On the heels of the ultra successful The Dark Knight, at a time when audiences of all ages are recognizing Batman as a complicated, serious dramatic character (at least by superhero standards), it took a considerable amount of guts for the powers that be at Warner Brothers and Cartoon Network to go ahead with an animated series that ran completely opposite of the grim and gritty, ultra-serious stories now largely associated with the Caped Crusader. Or maybe they just wanted to see Batman in some extremely silly, imaginative and light-hearted animated adventures. Either way, Batman: The Brave and the Bold somehow saw the light of day, and for that I am thankful.
With its first season, Batman: The Brave and the Bold definitively proved there is ample room for a silly, humorous take on the character in the popular zeitgeist. The show pulls Batman out of the sullen, violent world of the comics, Christopher Nolan's films and even the acclaimed 1990s animated series and throws him into whacky predicaments typically home to characters like Duck Dodgers or The Powerpuff Girls. If you haven't seen the show, think Adam West by way of Bugs Bunny and you'll get the gist of it. It's the type of cartoon kids can devour along with a bowl of cereal and, more impressively, their parents can giggle along to as well.
The debut season worked best when it pushed against audiences' expectations of Batman, placing him as far away from his comfort zone as possible. In this regard, the musical extravaganza of "Mayhem of the Music Meister!" was its shining moment, combining catchy tunes, stellar voiceover work and an outrageously silly story into one of the most entertaining half-hours of television I remember watching all year. For the life of me, I still can't get some of those musical numbers out of my head, yet I still find myself smiling whenever I hum along to the Music Meister's main theme.
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