Bat-Mite says goodbye to his memorabilia, including his signed Diedrich Bader photo, in Batman: The Brave and the Bold's witty series finale.
For three excellent seasons, Batman: The Brave and the Bold has skewered The Dark Knight’s seriousness. The animated series bids television adieu Friday with a multilevel satire on Batman’s mythos, cartoons and fandom.
In Batman: The Brave and the Bold’s genius final episode, “Mitefall!” — previewed in Wired.com’s art and video gallery above, and in our exclusive clip below — the impish, transdimensional prankster Bat-Mite morphs the program into something terrible enough to warrant cancellation.
All kind of metafictional hell breaks loose once The Dark Knight starts donning everything from board shorts to too many axes, prompting a dismissive appearance from Warner Bros. Animation itself. Throw in a crappy Scrappy-Doo, a cyborg John Wilkes Booth and more smart, snarky pop-cultural allusions than even the most hard-core fans can probably count, and you might have the series’ greatest episode ever.
Which is seriously saying something. From the campy musical episode “Mayhem of the Music Meister!” (featuring Neil Patrick Harris on the villainous pipes) and the unaired “The Masks of Matches Malone!” (wherein the Birds of Prey lampoon Aquaman’s shrimpy penis) to the gritty “Chill of the Night!,” Batman: The Brave and the Bold has shown off impressive narrative range and ambition.
But it was only a matter of time before Batman returned to his dark roots. Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises is on the way, and its tech-noir might be a harder sell if there’s a Rainbow Batman flying around on television. We’ll see what Warner Bros. Animation has planned for Batman’s next animated iteration once Cartoon Network’s DC Nation programming block arrives in 2012.
Until then, we salute you, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, and not just for inspiring Grant Morrison’s Batman, Inc. comics. Rarely has any television series taken itself so seriously by refusing to take itself too seriously. You will be mourned and missed.
Images courtesy Warner Bros. Animation