Aside from Spill.com, I like to watch other videos from other websites like most people. For me, I like to watch The Angry Video Game Nerd, Film Brain's Bad Movie Beatdown, Jenna Marbles on Youtube, and especially The Nostalgia Critic on That Guy With The Glasses.
And one of his most recent videos was a top 11 Batman: The Animated Series episodes list, a really great video and I really liked his choices and the explanations he gives for liking them. It's a good list and I respect his opinions. If you haven't seen his video yet, check it out with the link right here.
However, as great as the list he has, I have to admit I wouldn't put his top pick as my favorite episode. Ever since I saw the video about two weeks ago, I've sat down and watched all four box sets of Batman: The Animated Series and I kind of wanted to do my own list of my personal favorite Batman episodes.
As I said in the title, the idea of doing this list was based on the Nostalgia Critic's recent top 11 list. So, this is my personal top 10 list of my favorite Batman: The Animated Series episodes.
10. THE CLOCK KING/TIME OUT OF JOINT
Now, I have both episodes tied because I liked the character Temple Fugate and I wished he could have been used more in the series. I also thought both episodes were both great episodes.
In The Clock King, Temple Fugate becomes the Clock King after his company goes bankrupt because he was accidentally late for a court hearing and pursues the one who he believes responsible for his loss: Mayor Hill, who merely persuaded Fugate to take a later coffee break, which ended in disaster.
It's an episode that has a great story, a great villian, and a good run through throughout the episode.
In Time Out Of Joint, The Clock King returns to continue his vendetta against Mayor Hill. This time the time-obsessed criminal hopes to murder Hill with the help of a stolen invention that allows him to warp time and travel at super-speed. Securing another device from its creator, Batman and Robin take on the Clock King in a furious high-speed battle for the mayor's life.
It's real close but this is the one that I actually like slightly better and I mean SLIGHTLY better because they are both great episodes. I think why I liked this one more than the first episode is because of the way they use time travel in the episode by using devices that freeze everything except for yourself. I also really enjoyed the climax of the episode and it's just a really great episode.
I say I wish we could've gotten more stories with the Clock King but maybe it was a smart move not to give him more stories than they should.
9. IF YOU'RE SO SMART, WHY AREN'T YOU RICH?
In this episode, Edward Nygma creates the game, "The Riddle of the Minotaur", and makes millions for the company Competitron. He is then fired by his superior, Daniel Mockridge, who wants the profits for himself. Nygma vows revenge, and two years later, he takes up the mantle of the Riddler and traps Mockridge inside a life-sized version of the Minotaur maze.
What I like about this episode is that even though they are trying to stop the Riddler, Batman feels very sympathetic more to him and not Mockridge because of the stuff he did. I also felt the animation was nicely done and some of the best set pieces came from the real life Minotaur maze. The last bit of dialogue from Batman at the end of the episode is also great too. It's a nice summary of everything that has happened and it works very well for that.
8. ROBIN'S RECKONING
One of the great things about Batman: The Animated Series is that they made Robin actually cool for a change compared to what we've seen in the past. One of the best two-parters they ever did was Robin's origin story.
In Part 1, During a fight with some gangsters at a construction yard, Batman and Robin learn the name of their boss: Billy Marin. While Robin looks forward to going up against Marin, Batman becomes distant, and after a falling out at the Batcave, Batman doesn't allow Robin to accompany him on the search for Marin. Robin investigates on the Batcomputer, and soon realises that Billy Marin is not the boss' real name. Rather, it is an alias of Tony Zucco, the man who killed his parents.
In Part 2, Robin sets out to find Tony Zucco instead of saving Batman, all the while plagued by the memories of his parents' death and how Bruce took him in as his own son. Eventually, Batman manages to find Zucco at an old amusement park, but breaks his leg during the fight. Robin arrives, and prepares to kill Zucco in revenge. He initially scoffs Batman's advice, but realises that justice and revenge are not the same. Zucco is arrested, and Batman makes amends with Robin, stating that he wouldn't let Robin accompany him under the fear of Zucco killing him.
Much like what they did with Mr. Freeze in another episode that we'll get to later, they give Robin a great backstory and they do a fantastic job showing how Tony Zucco, voiced nicely by Tom Wilson, set this chain of events that would lead to him becoming Robin. The best thing about the episode is the final 10 minutes where Robin confronts Zucco and realizes that what he wants is not the same as what he's doing. I also love Batman's real reasoning for why he didn't want Robin to go after Zucco. It's kind of touching.
Give it to the series for giving Robin a good backstory in this great two-part episode.
7. PERCHANCE TO DREAM
Now as much as I like Over The Edge, this is a much better episode about a "what if?" scenario. The Nostalgia Critic even said that this is if Over The Edge took it to the next level.
In the episode, Bruce Wayne wakes up to find that his dearest wish has come true: his parents are not dead, and he is not and has never been Batman. Not only that, he has been recently engaged to Selina Kyle. At first he is ecstatic, but a number of clues force him to the conclusion that somehow this is all an elaborate charade. His quest to find the truth eventually pits Bruce against Batman in a surreal battle atop a church tower.
It's a very interesting episode because it makes us wonder what life would be like for Bruce if that night never happened. The last act where Bruce Wayne faces Batman is always so great to watch and the Nostalgia Critic brought up the fact that if you listen to the music very carefully, you can tell who's behind all of this. When I watched the episode for the first time about two years ago, I never noticed that. After I watched his video, I listened very carefully and you can definitely tell who's behind all of this.
Perchance To Dream provides us with a look at a future that never was and I personally believe that it did a better job of expanding the world of what could be than Over The Edge does.
6. ALMOST GOT 'IM
If you watched the NC's video already, you already know that this is his #1 episode. As much as I love this episode, I wouldn't say that this is my favorite but again, that's his opinion, this is mine.
In the episode, Joker, Killer Croc, Penguin, Two-Face, and Poison Ivy all meet at a poker table, each telling a tale of times when they almost defeated Batman.
What's great about this episode is that the five villians aren't planning anything, they aren't scheming, and they aren't putting together a plan to do some damage, they are just playing cards and having conversations about how they almost got Batman. When watching these stories, you really get invested and involved.
The stories are also nicely done as well and the episode ends with a great twist on how Batman actually becomes involved with the story.
Almost Got 'Im is an episode that tries to do something different and succeds in doing it. It's a remarkable episode.
Two-Face is great in Batman: The Animated Series because before Harvey Dent becomes him in this two-part episode, he's a regular recurring character interacting with Bruce and Commisioner Gordon. When you get to this episode, you feel really bad when Harvey turns into Two-Face.
In Part 1, Harvey Dent has a secret that ends up costing him half his face and in Part 2, Two-Face (Harvey Dent) has been stealing from Rupert Thorne (mob boss) by hitting his fronts. His next plan is to take out Thorne.
Why this episode is so great is that it shows the slow transition, especially in Part 1, of Harvey finally giving in to his alter ego and eventually becomes it full circle near the end of the first half. The best scene in both parts is in part 1 and it's the scene where Harvey meets with a therapist and his alter ego snaps at the therapist by throwing a chair out the window. It's very gripping to watch that scene play out.
I actually read that Al Pacino was originally considered to play Two Face before Richard Moll from Night Court took the role. Would Pacino work as Two-Face? It would have been interesting but I don't think Pacino could do as good a job as Moll did. In fact, when I first heard the voice of Two-Face, I thought it was Tommy Lee Jones doing the voice. But then, I read in the credits that it was Richard Moll and I was amazed how he sounds almost like Tommy Lee Jones when's he doing Two-Face.
This episode really does an incredible job delving deep into the psyche of a villian in the making.
4. THE STRANGE SECRET OF BRUCE WAYNE
I never hear people talk about this episode and I think it's very underrated.
In this episode, a prominent judge is injured during a struggle with some thugs demanding money from her in exchange for a strange tape, Bruce Wayne decides to take a trip to Yucca Springs, a resort where the judge had vacationed, and consult Dr. Hugo Strange, a psychiatrist. Bruce soon learns that Strange has invented a machine that extracts people's darkest secrets from their minds and transfers them to videotape—and now Strange has proof of Bruce's secret identity as Batman and plans to auction it to three of Gotham's prominent crime bosses.
Dr. Hugo Strange is one of the early Batman villians and I thought the way they portrayed him in this episode was very well done. It's also the closest I think that Bruce's true identity has been revealed. I could be wrong though.
This was an overall enjoyable episode featuring a good story and a good climax too. The first time I watched this episode about three years ago, I was wondering how Batman was going to get out of this situation. And the way they did it, I thought worked. Could it have been better? Yes, but I'm not disappointed in what happened.
The Strange Secret Of Bruce Wayne is an enjoyable episode that shows what happens if someone were to reveal Batman's true identity.
3. THE UNDERDWELLERS
This is another very underrated episode. It's got a great story to go along with it.
Batman traces a series of bizarre robberies on the streets of Gotham back to a band of children - poverty-stricken outcasts who have been raised to do the bidding of their master, the Sewer King.
One of the great things about the episode is the late Michael Pataki, best known to many as George Liqour American on The Ren & Stimpy Show, who voices the Sewer King. Much like with Two-Face, I had no idea that the guy who voiced the Sewer King also did the voice of George Liqour. I never knew that he did both voices until he died last year. I actually believed that it was the guy who did the voice of Rabbit on The New Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh in the 80s for the longest time.
Another great thing about the episode is that, like with many of the episodes, they take risks with the episode showing basically child abuse with this guy pretty much abusing these children, forcing them not to talk and putting them in complete darkness and not giving them anything to eat unless his demands are done. These are some pretty risky things for a cartoon in the 90s but that's what Batman is known for, taking risks on things you would never seen on an episode of Muppet Babies or Alvin & The Chipmunks.
The Underdwellers takes a risky subject and makes it into a very compelling episode where you root for Batman all the way through.
2. HEART OF ICE
What can be said about this episode that hasn't been said already?
Bitter scientist Victor Fries, as Mr. Freeze, attacks several divisions of Gothcorp, each time stealing a piece for a secret weapon he intends to build. Batman investigates the connections, and discovers that the start of Freeze's vendetta against Gothcorp was a bitter falling out between Fries and Gothcorp's CEO, Ferris Boyle, during which Boyle almost killed Fries (mutating him into Freeze) and presumably killed Fries' terminally ill wife, Nora. Batman must find a way to bring Boyle to justice before Freeze carries out his revenge.
Everything about this episode works really well, the dialogue, the animation, the story, and the origins of how Victor Fries became Mr. Freeze. It's all so gripping and heartbreaking to watch as this man who only wanted to cure his dying wife lose almost everything and is forced to live the way he is now. It's a perfect episode that doesn't have a single lag. One of the best episodes in television history.
And my all-time favorite episode of Batman: The Animated Series is...
I AM THE NIGHT
Here's an episode that has a lot of questions to ask but doesn't have real answers for them.
On the anniversary of the death of Bruce's parents, Batman accompanies Leslie Thompkins to Crime Alley to place roses on the spot where they were gunned down. Meanwhile, Commissioner Gordon is on stakeout to arrest James "The Jazzman" Peake during a drug smuggling ring. Batman had promised to be there, but arrives late to find a gun battle going on. He helps defeat the gangsters and arrest the Jazzman, but at a high cost—Gordon is severely wounded. The incident traumatizes Batman, and he decides to give up crime-fighting, despite the Jazzman escaping prison to carry out his personal vendetta against Gordon (who had sent him to prison six years before).
It's an incredible episode to watch as you see how Batman nearly loses himself following an incident that almost kills Commisoner Gordon. It's an overall incredible episode.
I really like the episode's overall feeling. Is what Batman doing really helping anybody? Does the crime never end? Can you ever call it quits?
It also has a terrific climax at the end where Batman redeems himself and also gets some good words from somebody we meet in the episode.
This was a tough call for me to say that this was better than Heart Of Ice. This episode is only slightly better because both of them are terrific and I would definitely say that they are the best episodes of TV I've ever seen.
I Am The Night is my favorite episode because it asks a lot of good questions and really makes you ponder what the answers to those questions could be. It also does a great job showing the turmoil that Bruce goes through whenever something doesn't go the way they planned. I Am The Night, my favorite Batman: The Animated Series episode.
Now, I know there are a lot of other great episodes of this series so here are my runner ups in no order and there's a lot of them.
BEWARE THE GRAY GHOST
LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT
THE LION & THE UNICORN
IT'S NEVER TOO LATE
MAD AS A HATTER
WHAT IS REALITY?
FEAT OF CLAY
MAKE EM LAUGH
SINS OF THE FATHER
OVER THE EDGE