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Batman: The Animated Series

Robin in “Batman: The Animated Series”

Robin in “Batman: The Animated Series”

As Described in “Batman: Animated” by Chipp Kidd and Paul Dini:

In 1992, the birth of Warner Bros. “Batman: The Animated Series” changed the Batman Universe forever. The dynamic series spawned a new technique in animation using black backgrounds that would eventually be dubbed “Dark Deco.” Dark Deco gave every scene within Gotham an extraordinary look, redefining the image of the city. The series also revamped the classic characters, casting a unique perspective on their origins and personalities. The series included all the popular characters and even created some new ones.

The most significant change was the transformation of the Dick Grayson/Robin character in the “new” 90’s costume, resulting in a hipper more adult representation which the character has never seen. The Batman character continued to embody the dark image fans have come to love while maintaining the heroic qualities identified with the character.

Grayson was born into a circus family. As part of the Flying Graysons, he excelled even as a child at all forms of acrobatics. When his parents were murdered by a gangster trying to extort money from the circus, Dick was adopted by Bruce Wayne. Having lost his own parents to crime, Wayne felt a kinship with the young orphan and trained him to be his assistant and partner, Robin. Robin enjoys the thrill of crime fighting, but Batman sometimes has to restrain him from charging into action without considering every deductive angle first. This is indicative of their relationship as Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson as well.

Although Dick lost his parents to crime, he is not driven by the same demons as Batman. Batman uses the Bruce Wayne persona as a mask, but Dick Grayson and Robin are pretty much the same young man. In rethinking Robin for the animated series, it was our intention that Dick Grayson would be older than the traditional depictions of his character, about twenty, and operating on his own as a solo crime fighter. We resisted the idea of making the Boy Wonder Batman’s constant sidekick because we felt having him around all the time would diminish Batman’s role as a brooding, solitary hero. Yet we recognized Robin’s important role in Batman’s world, and tried to make a special event out of each of his rare early appearances. The two-part episode “Robin’s Reckoning,” apart from winning the Emmy Award for outstanding animated prime time program in 1993, still stands as one of the series’ shining moments.

A scene from “Robin’s Reckoning”

Robin, The Character

From the Official WB Batman: The Animated Series Website:

Bound together by the tragedy they share, Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson’s lives are distinctly similar. As part of the traveling circus’s high wire act “The Flying Graysons,” Dick Grayson witnessed his parents’ death while they performed at the Haley Circus. A two bit extortionist, Tony Zucco, cut the wire to gain kickbacks from the circus owner. Bruce Wayne, who was in the audience, felt an instant connection to the boy and took him in.

Shortly thereafter, Grayson became the ward of Bruce Wayne. Wayne provided him with a home, solid financial support and taught him new skills, adding to his tremendous gymnastic abilites. Eventually, Bruce Wayne allowed Grayson access to his most private world as his partner, Robin.

Dick Grayson attends Gotham State University causing him to spend less time as his alter ego. But thanks to semester breaks, Dick returns to Wayne Manor where he dons his famed red and green costume whenever the need arises.

A scene from “Batgirl Returns”

The Adventures of Batman and Robin

As Described in “Batman: Animated” by Chipp Kidd and Paul Dini:

The Fox Network, on the assumption that kids won’t watch a kid’s show unless kids are in it, soon began insisting that Robin be prominently featured in every episode. When Fox changed the title from Batman: The Animated Series to The Adventures of Batman & Robin, they laid down the law – no story premise was to be considered unless it was either a Robin story or one in which the Boy Wonder played a key role. Out were underworld character studies like “It’s Never Too Late”; in were traditional Batman and Robin escapades like “The Lion and the Unicorn.”

A potentially intriguing Catwoman/Black Canary team-up was interrupted in midpitch to the network by their demand, Where’s Robin?” When the writers asked if they could omit Robin from just this one episode, Fox obliged by omitting the entire story. Looking back, there was nothing drastically wrong with Robin’s full-time insertion into the series – after all, kids do love him. Our major gripe at the time was that it started turning the series into the predictable Batman and Robin show people had initially expected it would be. For the first season, Batman had been an experiment we weren’t sure would work. We were trying out different ways of telling all kinds of stories with Batman as our only constant. For better or worse, having a kid forced him, and the series, to settle down.

In Fall 1995, the final five episodes aired (85 total episodes were produced) and the curtain closed on Batman: The Animated Series.

Key Robin Episode Appearances:

* Fear of Victory
* Robin’s Reckoning – Part 1
* Robin’s Reckoning – Part 2
* The Demon’s Quest – Part 1
* House and Garden
* Second Chance
* Batgirl Returns


Animated Gallery (click to enlarge):

 

Batman: The Animated Series Episodes
[in original production order]

1. On Leather Wings
2. Christmas with the Joker
3. Nothing to Fear
4. The Last Laugh
5. Pretty Poison
6. The Underdwellers
7. P.O.V.
8. The Forgotten
9. Be a Clown
10. Two Face (I)
11. It’s Never Too Late
12. I’ve Got Batman in My Basement
13. The Cat and the Claw (I)
14. Heart of Ice
15. See No Evil
16. The Cat and the Claw (II)
17. Two Face (II)
18. Beware the Gray Ghost
19. Prophecy of Doom
20. Feat of Clay (I)
21. Feat of Clay (II)
22. Joker’s Favor
23. Vendetta
24. Fear of Victory
25. The Clock King
26. Appointment in Crime Alley
27. Mad as a Hatter
28. Dreams in Darkness
29. Eternal Youth
30. Perchance to Dream
31. The Cape and Cowl Conspiracy
32. Robin’s Reckoning (I)
33. The Laughing Fish
34. Night of the Ninja
35. Cat Scratch Fever
36. The Strange Secret of Bruce Wayne
37. Robin’s Reckoning (II)
38. Heart of Steel (I)
39. If You’re So Smart, . . .
40. Joker’s Wild
41. Tyger Tyger
42. Moon of the Wolf
43. Day of the Samurai
44. Heart of Steel (II)
45. Terror in the Sky
46. Almost Got ‘Im
47. Birds of a Feather
48. What is Reality?
49. I Am the Night
50. Off Balance
51. The Man Who Killed Batman
52. Mudslide
53. Paging the Crime Doctor
54. Zatanna
55. The Mechanic
56. Harley and Ivy
57. Shadow of the Bat (I)
58. Blind as a Bat
59. The Demon’s Quest (I)
60. His Silicon Soul
61. Shadow of the Bat (II)
62. Fire From Olympus
63. The Demon’s Quest (II)
64. Read My Lips
65. The Worry Men

The Adventures of Batman & Robin
[in original production order]

66. Sideshow
67. A Bullet for Bullock
68. Trial
69. Avatar
70. House and Garden
71. The Terrible Trio
72. Harlequinade
73. Time Out of Joint
74. Catwalk
75. Bane
76. Baby-Doll
77. The Lion & the  Unicorn
78. Showdown
79. Riddler’s Reform
80. Second Chance
81. Harley’s Holiday
82. Lock-Up
83. Make ‘Em Laugh
84. Deep Freeze
85. Batgirl Returns

 


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