Batman: Holiday Knights
Released: September 13, 1997
Christmas TV Rewind Review
Director: Dan Riba
Starring: Kevin Conroy, Tara Strong, Matthew Valencia, Mark Hamill, Ron Perlman, Arleen Sorkin, Diane Pershing, Bob Hastings, Marilu Henner, Robert Costanzo, and Liane Schirmer
This special episode is partially based upon a comic written by Paul Dini (the main guy behind the scenes of the animated series) that was released years before this aired. I say partially based because it isn’t just one story. It’s actually three tales. One featuring Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy, one featuring Clayface, and one featuring the Joker. They are all memorable in their own rights, but combined, they tell a wonderful Batman tale that is so fun that I can’t help but re-watch the episode every December.
The first story features Harley and Ivy going on a shopping spree with Bruce Wayne under their control. So, more realistically, this is about Harley and Ivy and Bruce’s credit card. It’s a fan favorite because, well, it’s Harley and Ivy being wacky and getting in some quality girl time. It’s a much-needed fun story to balance out the darkness of the other two stories. The next one is about Clayface being creepy and evil and we get a cool fight sequence between him and Batgirl. This one has great animation, but is essentially just a glorified short. But the third act is quite possibly the most effective of the episode vignettes. It’s also got the Joker being, well, creepy and evil as well, but this one is on New Year’s Eve. He vows he’s not going to kill anyone next year, so he’s got to kill a whole heck of a lot of people before the new year begins to make up for it. Naturally, Batman has to stop him.
I think the animation was at its paramount back then. I’m a little biased because I was a kid back then, and seeing comics move and talk was just about the greatest thing that I could have ever asked for, whether it was Christmas or any time of year. There is also another element to this show that is rarely repeated in today’s animation. The final sequence has a very human scene. After the holidays are over and Gotham is saved three times, Commissioner Gordon and Batman meet at an abandoned diner. This is where we learn that they in fact do this every year at the same time. They share a cup of coffee and Gordon starts to speak, looks away, and looks back just in time to see Batman has paid and left already, no doubt going to continue the never-ending battle. The episode closes with Gordon saying, “One year, I’m going to beat him to that check.” And that is just one of many reasons that this episode (among the rest of the series) is animation gold, just in time for Christmas.
My Rating: 5/5