how delightful and deliriously entertaining it can be. Why does Batman always have to be taken so seriously anyway? On that note, why do comic fans always have to take ourselves so seriously? Could it be we Dark Knight enthusiasts, like so many comic readers, are so hungry for legitimacy, so determined to validate and defend our hobby that we feel the overwhelming need to demonstrate comicbooks aren't kids' stuff? Do we need dark heroes and even darker villains to live up to the pressing demands of our age bracket?
Bah. One of the joys of adulthood is being free to cast off adulthood whenever it suits us. So sit back. Spoil the young boy tucked away in the deep recesses of your brain. Let him out to play with Batman and the members of the Almost JLA, if only for an episode or two. If you're a parent, use your son or daughter as an excuse. I'm watching it for them! Whatever works. Just don't pass judgment on the series too quickly. There are enough twenty, forty and sixtysomethings playing adult 24 hours a day. You don't have to be one of 'em. Take a break. Take a load off. Take a look into Batman: The Brave and the Bold.
Batman The Brave and the Bold: The Complete First Season Blu-ray, Video Quality
As long as you ignore the minor source-based banding that invades the skies and oceans every so often, The Brave and the Bold's 1080p/AVC-encoded video presentation won't disappoint. Colors are -- wait for it -- brave, bold and then some, splashing vibrant primaries and drizzling perfectly inky blacks across the screen as if it were a comicbook page being prepped for press. Detail is exacting and, again, nearly flawless as far as the series' animated source is concerned. There's the faintest hint of aliasing and pixelation here and there, but it all traces back to the original animation. Line art is laser sharp and every last stroke and curve is impeccably refined. Meanwhile, artifacting, ringing, noise and, really, any issues of consequence must be trapped in another dimension, because none of it makes its way into the fray. All told, the Warner Archive release of Season 1 is currently sitting pretty atop the Warner Bros. Animation pile next to the best-looking DC Universe animated series and movies available on Blu-ray.
Batman The Brave and the Bold: The Complete First Season Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Warner's DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track flexes surprising muscle too, and only underwhelms in that the stereo track is inherently flat and front-heavy. Dialogue is crystal clear and perfectly prioritized at all times and, even without the support of the LFE channel, punches, explosions and other weighty elements hit hard and kick harder, adding plenty of power to fights, battles, otherworldly encounters and displays of raw, Earth-shaking super abilities. I have to admit the fact that it all sounds so good on just two channels caught me off guard. I was quite pleased with the end result.
Batman The Brave and the Bold: The Complete First Season Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Blu-ray edition of The Brave and the Bold: Season One doesn't include any special features.
Batman The Brave and the Bold: The Complete First Season Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Gear up. Dive in. Prep the Batwing. Batman: The Brave and the Bold is a bright, bouyant blast. It's as much fun as any Batman series has business being, and successfully strikes a very difficult balance between comedy, light-hearted action and adventure, kiddie content and comic junkie fan service. Warner Archive's Blu-ray release is easy to recommend too, despite a complete lack of special features. Fortunately, the quality of WAC's video presentation and DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track more than make up for any supplemental oversight. My advice? Don't assume you know what The Brave and the Bold has in store. Give it fair shot and see just how long you can resist its charm.
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