Between 2004 and 2008, Warner Bros. Animation produced a five-season animated show called The Batman. The series ran for 65 episodes, featured numerous iconic Bat-villains, and spawned a movie: The Batman vs. Dracula (2005).
While not quite as popular as Batman: The Animated Series (1992 – 1998), The Batman built up a loyal fanbase. It also produced a number of great episodes of television.
But what are the best episodes of The Batman? Well, read on for details, because in this post I am highlighting the best episodes from the show.
The Rubberface of Comedy/The Clayface of Tragedy
Let’s begin with a two-part story from Season One: The Rubberface of Comedy/The Clayface of Tragedy.
In this tale Bruce Wayne’s best friend, Detective Ethan Bennett, is transformed into the shape-changing villain known as Clayface. This not only pits the Batman against a once trusted friend, but also allows for the introduction of truly interesting villain.
You see, this version of Clayface differs to previous versions of the character because in the comics and cartoons, Clayface isn’t Detective Bennett. The show made this change to the Batman mythology to create a shock for audiences and it worked, resulting in one of the best stories in the show’s five-season run!
Sticking with Season One for a fun little tale which sees the Caped Crusader squaring off against the Cluemaster – an overweight quiz show enthusiast out for revenge. Sure, it sounds pretty daft, and at times it is, yet this is also an incredibly fun episode.
Far too often Batman stories focus on The Joker, Penguin, Catwoman et al, but on this occasion the spotlight is thrown on a more obscure villain, and it works. In fact, as a general rule of thumb, The Batman often worked better when it was focusing on lesser-known villains.
Onto a more established foe now: The Riddler, who made his debut in the show’s second season via the episode, Riddled. Here, the Prince of Puzzles is voiced by horror legend, Robert Englund, who plays the character as a twisted genius, with a hint of Marilyn Manson about him.
In Riddled, the Riddler sends the GCPD on a wild goose chase around the city. It is therefore up to GCPD’s Detective Yin and her (secret) partner, Batman, to foil his plan.
Remaining with Season Two for a Halloween-themed episode that introduces the gruesome foe, Solomon Grundy – a zombie-like creature stalking the swampland around Gotham. To say too much about this episode would give away the ‘trick or treat’ nature of the tale, but it’s a good one and certainly worth a watch.
Strange New World
And speaking of tricks and treats, let’s move onto an episode of The Batman from Season Four: Strange New World – another horror(ish) tale, this time about a deadly virus which turns Gothamites into zombies.
With everyone succumbing to the virus, it is up to Batman and Robin to save the day. Or is it? There’s more to this episode than meets the eye, but I will say no more – just watch it.
The premise of The Breakout is simple: Black Mask is incarcerated at Gotham City Police Department HQ and his henchmen attempt to free him. Batgirl and Robin have to work together to stop him getting loose.
And that’s pretty much all there is to this story, yet it is a fun adventure which gives Black Mask the chance to shine.
A new vigilante is in Gotham and he’s rounding up all of the villains. And when I say all of the villains, I really mean all of them.
What makes Rumors such a great episode is the way in which it rewards long-time viewers. The episode includes every villain that appeared in the show up to this point, from Man Bat and Gearhead, to Spellbinder and Hugo Strange, and it manages to do it in a way that works for the story.
If you want to know what the best season of The Batman is, then I can tell you it is Season Four. The season not only boasts Strange New World, The Breakout, and Rumors, but also Seconds, another fun little tale, this time focusing on an unassuming man who can manipulate time.
As with Q&A, The Batman proves once again that it excels when it comes to small-time villains and the end result is a neat story that never wears out its welcome.
The Batman/Superman Story – Parts I & II
And finally, onto Season Five for a two-part story The Batman/Superman Story Parts I & II.
In the show’s fifth season The Batman become somewhat of a Justice League team-up show, with the Caped Crusader effectively joining forces with various members of the League for weekly adventures. The best of these stories was the season opener: The Batman/Superman Story which saw Batman team-up with Superman to take on Lex Luthor, Clayface II, Poison Ivy, and Mercy Graves.
So, to recap, the best episodes of The Batman are:
- The Rubberface of Comedy/The Clayface of Tragedy
- Grundy’s Night
- Strange New World
- The Breakout
- The Batman/Superman Story – Parts I & II
You’ll note that in my rundown of the best episodes of The Batman I did not pick any episodes from the show’s third season. The reason? In my opinion, Season Three was the show’s weakest season and not one with any strong episodes.
If you are thinking of dipping into The Batman to check out the best episodes, I hope you find the above list useful. Check out some of the episodes and tell me what you think.
For a list of all 65 episodes of The Batman (including a guide of when to watch The Batman vs. Dracula) take a look at my post: An episode list for The Batman.
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