Batman: TAS Series Writer's Bible

If you were looking to write for Batman: The Animated Series in the '90s, this is the document that Bruce Timm and Paul Dini would've handed you. Read on after the jump.

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By Mark Julian - 10/26/2011

Source: Comicbooked

Batman: The Animated Series was the show that started the entire DC Animated Universe. It redefined the genre and ushered in mature storytelling and continuing plotlines in children's animation. But you know all that already. The show was just one of those once in a lifetime, all the stars aligned, right place/right time deals that you count yourself lucky to have witnessed. I was recently able to get my hands on a document titled Batman: Series Writer's Bible thanks to some colleagues over at Comicbooked and I thought I'd share it here with you guys. Enjoy!

Note: The entire document is 153 pgs long so I'll be posting bits and pieces, here and there.






Note: I'll be posting more in the coming weeks but I hope this wet your appetite and you're looking forward to more.





Batman: The Animated Series is an American animated series based on the DC Comics character Batman. The series featured an ensemble cast of many voice-actors including Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., Arleen Sorkin, and Loren Lester. The series won four Emmy Awards and was nominated for six others. Batman: The Animated Series, which is noted for its thematic complexity, darkness, and high artistic quality, has been praised by critics and fans alike as one of the most faithful adaptations of the character. IGN has called the series the best adaptation of Batman anywhere outside of comics, the best comic book cartoon of all time, and the second best animated series of all time.

It was produced by Warner Bros. Animation. The visual style of the series, dubbed "Dark Deco," is based on the artwork of producer and artist Bruce Timm. The series originally aired on the Fox Network from September 5, 1992 to September 15, 1995. When the first season of the series aired on weekday afternoons, it lacked an on-screen title, but when its timeslot was moved to weekends during its second season, it was given the on-screen title The Adventures of Batman & Robin. The series was the first in the continuity of the shared DC Animated Universe, and spawned the theatrical film Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993). Reruns of Batman: The Animated Series currently air on the Hub.




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Source: Comicbooked
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Deadshot - 10/26/2011, 9:00 AM
Very interesting! Can't wait to see more.
Xandera - 10/26/2011, 9:02 AM
Best animated series of all time...

This stuff is pretty cool...

Keep it coming!
HellsHammer - 10/26/2011, 9:02 AM
hands down the best superhero cartoon/Tv show/adaption period. I think it would be great if someone decided to go back and review the episodes and put up their ratings for each on this site.
NeilBeforeYoung - 10/26/2011, 9:03 AM
This is incredible! Batman: TAS is probably one of the best animated shows of all time!
MatchesMalone1989 - 10/26/2011, 9:04 AM
When Marvel Cartoons used Lasers instead of bullets. Batman TAS used real bullets and changed the animated world forever.
soberchimera - 10/26/2011, 9:04 AM
Batman: The Animated Series. Fifteen years later we're stuck with Batman: The Brave and the Bold. Why the hell did the quality take such a dramatic downturn?
MrReese - 10/26/2011, 9:06 AM
BATMAN:TAS
SPIDERMAN:TAS
X-MEN:TAS
Freshkicks1212 - 10/26/2011, 9:14 AM
Hey Im watching over Batman the animated series now...haha right now I'm on episode 72 "Harlequinade". *sigh* they dont make cartoons like this anymore :(
HellsHammer - 10/26/2011, 9:15 AM
Superman TAS was great too!
RyanLantern77 - 10/26/2011, 9:20 AM
Love the Animated Series, got em all on DVD
shadow314 - 10/26/2011, 9:22 AM
batman TAS, spiderman TAS, and xmen TAS are still better than 99% of the crap comic book cartoons sense. Only EMH has a chance to reach that level IMO
Freshkicks1212 - 10/26/2011, 9:24 AM
^^^@Shadow314 EMH hahaha i doubt...dont insult those great shows by making such a stupid comparison
HellsHammer - 10/26/2011, 9:28 AM
@Freshkicks1212
He stated that it was his opionion which he is entitled to. If he thinks that show is great, then its great. If you think its trash, then its trash. Personally the only cartoon that I watch for todays world is Young Justice. I think that might have a chance of being up on the charts for one of the great superhero shows. IMO.
DarthTesla - 10/26/2011, 9:31 AM
Man, this is freaking awesome.

Dini and Timm are the kings of Batman.
BackwardGalaxy - 10/26/2011, 9:34 AM
whet
nuck82 - 10/26/2011, 9:35 AM
still the best joker ever, when i think joker this is how he should be and act... when he got pissed you knew shit was going down
Spidey91 - 10/26/2011, 9:35 AM
couldn't you just upload the entire document to a server or something to download it all at once?

still is pretty cool,they don't make cartoons like this anymore.and as much as I like Avengers EMH or Young Justice,those cartoons ain't got sh*t on Batman TAS imo.
nuck82 - 10/26/2011, 9:36 AM
and this show always gave clayface alot of love, very under used villian in movie and cartoons i think
Freshkicks1212 - 10/26/2011, 9:44 AM
@HellsHammer The reason why i said its a stupid comparison is. Because one of the main reasons which make those shows so successful and raised the bar for cartoons is because of the level of maturity shown in those cartoon.

its wasnt just for kids, it had violence "real guns". They dealt with so much emotions, death, revenge, grief. all of this along with a compelling storyline and animation still great in my opinion in comparison to the standards of today.

To compare that to EMH is just madness. In EMH they use "laser guns" instead of "real ones" with a basic episode plot "go out and beat up the bad guys". and the show is basically gear towards 8 years old and has to animation to match that.
scotticus17 - 10/26/2011, 9:49 AM
i just wanted to comment on rule number 2. the part that states " there's no bat-signal or hotline, they can't contact him.
i might be wrong but didn't they use a bat-signel in the show? infact wasn't that of the animated movie? the polic try to trick him in to showing up so they could attempt to arrest him? dont get me wrong i love this show i ownt the whole series and all the animate movies. i just find it funny how they broke rule number 2 alot. dont get me wrong im gald that its in the show. just pointing it out
xizorkatarn - 10/26/2011, 9:52 AM
Greatest cartoon ever. And Arkham City was the perfect finale for this universe......
Bandrews1 - 10/26/2011, 10:02 AM
The best action cartoon series ever.
HavocT - 10/26/2011, 10:04 AM
Who would want to live in a city like this? If everyone left, could you even call it a city anymore? lol
MovieTheaterLad - 10/26/2011, 10:08 AM
Spectacular Spider-Man
SuperHero Squad
Avengers: EMH
X-Men Evolution
Wolverine and the X-men
Young Justice
Brave and the Bold
The Batman
Spawn

All of these cartoons are really good in different ways. Stop trying to compare them to BTAS, because all you'll end up doing is comparing apples to oranges to grapes and melons to bananas and tomatoes and who knows!
Spidey91 - 10/26/2011, 10:08 AM
@Freshkicks1212

in Avengers EMH,the police forces used real guns,thou they're seen very briefly in the cartoon.

the military unit that defends the UNO from HYDRA in the very first episode (chronologically speaking,Iron Man is Born) used real machine guns.

the same with the police who attacked (in vain) the Demolition Crew in the second episode (Thor the Mighty).

the HYDRA goons that Cap faced in the WWII (Meet Captain America) used real machine guns to attack him (ohh that handy shield).

the helicopters of the military force that attacked the Hulk in several episodes have real machine guns too.

I wish more bad guys used real guns thou,like Baron Zemo or Strucker.but then again,this airs on a channel with the name "Disney" on it so I guess there's some sort of censorship thing going on.
Freshkicks1212 - 10/26/2011, 10:29 AM
@Spidey91 Yeah i understand its "Disney" but the police used "Laser guns" I remember specifically episode 4 when Thor tried to stops the wrecking crew from thieving some technology at the docks. and the police arrived on the scene. I remember thinking WTF because it looked like real guns yet it was making a laser sound. Yet another example of cartoons being dumb down to suit the target audience of today.
Freshkicks1212 - 10/26/2011, 10:31 AM
@Rokker10 hold up...dont try that sh*t. I have watched EVERY episode of AEMH and every episode of Young Justice too.
Spidey91 - 10/26/2011, 10:40 AM
@Freshkicks1212

heh,you're right,I just checked it. those look like real guns,seems to shot bullets but makes laser sounds,never really noticed it before. which is weird since in the Iron Man episode they sound like machine guns,but what do I know? maybe the sound editor lost the sound file :P
AC1 - 10/26/2011, 10:40 AM
it's interesting to see that they did ignore quite a bit of that, especially the stuff about Batman's origin and, by the New Batman Adventures, the whole Robin being part time thing.
As for the origin, I'm sure they at least reference Crime Alley, and the episode with the Grey Ghost is very much focussed on that (The Grey Ghost is the movie Bruce sees as a child before his parents are murdered, there are even flashbacks)
Oh yeah, and the Batsignal was a massive thing in this series.

Still, I have fond memories of this series, especially as it started to really get into it's stride, such as the Mr Freeze episode, and of course it gave us the incredible voice talents of Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill as Batman and the Joker respectively.
Batman5 - 10/26/2011, 10:41 AM
Damnn that opening gave me chills. What a bad ass book you got bro, i for one am jealous!!!
davidbatmanfan - 10/26/2011, 10:43 AM
Best animated show ever!
Freshkicks1212 - 10/26/2011, 10:46 AM
@Rokker10 and I am no fanboy of any genre of comics, I will never even consider myself a fanboy to start with. I like Marvel Characters. I like DC Characters, I just think that some show's portrayals just don't do the characters justice. Thats all so i speak out against it.
GothamKnight01 - 10/26/2011, 10:49 AM
It's like they don't even try anymore with any Batman Animated series now-a-days.It's all about the younger viewers. What about us who still love Batman?!
Chewtoy - 10/26/2011, 10:50 AM
@Freshkicks1212: Okay, so I just watched that scene on YouTube. Seriously... your complaint is that the sound effect wasn't loud enough. Never mind that they clearly were assault rifles and .45s, they were all making muzzle flashes and none of them were emitting ray beams of any kind... They're "laser guns" because the sound is at a higher pitch than straight-out gunfire. (It actually sounds like suppressed gunfire and regular gunfire mixed with ricochets to me, but I can clearly see it as "laser guns" if that's what you want it to be.)

It's a workaround. I hate to break it to you, but Paul Dini has previously gone over all of the crap they changed for BTAS in order to appease Standards and Practices. The number of times they could have an act of violence, the number of times they could fire off a gun, all of it was subject to the same bullshit, and every show has to figure out their own workaround. The Avengers needs more physical acts of violence in it than Batman needed... that demands that their battles over what can be allowed are going to shift. It has nothing to do with it being "Disney" or it being dumbed down for "today's" audience.
plasticman - 10/26/2011, 11:06 AM
@ MovieTheaterLad- Agreed. To compare a revolutionary cartoon like Batman: TAS is to compare Alexander the Great to Patton. It's two totally different times and circumstances.
marvelsnkcapcom10 - 10/26/2011, 11:19 AM
I really enjoyed this cartoon. I felt it brought back the essence Tim Burton captured in the very first Batman film. It's dark, gritty, and suspenseful.
BATMANx - 10/26/2011, 11:24 AM
The best Super Hero Cartoons of All Time 90s-2000s

Best of 90s
Batman The Animated series
X-Men TAS
Spiderman TAS
Superman TAS
Spawn TAS
Gargoyles
Iron man TAS
The Incredible Hulk TAS
The Wild Cats

Best of 2000s and on

The Justice League
Spectacular Spider-Man
Wolverine and the X-men
Avengers: EMH
X-Men Evolution
The Batman
Young Justice
Batman the Brave and the Bold
jimharvey - 10/26/2011, 11:28 AM
The entire bible has been up for months at The World's Finest - http://www.worldsfinestonline.com/WF/batman/btas/backstage/wbible/
MaddMonkk - 10/26/2011, 11:53 AM
The Justice League, all series, best there is, was, and ever will be. Debate settled.Thank you very much.
JackBauer - 10/26/2011, 11:57 AM
Best Comic Book Animated Series:

1. X-Men (90's)
2. Avengers: EMH
3. Batman: TAS
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