The last new episode aired in the middle of April, and it's been a long, dry summer of reruns... but the good news is that the Emmy-nominated Batman: The Brave and the Bold returns with all-new episodes this Friday at 7:00 PM on the Cartoon Network. They'll be wrapping up the season-wide subplot with the two-part "The Siege of Starro", as Batman battles the legendary space starfish who has taken control of practically every costumed hero on Earth.
For those of you who haven't been tuning into this terrific series, it's a valentine to long-time Batman fans like myself who feel that, after watching the Dark Knight get darker and darker in both the comics and two cartoon series, we needed a break from the doom and gloom, a return to the fun Batman of the mid-60's and early 70's before he became a sullen psychotic. Well, producer James Tucker, who has been mulling this kind of Batman as far back as the last season of The New Batman Adventures (when he supervised the storyboarding of the Dick Sprang-inspired segment of "Legends of the Dark Knight"), gave it to us and good.
This new series steeps itself into the Silver Age history of DC Comics with the kind of wild stories that do honor to Gardner Fox, Julius Schwartz, John Broome, Robert Kanigher, Jack Kirby, and especially Bill Finger (whom many credit as the real mastermind behind Batman). If you've come here looking for that psychotic bully he's evolved into, just keep marchin'. Batman is the Caped Crusader in this one, a Sprang-inspired creation, with the talented Dietrich Bader as a cross between the raspy Kevin Conroy and the straight-laced camp of Adam West (who actually appeared in an episode with Julie Newmar as Thomas and Martha Wayne!). And while the series itself never takes itself too seriously, there are the dark moments that fans of the Dark Knight clamor for, such as an episode where Batman tracks down the man responsible for his parents' murders (courtesy of Batman: the Animated Series' own Paul Dini).
And let's not forget the musical episode, "Mayhem of the Music Meister", a story with flavor straight out of the 1960's Brave and the Bold comics, featuring Neil Patrick Harris as the Conducter of Crime, with a fantastic score that could persuade Andrew Lloyd Webber to don a cape and tights.
This series has one last full season to go, and I'm hoping before it disappears we'll get that Music Meister action figure. I'll be the first in line for it.
Anyway, put it in your DVR... this Friday, Cartoon Network, 7:00 PM EST.