What Went Wrong: Beware the Batman

Why did this uniquely new take on the Caped Crusader fail?

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By RobGrizzly - 11/3/2013

So the Cartoon Network pulled Beware the Batman from its schedule. On one hand, this move feels like it came out of nowhere. It was a solid series that was getting better and gaining respect with each new episode. But how surprising can this network decision be when the show was struggling in ratings (behind both Teen Titans GO! and the previous Batman series, Batman: Brave and the Bold) and not doing the primary thing cartoons these days are supposed to do: sell toys.


It’s a tough reality. There have been countless Batman cartoons over the years, and Beware wanted to distinguish itself as different. Their modus operandi? Using villains we’ve never seen before. Sure, those well-versed in comics might be familiar with names like Anarchy, and Cypher, (I am partial to Lady Shiva myself), but it was an uphill battle to try and get general fans to get excited about the likes of Magpie, who felt like a more schizo version of Catwoman, and Metamorpho, who looked like a more colorful version of Clayface. D-List villains are D-List for a reason, and unfortunately, Beware the Batman didn't do enough to distinguish these rogues as little more than knock-offs of much more interesting villains we’d rather see.

This issue, coupled with some very offbeat choices, I think alienated most audiences. These concepts, like Professor Pyg turning from a rather twisted and sick individual to the more cartoon-friendly (read: bland) man in a mask who doesn’t amount to much besides "monologuing" his victims as an eco-terrorist (Ground covered better by Poison Ivy, no?). With his talking Mr. Toad (never explained), and people that actually look like Humpty Dumpty, it was never clear what kind of a reality this show was going for. Clearly there were fantasy elements, like a soul-sucking sword, but then so much of the show had an emphasis on relatively realistic, and grounded detective work; which was commendable and one of Beware’s best features.



BtB's other good aspect was Katana, the sidekick they decided to give Batman in the place of Robin. Again, perhaps an alienating decision in retrospect, but as it was, she ended up being the single best thing about the show in my opinion. Katana was a great yang to Batman’s yin, equal parts skilled, yet naïve, smart-ass and quick-tempered; all characteristics various Robins (and Batgirl) have had throughout the years. Perhaps simply using the Boy Wonder would have made fans happier, but the dynamic here felt fresh enough to be new for viewers.

Asking people to accept change, or open their minds can be a hard thing. Was I on board with an Ex-MI6 Alfred who was arguably just as capable of fighting crime along side Batman if he hadn’t hurt his leg? Hell no, and he didn’t need to be modeled after action star Jason Statham, either. But it turned out not half as bad as it sounded. Did I like the plastic-y and broad animation? (a problem that killed Green Lantern's series for me, as well; does it even need to be CGI? I mean, Batman’s eyes look like the headlights of a Mazda 6!) No, I didn’t love the designs, but seeing it in motion, the animation does come to life.

Beware the Batman was never bad. It doesn’t live up to Batman: the Animated Series (nothing can), but I liked it a hell of a lot better than The Batman and Brave and the Bold. The saddest part is, things were getting interesting. Ra’s Al Ghul was being set up, and who knows what other familiar faces were on the horizon. Perhaps this was simply a case of people being a little Batman-ed out, a little fatigued from what is bordering on overexposure for this character, and this just wasn’t the right time for a show of this ilk. Or maybe people just wanted something else; I wonder if a cartoon based directly off Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight universe (on HBO a la Spawn, of course) would have fared any better. We may never know.

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23 Comments
Moohika - 11/3/2013, 6:52 PM
Still can't get over the fact that Cartoon Network cancelled Young Justice for this POS show.
PsyGuy - 11/3/2013, 6:55 PM
I actually really liked this show. Too bad they never even made toys (besides one action figure).

I do wish they had used A list villains but reinvented them like "The Batman"
ThePresidentGaming - 11/3/2013, 6:57 PM
Everything went wrong with this show.

C'mon. Teen Titans Go & This shit.

Young Justice was the best.

It's because writers have to dumb shows down to shit shows like Teen Titans Go. It's for kids.

Young Justice had stories & was well made.

Most kids don't care about story line & characters. They would rather hear "It's ok! I'll save you".

[frick]ing Bullshit.
BatManiac - 11/3/2013, 6:59 PM
They need to give us a REAL Batman show, something along the lines of the animated movies. Batman: The Brave and Bold is good for what it is, but if they're ever going to live up to whats come before it (Batman: TAS), they need to stop pussy footing around and give us a Batman show like the animated movies.
BatManiac - 11/3/2013, 7:01 PM
What went wrong with Beware The Batman? What was right is the real question.
BatManiac - 11/3/2013, 7:05 PM
This cartoon is even miles better than Beware the Batman.

Zessus - 11/3/2013, 7:13 PM
What went wrong? It's ANOTHER Batman cartoon. Come ON, give us a new - traditionally animated - Superman series. Give Bats a break, he's been going non-stop. Don't let peeps get exhausted from his arguable overexposure
TheRealDorkKnight - 11/3/2013, 7:19 PM
this article is too short you have only begun to scratch the surface of this shows problems my friend.
TheRealDorkKnight - 11/3/2013, 7:21 PM
but! the show failed simply because it was terrible. batman may have been overexposed as you say but thats not the reason this show failed. batman is currently everywhere because people love him. end of story.
PsychoManiacJacky - 11/3/2013, 7:35 PM
Batman The Brave and The Bold is way better than Beware The Batman. What did it do better, to start off with it had better animation than going to the usual cheap CGI animation cartoons just mesh in these days. It was a self aware show of what it was and it was entertaining including fun in many ways. Even though it had a lighter feel it could get dark at times. Batman was still the intelligent character as he was. Plus making it a desired compliment to the Silver Age of comics with many references also taking a risk of adding in lesser known characters.
npamusic - 11/3/2013, 8:33 PM
This show was a failure because of it CGI, they need to get back to basics with their shows. come on now, BM:TAS, S:TAS, Justice League Unlimited, Batman Beyond?!

I knew this show was going go fail and get canceled, using fourth rate villains? no one wants to see fourth rate villains
npamusic - 11/3/2013, 8:35 PM
also, it wasn't "cancelled", it's on "hiatus", but even so.. this show needs to be pulled.

http://www.themarysue.com/cartoon-network-beware-batman-comment/
npamusic - 11/3/2013, 8:39 PM
It premiered in October, and got pulled in October. that's kinda sad/bad if you ask me..
staypuffed - 11/3/2013, 8:58 PM
I really, really enjoyed the first few episodes but never went back... perhaps a few more well-known villains might've got people to stick around. Neat concept, cool designs and fluid animation... it was looking good.
Alphadog - 11/3/2013, 11:44 PM
I only watched like 6 episodes. I really was looking foward to it but it turned out so boring and Gotham city was so empty. Green Lantern did a whole lot better with they're CGI than this series.
Alphadog - 11/3/2013, 11:46 PM
I even liked that they used lesser known villains it was just that they kind of took what made the villains they used so interesting. Except maybe Magpie who was perhaps more interesting than her comic book counterpart, i really don't know much about her besides the reference in Superman/Batman Public Enemies.
RobGrizzly - 11/4/2013, 9:47 AM
Perhaps I need to give Brave and the Bold another shot. I watched 1 episode and was like, "This is not for me."

@Alphadog: I agree that there was a lifelessness to Gotham. as well. that is the price they pay for using expensive CG- and its an issue on Nick's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as well.
Something both of those had in common was people couldn't get over the off-putting look of the shows. But the difference is, TMNT rocked with great stories and characters and won over fans. Batman's stories and characters weren't nearly as interesting.
MCUfan1 - 11/4/2013, 12:40 PM
ThePresidentGaming is right. These new shows are for kids and not for us.
I wish they made shows for us and kids. I just wish they bought back the old shows like Batman and superman animated series, both justice leagues and young justice. They had stories and great plot. Not to get off topic but i wish they did the infinity gauntlet and civil war storylines.
CoolioVids101 - 11/4/2013, 1:21 PM
This show won me over and I was really enjoying it. It's a shame to see it go. First GLTAS, and now this? Come on DC Nation, what are you doing!?
TheRealDorkKnight - 11/4/2013, 3:26 PM
i dont think its related to the animation at all (ofcourse it sucked) but even green lantern the animated series had an entire season


LOL!
EpitomeofAwesome - 11/4/2013, 7:23 PM
Batman Brave and the Bold was awesome. I didn't care for this at all. Like, at ALL.
Mothchild - 11/5/2013, 4:38 PM
The action was excellent. The villains could have been better but I admire the creator's daring to go with the more unknowns. The music was good and very understated. they were really building to something great with the League of Assassins and Lady Shiva is one of the most under utilised villains in the DCU.

I hope they come back really strong. Maybe they're organising toy contracts during the hiatus?
TheRealDorkKnight - 11/8/2013, 7:28 PM
@nibs i dont watch BatB but The Batman shits all over this crap

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