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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Batman: Season 2 Part Two
Batman: Season 2 Part Two
Warner Bros. // Unrated // July 14, 2015
List Price: $39.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Kurt Dahlke | posted September 7, 2015 | E-mail the Author
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Batman: Season 2 Part Two:
We're pretty sure the term 'camp' as it applies to entertainment was coined for the original Batman television series from the 1960s. In fact we're so sure, we're not going to research the etymology of that usage until later. Regardless, this "Season 2 Part Two" collection packs the camp into a hefty four-disk collection of 30 episodes. Is FOX DVD milking you with these corny collections? Should you buy them piecemeal or drop somewhat larger coin on the entire series collection? Should you use the 'batarang' help you climb the side of a building? Yes, I know this rhetorical question doesn't help supply any answers.

For those not in the know, the '60s Batman television show starred dour, hammy Adam West (either the poor man's William Shatner or the rich man's William Shatner, depending on how you look at it) and chipper, chippy Burt Ward, as Batman and Robin respectively, the crime-fighting comic book duo created by artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger in the late 1930s, and ran for three seasons. Characterized by corny melodrama, canted camera angles, and the caped crusaders' whack-a-doo villains, the show became exemplified by fight scenes with "Biff", "Zam", and "Pow" titles highlighting the action. It became somewhat lesser known as an exemplar of gay iconography, with sly double entendre ("I welcome the opportunity to 'cross swords' as it were," Batman once comments about a male villain) and the likes of Julie Newmar and Eartha Kitt as regular villains. Whether this was accidental or intentional is up for debate, but it certainly adds to the fun, carefree appeal of the show.

Batman aired twice weekly during its three-season run, presenting weekly a two (and even three)-part cliffhangers. If you want to know whether Robin is going to be eaten by that giant clam, (easy now) 'tune in next time!' If you want to know whether Batman and Robin are going to be burned by acid from a teapot, 'tune in next time!' If you want to know why Batman and Robin are so often tied together, closely, oh so closely, well, that's up to you to decide. Noted anti-comic-book evangelist Dr. Frederick Wertham already sullied the saucy notion with his muck-racking piece of hack-work, 'Seduction Of The Innocent', in which he called the Dynamic Duo's existence a 'wish-dream of two homosexuals'.

Not that any of that makes any difference, and the way Bruce Wayne unabashedly assesses Julie 'Catwoman' Newmar's formidable charms in a swelteringly base manner at least attests to Adam West's mindset at the time. The point is that exaggeration makes every part of Batman delightful and impossible to take seriously. (Except maybe if you were a kid when it originally aired.) Even Cesar Romero's refusal to shave the mustache he was forced to cover in whiteface makeup for his turn as The Joker seems 'calculated to drive you Mad.'

Batman is indeed episodic, with a guaranteed fight scene every time:
Episode 31 & 32 finds the Puzzler using balloons to misdirect victims of a jewel heist, though what he really wants is to steal and ransom a new super-jet. Episodes 33 & 34 bring The Sandman and Catwoman together in a vaguely sexy crime spree, the subject of which is the pasta fortune of the subtly monikered J. Pauline Spaghetti. Episodes 35 & 36 bring serious silliness as Mad Hatter (David Wayne) hopes to steal Batman's cowl for his hat collection. (Do what you love, and the money will follow, right?) Disc 5 (the first in this set, but the fifth for Season Two) ends with the first two of three parts, Episodes 37 & 38, in which The Joker (Romero) teams up with The Penguin (Burgess Meredith) for a zodiac inspired crime spree.

Disc 6 starts off with Episode 39, in which the Dynamic Duo use the batarang to reverse The Joker's plan to turn Gotham City's water supply into goo. Episodes 40 & 41 see Catwoman return with a sexy, saucy, singing assistant, Pussycat, (Lesley Gore) who delights Catwoman's henchmen with her musicality. (We like it too!) Episodes 42 - 44 see The Dynamic Duo duped into starring in The Penguin's new film, and forced to kiss Marsha, Queen of Diamonds, 100 times, in order to get just the right take! (So much for the gay thing, right? Right?) Episode 45 & 46 finish off Disc 6 with The Riddler foiling Batman's crime-fighting anniversary with a De-Moleculizer. We hate it when that happens. Disc 7 commences with Episodes 47 & 48, in which The Joker uses robot bank tellers to pass some funny money. The twists and turns will have even seasoned viewers' heads spinning. Episodes 49 & 50 deliver again the luscious Catwoman, who hopes to further her criminal capers with a college education. Episodes 51 & 52 introduce Colonel Gumm, (Roger C. Carmel) who's into counterfeiting rare stamps, while the real attraction is a team-up between Batman and Robin and The Green Hornet (Van Williams) and Kato (Bruce Lee). Episodes 53 & 54 finish the disc, when King Tut (the delightful Victor Buono) imprisons Batman in a sarcophagus, and threatens to boil Robin in oil.

Disc 8 completes the set, starting with Episodes 55 & 56, in which Black Widow (Tallulah Bankhead) brainwashes victims for cash, and traps the Duo in a web, unleashing my all-time favorite weapons; spiders! Episodes 57 & 58 skewer the art world, as The Joker opens a spurious art school and aims to steal Renaissance paintings. We finish this set, and Season Two, with Episodes 59 & 60 (after which, in Season Three, the series goes to a once-a-week schedule). The chilling effect is Mr. Freeze (Eli Wallach) hoping to get his hands on an instant ice formula, with which he hopes to ransom the entire country, under threat of freezing everything from sea to icy shining sea.

Truly dedicated fans of the series have lapped up all of this camp fun like a bowl of milk laid down by The Catwoman, and they love every minute of it. They also will probably want to plunk down their dollars on the complete collection, rather than parsing it out through individual releases. Or maybe they can't afford it all at once, and would rather pick these up one at a time. Whatever the case, these episodes look and sound great. The packages themselves are otherwise lackluster, with no extras, and only the most basic of menu screens and options. But holy physical media, fans! This stuff is so much fun it just has to be Recommended.

The DVD

Video:
Whipping at you in fullscreen, 1.37:1 ratio color transfers, these episodes look great for their age. Sharp details, truly vibrant colors, and little in the way of DVD defects make them quite acceptable for your nostalgic viewing needs.

Sound:
Dolby Digital Mono Audio tracks are cleaned-up and distortion free, with nice dynamic range. You won't be disappointed/

Extras:
Extras are limited to English SDH, French, and Spanish Subtitles.

Final Thoughts:
Truly dedicated fans of the series will lap up all of this camp fun like a bowl of milk laid down by The Catwoman, and will love every sardonic, chaotic minute of it. For them, or you, does it make sense to buy the individual Season packages, or plunk down for the entire series? Whatever the case, these episodes look and sound great, with all the camp, winking lunacy intact. Holy physical media, fans! This stuff is so much fun it just has to be Recommended.

- Kurt Dahlke

~ More of Dahlke's DVD Talk reviews here at DVD Talk I'm not just a writer, I paint colorful, modern abstracts, too! Check them out here KurtDahlke.com

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