If you’re still trying to wash the bad taste of this week’s Gotham out of your mouth, today is a sweet treat to do just that if you’re a Batman fan. After years of wishing and scoffing at bootleg prices on eBay, the entire 1966 Batman television series arrives on DVD and Blu-Ray. And I couldn’t be happier.
Everyone has “their” Batman that they grew up with. For me, it was the blue/gray Neil Adams Batman from the 70s, but Adam West’s Batman is almost equal to that for me. I love the original series, the tone, the look…everything. But for more than twenty-five years, Warner and DC were ashamed of it and made it into a joke.
If you were around when the 1989 Tim Burton movie came out, you’d remember how they made it a huge point of the movie to market it as “not the campy Adam West” Batman. But I loved Adam West’s Batman. When the ’89 movie came out, the ’66 series was still in heavy syndication and I would watch it all the time. Yet when Batman became the “DARKNESS. NO PARENTS” Batman, that series was shoved aside and mocked.
I sometimes wonder that if Warner and DC didn’t try to ignore the 60’s show during the 90’s if the backlash over the two Joel Schumacher movies would’ve been as bad. Yes, they’re terrible movies, but I don’t completely hate either one as it’s obvious they’re flashy big-budget love letters to the camp of Batman ’66. Big name celebrity villains, bright colors, and terrible puns. They’re modern updates to Batman ’66. Yet because it was “cool” to make fun of the 60’s series, that sort of Batman didn’t mesh with what the public believed Batman should be.
Over the years there have been a lot of conspiracy theories about why we never saw a legal home video release of the series, ranging from the issue of cameos to Christopher Nolan wanting it out of the public eye, but now we know the truth. It just turned out to be a very complex web of “who owns what” when it came to the series, and WIRED has a great article explaining how that web was unraveled to give us the boxed set we’re seeing in stores today.
Batman fans sort of knew today was coming. As soon as the Batman ’66 merchandise began to appear last year, and DC launched the digital comic based on the series, we knew something was up. And now it’s here. Every single episode of the series, remastered in full HD, and in one Blu-Ray set. The release hitting stores today is called a “Limited Edition”, and it’s a run of 95,000. That likely means we will see another release, without all the bonus stuff like the HotWheels car, sometime next year.
But if you love Batman ’66, and aren’t afraid of the $175 the set is going for online, today’s the day to pick up a piece of Batman history that many thought we’d never get to own. My copy is coming today, and I’m looking forward to being able to watch a Batman show I have such fond memories of.
It’s a good time to be a fanboy.