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 Batman is ultimately an antihero, operating outside the law. Although committed to fighting crime, he does so in a way that wouldn't work for real people. Parents should also be aware of the never-ending stream of Batman clothes, games, toys, and other cultural detritus on the market. The fact remains, though, that unless you're raising your kids in a monastery at the bottom of a deep well, they're going to be aware of -- and fascinated by -- The Batman.
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What's the story?
Crossing the campiness of Adam West's classic Batman performance with the dark formalism of Tim Burton's big-screen vision of the Caped Crusader, THE BATMAN also tosses in a good dose of the shadowy, film noir-inspired animation of Warner Bros' mid-'90s Batman: The Animated Series (to which, visually, this is quite similar). Last but not least, the word "The" is added to the title as a way to differentiate this show from the prior series and, perhaps, as a nod to the original '40s comic, in which the nascent hero was known as "The Bat-Man."
Is it any good?
The Batman is a remarkably coherent, fun show, with lots of action, great moody sets, and exciting pacing. The dialogue is more natural than that of many cartoons featuring adult characters, and the plots are similarly well-crafted. Environmental and societal concerns are raised within the program's boundaries, and solutions are offered. Those solutions aren't always cut-and-dried -- there are loose ends and unanswered questions, such as what constitutes real power, or what happens when the natural order of things is upset -- which keeps The Batman ensconced in real-world issues and provides excellent jumping-off points for larger discussions.
Pop culture-savvy parents will certainly notice that when the mask is off, Bruce Wayne looks a little younger than they remember, and that the whole parents-getting-murdered/midnight-vigilante-justice thing is largely glossed over. But for action-starved preteens, this cartoon will be a welcome addition to the rotation, and one that parents can get into as well (offering them the chance to fill their kids in on the absent back story). The beloved Dark Knight somehow seems to create a generational connection between parents and kids, and we're lucky to have this incarnation that promotes positive values and provides strong role models.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what it means to be a hero. Why does Batman want to be a hero, if he does at all? What real life-heroes you can think of? What makes a hero? Parents can also discuss characters like detectives Bennett and Yin, an African-American man and an Asian-American woman, respectively, and the importance of racial and gender equality in society.
Themes & Topics
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