I'll be honest. I'm one of those guys who, years ago, bought a bootleg of the "Batman '66" series at a convention, assuming the rights to this show would ensure that it would never see release on home video format. When it was announced that we'd get a remastered Blu-ray this year, I was shocked and delighted all at the same time.
Seeing the limited edition box set in person is to behold a wonderful made object. It's as bright and colorful as the show itself and, with a button on the side, even plays the iconic theme song that goes hand in hand with this iteration of the character. The miniature Batmobile and pack of vintage-style bubblegum cards are a nice bonus, as is Adam West's scrapbook. But the real prize are the episodes themselves.
Every bootleg I've seen has been of mediocre quality at best. And watching it on broadcast television (or even cable later) wasn't much of a better option. Cleaning up the prints for Blu-ray was a necessity and the show has honestly never looked or sounded better.
Rewatching the show in chronological order, it's charming and absurd, a relic of the 1960s.
But I'm curious as to why I like it so much. It's the ultimate in campiness and there is no more bizarre take on the character than this. Could it be nostalgia?
I've been thinking about this a lot since this set arrived in the mail. When I opened it, I was absolutely giddy. But then I got to wondering how I'd react to receiving Joel Schumacher's takes on the Batman arrived on my doorstep. I'd be disgusted. But what makes his interpretation of the character so unpalatable and the Adam West/Burt Ward iteration of the dynamic duo like catnip?
Is it the fact that the '66 version is so charming in its earnest comedy? Is that it's intentionally absurd? Perhaps it's because it's honest and represents a completely different era, whereas Schumacher's Batman was a betrayal of the tone of the times?
Whatever the reason, the Adam West Batman is endlessly watchable. Churning through season after season, hour after hour, the only thing I found was a smile on my face. And the guest stars might be the best reason to watch the show. From the standards like Frank Gorshin and Caesar Romero to those with smaller parts like Vincent Price and Milton Berle.
For my money, if you're a Bat-fan, this box set is one you're going to need. Even if some of the discs feel a little limp by way of menus and special features, you're not buying this juggernaut of a set for pretty discs and menus. You're buying it for Batman.
You can pick it up now on Amazon. It is released November 11, 2014.
Over the coming months, expect more detailed reviews of some of the stories and episodes from the set.