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The secret behind the enduring legacy of 'Batman: The Animated Series': 'It was never a kids' show'

Kevin Polowy
Senior Correspondent, Yahoo Entertainment

For as many beloved Batman iterations as there have been over the years, from Tim Burton’s 1989 triumph to Christopher Nolan’s much-lauded Dark Knight trilogy, the classic ’90s cartoon Batman: The Animated Series still holds a special place in the hearts of Batfans, as evidenced by this week’s release of a highly anticipated new Blu-ray boxed set (the limited-edition set sold out so fast that Warner Bros. has expanded the run).

During a visit to Yahoo Entertainment, the show’s Emmy-winning writer-producer Paul Dini and voice of Bruce Wayne/Batman Kevin Conroy explained why the cartoon series has found such an enduring legacy (beyond being the Batman project to introduce fan favorite Harley Quinn).

One, perhaps more so than any film, the series had an all-ages appeal.

“It’s like a transgenerational kind of show,” explained Conroy (watch above), who said he’s constantly approached by parents at fan conventions who have introduced their children to the series. “It was a never a kids’ show. It was written, really, for adults. But kids could enjoy it, too.”

Two, The Animated Series has a timeless feel to it, which according to Dini, was very much by design.

“[The artists] made a very conscious decision to say, ‘When we design something, from a suit to a prop to what a television looks like, let’s peg it as 20th century sometime but not any decade,” he said. “We fought the urge to go flat-screen TVs or computers. So you look at it and it’s like 20th century anytime.”

The boxed set release will also bolster its following. “I think it just looks better over time. It has that sort of permanence, and that feeling,” said Dini. “It’s been around for a while, and it will continue to be around for a while.”

Batman: The Complete Animated Series Deluxe Limited Edition is available Tuesday.

Watch Matt Groening talk about his new animated show Disenchantment:

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