Christopher Nolan’s depiction of Batman is a dark avenger of the night lurking in shadows wherever evil is afoot in Gotham. When not protecting the city’s citizens, he sulks in his Batcave hiding Bruce Wayne’s tortured soul behind a black mask and cape. However, before the current feature films, there was a time when Batman wasn’t always sulking, on the edge of a bad mood. He might actually crack a smile on occasion, and be seen during daylight hours.

Batman: The Brave and the Bold - S2, P1If you’ve got a taste for a bit of the happier “caped crusader,” Batman: The Brave and the Bold will likely fit the bill. Borrowing the name and concept from the famous comic book, the series has Batman teaming up with various other denizens of the DC Universe – most of them obscure or under-utilized characters such as the Challengers of the Unknown, Detective Chimp, Plastic Man or Enemy Ace. Aiming for a fun, light tone, The Brave and the Bold even incorporates several references to the mid-sixties television series.

Though light in tone, the series still manages to strike a balance between good storytelling and humor. The result is a family friendly experience that that is faithful to the histories of Batman and DC. Diedrich Bader does a wonderful job as the voice of Batman. He also lends his vocal talents too many secondary characters, including Kilowog, Ace, Owlman, Solomon Grundy, and Punch among others.

Along with the regular voice cast, the series’ rotating gallery of superheroes and villains allows for an interesting assortment of guest stars. Season Two, Part One includes “Chill of the Night!,” which  is the best episode on the set and has some notable guest voices. We go back to Batman’s origins as Bruce Wayne learns more about the man who murdered his parents; the seminal event that turned him into the crime fighter he has become. The original Batman, Adam West, plays Batman’s father, Thomas Wayne, while Julie Newmar, best known as Catwoman from the original Batman television series, plays his mother, Martha Wayne. Kevin Conroy, the voice of Batman from the Bruce Timm animated series and beyond, voices the Phantom Stranger. For icing on the cake, the Spectre is voiced by Mark Hamill, most famous as Luke Skywalker but more significant to Batman fans as the definitive voice of the Joker.

It should be noted that once again the episodes are shown in the order that they were originally aired, rather than the order that they were made (via production numbers). Fortunately, this time around, that doesn’t ruin the dramatic pacing of the series.

The twelve episodes on this two disc set are as follows:

Disc 1:

  • Death Race to Oblivion
  • Long Arm of the Law
  • Revenge of the Reach
  • Aquaman’s Outrageous Adventure
  • The Golden Age of Justice
  • Sidekicks Assemble

Disc 2:

  • Clash of the Metal Men
  • A Bat Divided
  • The Super-Batman of Planet X
  • The Power of Shazam
  • Chill of the Night
  • Gorillas in Our Midst

Batman: The Brave and the Bold is broadcast in widescreen and the 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer looks stellar here. Bold colors, and nice shades of black convey the mood and action of the animated series. There are very few digital anomalies to speak of. Nice transfer.

The Dolby stereo soundtrack is solid, with loud effects and music and clear dialogue. French and Spanish dubs are offered, as are French subtitles and English closed captioning.

There are no real special features, unless you count trailers.