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Parent review: Batman the Brave and the Bold

As a bit of a superhero fiend, I wanted to introduce my son, HRH, to the world of Batman and other superheroes, but without traumatising him.  This is harder than it might seem!

Superheroes make a huge impression on kids’ lives – and on many adults’ too – so it’s small wonder that there is such a market for them. Just look at the amount of superhero films out/coming out! At three, HRH isn’t ready for any of the modern films, and isn’t really ready for many of the classic cartoons; his attention span is only minor, and he doesn’t need too much to think about.

Before I was able to make a decision, a friend linked me to Neil Patrick Harris singing “Drives Us Bats”.

The animation, though somewhat simplistic, is perfect for a toddler, and HRH was hooked. I looked the series up on Amazon Instant Video and was hooked myself. The style and humour is reminiscent of the old Adam West Batman, which makes it cheesy and light-hearted, a good combination for small children. The episodes are just long enough for the good guys to beat the bad guys, neither so long that a three-year-old would get bored, or so short that it is barely worth watching.

The action is akin to the classic comics, with plenty of “POW” and “ZAP” sound effects, and is animated in such a way that even though the bad guys are getting a face-full of Bat fist, it’s unrealistic enough not to be scary. The colours are bright and cheerful, even with the bad guys, which keeps a little one’s attention.

There is, in my opinion, enough use of sarcasm (especially in Batman’s case) to keep adults entertained, enough slapstick for an amusing break from the deep, gritty superheroes we’re seeing everywhere now, and more cheese than a dairy farm. Also, Aquaman might be one of the best characters in the show for sheer theatrical insanity.

With the addition of a few musical episodes along the way (including the unbelievably amazing “Mayhem of the Music Meister” starring Neil Patrick Harris as the titular villain) it’s a fun-filled, family-friendly show. It’s definitely top of my list of geeky-theme programmes to share with HRH.

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