Saturday, December 03, 2011

Mitefall

Well, if Batman: The Brave and the Bold had to go off the air, at least they did it in style.


This show has been a joy to me for the last couple of years, riffing on the fun Silver Age of comics, not concerning itself with continuity or cynicism, but just telling fun stories with great guest stars and lots of neat references to a different and, frankly, better time in comic books.

I don't know all of the ins and outs of the decision to pull Brave and the Bold off the air, but this finale episode--masterfully written by Paul Dini--reflects both the TV environment that makes such decisions inevitable, and the ever-fickle demands of fandom. This episode really takes meta to another level, seeing Bat-Mite as a fan craving something new, and who changes aspects of the show to get it canceled--including adding extreme sports elements, silly sidekicks (including a Scrappy Doo analogue), vehicles and costumes only added to be introduced to the toy line, and recasting Ted McGinley as Aquaman (who takes the time to remind that audience that his reputation as a show-killer is overstated: "People forget that Married...with Children was on for seven years after I joined the cast."). At one point, Batman literally jumps a shark.

In tribute to that defining event of narrative overreach, Henry Winkler even appears in the episode as Ambush Bug. And I can't tell you how pleased I am that Ambush Bug finally appeared on the series!

So I'm sorry to see Batman: The Brave and the Bold pulled after just two and a half seasons, but what a fantastic show it really was. Probably my favorite thing DC has done with its animation arm. And what an episode to say goodbye with; a reminder of how classy and smart this show really was.

See you in the next animated incarnation, Batman.

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