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TV Wasteland: Holy Series Finale!
We say farewell to Batman: The Brave and the Bold
By Rob Vaux
November 14, 2011
This Friday witnesses the end to one of the more controversial eras in the long history of the Caped Crusader. Batman: The Brave and The Bold finished its final season and more than a few Batman fans are happy to see it go. Its deliberately camp attitude and outlandish Golden Age plots stuck in the craw of those who believed that Batman begins with Frank Miller and ends with Christopher Nolan. But frankly speaking, that grim, gritty Dark Knight has no shortage of outlets elsewhere. The groundbreaking Animated Series touched upon it regularly, especially during the later seasons, and Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises is still the most hotly anticipated film of 2012. The Brave and The Bold couldn’t hope to compete with them on their own terms… so it didn’t even try. Instead, it went the opposite route: taking the kiddie-friendly 1950s comics to heart and adding a dash of knowing winks to it all.
It worked incredibly well, from the artwork that evoked era artists like Dick Sprang to the imaginatively goofy storylines that sent the eternally po-face Batman against the most outlandish villains possible. He traveled to outer space, he swam to the bottom of the sea, he piloted what appeared to be a Bat-Autobot and his utility belt held all manner of ridiculous doodads designed to teach hapless bad guys the true meaning of justice. Indeed, it made such ridiculousness a point of pride, and the creative ways it found to express itself made for a delightful time week after week. Countless gems cropped up throughout the show, such as John DiMaggio’s pitch-perfect Aquaman or a time-traveling opener in which Batman battles the cybernetic John Wilkes Booth. In so doing, it made a unique mark for itself, as well as earning a legion of fans who embraced all aspects of their favorite superhero. Most of those fans will line up to see Christian Bale just as eagerly as they tuned in to the show every week, and Batman is none the worse for wear for either of them. So let’s take a moment to tip our pointy-eared cowl to The Brave and the Bold; it understood the depth of this character and did justice to a sadly neglected side of him. Wave good-bye this Friday at 7:00 PM EST on Cartoon Network.
Terra Nova (Fox, 8:00 PM EST)
Maddy discovers a terrible secret after taking an internship with the colony’s top scientist. Meanwhile, Josh keeps trying to get his future girlfriend back to Terra Nova so that they can presumably get eaten by velociraptors together.
Jurassic Park (AMC, 8:00 PM EST)
Let’s cut to the chase here: when Sam Neill says, “stop that, it’s really stupid,” you need to listen to him.
Battle: Los Angeles (Starz, 9:00 PM EST)
It’s hardly the definitive alien invasion story, but its gritty house-to-house take on the concept gives it a nice sense of distinction.
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (HBO, 8:00 PM EST)
The third time is not the charm for the foundering franchise based on the C.S. Lewis classics.
Twilight (FX, 7:30 PM EST)
I don’t care how much he sparkles; if someone calls you his own personal brand of heroin, mace him and phone the police.
Zombie Apocalypse (Syfy, 7:00 PM EST)
You can’t accuse Syfy of playing coy with its subject matter…
Resident Evil: Apocalypse (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
The second film in the Resident Evil series is probably the weakest, though it definitely stays true to its video game roots.
American Horror Story (FX, 10:00 PM EST)
Moira gets a nibble on the house, even as Constance and Larry try to sabotage her efforts. Whose side should we be on here?
Ghost Hunters (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
The team visits a whiskey distillery in Kentucky, where multiple definitions of the word “spirits” seem to have cropped up.
The Big Bang Theory (CBS, 8:00 PM EST)
If Sheldon’s going to leave Amy out to dry, then Stuart the comic book guy is going to move in. You have no one to blame but yourself, Sheldon.
Burn Notice (USA, 10:00 PM EST)
An African warlord kidnaps a notable scientist, unaware that Michael and his gang of bad-asses are on their way to rescue him.
Ginger Snaps (IFC, 8:00 PM EST)
This brilliant Canadian horror film involves a pair of sisters, one of whom undergoes a few more monthly changes than normal after she’s bitten by a werewolf.
Sweeney Todd (IFC, 10:15 PM EST)
Jonny Depp earned an Oscar nomination as the title character in Tim Burton’s adaptation of the ghoulish musical. It’s easily the director’s best film since Ed Wood.
Predator 2 (FMC, 9:00 PM EST)
Oh Danny Glover, we can’t stay mad at you. Especially when you say “pussy face” so emphatically.
Tangled (Starz, 7:10 PM EST)
On a completely different note, Disney’s long-delayed Rapunzel project turns out to be a blast, thanks largely to the decision to posit it as a screwball romantic comedy.
Starship Troopers (Syfy, 7:00 PM EST)
It’s edited for television, so why bother watching it? Oh right, Neil Patrick Harris…
Star Trek: Insurrection (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
This may not quite be the weakest of the Next Generation movies, but it’s feckless enough not to matter.
The Vampire Diaries and The Secret Circle are off until January. This is me, not shedding a single tear.
Fringe (Fox, 9:00 PM EST)
A man dies and his corpse turns bone-white, which may be connected to a rare genetic disorder. Olivia and the boys doubtless get to the bottom of it in a timely manner.
Chuck (NBC, 8:00 PM EST)
An assassin appears at a Buy More convention, with Chuck and Sarah hot on his heels.
Grimm (NBC, 9:00 PM EST)
Monroe goes undercover in order to ferret out a suspect who uses the power of hypnosis. Whatever, guys. Move along; nothing to see here.
Nikita (The CW, 8:00 PM EST)
Nikita uses stolen money in an effort to flush Oversight’s controllers into the open, while Alex makes a move on her father’s holdings in Russia.
Supernatural (The CW, 9:00 PM EST)
The Winchesters are on the trail of what appears to be the Jersey Devil, though evil sandwiches at the local restaurant may have something to do with it as well. Yes, you read that right.
Sanctuary (Syfy, 10:00 PM EST)
Henry joins up with the UK Sanctuary team to check out an abandoned ship whose crew killed the Abnormals onboard before turning on each other.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Cartoon, 8:00 PM EST)
That asshat Jedi general may have finally pushed the 501st to the breaking point when key members of the Legion face execution for defying orders.
ThunderCats (Cartoon, 8:30 PM EST)
Tygra and Lion-O come to blows… presumably over Cheetara. Please notice that I’m studiously avoiding the easy cat-based sexual jokes here.
Young Justice (Cartoon, 6:30 PM EST)
Artemis and Zatanna head for the big city on Halloween, where nothing can possibly go wrong…
Batman: The Brave and the Bold (Cartoon, 7:00 PM EST)
Bat-mite returns to make Batman’s life a living hell one last time. Fare thee well, TBATB, and thanks for the ride. See the top of the article for more.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Sundance, 7:30 PM EST)
I know I stand alone on this, but Kristy Swanson is still the one true Buffy.
Predators (Cinemax, 8:10 PM EST)
Adrien Brody and a team of ultimate bad asses find out they’re not such bad asses after all in a sterling sequel to the Arnold Schwarzenegger original.
Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (AMC, 8:00 PM EST)
See, this is people’s real problem with Hollywood. The title is lying: it’s not the Final Friday. By my count, it’s not even the second or third Final Friday. Stupid Hollywood…
Primeval (BBC America, 9:00 PM EST)
A nuclear sub uncovers a Liopleurodon, which is a pretty scary plesiosaur as plesiosaurs go.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (Cinemax, 7:15 PM EST)
I appreciate this remake’s attempts to explore key elements of the Freddy Krueger mythos (such as the lynch mob that killed him in the first place) and to treat Krueger like the monster that he is, but even so it misses some vital element that prevents it from clicking.
Super (Showtime, 9:30 PM EST)
Rainn Wilson basically reiterates his character from The Office, playing a hapless schlub with a pipe wrench who becomes a masked vigilante. The always awesome Ellen Page guest stars as his sociopathic sidekick.
TRON: Legacy (Starz, 9:00 PM EST)
Disney’s not-quite-a-sequel proves every bit the equal of the cult original, though its middling box office performance doubtless left parts of the Magic Kingdom disappointed.
Planet Terror (Syfy, 7:00 PM EST)
The ill-conceived notion to divide Grindhouse into individual movies can’t hurt this awesome entry featuring Rose McGowan as a stripper with a machine-gun leg fighting hordes of rampaging zombies.
Friday the 13th (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
The less-than-sterling remake still has the benefit of gathering the disparate elements of Jason Voorhees into one single easy-to-view package.
The Walking Dead (AMC, 9:00 PM EST)
Secrets abound as Andrea has to put her newfound survival skills to the test.
Dexter (Showtime, 9:00 PM EST)
Dexter applies things he learned from Brother Sam in the investigation of a new case, even as Debra clashes with Captain La Guerta over the murder of a prostitute.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (Starz, 8:03 PM EST)
Odd starting time. Not that it can save the film…
The Devil’s Rejects (IFC, 8:45 PM EST)
IFC loves them the Rob Zombie, as evinced by their repeated showing of the undisputed high point of his canon.
Angels and Demons (Syfy, 8:00 PM EST)
I’ll eschew the easy “it’s not sci-fi” joke and simply point out that this sequel to the inexplicably popular The Da Vinci Code still sucks, no matter what station it plays on.