The Brilliance of the 1966 Batman TV Series | Fanboys Anonymous

The Brilliance of the 1966 Batman TV Series

Posted by Unknown Friday, August 1, 2014
Bam! Pow! Splat!

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With a recent announcement that the 1966 Batman TV show will finally be getting a DVD/BD release, Batmania will once again grip the world. The show, spanning a mere three seasons, but a whopping 120 episodes, is a prime example of camp done right. It's often mistakenly referred to as a parody of the Batman character, but this is not true. A parody is a humorous imitation of something else, which could be, in a loose definition, what Batman '66 is, but it doesn't go far enough.

Camp is the celebration of the excess of ridiculousness of a situation. With this show, it is its own thing, not a funny copy of Batman. Classifying it as a parody is missing the point. If someone made a film called Fatman, this could be a parody of Batman. We would see Batman with a pot belly, for example. The Batman TV show starring Adam West and Burt Ward is the same Batman character created by Bob Kane and first appearing in 1939; it's simply a different spin on the Caped Crusader. Clear?

For many years, this show was left out in the cold in regards to getting a home video release. It was never available on DVD or VHS or anything. If you looked hard enough you could find it on the grey market, taped from TV I assume, on certain websites out there. Why? There are a number of issues keeping it from being released and I'll leave it to you to research. It's too much for here. It doesn't matter any longer, because it's coming out this November on both DVD and Blu-ray! Yes!

I remember reading years ago that it wasn't being released because Warner Bros. feared that the campy nature of the show would interfere with the rebooted universe of Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy. It's a bit conspiratorial, but makes sense in a way. The epic failure of Batman and Robin from Joel Schumacher still hangs thick and nasty in the air and no one wants to revisit that nonsense. That film is an example of bad camp.

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Batman is dark and gritty now and probably forever. I can't see them returning to the more light hearted campy Batman of the '66 show. That doesn't stop us Fanboys from enjoying those 120 episodes, plus there's the movie. Batman: The Movie is the first time the Dark Knight ever appeared in a theatrically released feature film. What's great about it is that it fully encapsulates every aspect of the TV series; It has the four biggest villains: Joke, Penguin, Catwoman, and Riddler. It also has other vehicles, in addition to the Batmobile, showcasing the full capabilities of the show. It's severely underrated.

The show was extremely popular during its first two seasons, but slowly became overexposed once they decided to air episodes night after night and increase the output. The second season alone is 60 episodes! That's more than many shows ever have. Faced with declining ratings they wound up "jumping the shark" with the introduction of Batgirl and things went down hill in a hurry. They were soon cancelled and Batman went into a pop culture coma until Tim Burton and Michael Keaton resurrected him in a big way with 1989's Batman.

It would have been nice to see the show continue, but oh well. Some days you just can't get rid of a bomb. Er, I mean some days you just have to accept things and move on. Long live Batmania!

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Anyone else excited about the release in November? Is anyone buying the complete collection or waiting for the individual seasons? Sound off below.

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