Taking a cue from the caped crusader's comic book rebirth in Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Year One, this 1992 animated series saved the TV Batman from a fate worse than camp and drew an unexpected audience for an afternoon cartoon: adults. The initial five episodes gathered here feature such supervillains as Man-bat, the Scarecrow, and Poison Ivy, but the deliciously demented Joker (voiced by Mark Hamill) steals the show in his two appearances, especially in the twisted "Christmas with the Joke." Escaping Arkham Asylum in a rocket-powered Christmas tree, the clown prince of crime preempts a TV showing of It's a Wonderful Life with his own homicidal holiday treat. It's a solid start to a sleek, stylized, smartly written series that only improved with time. Ages 7 and up.
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