Saturday Mornings criteria include, but are not limited to a) being a show geared toward young teens or under, b) being something that adults can possibly tolerate for one or two episodes, and c) generally feeling like something you’d watch on – you got it, Saturday mornings in your PJ’s. Occasionally these will get thrown out and a movie, or a show that makes adults grimace will get added in, but this is technically adult-tolerable TV for kids.
We all know the Batman story, right? Bruce and his parents walk out of a theater, parents are killed, Bruce has serious post-traumatic stress, goes out, learns all these awesome martial arts, escapist techniques, and fighting styles, comes back, makes himself look like a bat to terrify criminals (and occasionally us) and becomes one of the best superheroes ever. (That’s up for debate. But really, who doesn’t like Batman?)
Oh, and he picks up the occasional kid and trains them as Robin. (Most of which then end up leaving for whatever reason. Or get killed. Remember Jason?)
But what happened when Bruce got… too old? Yeah, you knew it had to happen some time. But we’ve got a plan for that. Right? Right.
In the two-parter pilot Rebirth, Bruce is trying to rescue a gal from a hostage situation (He’s in his 60’s at the moment, it’s 2019) and has a heart attack. He’s forced to grab a gun to defend himself (resulting in a wonderfully hilarious “oh crap” reaction from the guy that was beating him up) and decides to permanently retire from being Batman.
Meet Terry McGinnis. He’s a 16 year old high schooler with a juvie record. His parents are divorced, and he lives with his dad, while his younger brother lives with mom. Batman material? Maybe not. But we’ll fix that by the end of the episode. Needless to say, Terry gets into a fight with his dad, and storms out. He gets into a bit of trouble with some Jokerz, the local gang who imitate the Joker of days gone by. (The main part of Beyond is set in 2039). He makes a run for it. Where does he end up? Right in front of Wayne Manor.
He and Bruce fight off the Jokerz, at which point Bruce collapses. The guy’s old and has heart problems at this point, after all.
While Bruce is taking a bit of a power nap, (or perhaps faking to make Terry go away) Terry decides to go wandering. He finds his way down to the Batcave, where he realizes that the old guy was Batman. Bruce chases him out, and Terry goes home to find that his dad was killed by Jokerz (or so it appears. Turns out it was dad’s employer. Seems a colleague of dad’s stumbled on something he wasn’t supposed to, and gave Terry’s dad a CD with the info on it. Therefore, he was killed). Terry finds the CD, and goes back to Wayne Manor to talk to Bruce about it. (Derek Power’s, dad’s employer, had bought out and merged Wayne Enterprises and his own business long before.) Terry leaves to take the CD to Commissioner Gordon (Sorry, not James. He’d be long gone. Try Barbara) but is waylaid by Derek Powers and is forced to turn the CD over. After a bit of thinking, Terry goes back to Wayne Manor to “borrow” the batsuit. He goes to Wayne-Powers, and is doing pretty well until Bruce gets on the intercom embedded in the suit. He tells Terry to get back to the Batcave, which Terry’s having none of, considering that Powers had his dad killed. He wants revenge, and he wants it now. Bruce paralyzes the suit, but relents when Terry is about to be killed by the security guy thugs. He guides Terry over the intercom on how to get down to the loading bay, where Terry stops the shipment of chemical weapons that his dad found out about. Powers is affected by the chemicals when they spill, but not killed. That’ll come back to bite shortly, I’m sure.
Afterwards, Terry goes home. (He’s living with his mom at this point). Bruce stops by to see Terry and his mom. He neatly creates just a bit of a cover story, saying that Terry had once saved him from a gang of Jokerz. He offers Terry a job as his personal assistant, or, to put it another way, as the new Batman under his guidance. Terry, of course, accepts the job, and becomes the new Batman.
I watched all three seasons, and enjoyed the show a lot. There’s a few corny episodes but overall, it was pretty good. You find out some small (or not so small, as the case may be) bits of key info about Terry and by extension, Bruce in the JLU episode “Epilogue.” I won’t spoil it here, but the episode sheds a bit of light on the series. The movie Return of the Joker, originally intended to be the series finale, (but then they gave us the JLU episode) deals with the demise of Joker, and the final fate of the last Robin, Tim Drake. I was crying a bit toward the end, (and I don’t usually do that!) but Terry got a pretty awesome speech about how crummy the Joker was… to the Joker. I actually liked the movie.
Overall, this is a great show and continuation of the Batman story. It’s rated TV-PG and it’s actually pretty dark (it is Batman, after all) so I have to recommend it for 1o or 11 and up. There’s a bit of innuendo (they are teenagers) and definitely a lot of violence. Still, I like it. Plus, the title credits are awesome.
Have fun this morning!