Second Wind: Shows That Deserve Another Life (Special Edition)
After more than two years since returning to Adult Swim, Toonami has finally been given the chance to broadcast premieres of a western animated series. Instead of waiting over a full year for Star Wars: The Clone Wars to catch up to its unaired sixth season (assuming they would get the rights down the road), Toonami was placed on the fast track by airing Beware the Batman in full. This marks a big stepping stone for the block since it reunites them with DC Entertainment – Toonami and DC have always mixed well together like peanut butter and jelly.
I’m celebrating this occasion with a special episode of Second Wind. Instead of one particular series, I’m going to recommend a bunch of DC animation in general.
#5: DC Comics
Since this is a special article, I’m going to bend my rules a bit by recommending a few things that didn’t air on the old Toonami, mainly because I feel they could use the proper exposure on television.
Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (Uncut)
Return of the Joker was a regular Toonami staple for movie nights. However, two versions of this movie exist, and only one of them was aired for 2 reasons: it was cost-effective and safe. The original version of this film was heavily edited as a reaction to the Columbine High School massacre. Much of the violence, language, and heavy content was reduced since it was so controversial at the time, and this was the only version available on home video for nearly two years. Swarms of petitions caused Warner Bros. to eventually release the uncut version in early 2002, and it received a PG-13 rating by the MPAA.
The uncut version was only out on DVD for three months before Toonami would broadcast the film, and since they were only with Cartoon Network at the time and they already had a version of the film that was already safe for broadcast standards, they aired the edited version. It’s about time the PG-13 version of the film made a long-belated broadcast, don’t you think?
Superman: Doomsday (Uncut)
Superman: Doomsday aired on Toonami just a month before the old block was cancelled, and like Return of the Joker, this film was also edited for broadcast standards. Unfortunately, while the edits of the former film were understandable at the time, the edits for this movie make little sense. An editor for either Warner Bros. or Cartoon Network did a sloppy hackjob trying to minimize the blood and violence. They even cut out the fight between Superman and Doomsday! It’s the title; why would you remove the most important part of the movie? This movie deserves an uncut broadcast just to remove the bad taste it left in viewers’ mouths when it originally aired.
DC Nation Shorts
This one seemed pretty obvious. Two of these have already aired on Toonami, and I feel more of them would be great to pepper around the block. They’re only about a minute long, so they wouldn’t take up too much time, and they’re highly entertaining to watch. It would also give viewers an incentive to stick around during the commercial breaks for occasional little surprises.
The show that everyone wants back. It’s very similar to Justice League Unlimited, but instead focuses on the sidekicks. People—me included—who are sick of Batman being overused by DC (seriously, they’re not giving Superman room for his own movie’s sequel?) would enjoy the series since it focuses on lesser-known superheroes, and this series best captures the spirit of the original DCAU after Bruce Timm left. Young Justice was a well-crafted series with a great story and it would make a great addition to Toonami.
Oh, and speaking of Batman being overused, I’m about to eat my own words with this next pick…
Batman: The Brave and the Bold
Personally, I like this series far more than Beware the Batman, or any other recent adaptation of the Dark Knight. Yes, seriously. While Beware and other incarnations try (and, IMO, fail) to mimic and recapture Batman: The Animated Series‘ dark tone and atmosphere, Brave and the Bold ignores it entirely (well, almost, since there are a few serious moments once in a while) and instead pays tribute to the Silver Age of Comics, which makes the show unique in its own right. The show blends action and comedy very well, and in the vein of Young Justice, the series has crossovers with both mainstream and relatively unknown heroes in every episode. This is the only incarnation of Batman to date that hasn’t aired on Toonami since the show came and went when the block was on its sabbatical. That void needs to be filled.
…and the rest.
Batman: Gotham Knight, JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time, Green Lantern: First Flight, Batman: Under the Red Hood, Justice League: Doom, Wonder Woman, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, Superman vs. the Elite, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox…
I could go on all day listing the many, many animated DTVs that DC has added to its library over the years, but the point remains that DC could totally work with Adult Swim and Toonami. These movies tend to be much darker and more graphic than what they produce for television, and the late-night hours are the perfect place to showcase their content.
[Image credit: cow41087]