• Batman: The Second Season, Part Two



    Released by: Warner Brothers
    Released on: July 14th, 2015.
    Director: Various
    Cast: Adam West, Burt Ward
    Year: 1967
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    The Series:

    Batman ran from 1966 through 1968 and has since gone on to immortalize Adam West in the lead role, and to a lesser extent Burt Ward as Batman’s young sidekick, Robin. The series sat in home video limbo for ages but late in 2014 was given a special edition complete series release on Blu-ray. Warner Brothers has, since then, started releasing single sets on DVD only and through that strategy, we come to Batman: The Second Season, Part Two – a collection of twenty-nine episodes jam-packed with the kind of mirth and mayhem that fans of the series expect from the show.

    There’s no need for a plot synopsis here – everyone knows that millionaire playboy Bruce Wayne is secretly the Caped Crusader keeping Gotham safe. Everyone in the real world, that is – nobody in Gotham seems to have a clue outside of Dick Grayson. But then Dick’s secretly Robin. Oh, and Alfred (Alan Napier), he knows too. But Commissioner Gordon (Neil Hamilton) and Chief O’Hara (Stafford Repp)? They remain in the dark as to Batman’s real identity. That doesn’t stop them from signaling him with the Bat-Signal every time things hit the fan in the big city though, and of course, Batman and Robin are only too happy to hop into the Bat-Mobile and leave the Bat-Cave as soon as that happens to rush to their assistance. That’s just the kind of guys they are.

    The episodes that make up the second part of the second season of Batman are spread across the four discs in this set as follows (note that the disc numbering follows the sequence started with the Season Two Part One DVD release):

    DISC FIVE:

    The Puzzles Are Coming / The Duo Is Slumming / The Sandman Cometh / The Catwoman Goeth / The Contaminated Cowl / The Mad Hatter Runs Afoul / The Zodiac Crimes / The Joker’s Hard Times

    DISC SIX:

    The Penguin Declines / That Darn Catwoman / Scat! Darn Catwoman / Penguin Is A Girl’s Best Friend / Penguin Sets A Trend / Penguin’s Disastrous End / Batman’s Anniversary / A Riddling Controversy

    DISC SEVEN:

    The Joker’s Last Laugh / The Joker’s Epitaph / Catwoman Goes To College / Batman Displays His Knowledge / A Piece Of The Action / Batman’s Satisfaction / Kin Tut’s Coup / Batman’s Waterloo

    DISC EIGHT:

    Black Widow Strikes Again / Caught In A Spider’s Den / Pop Goes The Joker / Flop Goes The Joker / Ice Spy / The Duo Defy

    Highlights this time around are… plentiful, actually. There’s not a stinker in the bunch. The Puzzler might not be the most memorable villain from the show but he’s here and he is at least a slightly different foe for Batman and Robin to square off against. Maurice Evans is fun in the antagonist role and the two episodes he stars in are amusing enough. Things get better once The Sandman (Michael Rennie) and Catwoman (Julie Newmar) team up for two episodes in which they conspire to swindle away the fortune of one J. Pauline Spaghetti! Anytime Newmar is on screen pre-pubescent boys and grown men alike will pay attention. MEOW!

    The Mad Hatter shows up here, but he’s not that exciting when he’s followed by The Zodiac Crimes where The Joker and The Penguin team up to take down the dynamic duo to go on a crime spree. Cesar Romero and Burgess Meredith are rightfully and universally regarded as completely awesome in this series and their appearances in this collection together and apart certainly help to cement that legacy. Great stuff. Funny, over the top, and nuts… but acted with an admirable commitment and enthusiasm, the kind that makes you want the bad guys to win once in a while. Of course, that can’t happen but…

    Later in the set The Penguin teams up with The Queen Of Diamonds (Carolyn Jones) in a scheme where he cons Batman and Robin into starring in his new film production. Yeah, it’s a stretch, but realism doesn’t matter here, this entire series takes place in the land of the preposterous. The Riddler (John Astin) pops up to ruin Batman’s anniversary and that’s important why? Because it’s John Astin, that’s why. Gomez Addams and The Riddler are both great characters and embodies them so well. He’s just a blast to watch here.

    It’s also more than just a little bit awesome to see Batman and Robin team up with The Green Hornet and Kato, played by Van Williams and Bruce Lee respectively. Young and cocky as all Hell, Lee steals every scene he can and shows off some restrained but still ridiculously impressive martial moves in the process. Less impressive but still plenty fun are the Colonel Gumm and King Tut episodes – they’re not bad, in fact they’re quite fun, but after the Green Hornet team up the seem a little flat. Things end on a high note though, because as the season comes to a close we get a three-part story involving The Black Widow (Tallulah Bankhead), a two-parter with The Joker and then last but not least, a two-parter with Mr. Freeze, played here by none other than Eli Wallach.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    The 1.33.1 fullframe transfers in this set look like standard definition versions of those seen in the recent Blu-ray release of the complete series, and that’s a good thing. The image is pretty much pristine throughout; the colors look fantastic and the black levels nice and solid. Detail is about as good as DVD can get and things look very good indeed.

    The only audio option for this release is an English language Dolby Digital Mono track but optional subtitles are provided in English, French and Spanish. No problems here, the levels are nicely balanced, there are no issues with any hiss or distortion and the dialogue is perfectly easy to understand.

    There are no extras on the discs themselves, just menus and episode selection, but inside the keepcase is a booklet containing episode synopsis and credits for each episode. All four discs fit inside a standard sized DVD keepcase with flippers inside and that keepcase fits inside a cardboard slipcase.

    The Final Word:

    If for whatever reason you’re not interested in the massive Blu-ray set that compiles the complete series, this is a good option. The selection of episodes compiled here are all top notch and it’s a blast to see West and Ward squaring off against Williams and Lee. Throw in plenty of Batman’s typical rogues gallery characters – The Joker, The Penguin, and the sumptuous Julie Newmar as Catwoman – and yeah, it’s hard to lose here. Top notch presentation quality makes it easy enough to overlook the complete lack of extra features.