My name is Spencer (formerly known as Dr. Paleo Ph.D.).
I am many things. I'm a 22-year-old, Bible-believing Christian. I trust my savior Jesus Christ above all else, and strive to follow Him unceasingly. My soul is that of the warrior's, and I seek to fulfill my duties as such. I am science-minded, and am pursuing a career in dinosaur paleontology.
I am for my God, and His Word, the Holy Bible. I am for the literal six-day interpretation of the Creation account as found in the book of Genesis. I am for my country and its military, and I will give my support to those who defend this nation and its people, even if it means that we are forced to wage war. I am for homeschooling, the rights of parents and the unborn, the Biblical family, and courtship. I am for the rights of gun owners, and believe in carrying. I am for martial arts, and advocate the study of those means necessary to protect the family, the faithful, and the defenseless. I am for the dying ways of chivalry; "Women and Children First!" is a creed well worth dying for. I am for conservatism, and did I mention that I'm also a states' rights Confederate flag-waving Rebel?
This is me.
Welcome to my blog.
"Captain, my religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has fixed the time for my death. I do not concern myself about that, but to be always ready, no matter when it may overtake me. Captain, that is the way all men should live, and then all would be equally brave." --Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson
"God has fixed the time for my death. I do not concern myself about that, but to be always ready, no matter when it may overtake me. That is the way all men should live, and all would be equally brave." --Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson
"Duty is the sublimest word in our language. Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more. You should never wish to do less." --Robert E. Lee
"Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen.” --Martin Luther
"Never give in—-never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy." --Winston S. Churchill
"Look! There is Jackson standing like a stone wall! Let us determine to die here today and we will conquer! Rally behind the Virginians!" --Gen. Bernard E. Bee
Now...what would inspire Spencer to watch and review an entire kid's show? I'll tell you.
Running from 1999-2001 on "Kid's WB" (Warner Brothers for children), Batman Beyond took the original story of Batman and tweaked it into a very interesting new creature. Set around 2040, the old, "retired" Bruce Wayne comes to bring on a young teenage Batman, Terry McGinnis. Equipped with a very different Batsuit (It has wings and thrusters!), Terry, guided by Wayne, does the job that had been left vacant.
I remember watching it when it came out when I was a kid...watching the reruns every day...and loving every minute of it. I gradually came to the decision to pick it up again (now that it's released in the form of Seasons 1, 2 and 3 on DVD) for several reasons. One, I have many fond memories of watching the show with my sister (together we developed the knowledge that might have suited a series manual), two, I was interested to see it from the adult perspective concerning the futuristic aspects of the show, and three, after being 100% sold on Nolanized Batmanology, I wanted to see the show again (as, until Nolan came around, it is my opinion that this was the best Batman adaptation out there).
For several reasons (largely because it's a kid's show), the series had a level of comic-ness that just doesn't sit well with me. Far too many costumed, crazy criminals, a few too many stupid episodes, and way too much unrealism. The unrealism extends further than the original Batman stories. Villains such as Inque, the woman made into black liquid, Blight, the radioactive green glow-worm, humans spliced with animal DNA, rock/dirt monsters ("Earth Movers"), and even, in one weak episode in Season 3 ("Speak No Evil"), a talking gorilla, just to name a few, all were too far out there for me (although I must admit that Inque, and even Blight, make for powerful episodes). Therefore, this version of the dark knight rests firmly in the realm of science fiction. (Oh no, are those the Lazarus pits again?) There were plenty of fun villains, however. The Jokerz (a copy-cat gang of punk kids), the T gang, the ninja-esque assassin girl Curare, the sound-manipulating Shriek (He can blow through walls, he can!), the primitive hunter Stalker (one of my personal favorites), and a few others were interesting. And who doesn't love Mad Stan?
As to the writing, of course plenty of elements were weak, but it wasn't too shabby for a kid's show.
I mostly tired of the repetitious aspects of the show (Just how many times do we really need to see yet another fight in futuristic factory? And we've had just about enough criminal events centering around Terry's high school, haven't we?), and I was also annoyed by the lack of continuity as the show wore on (in the way of the tools that Batman uses, such as the batarangs).
As to the irksome aspects that I disagreed with:
I was surprised to catch a sexual reference in Season 1 (the episode "Golem", if I remember correctly). What's that doing in a kid's show? There was also a quick reference to girls' showers ("Revenant") and a not-so-subtle, but off-screen scene inferring a "girlfriend" robot improperly fondling her "boyfriend" ("Terry's Friend Dates a Robot").
In one episode ("The Winning Edge"), Batman stops a gun shipment to the Jokerz gang, and later makes a reference to taking guns off the "street". In another episode ("Eyewitness"), it is said that the DA cracked down on "unregistered" guns (and he's one of the good guys...well, at least that's what the show seems to tell us).
The supernatural is touched on; when the idea of a ghost is explored by high schoolers, Bruce affirms his experience with beings such as demons and zombies (which could be considered a reference to the show this version was based off of, The New Batman Adventures). Later a few girls half-seriously hold a seance, replete with a ouija board ("Revenant"). The mysterious events are later discovered to be merely someone's telepathic powers, which is also a subject touched on, also with some almost occultic overtones (as in a floating man sitting in a lotus position, in "Mind Games").
In one two-part episode ("The Call"), Batman partners with the Justice League for a brief period (and yes, that means Superman and all his wimpy pals). I again refer to my strong dislike of aliens.
Terry has some interesting dealings with the ladies. He tries to carry on a relationship with his Asian girlfriend, Dana Tan (who of course is constantly frustrated with his absences, not knowing the true story). While they are together for virtually the whole show, difficulties do arise. When Dana drops him after Terry being late yet again (because he was out being Batman, of course), he quickly finds himself in a relationship with a strong young (and somewhat provocative) girl by the name of Melanie ("Dead Man's Hand"). After discovering that she is actually a criminal that he has dealt with as Batman, Terry is hurt, but his feelings remain, arising again the next time he sees her ("Once Burned"). He then begins doing what is essentially, in my book, cheating, but he does make a strong choice in favor of Dana in the end. When Melanie returns a third and final time ("King's Ransom"), he remains strong and resolute. As tough as it must be for Terry, good for him. Terry also is a bit interested in a seemingly flirtatious girl ("Untouchable"), he struggles with liking the attention and yet trying to tell the girl that he's already in a relationship. Bruce offers him some sage advice, perhaps even useful in real life. When he was young and rich, he said, many women threw themselves at his feet. What did he do? Terry wanted to know. Bruce replies, "I stepped over them."
In "Ace in the Hole", the back story of Bruce's Great Dane, Ace, is explored. Dogfighting is dealt with, and while I would never support such a thing, I was incredibly annoyed with the episode. The dogfight baddie is called "the scum", and Terry makes a comment about him being surprised that he could "sink any lower". I'm sorry, but sure, the guy's a criminal, but what about all the villains in the show that tried, or even succeeded in taking innocent lives? A dogfighting boss is somehow worse? (In a flashback scene, showing Ace the puppy be electrically shocked with a special glove is apparently far too much! So why is it ok to see people get shocked just about every other episode?) There's also a cheap statement against poaching ("Speak No Evil"). For the most part, however, the "statement episodes" were mostly well-intentioned and towards youth (such as the anti-drug episodes "The Winning Edge" and "Hooked Up").
In one travesty of an episode ("Zeta"), an infiltration/assassin robot finds a heart and comes to desire good upon mankind. And what's even worse, Batman helps him escape from the NSA agents attempting to destroy him (as he truly has gone rogue). Doesn't it just give you the warm fuzzies all over?
In the two-part "Curse of the Kobra", the snake-obsessed cult Kobra find a way, via stealing from a paleontologist, to splice dinosaur DNA with humans. Everyone can guess just how I felt about this episode; I need go no further.
The music to the show is quite intense. A mixture of hard rock/metal and techno, the music helps give the show its edgy feel. While not every single segment of the score is amazing, the majority of it is nothing less than awesome. Somewhat less multi-dimensional than Hans Zimmer's scores for Nolan's films, I still find it hard to ask for better music for a "kids' show" version of a futuristic Batman. A soundtrack was even released, featuring parts of episodes from Season 1. (Together with the main theme, the opening title to the show is amazing.) The only unfortunate thing is, the rest of the music is unavailable. Oh, woe!
The show is a tad darker and scarier than one might expect for children. People occasionally die, and many of the villains are quite frightening looking. The grittier aspects of the show were more a pleasant turn of events for me, however. I did enjoy the futuristic elements, quite a bit. For the most part, it was only "cool stuff" such as technological advancements and the like and little of the darker side of the future that I believe in (and much science fiction touches on), but I suppose that's all right.
In the end, the strength of the show comes from Batman and Batman alone. Barring all the disenchanting elements listed above, barring the fact that the young Terry is often beaten up and groans in pain too much, we have the best adaptation of Batman up until Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. The suit technology (it can appear invisible--and if you think that's pure science fiction, then may I say that you are behind the times), the revamped Batmobile (It flies!), and all the advanced aspects of him, his tools and tactics, and also the show make this a not-to-bad attempt at the Batman franchise.