The 10 Worst Episodes of Batman: The Animated Series

By Matt Wilson in Cartoons, Comics, Daily Lists
Friday, March 30, 2012 at 8:01 am
5) The Terrible Trio

Batman versus three entitled, trust-fund douchebags. On its face, it sounds like some serious wish fulfillment, but it turns out to be eminently forgettable. The three rich dicks Batman takes on in this episode never pose anything but the most basic of dangers to Batman and Robin, and the reason for their string of robberies is just plain boredom. All that would just make this a below average episode of Batman. What makes it one of the worst is a scene a few minutes in, where Bruce Wayne shoots skeet at a country club with the three title characters. Of all the activities to have Batman do recreationally, why in the world would you have him using a gun?

4) The Under-Dwellers

The concept itself of this one is just crazy: Dozens of child urchins live under the streets of Gotham, mining the caves, making clothes, only coming out the streets to steal, all at the behest of a weirdo with half a pair of sunglasses, The Sewer King (a character who wasn't based on any comics villain, but almost certainly Fagin from Oliver Twist). Apparently this man has been keeping kids underground for quite some time now. How had no one noticed before? Missing children are a thing people often pay attention to.

The Sewer King isn't done any favors by over-the-top performance by voice actor Michael Pataki. He's clearly a man who loves attention (and gators). Why does he do anything he does? We haven't the slightest. The concept's near-unworkable, the scenes where Alfred tries to help a mute under-dweller child are sitcom-style silly and the ending is funny when it ought to be touching.

3) Moon of the Wolf

This is an episode about a unibrowed track star named Anthony Romulus (that's right, Anthony Romulus) who gets turned into a werewolf when he takes an undetectable steroid that includes wolf estrogen as a component. It's ridiculous. Even more ridiculous is the animation, which makes him out to be the slowest wolf in the history of animals. The episode drags in the middle, as Professor Milo relates Romulus' backstory to Romulus himself, as if he didn't already know it. And then Batman defeats the werewolf in a string of coincidences: He finds a hairpin on the ground of a construction site to unchain himself from some restraints, there just happens to be a ladder propped up in exactly the place he needs it and eventually, the werewolf gets struck by lightning. Then, at the end, a werewolf's still on the loose in Gotham. No joke.

2) Cat Scratch Fever

This episode's first mistake is trying to shoehorn a political message into a show about a man who wears pointy bat-ears on his head and a lady whose cat cowl covers a big mane of blond hair. It's nice to say animal testing is bad, but it's really more Catwoman's issue than Batman's.

The plot here is ludicrous. Roland Daggett and Professor Milo are infecting stray animals with a virus so Daggett can sell the cure. Seems like kind of an overcomplicated way to make money. Catwoman gets bitten by her own cat (who they've taken and infected), and gets sick. There's an extended scene of an addled lady chasing around her cat, just in case you don't get enough of that at your aunt's house. Eventually, the plan is thwarted when Batman pulls some goons into icy cold water. In fact, Batman does everything here. He bails Catwoman out of jail, he figures out the plot, he saves Catwoman when she gets sick. He even returns her cat. For an episode centering on Catwoman, she does very little.

1) I've Got Batman in My Basement

You might say this is the worst episode of B:TAS because Batman spends most of its running time incapacitated, but greats like "Almost Got 'Im" and "The Man Who Killed Batman" prove that Bats himself can be on the periphery of well-written episodes. You might say it's the focus on kids, but "Legends of the Dark Knight" proved showing how kids view Batman can make for a great episode.

So what makes this one so bad? It's not even the Penguin, despite his awful characterization here. It's the fact that, most of the time, B:TAS never seemed like a kids' show. That's not to say it was ever really inappropriate for kids. Rather, it was a show kids and adults could both enjoy immensely. But for this one episode, with its kids-somehow-drive-the-Batmobile and Home Alone-style traps segments, it was a kids' show. One that even kids thought was pretty lazy. Batman having a lengthy screwdriver duel with the Penguin doesn't exactly help either.
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