Saturday, January 2, 2016

The New Batman Adventures: "Holiday Knights"


Premiered September 13, 1997.

"I'll bet you've been a good little Bat Boy this year.  Unfortunately, Harley and I are still on the naughty list!"
-Poison Ivy.

This Batman episode features three holiday vignettes.

December 22:

Christmas is approaching and the criminal duo of Poison Ivy (Diane Pershing) and Harley Quinn (Arleen Sorkin) are looking for some holiday fun.  They crash a party where they encounter Bruce Wayne (Kevin Conroy), Gotham City's most prominent billionaire.  Poison Ivy gives Bruce a kiss while wearing her hypnotic lipstick and Wayne becomes their servant.  

Poison Ivy kisses Bruce Wayne. 
Harley and Ivy take Bruce to a department store and go on a shopping spree, using Bruce's credit cards.


But the effects of the lipstick begin to wear off.  When Harley tries to kiss Wayne to restore the hypnosis, she accidentally knocks him down an open elevator shaft.  But thankfully, Wayne changes into Batman and pursues the larcenous duo.

Bruce Wayne is forced to carry Harley & Ivy's haul.
December 24:

Police detectives Harvey Bullock (Robert Costanzo) and Renee Montoya (Liane Schirmer) are working undercover as a mall Santa and elf, respectively.  They're investigating a shoplifting ring that's been hitting Gotham department stores.

Detective Bullock is not very good at playing Santa. 
When several kids are witnessed stealing merchandise, the detectives spring into action.  They're shocked to discover that the shoplifters are actually Batman's old foe, shapeshifter Clayface (Ron Perlman).


Thankfully, Barbara Gordon (Tara Strong) is shopping for Christmas presents and changes into her Batgirl identity to fight Clayface.


December 31:

New Year's Eve arrives, but Batman and Robin (Mathew Valencia) don't get ring the New Year in peace.


Thousands are gathered in Gotham Square to see in the New Year.  However, the Joker (Mark Hamill) plans to set off a sonic bomb rigged to the Gotham New Year's Bell which will go off at midnight and kill all the revelers.

Joker has a henchman check the rigging of the sonic bomb. 
It's up to the Caped Crusader and the Boy Wonder to prevent the Joker from carrying out his evil plan!


Will Gotham City have a Happy New Year?

RigbyMel says:

I quite enjoyed this episode of vingettes from different points in the holiday season.


It's always fun to see Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy wrecking havoc and their shopping montage - making use of Bruce Wayne's credit cards - is pretty amusing.   Of course, they don't know that Bruce is actually Batman and wind up getting more than they bargained for!


I also like that Harley really wants a Christmas tree, but Ivy forbids it on plant abuse grounds.   (Although, Harley sort of gets her wish in the end ...)


The second sequence is not quite as strong.   Detective Bullock's terrible Santa-ing is fun to watch.   I really wish that Batgirl had been given more of a chance to shine here, but it's still nice to see her in action.


Joker's madly malevolent mayhem definitely makes for a fun adventure.

Joker unmasks ... some Joker masks!
He makes some good use of joker masks to put Batman and Robin off of this trail, and plays a mean stride piano version of "Auld Lang Syne."   One has to give him points for creativity!

Gotham City Christmas decorations. 
There's also a touching little tag sequence near the end of the episode that takes place in the wee hours of New Year's Day that involves Commissioner Gordon (Bob Hastings).

Batman and Commissioner Gordon share a New Year's toast.
The voice work in this episode is top-notch.   I can't say enough good things about Arleen Sorkin and Mark Hamill's villain voicing.   I also like that Robin the Boy Wonder is obviously being voiced by a teenager in this episode,  that is not often the case and Mathew Valencia did a good job here.


This holiday superhero episode is definitely worth a look if you've the time or inclination.   (And since it covers both Christmas and New Years here's a special variant rating for you!)

RigbyMel's rating:








3 candy canes

AND













3 champagne flutes

J.A. Morris says:

I mostly agree with my co-blogger, but I think I enjoyed "Holiday Knights" a little more than she did.

Ivy and Harley's Christmas shopping was loads of fun.  In fact, their holiday story would have made a great full-length episode.  Harley is a great character and was always lots of fun in this series.  I laughed out loud several times at her and Ivy's antics.  


The Clayface portion wasn't as strong, but Clayface is an interesting character and one of the most bizarre villains in Batman's rougues gallery.  I also appreciated the presence of Det. Renee Montoya in the Christmas Eve segment.  Like Harley Quinn, Montoya was created for the animated series.  She was a good character and has gone on to have a long career in comic books as well, fighting crime as Batwoman and the Question.


In addition to Montoya, Batgirl's appearance in this segment gave it two protagonists who are women, something you don't often see in superhero programming.

The Joker is one of the greatest villains of all time and his scheme here is as humorous as it is evil.  I was also glad to see that New Year's Eve was featured in this vignette.

The Joker prepares to pop open his New Year champagne.
Compared to Christmas, there are very few New Year's-themed episodes, specials or films.  It's nice to have one more show to watch on New Year's Eve.

A huge crowd gathers to ring in the New Year in Gotham Square.
This episode can be found on the Batman:The Animated Series, Vol. 4 dvd set.  It's also available for streaming on Amazon and iTunes.

"Holiday Knights" is something that should be added to your Christmas and/or New Year's viewing and is highly recommended.  If there's anything to criticize, it's that these stories could have been expanded and this series could have gotten more holiday episodes.

J.A. Morris' rating:





.5


3 and a half candy canes.

AND










.5


3 and a half champagne flutes.


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