We’ve known for a while now that Warner Bros was releasing the complete 1960s “Batman” TV series, starring Adam West and Burt Ward, on DVD, Blu and digital download this year. Today word came that the 120-episode series, which featured a colorful, campy version of the crimefighters and their villains, will come out in November.
I’ve always been torn about the series. I probably liked it as a kid – I don’t really have any especially early memories of watching it – but was kind of embarrassed by it by the time it began showing up on TV to coincide with the 1989 theatrical release of Tim Burton’s “Batman” movie.
The TV series popularized the character but created an impression that took 20 years and Burton’s movie to overcome.
So while I enjoy the show today, it makes me wonder what a serious “Batman” series would have been like in the 1960s.
But I’m interested in the home video release, which has me wondering some things. These questions may be answered sooner or later, but for now, here’s what we – or at least I – don’t know:
What took so long? I’ve heard various theories that ranged from disputes betweenWarner (owner of DC Comics and new Batman material) and Fox, which released the series. I’ve also heard there were complicated permissions to be worked out involving not only the characters but the actors who played them.
Will we see scenes cut from the series for subsequent airings? I honestly don’t know how much was cut from the series for later broadcast to make room for more commercials. I’m wondering if we’ll see scenes we’ve long forgotten.
What kind of extras will be included? Interviews I would guess. Commentaries? Documentaries? Promos from back in the day? There should be a wealth of material.
Will the new release, uncut and in high-def, change our opinion of the 1960s series? Will we reappraise it as a classic, even the definitive treatment of Batman?
Probably not. But you never know.