Saturday, October 16, 2010

Batman: TAS - Episode 8 - Forgotten

And so, at long last, the Batman: Animated Series feature returns. It only took my two years to review this episode. And that episode is, The Forgotten, BTAS Vol 1, disc 2. Written by Jules Dennis, Richard Mueller and Sean Catherine Derek, and directed by Boyd Kirkland, all of whose names we've either seen before, or will see again later in the series.

Gaff Morgan

The episode starts with Bruce Wayne peeling potatoes at a soup kitchen, the guy who runs the place is telling him that he thinks people are disappearing, transients, regulars he hasn't seen it a while, even volunteers. Of course, being the Great Detective, he investigates, in a different disguise, that of an older homeless guy, Gaff Morgan. He wanders around town, visiting areas frequented by homeless people, until he is assaulted by a couple of guys, after they offer him a job. Of course, being Batman, he makes short work of the two, but a third guy jumps him from the shadows and it's lights out for Gaff Morgan.

This looks just like where I grew up

He awakes in a shoddily built shack in a desert area, filled with bunk beds, several of which have occupants. Two introduce themselves, and of course one turns out to be the missing volunteer from the homeless shelter. They explain he's been shanghaied to work in a gold mine for the fastest character I've ever seen animated, up until I saw the Wonder Woman animated film that came out last year. This guy is massive, and a slob, eating all the time, spilling on himself, and according to the credits, his name is Boss Biggs. But, he's got a gold mine and cheap labor, which he, or rather, his overseers work to death. Disobedience, slacking and causing trouble are punished by a day in The Box, a steel box with a small barred window left out in the sun to cook all day.

That's not chicken he's eating...

It falls to Batman to free himself and the other slaves, without the use of his regular persona or gadgets, and without getting anyone else in trouble. It was a decent episode, not my favorite upon first viewing, but still a good episode, and knowing that I have 16 DVDs of episodes, it's nice to see some that don't revolve around the regular type of escapades.

Some of the highlights that occur are, Amnesia! When his two cell-mates introduce themselves, Bruce says he can't remember his name. Bruce Wayne does an honest day's work for the first time in his life (probably), slaving away mining gold. We start seeing that there's more to Alfred than just an old butler, he's smart and a detective on his own. Bruce has a creepy dream that helps him start to remember who he is.

Once Bruce remembers who he is he escapes the mines, to be found by Alfred, whose having a rough time in the Batwing (on autopilot). Guess who returns to the mining camp later that night? Batman lures the slavers into the mines, kicks the crap out of them one by one, leaving only fatty and one guard. Fatty accidentally blows up the mine, and Batman drags him off to prison.

"Hey, where'd everybody go?"

The episode ends with Bruce's two slave buddies finding out he remembered who he is, and he's freaking loaded, he says good by to them and drives off in a Rolls Royce. "Hit me Riley," one says, "maybe I'll loose my memory and wake up a millionaire, too!"

So, it wasn't an awesome episode, but it was good, and was pretty amusing, and different from the usual super villain fare. Well, that's it for this review. A little shorter than my previous attempts, but one reason I took a break from doing thees is because those reviews would take hours. Hopefully I'll be back next week with the next episode, Be A Clown, featuring everybody's favorite homicidal circus character, the Joker.

Remember kids: Only vampires loath sunlight more than Batman. - Alfred

Episode Listing


Marissa said...

I liked this episode. I liked seeing Bruce as a different character. I enjoyed the dedication shown by Alfred to find Bruce. I thought it had some pretty funny parts in it.

Jonah said...

Sean Catherine Derek and Gary Greenfield created Original Story for The Forgotten. With Sean Derek, Jules Dennis and Richard Mueller wrote the script. But whatever they wrote, very little of their script ended on the screen. This was the same case with many episodes Sean Derek wrote. I think The Cat and the Claw (Part 1,2) is the only Sean Derek Script that ended on the screen properly. Other episodes that she worked on were almost completely changed. This episode is one of them.

One of the problems was producers and directors at Warner Bros took too many liberties with the scripts. Other problems were interferences from BS&P.

Here are some examples. Bruce Timm put in the dream sequence with Bruce Wayne in the barracks where these multitudes of people are looking to Bruce for a handout, and he doesn't have enough money for them all, and they're surrounding him and suffocating him. And I believe it was Bruce Timm's idea to make the villain fat and revolting. Not the writers of this episode. So the villain was also changed.

And the writers of this episode especially Sean Derek ended up getting blamed for the mistakes that producers and directors did. We can see that Sean Derek is criticized for this episode in this link.

Producers also had to make lots of compromises with BS&P. But for this episode, I think BS&P suggested Producers and Directors should make only one change.

Here is the sequence that was changed. From Director Boyd Kirkland - "There was a sequence at the beginning where Batman is wandering around the city, trying to find out why people were disappearing. It was staged with homeless people hanging around on sidewalks: families, mothers and kids. They made us take all that out of the boards. They said it was too much for kids to see that maybe a woman or a family can be out on the streets. They specifically asked that we only show men as homeless."

if you check the episode, then you will see that there is no credit for Gary Greenfield. This is because Original Story by Sean Derek and Gary Greenfield was completely changed.

The only thing that may have ended properly from the script to the screen is the scenes where Alfred is trying to find Bruce Wayne and "my family" flashback.

Paul Dini came "long" after Sean Derek started working on Batman. So what he wrote is only based on he knows. What Paul Dini wrote is different, if we read the interview with Batman TAS producer Alan Burnett.

Producer Alan Burnett says like this about least favorite episodes in Batman TAS "As for the ones I least like, well, I’d rather not say. I was the one who started everyone down the wrong path, so no one credited should get the blame. You win some, you lose some."

It must be noted that Producers including Alan Burnett had to make changes with several Batman TAS scripts, because of interferences from BS&P.

His interview can be seen in this link.

Alan Burnett points out that "no one" credited should get the blame. Its great to see Alan Burnett telling the situation more clearly.

Unfortunately, Directors, Producers, and Storyboard Artists at Warner Bros got too much of a praise. And Sean Derek and early writers ended up getting all the blames.