This week is a very special time for superhero cartoon lovers, as September 6th marks the 25th anniversary of the highly acclaimed Batman: The Animated Series. Still beloved by fans to this day and often lauded as one of the greatest animated shows of all-time, BTAS is known for its distinct “Dark Deco” animation style and its mature storytelling.
In fact, it was such a different take in comparison to how Batman had been portrayed on television in the past that the show’s star Kevin Conroy originally assumed that BTAS would take its cues from the classic 1960s Adam West series, famous for its high levels of camp and kitsch. The actor revealed the news while talking with The Hollywood Reporter, saying:
“As a kid, I had a very conservative Irish-Catholic upbringing. So when [Batman: TAS producer] Bruce Timm asked me what I knew about Batman, I immediately mentioned the TV show and he screamed, ‘No, no, no! That’s not what we’re doing. Erase that!’ He explained the dark, noir story and Bruce’s vow to his parents which leads to the dual identities. It was sort of Shakespearean tragedy, so I approached it like you would Hamlet or Edgar in King Lear.”
Conroy was right to switch his inspiration from Adam West to the works of William Shakespeare. Since BTAS ended, the actor has become the go-to guy for DC animated efforts over the past two decades, while Conroy’s growling intensity in the role has made him a favourite of fans across multiple generations.
That said, BTAS didn’t shun Adam West’s take on the Caped Crusader completely. The late, great actor guest starred in one episode of the series in which he played a has-been hero who turned out to be Bruce Wayne’s inspiration for becoming Batman. It was a touching and fitting role and showed that, though BTAS wanted to move away from West’s portrayal, the producers still appreciated everything he’d done for the character.
Conroy’s latest outing as the Dark Knight can be heard in Batman & Harley Quinn, which itself harks back to Batman: The Animated Series (though it’s received a much more mixed reception).
Source: The Hollywood Reporter