A lot has changed in the high-tech world of the future, unfortunately people have not.
it is 2019, and time has finally caught up with Bruce Wayne in a high tech future where the Batman’s band of vigilante justice is still sorely needed. After one last caper in a high tech suit Bruce is forced to admit he has to retire, old age and chronic heart problems are becoming issues he can no longer ignore. After suffering a heart attack while involved in a fight with criminals he is forced to use the threat of gun to hold them off. the marks the end of his career as the caped crusader.
20 years later in 2039, enter Terry McGinnis an athletic teenager, of above average intelligence, with a chip on his shoulder. Terry lives in what is now called Neo-Gotham. A chance confrontation and resulting chase with a gang who call themselves the Jokerz fashioned after the legendary clown prince of crime leads young McGinnis to the grounds of Wayne mansion where he meets the reclusive misanthrope Bruce who helps him escape the criminal gang. Later Terry, who returns to thank his rescuer discovers the Batcave and Wayne’s secret. Donning the high tech suit last used by Bruce 20 years earlier he becomes the new Batman fighting crime in the future.
This is the premise used as a basis for a pleasantly surprising tv series that appeared on the WB from 1999-2001 for three seasons and 52 episodes. Following in the tradition of Superman/Batman TAS, and involving some of the same people, it was of good quality in both writing and artwork for a commercial animated series. This show in turn, eventually gave way to the Justice League, and Justice League Unlimited shows that followed, and used many of the same personal that had created Batman Beyond.
This is not your daddy’s Batman, the high tech suit he wears extends the wearer’s abilities considerably, it enhances a wide range of abilities including strength, an enhanced range of vision, and gives him the ability to fly. The series featured many of the same qualities as the shows that both preceded it and the ones that followed, using a nice blend of action, adventure, mystery, and science fiction fantasy with the addition of some noir and cyberpunk elements dressed up in the attire (tropes) of the superhero genre.
It remains one of my favorite series of its type to this day. Because it was essentially a Batman series, it was considerably darker in tone than most other children’s programs at the time. With the now legendary producer Bruce Timm, it was also the first superhero series to portray the central character as a teenager, preceding Static Shock by a year.
The series was, more or less, a clone of the Batman mythology with McGinnis motivated by the murder of his father to begin his crime fighting career. Likewise, although the show developed its own futuristic villains, some of the antagonists he encounters are loosely based on classic Batman evil doers, with the addition of more high-tech creations he encounters to remind the viewer the show takes place in the future.
The series also focused on the same sorts of personal relationship conflicts, and inherent complications, utilized in the earlier Batman/Superman series common to the superhero genre.There is also a touch of teenage angst and complications that arise in his relationship with his girlfriend. Terry’s relationship with Bruce was also frequently portrayed as conflicted and complex with both characters depicted as being unreasonably willful and stubborn. Later, their relationship evolves into one of grudging mutual respect. Eventually it is revealed in a JLU episode, Bruce Wayne is, in fact, Terry’s biological father.
The series also gave birth to a direct to video feature movie titled “Batman Beyond: Return Of The Joker” (2000) which is a classic in its own right. Overall this is a great, fun series that it may well be time to visit again. Good stuff from the turn of the century that still holds up well today.