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Bat­man: The An­i­mated Se­ries wore its in­flu­ences on its cape: the gang­ster-sharp film noir stylings of Tim Bur­ton’s block­buster movie; the shadow-drenched aes­thetic of the ’40s Fleis­cher Stu­dios Su­per­man car­toons. And it tran­scended those in­flu­ences – along with the tra­di­tional lim­its of kids’ an­i­ma­tion – to cre­ate what may just be the screen’s de­fin­i­tive take on the Dark Knight.

Re­mas­tered for Blu-ray, these 109 episodes al­chemise decades of Bat-mythol­ogy into some­thing that feels equally fresh and clas­sic, rev­er­ent and play­ful. The scripts are in­tel­li­gent and un­afraid to gun for gen­uine emo­tion – Em­my­win­ning “Heart Of Ice” plays the ori­gin of Mr Freeze as a hu­man tragedy – while the moody, char­ac­ter­ful an­i­ma­tion proves you can bring dark­ness to Bat­man’s world with­out sink­ing into sub-Frank Miller grit ’n’ grim­ness.

Ex­tras Enough to pack a Bat-Cave to the sta­lac­tites. New to this re­lease are “The Heart Of Bat­man”, a 94-minute doc­u­men­tary split into three parts, and “Con­cept­ing Harley Quinn”, which sees Paul Dini dis­cussing the cre­ation of the show’s break­out char­ac­ter. It also in­cludes full-length an­i­mated movies Bat­man: Mask Of The Phan­tasm and Bat­man & Mr Freeze: Sub­zero. Ported over from the DVD re­lease are 11 au­dio commentaries and five episode in­tro­duc­tions by co-cre­ator Bruce Timm; “The Dark Knight’s First Night”, the orig­i­nal 1991 promo reel; plus 23 more fea­turettes, in­clud­ing var­i­ous “Arkham Asy­lum Case Files”, in which cre­ators dis­cuss the show’s vil­lains. Nick Setch­field

Mark Hamill has re­vealed that a key in­spi­ra­tion for his Joker was the Chief Blue Meanie in Yel­low Sub­ma­rine.

Light­ning would just pass right through him.

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