TAS AT 25
2017 marks the silver anniversary of one of the most acclaimed of the Dark Knight’s incarnations – Batman: The Animated Series. After 25 years, the show remains, for many, the definitive take on the character and his world. Developed by Bruce Timm and Eric Radomski in the wake of Tim Burton’s Bat blockbusters, BTAS embraced the director’s retro-futurism but replaced his gothicism with what would come to be known as “dark deco” (in which Timm’s minimalistic figures moved across backgrounds painted on black rather than white paper).
The show introduced the world to Harley Quinn – created by writer-producer Paul Dini with Timm – and brought psychological complexity to characters like Mr Freeze, Clayface, Poison Ivy, and Two-Face, while pitting Mark Hamill’s belovedly bonkers Joker against Kevin Conroy’s unflappable Caped Crusader.
“Batman,” says Dini, “looks at a lot of the villains and says, ‘There but for the grace of God go I. Because I had the resources and I had the drive and maybe I had a little something in my heart or in my mind beyond what they had.’
“So he does understand that he’s a lot closer to these villains than people would think. That’s why underneath he’s got a bit of compassion for them. If they can be rehabilitated, he would like to see that rather than see them defeated or locked away or executed. There may be a way back, to some degree, for all of them.”