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Category:    Home > Reviews > Superhero > Action > Adventure > Comedy > Satire > Camp > Pop Art > TV > Batman: The Complete Television Series (1966 - 1968/DC Comics/Fox/Warner Blu-ray Set) + Season Two, Part One (1966/DVD Set)

Batman: The Complete Television Series (1966 - 1968/DC Comics/Fox/Warner Blu-ray Set) + Season Two, Part One (1966/DVD Set)

Picture: B/C+ Sound: C Extras: B/C- Episodes: B/C+

PLEASE NOTE: Discs from the Limited & Regular Complete Series sets have been recalled due to missing footage on Blu-ray (DVDs may have the same issues), so we have the disc replacement program announcement for you to know about and you can find out more via the press release text as follows...

"Amounting to less than five minutes of footage within the 50-plus hours of entertainment, the issues encompass one 60-second dropped scene in the episode entitled "Marsha's Scheme of Diamonds"; a brief piece of rarely-heard William Dozier narration that originally opened the pilot episode, "Hi Diddle Riddle"; and an assembly of villain tags from the end of assorted episodes.

The restoration process of this footage - spanning 48 years and two major studios - has been a super heroic task, and we deeply regret even the smallest of glitches occurring in that process," said Rosemary Markson, Senior Vice President, TV Brand Management & Retail Marketing, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. "We recognize our obligation to the fans of this landmark series, and we have worked diligently to identify all issues and provide resolutions as quickly as possible.

To resolve these issues for consumers purchasing
Batman: The Complete Television Series, WBHE will make available complete replacement discs for the discs that originally included the episodes "Marsha's Scheme of Diamonds" and "Hi Diddle Riddle." The villain tags will be re-issued as an assembled string on one of the aforementioned discs and, as an added bonus, WBHE has acquired rights and legal clearances to both a Bat-vehicle teaser that originally aired as part of the second season-opening "Shoot A Crooked Arrow" episode, and one of the original promotional tags that aired on the original showing of the "The Duo Defy" episode. Additionally, all fixes will be made to all Digital HD versions of Batman: The Complete Television Series.

To obtain the replacement discs, consumers who have purchased
Batman: The Complete Television Series are directed to www.warnerbros.com/help/customer-service."

Other bits may be missing from the episodes too, showing more expert consultation was needed before this set was issued, thus the limited availability to the press of the Complete Series box set. We now look at it belatedly with one of the half-season DVD releases.

Superheroes did not always have it easy on film, big screen or small. Forerunners notwithstanding, the genre began on film in sound era Saturday Morning chapter play serials (Timely/Marvel and Fawcett Comics at Republic Pictures, DC Comics at Columbia) bringing to life the likes of Captain America, Captain Marvel/Shazam!, Superman, Batman and Robin. The Dynamic Duo (like Superman) had two serials and their chapters were becoming a cult item as the hit TV series The Adventures Of Superman with George Reeves was doing well in syndication, one of the first color TV shows (in later seasons) getting a second wind as color was slowly arriving in U.S. homes.

Two bad spin-off pilots thankfully went unsold, yet there was definitely a market for superheroes and full color TV programming, even though color TV started out as expensive, the industry knew its popularity and arrival were inevitable. Superman episodes were being cut into feature films and actually making money, along with some serials severely cut down into single films to squeeze a few more bucks out of them, but others were watching any (and if lucky, all) full chapters of these serials they could get their hands on, even with some of them turning up on TV and in the case of mega-movie fan Hugh Hefner, was screening the entire sets of both Columbia Pictures' Batman serials. So began the latent love for the character that led to the movement that, along with the rise of pop art, led to what became the hit TV series.

ABC was not certain it would be a hit, but the talented Lorenzo Semple, Jr. was there to change the humor from the Bob Kane/Bill Finger approach the comics had since the late 1930s when Batman arrived (think the days of Popeye and Our Gang/The Little Rascals) to a campier, hipper, somewhat ironic humor aimed beyond a child audience and the result was a Batmania that would seal the character and their world as an American institution.

So the episodes are as follows, with #s37 through 64 on the DVD set, including the great stars and classic characters they played on each show...


Episodes 1 & 2 Hi Diddle Riddle/Smack In The Middle: The debut two-parter introduced Frank Gorshin as The Riddler and Jill St. John as his sexy assistant Molly, who would inspire a key turn in later Batman history. Gorshin is excellent, later requesting an alternative to the famous question mark body suit that became a permanent Riddler outfit (the suit with the hat) and this was darker visually and thematically than later episodes would be. Game show host Jack Barry also shows up as an announcer.

3 & 4 Fine Feathered Finks/The Penguin's A Jinx: Instantly becoming the favorite villain of the series, Burgess Meredith quacked his way into Bat-history as the greedy, scheming Penguin and Bat-Mania arrived instantly.

5 & 6 The Joker Is Wild/Batman Is Riled: Now the most popular of all Batman villains, The Joker was still very popular when the great Cesar Romero brought him to life with massive jovial energy and the trilogy of Batman's greatest villains had arrived. Nancy Kovack also stars.

7 & 8 Instant Freeze/Rats Like Cheese: Max Hodge had created this character (originally named Mr. Zero) before he was made silly in that more recent film. Mr. Freeze was creatively handled here (no back-from-the-dead backstory at this time) and by securing no less than George Sanders to play him and the show's sudden success, every star in Hollywood tried to be on the show, further cementing its classic status. Sanders is great here and the series was on a creative roll.

9 & 10 Zelda The Great/A Death Worse Than Fate: Before Catwoman was established, Anne Baxter turned up as the evil Zelda The Great, a highly liberated villainess who was more than a match for the Dynamic Duo. By adding villains not in the comic books, the series showed early on that they would get as wild as they wanted to. Victor French shows up as a hoodlum.

11 & 12 A Riddle A Day Keeps The Riddler Away/When The Rat's Away, The Mice Will Play: Gorshin was back as The Riddler, showing how persistent Batman's Rogue's Gallery would be on the show. Voiceover legend Marvin Miller plays a newscaster.

13 & 14 The Thirteenth Hat/Batman Stands Pat: David Wayne is classic here as The Mad Hatter, whose trick hats can be deadly, out to collect the hats of all the men who put him in prison as revenge. The includes Batman, but he'll settle for a cowl... Diane McBain also stars.

15 & 16 The Joker Goes To School/He Meets His Match, The Grisly Ghoul: Romero continued his hilarious run as The Joker by absurdly going back to school to corrupt vending machines with excess cash returns to make the moral students greedy, but he unknowingly picks Dick Grayson's high school! Linda Harrison plays a cheerleader...

17 & 18 True Or False-Face/Holy Rat Race: Showing standards and practices would not hold them back, the print villain Two-Face was considered too graphic to have on TV, so they invented the eerier-than-you-might-think False Face and got the great Malachi Throne to play him. It worked and another classic villain was born. Gary Owens takes a turn as an announcer on the TV.

19 & 20 The Purr-fect Crime/Better Luck Next Time: The other great Batman villain who sometimes was not a villain was going to show up eventually, but Julie Newmar's Catwoman was a shocking, sexy revelation in her body suit and every performance of the character since has been compared to hers. The style of the show had really come together at this point as and this is the show used for the 3D View-Master toy. Jock Mahoney is a henchman and it is a classic set of shows.

21 & 22 The Penguin Goes Straight/Not Yet, He Ain't: The foul bird not only starts acting like a model citizen, but sets up an agency to fight crime, but Batman & company know its just part of another elaborate fraud, but what is he up to this time...? Harvey Lembeck, Kathleen Crowley and Al Cheeco also star.

23 & 24 The Ring Of Wax/Give 'Em The Axe: The Riddler starts stealing wax figures when he discovers he can melt them down into explosives so he can cause more havoc for Gotham City. Joe E. Tata also stars.

25 & 26 The Joker Trumps An Ace/Batman Sets The Pace: Why is The Joker going after a visiting Middle Eastern figure? This one's gotten a little twisted with age. Norman Alden, later the electronics expert on the Batman-inspired ElectroWoman & DynaGirl, plays a henchman here.

27 & 28 The Curse Of Tut/The Pharaoh's In A Rut: Victor Buono debuted as one of the show's greatest new villains, King Tut, who only shows up when he, as an innocent professor of archeology (et al), is hit in the head and becomes the delusional power-mad character. Don 'Red' Barry also stars and Olan Soule, who would voice Batman on Superfriends!, et al, for Hanna Barbera in a very long stretch of that hit animated show, shows up as a newscaster.

29 & 30 The Bookworm Turns/While Gotham City Burns: Roddy McDowall makes an equally unforgettable debut as the ingenious Bookworm, a speed-reading villain who is more than anxious to take on Batman, who he sees as one of his only opponents in the world. Francine York and John Crawford also star.

31 & 32 Death In Slow Motion/The Riddler's False Notion: Disguised as legendary silent film comedy icons (including Charles Chaplin), The Riddler & Co. raid a newly opened movie theater and other key locales in Gotham City, followed by a mad filmmaker. Sherry Jackson and Francis X. Bushman also star.

33 & 34 Fine Finny Fiends/Batman Makes The Scenes: The Penguin kidnaps and brainwashes Alfred the Butler in his latest wealth-stealing plan, not knowing Alfred's Bat-connection. This well done end of season two-parter also stars Julie Gregg.

In the break between seasons, a feature film was issued in movie theaters, which you can read more about in our Blu-ray coverage at this link and DOES NOT appear ANY of these sets:



35 & 36 Shoot A Crooked Arrow/Walk The Straight & Narrow: The Second Season was launched with the legendary Art Carney playing a villain called The Archer and though Carney could do no wrong, this set of shows did not work and Carney and the character never returned. An interesting failure, you have to see it to believe it. Robert Cornthwaite, Doodles Weaver, Barbara Nichols and Archie Moore also star.

37 & 38 Hot Off The Griddle/The Cat & The Fiddle: Catwoman has robbery, murder and more on her mind when her new crime spree is meant to get Batman's attention as part of a wacky new web of catplay she has in mind. Look for James Brolin as a driver in another solid two-parter.

39 & 40 The Minstrel's Shakedown/Barbecued Batman?: Van Johnson showed up here as the villainous Minstrel; a rather politically incorrect set of shows to begin with, this is another new opponent for the Dynamic Duo that did not work and never returned, but is one of the odder episode sets just the same. Legendary Hollywood columnist Army Archerd gets an acting turn here.

41 & 42 The Spell Of Tut/Tut's Case Is Shut: King Tut is back, stealing rare, ancient jewelry, but is really up to making a mind control potion! Sid Haig and Michael Pataki also star.

43 & 44 The Greatest Mother Of Them All/Ma Parker: Shelley Winters is an absolute scene-chewing riot as the lady gangster family matriarch who will stop at nothing to get what she wants in what is sadly her only appearance ever on the show. Easily one of the best of this season and the series, it is a classic of the show, Winters would play the real life Ma Barker on a somewhat sleazy film for Roger Corman a few years later (including a then-unknown Robert DeNiro). Tisha Sterling also stars.

45 & 46 The Clock King's Crazy Crimes/The Clock King Gets Crowned: Though an actual villain of Green Arrow (who never shows up on this show), Walter Slezak is pretty good as the Clock King, out to get Batman and Robin at all costs and poses as a Pop Art expert! A character from another DC Comics hero who never showed up again, this is an interesting anomaly for the show.

47 & 48 An Egg Grows In Gotham/The Yegg Foes In Gotham: Another grand triumph for the show was taking a character from the comics and remaking him as Egghead, but the casting of the great Vincent Price was brilliant as he hammed it to the hilt as the uppity opponent out to stop the Dynamic Duo from ruining his grand dreams. George Fenneman of You Bet Your Life shows up as a newscaster and the great Edward Everett Horton shows up as the very politically incorrect Chief Screaming Chicken!

49 & 50 The Devil's Fingers/The Dead Ringers: In one of the boldest and moist subversive episodes in the history of the series (and 1960s TV for that matter), Liberace played the pleasant Chandell and the evil tough-guy twin Harry, the latter of whom wants to kill Batman & Robin once and for all. Liberace was not openly gay, but here he is playing with masculine personas throughout and the actual writing is really good. Edy Williams also stars.

51 & 52 Hizzonner The Penguin/Dizzoner The Penguin: The feather fiend aspires for respectability again by running for Mayor of Gotham, but he is still up to no good in this partial political spoof. Woodrow Parfrey also stars along with the Pop/Rock band Paul Revere & The Raiders as themselves! Guess they got tricked in supporting Penguin, but they sing none of their hits here...

53 & 54 Green Ice/Deep Freeze: Mr Freeze was back, but this time, film director and sometime actor Otto Preminger (clearly having fun) took on the role and gave it his own sense of chilliness that worked very well here. Marie Windsor also stars in this fun recasting of the great villain.

55 & 56 The Impractical Joker/The Joker's Provokers: The Clown Prince of Crime uses various keys for his latest con job and one control a box that can make time go forward, in reverse and at several speeds. Interesting show holds up well.

57 & 58 Marsha, Queen of Diamonds/Marsha's Scheme of Diamonds: Though not the best villain, one of the most glamorous and well acted is the unforgettable Carolyn Jones as the greedy Marsha, obsessed beyond belief with the highly desired rocks and hypnotizing any man in her way to fall in love with her... even Batman! Now she wants the diamond that powers the Batcomputer! Woody Strode and Estelle Winwood also star.

59 & 60 Come Back, Shame/It's How You Play The Game: Cliff Robertson is a great actor, but the cowboy villain Shame (a play on the Western classic Shane) never worked for me in the first of two appearances in the series that never added up.

61 & 62 The Penguin's Nest/The Bird's Last Jest: The Penguin opens up a restaurant where he plans to rip off customers to get sent back to prison, where he'll break out again with Chief O'Hara as a hostage! Vito Scotti also stars.

63 & 64 The Cat's Meow/The Bat's Kow Tow: Catwoman pretends to be reformed, but is stealing people's voices, then using clues to blame other Batman villains! Future DynaGirl Judy Strangis shows up, but singing duo Chad & Jeremy's appearance leads to a real howler.

65 & 66 The Puzzles Are Coming/The Duo Is Slumming: The great Maurice Evans played The Puzzler, a more intellectual variant of The Riddler (Frank Gorshin was having contract issues with the producers) in this one-shot set of episodes that are not bad.

67 & 68 The Sandman Cometh/The Catwoman Goeth: This Catwoman caper has a nice twist of a new villain teaming up with her as the always terrific Michael Rennie playing The Sandman and the cold chemistry works. A maze and rich woman named J. Pauline Spaghetti are part of the latest plot. C. Lindsay Workman and James Brolin (in a role with a name) also stars.

69 & 70 The Contaminated Cowl/The Mad Hatter Runs Afoul: The Mad Hatter tries to get Batman's cowl again, but lands up making it radioactive and turning it pink! A very interesting two-parter.

71, 72 & 73 The Zodiac Crimes/The Joker's Hard Times/The Penguin Declines: In their first team up since the feature film, The Joker (Cesar Romero) and The Penguin (Burgess Meredith) team up to get rid of The Dynamic Duo permanently in the pairing that works even better here. Terry Moore also stars.

74 & 75 That Darn Catwoman/Scat! Darn Catwoman: This hilarious set of shows has Catwoman and her assistant Pussycat, played by no less than mega pop singing star Leslie Gore, kidnapping and zombifying Robin for a plot to get Batman and more. J. Pat O'Malley also stars.

76, 77 & 78 Penguin Is A Girl's Best Friend/Penguin Sets A Trend/Penguin's Disastrous End: The Penguin (Meredith) teams up with Marsha (Carolyn Jones) in a pairing that works even better than Marsha solo as the two pro actors play off of each other extremely well as they try to put The Dynamic Duo in their own wacky movie production.

79 & 80 Batman's Anniversary/A Riddling Controversy: John Astin does a surprisingly well and somewhat darker job of playing The Riddler (Gorshin would not return yet) in this nice two-parter that remains the darkest Riddler tale to date and as of this review posting staring with an odd use of a Golden Calf.

81 & 82 The Joker's Last Laugh/The Joker's Epitaph: The Joker is using counterfeit money to ruin people's lives and disorient Gotham City so he can steal the real thing, including plans to take over a bank. Oscar Begeri, Jr, also stars.

83 & 84 Catwoman Goes To College/Batman Displays His Knowledge: The feline felon plays possum again saying she wants a legit future, only to be up to getting rid of the Dynamic Duo for good. Paul Mantee and Stanley Adams show up in what turned out to sadly be Julie Newmar's final Catwoman appearance in the series.

85 & 86 A Piece Of The Action/Batman's Satisfaction: The show had been relying on their better-known villains for the last few sets of episodes, but this is actually more famous for being the crossover episodes where Batman & Robin meet The Green Hornet (Van Williams) and Kato (a then-unknown Bruce Lee) taking on the underrated Roger C. Carmel as Colonel Gumm. Some moments are real howlers, but it failed to help the new Green Hornet series be the hit all had hoped for. Diane McBain, Alex Rocco and Seymour Cassell also star.

87 & 88 King Tut's Coup/Batman's Waterloo: Lee Meriwether shows up as a friend of Bruce Wayne's who is mistaken by Tut for no less than Cleopatra and intends to kidnap her in another fun two-parter that also manages to have original Star Trek co-star Grace Lee Whitney.

89 & 90 Black Widow Strikes Again/Caught In The Spider's Den: Big screen legend Talullah Bankhead is the evil Black Widow, her only appearance in a decent two-parter where the actress gets to show off to nice effect. Don 'Red' Barry also stars.

91 & 92 Pop Goes The Joker/Flop Goes The Joker: In a two-parter that influenced the 1989 Batman feature film, The Joker becomes a painter; not as dark, but wackier than you might think. Fritz Feld also stars.

93 & 94 Ice Spy/The Duo Defy: Mr. Freeze makes the last of his three regular appearances on the show, but again, we have a new actor playing him. This time, it is the late, great Eli Wallach also delivering a great performance in the role and setting a record in the series for most actors to play a villain. (Lee Meriwether never played Catwoman on the series, just the theatrical feature film). Elisha Cook, Jr. and Leslie Parrish also star.


95 Enter Batgirl, Exit Penguin: Yvonne Craig makes her unforgettable debut as the new Silver Age Batgirl in this wacky season opener where The Penguin (Burgess Meredith) kidnaps Barbara Gordon (librarian and Police Commissioner Gordon's daughter) to legitimize himself by forcing her to marry him, but no one knows she is about unleash her plans to become Batgirl. The writers started doing single-episode scripts.

96 Ring Around The Riddler: Gorshin returns as The Riddler with a secret weapon in a new villianess, The Siren, played by Joan Collins in great form. She sings notes that paralyze people. James Brolin shows up as yet a different character too.

97 The Wail Of The Siren: The Siren is now on her own with plans to destroy the new Dynamic Trio once and for all. Mike Mazurki and Cliff Osmond also star.

98 & 99 The Sport Of Penguins/A Horse Of Another Color: This two-parter offers The Penguin with another new villainous, Ethel Merman killing it as Lola Lasagne in one of the best villain pairings in the series. Meredith and Merman are hysterical together and it is another classic from this season.

100 The Unkindest Tut Of All: King Tut returns and finds a new annoyance in Batgirl, then add Barbara Gordon's library science degree and you get another riot of an episode.

101 Louie, The Lilac: Milton Berle is perfect as the conman villain in another classic of the series, showing a little of his darker side, while also show his comic genius.

102 & 103 The Ogg and I/How To Hatch A Dinosaur: Vincent Price really gets slap-happy as Egghead with Anne Baxter as an eviler Olga, Queen Of The Cossacks featuring a wacky (even for the show) plot to unhatch a human-sized dinosaur to destroy Batman.

104 Surf's Up! Joker's Under!: The show completes its journey from straight-laced comedy to dealing with counterculture pop trends as Romero's Joker goes surfing, corrupts teens, gets hip and even forces Commissioner Gordon and Chief O'Hara to dress as surf dudes! Riot! Skip Ward also stars.

105 - 107 The Londinium Larcenies/The Foggiest Notion/The Bloody Tower: The nadir of the series and a three-parter so weird, even Kevin Smith addressed it, Alfred, O'Hara. Gordon and the Dynamic Trio got to a strange clone of London to battle Lord Marmaduke Ffogg (Rudy Vallee) and Lady Penelope Peasoup (Glynis Johns) on a story we will not even attempt to begin to try to explain. Now you can see for yourself, but know you have been warned.

108 Catwoman's Dressed To Kill: The show was back to form in this classic that gives us the great Eartha Kitt taking over the Catwoman role with ease. She's impressive and the show is good as Catwoman crashes the female fashion scene in Gotham and nothing is off the rack, though that's where she'd like to stick The Dynamic Trio!

109 The Ogg Couple: We get one more pairing (so soon) of Egghead and Olga that is not bad, but not great either, though Price could do no wrong.

110 & 111 The Funny Feline Felonies/The Joke's On Catwoman: This classic pairing of Kitt's Catwoman and Romero's Joker is hilarious, has chemistry to spare, but what puts it over the top os Catwoman's Kitty Car! Ha!!!

112 Louie's Lethal Lilac Time: This second round with Berle's arch villain is as good as the first, trying to corner the perfume market.

113 Nora Clavicle & The Ladies' Crime Club: Barbara Rush is the title villainess in this solid one-off show that is not bad and strange.

114 Penguin's Clean Sweep: Meredith shows once again why he was the most popular villain in the series with this late entry.

115 & 116 The Great Escape/The Great Train Robbery: This late, weak two-parter brings back Cliff Robertson's Shane, adds Dina Merrill as Calamity Jan and a dumb fear gas plot that was bad then and has aged more than most shows in the series. Not even Hermione Baddeley can save this one!

117 I'll Be A Mummy's Uncle: The last Buono/Tut entry has more overlap than it should, but it is watchable as Tut looks for a rare, undiscovered metal and might find the Batcave by accident!

118 The Joker's Flying Saucer: Romero's Joker dealing with a possible alien invasion is too silly for its own good; watchable at best. Ellen Corby and Fritz Feld also star.

119 The Entrancing Dr. Cassandra: Ida Lupino is great as the title villainess and her real life husband Howard Duff is her assistant as a charming-but-deadly duo plotting against Gotham City with the powers of invisibility, a gun that turns people into flat cardboard and a plan to unleash every Bat-villain known from Arkham Asylum!

120 Minerva, Mayhem and Millionaires: The show ends with a bang as Zsa Zsa Gabor rounds out the series as the also-charming Minerva running a deadly beauty salon with a way to steal secrets from its important clients. Gabor pulls it off and a legendary hit TV show comes to an end.

Like The Green Hornet, Craig was originally cast as Batgirl for her own potential show, but this series needed a boost, Hornet was not a hit, Craig was perfect for the role and so, she debuted here instead. However, ratings were still in decline despite some of the show's best work ever, yet there was interest in continuing the show. ABC and Fox wanted changes for a possible fourth season including a few cast members to be dropped, but West said no, more money for budgets were not in the cards despite remarkable work by Craig, Kitt, Berle, Merman, Lupino, Duff, Gabor and others. The energy, heart and soul was still there too, but the show was cancelled. NBC waited a few days too many to ask about picking the show up as the sets had been torn down and it was too pricey to rebuild them, so that was that. However, merchandise remained popular and soon, the show would go into syndication and become a major money-machine for Fox and DC Comics as it remained the inspiration for many animated series (including the 1966 Filmation Batman, Superfriends! and others), outright love-action imitators (ElectroWoman & DynaGirl, the 1970s TV version of Monster Squad) and became one of the all-time U.S. pop culture classics.

Thus, shows like ElectroWoman & DynaGirl and the syndication of this show in the 1970s continued the Batmania for a new generation discovering a low-rated rating failure called Star Trek and Filmation even made a New Adventures Of Batman (1977, reviewed elsewhere on this site) reuniting West and Ward as voice actors for the new animated series while Superfriends! was still on in new episodes and was also a hit. With the 1978 Superman movie a huge hit, seemed like the fun would never end, but DC comics started hitting rough patches in the 1980s, the Superman series was mishandled and Batman eventually fell out of syndication and legalities too long to go into here stopped its home video release until decades later, late in 2014.

The 4-film Tim Burton and 3-film Christopher Nolan Batman films, plus Batman: The Animated Series and many newer animated outings for the Caped Crusader (often without Robin) took its space, yet its fans remained loyal and even diehard about the show and how fun it was. At its best, it still is and more of it has held up than you might think, thanks to the talent involved that would be unthinkable for just about any TV series today. Finally out in official, restored versions, you can judge for yourself, but it is worth your time, especially if you have not seen the show before or ever.

The 1080p 1.33 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on the Blu-rays and 1.33 X 1 standard edition image on the DVDs are from, by necessity and fortune, some of the most colorful 35mm film prints produced in the history of the DeLuxe labs. Being that the oldest negatives were 50 years old and the condition of the materials were in various states of fading and disrepair at their worst, which you can see in some shots where definition (not counting obvious stock footage that still has been fixed for these releases) drops and is second-generation, so if you look, you can still see the age of the materials used at times. However, at its best, the show looks incredibly good, though too many episodes have been included per Blu-ray and no matter what the case is on the DVDs, the format cannot handle the definition at its best. Fortunately, that is often.

You can see how colorful and wide-ranging that fidelity is throughout the shots in each show, the amazing effort on the part of costumers and production designers to make this look like a comic book come to life and it shows how professional and serious the makers were in creating a high quality show, much as they would with The Green Hornet. Sometimes, some shots also look a tad darker than they should, but unless you've seen episodes on 35mm or 16mm film prints, this is the best the show has ever looked; especially on Blu-ray.

We have been treated to impressive, lossless PCM, DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) and Dolby True HD lossless sound mixes on past classic TV series and TV movies on Blu-ray, but Warner, DC & Fox have chosen to offer the restored original monophonic sound in lossy Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono sound and in several languages in both video formats! No matter what anyone says or how one spins it, this is a compromise and each episode offers more sonics than these mixes can offer, but for what we get, it is passable at best. Unfortunately, I can also hear a little background hiss (purists will prefer this to compression), but these episodes can sound much better and too often sound is a little tiny and limited. The 1966 feature film Blu-ray was also a monophonic production and it is much more like these episodes should sound in warmth, detail and depth for their age. Maybe we were not going to get 5.1 upgrades, but fuller monophonic presentations, especially on the Blu-rays, should have been included.

I am among many who are disappointed that Yvonne Craig was not asked to participate in any of the new extras, a major mistake where fans are concerned and one that diehard fans and Batgirl fans in particular will not forget. With that said, extras on the Limited Edition include Digital HD UltraViolet Copy for PC, PC portable and iTunes capable devices, a Hot Wheels (and NOT a Corgi Jr.) Replica Batmobile, Adam West Scrapbook and 44 vintage trading cards, while the Blu-rays add the featurettes Hanging with Batman featuring Adam West, Holy Memorabilia Batman! looking at the collection of three Mega BatFans, Batmania Born! deals with the art behind the show, Bats Of The Round Table has West and friends discussing the show, Na Na Na Batman! with producers & stars talking about the landmark series Bat Rarities From The Vault (West & Ward screen tests, screen tests for Lyle Waggoner and Peter Deyell for Batman, brief tribute to the show by its editor James Blakely and a nearly 8-minutes-long Batgirl pilot demo film with Craig in an earlier version of her costume and BatBike that you can still see in all her Season Three episodes as it is the one used in the in the slightly altered opening credits and was not changed; may have been meant to sell a totally new series originally) and Inventing Batman has commentary on the first two episodes by West. The regular Complete Series Blu-ray set does not come with the superior art box, cards or car, while the only extra in the DVD half-season covered here is a paper pullout inside the DVD case with an episode guide and some illustrations.

Obviously, despite my issues with the sound, the Limited Edition Complete Series Blu-ray set is the one to get while supplies last, though it was not the instant sellout many expected despite demand for the show and some god promotion, but the lack of fuller promotion along with disappointed Batgirl fans obviously hindered that. Now, you can choose the set that suits you best.

As a bonus, I would like to add a list of extras some people have hoped we might see a Complete Series set, but ought to turn up at some future date somewhere, including ABC in Color opening bumper on early film prints, the original ABC bumpers & next week's episode teasers are present, footage for unknown male child actor's screen tests for Robin, West's Nestle's Quick TV commercial (long before it was renamed Nesquik) which lead to him being cast as Batman, all Mego Toy ads related to the TV show by the time it was in syndication (many, big sellers worth serious money in mint condition today), preview of ABC's new Fall TV shows special w/Batman & Robin hosting!, Adam West & Batmobile on Wil Shriner show, samples (preferably in high definition) of the two Filmation Batman shows, Superfriends! & Scooby Doo!/Batman shows, the Equal Pay PSA promo with Ward, Craig & Lyle Waggoner as Batman (who was the actor who lost the role to West in the final choice, but later was Steve Trevor on the hit 1970s Linda Carter Wonder Woman series) and The Late Show (a Batman reunion show!) w/Adam West, Batmobile, Allan Napier, Yvonne Craig, Burt Ward, Frank Gorshin, Cesar Romero, Julie Newmar and Eartha Kitt!!! We'll see...

- Nicholas Sheffo


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