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Batman: The Brave and the Bold
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this animated superhero series has plenty of action but isn't too likely to set off any strong parental alarm bells. The violence is cartoonish rather than explicit, nobody really gets hurt, and crime never pays. The series shows Batman working with a variety of other crimefighters, and he often discusses how these partnerships work, providing an interesting insight into the day-to-day life of a superhero.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Batman (voiced by Diedrich Bader), aided by a rotating cast of super partners, takes on a rogues' gallery of villains in this entertaining cartoon series. The focus here is on partnership, with guest appearances from Green Lantern, Blue Beetle, Green Arrow, Plastic Man, and many other popular heroes from DC Comics. The exciting missions take the characters into space, to the bottom of the sea, and deep into the crooks' secret hideouts -- where there's usually plenty of animated action, including fistfights, gun battles, and explosions. In the end, the bad guys always get what they deserve.
Is it any good?
Batman has starred in many, many different comic books, TV shows, and films since he was first introduced in 1939, and though he's certainly one of the darkest heroes in the genre, he hasn't always been a brooding loner. He was one of the first heroes to take on a sidekick (the acrobatic Robin) and was one of the founding members of the Justice League. But ever since the landmark Batman: The Dark Knight Returns comic miniseries was released in 1986, detailing the Caped Crusader's inner demons and portraying him as a solitary hero driven by a thirst for revenge, it's been fashionable to focus on the Dark Knight's dark side. That's clearly evident in the big-screen adaptations of recent years, Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, as well as other animated series aimed at kids that tone down, but don't always purge, his complex nature.
That's why BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD is refreshing for its efforts to show Batman's relationships with other heroes and would-be heroes. As they battle super criminals, Batman takes time to comment on why Green Lantern is one of his most trusted friends, or how Blue Beetle is finally coming into his own as a partner. Yes, Batman has a disturbing, complex backstory, but it's nice to know that even superheroes need a good friend. It's a lesson that should resonate with many kids.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about partnerships. Batman has starred in many comic books, TV series, and films, often working alone, sometimes with a sidekick, and occasionally as part of a team. This series pairs him with a rotating cast of super partners. What makes for a good partnership -- crimefighting or otherwise? Sometimes Batman works with another well-known hero, while in other episodes he's clearly mentoring someone with less experience. Do you think one type of relationship (peer vs. mentor) is more effective than the other? What happens when two headstrong people disagree on how to handle a problem?
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