Monday, October 3, 2011

Batman Season 1 - A Mid-Term Report

We thought we'd take a moment before we launch into Season 2 to do a quick review of our favorites from Batman's first season.

Before we get to our individual picks, we thought we'd start off with a list of the top five "visited" episode reviews on the blog:
  1. 1 & 2: Hi Diddle Riddle/Smack in the Middle
  2. 7 & 8: Instant Freeze/Rats Like Cheese
  3. 3 & 4: The Fine Feathered Finks/The Penguin's a Jinx
  4. 11 & 12: A Riddle A Day Keeps The Riddler Away/When the Rat's Away the Mice Will Play
  5. 19 & 20: The Purr-fect Crime & Better Luck Next Time

Our Season 1 Top Five Lists

Peter's Picks
  1. Hi Diddle Riddle/Smack in the Middle
  2. The Ring of Wax/Give 'Em the Axe
  3. The Purr-Fect Crime/Better Luck Next Time
  4. The Bookworm Turns/While Gotham City Burns
  5. Zelda the Great/A Death Worse Than Fate

John's Picks

  1. The Purr-Fect Crime/Better Luck Next Time
  2. Hi Diddle Riddle/Smack in the Middle
  3. The Ring of Wax/Give 'em the Axe
  4. The Joker is Wild/Batman is Riled
  5. True or False Face/Holy Rat Race

Season 1 Best Special Guest Villain/Villainess

Peter's Pick
Frank Gorshin as The Riddler

John's Pick
Julie Newmar as The Catwoman

Season 1 Best Bat-Babe (Villainesses not eligible)

 Peter's Pick
Jill St John "Hi Diddle Riddle/Smack in the Middle"

 John's Pick
Sherry Jackson "Death in Slow Motion/The Riddler's False Notion "

Season 1 Best Gadget

Universal Drug Antidote Pills
(why does Batman carry fifty different pills if this one handles everything?-PE)

John's Pick
Hyperspectrographic Analyzer

Season 1 Best Cliffhanger

Peter's Pick
A blindfolded Aunt Harriet jogging a mile over a vat of boiling oil.

John's Pick
Bruce Wayne's Gurney race over the cliff.

We here at Batpole-Central are dying to hear what you, our faithful readers picked for your faves of Season 1. Please let us (and your Bat-brothers and sisters) know in the comments section!


  1. Here I am, live from Ocala... My top 5:

    1. Hi Diddle Riddle/Smack in the Middle
    2. The Joker is Wild/Batman is Riled
    3. The Purr-fect Crime/Better Luck Next Time
    4. The Penguin's Gone Straight/Not Yet He Ain't
    5. True or False Face/Holy Rat Race

    Bubbling under the Top 5: The Bookworm Turns/While Gotham City Burns

    Guilty pleasure: The Joker Goes to School/He Meet His Match, the Grisly Ghoul

    Favorite henchbabe: Jill St. John/Sherry Jackson (tie)

  2. Been following this blog and it's been great. I cannot say how much I've learned about the show.

    1. Hi Diddle Riddle/Smack in the Middle
    2. The Joker is Wild/Batman is Riled
    3. The Penguin Goes Straight/Not Yet He Ain't
    4. The Purr-fect Crime/Better Luck Next Time
    5. The Bookworm Turns/While Gotham City Burns.

    Favorite Villain - Burgess Meredith as the Penguin

    Favorite Bat Babe - Nancy Kovack as Queenie

  3. G'day everyone. Following the tradition started on “We Are Controlling Transmission”, here are the “To The Batpoles” statistics, analyzing the first season of Batman based on Peter and John's ratings for each episode. Hmmm, maybe I should change my name to “Statman?”

    Individual statistics:

    Peter's average episode rating was 2.23 and for John the average was 2.76, which means, in their estimation, overall, season one was better than average.

    If we consider 3 Bat Signals or better the mark of a great show, then eleven were deemed worthy.

    Peter and John agreed on four shows:

    Hey Diddle Riddle

    The Purr-fect Crime

    The Ring Of Wax

    The Bookworm Turns

    Most of the time, John was more generous than Peter with his ratings. He gave six more shows 3 Bat Signals or better.

    Fine Feathered Finks

    The Joker Is Wild

    A Riddle A Day

    The Thirteenth Hat

    True Or False Face

    Death In Slow Motion

    In addition, Peter ranked Zelda The Great highly, giving the show a 3.

    On the downside, both agreed that Instant Freeze, (Peter 1.0 John 1.5) was the weakest first season show.

    There was relatively little disagreement in episode rankings. For the most part they liked and disliked the same episodes, and rated most shows to within a Bat Signal or less of each-other.

    The only differences of opinion were the 1.5 Bat Signal split for The Joker Trumps An Ace (Peter 1.0 John 2.5) and the 2 point spread for True Or False Face (Peter 1.0 John 3.0). John liked both shows, while Peter thought they were way below average.

    Collective statistics:

    Ranking the Villains:

    Here's the average of Peter and John's episode rankings of the first season villains.

    1. The Riddler 3.33 average

    2. Catwoman 3.25 average

    3. The Bookworm 3.0 average

    4. Zelda 2.5 average (tied)

    4. The Mad Hatter 2.5 average (tied)

    4. King Tut 2.5 average (tied)

    7. The Penguin 2.16 average

    8. The Joker 2.08 average

    9. False Face 2.0 average

    10. Mr. Freeze 1.25 average

    It's remarkable how well The Riddler scored in the rankings, and how merely average the other mainstays, Penguin and Joker fared. To no-one's surprise, Catwoman got off to a great start, along with promising debuts from future recurring villains Mad Hatter and King Tut. Mr. Freeze was the cellar dweller, and the only villain to receive a below average score.

    Ranking the shows:

    Of the seventeen first season shows, Peter and John rated four shows at 3 Bat Signals or higher, ten between 2 to 3 Bat Signals, and three stories ranked lower than 2 Bat Signals.

    So, what does it all mean?

    For the first season, just under twenty five percent of the shows were considered great, roughly sixty percent average to better than average, and about fifteen percent were deemed below par. That's a high batting average for any TV show, and especially impressive for a series that was rushed into production.

    All the best,

    Glenn :)

  4. Thank you Starman!

    It's always a treat to review your analysis of the data. Thanks for taking the time to crunch the numbers.

  5. Glenn!

    That's a fabulous post. Thanks! I'd add to my general low ranking of the season that while I thought overall the series is lacking, that first episode would rank in my top ten individual TV episodes of all time (that's from all the shows I've ever seen). I'm sure that has a lot to do with that ol' debbil nostalgia, but I think it's impressive that a forty five year old kids' show still has that effect on me.

  6. Wow, Glenn: what an impressive analysis. Holy Standard Deviation!

    Since I've been in most days, I'll play what's left of my hand on this deal. Some categories I find surprisingly hard, but I'll not lose sleep over any of them.

    Top Five (by Part I titles only)

    1. "Hi Diddle Riddle"
    2. "The Ring of Wax"
    3. "The Purr-fect Crime"
    4. "The Bookworm Turns"

    I don't have a fifth. I could fill in the blank with something, though I don't think any alternative is in the same league as these four.

    Best Villain: Frank Gorshin. While he had more at Bats than Miss Newmar, he always raised the level of even mediocre scripts.

    Best Bat-Babe: Jill Oppenheimer. (Sorry, Sherry.)

    Best Gadget: The Batarang. Without it, how could you walk up walls or shinny in mid-air? It's also useful for entangling villains and knocking them out—and it just barely fits into a standard utility belt.

    Best Cliffhanger: The end of "The Penguin Goes Straight" is ironically perilous. The escape is ingenuous—I never saw it coming—and it's just this side of plausible, by wacko Bat-standards.

    Keep up the good work, Citizens.

  7. Season 1 has been lots of fun. I'd like to acknowledge Adam West for making Batman such an endearing character in this first season.

    1. The Ring of Wax/Give 'em the Axe
    2. The Purrfect Crime/Better Luck Next Time
    3. The Joker is Wild/Batman is Riled
    4. Hi Diddle Riddle/Smack in the Middle
    5. The Bookworm Turns/While Gotham City Burns

    Honorable mention: True or False Face/Holy Rat Race
    Favorite villain: The Bookworm
    Favorite villainess: The Catwoman
    Favorite on-screen fight word: EEE-YOW! with the moving tongue in the O

  8. Peter!

    You weren't as hard on the show as you might think. Overall, you rated season one better than average, and ranked five shows 3 Bat Signals or higher (and handed out the only perfect 4), seven at average to better than average, and gave five shows a below average to poor rating. Which means, you found a lot to like about the show. It'll be interesting to see how the stats for seasons two and three pan out.

    Glenn :)

  9. Christine: "Favorite on-screen fight word: EEE-YOW! with the moving tongue in the O."

    I agree: both that this is a worthy category, and with your selection.

    While motoring the freeway this weekend, I saw a billboard with the caption, "Lower Your Utility Belts." Instantly I concluded (1) What a dirty suggestion that is, (2) How nearsighted I've become, (3) I've been watching way too much "Batman." On closer inspection "Belts" was "Bills."

  10. Briefly,

    1. "Hi Diddle Riddle"
    2. "The Joker is Wild"
    3. "The Ring of Wax"
    4. "The Purr-fect Crime"
    5. "The Bookworm Turns"

    Best Villain: Riddler (shoulda had more to do in The Movie.
    Best BatBabe: Jill St. John.
    Best Cliffhanger: the first one -- Hi Diddle...
    Best Bat Gadget: The highly under-utilized Bat Beam (who wouldn't want one of those?)

    Keep fighting the good fight, guys!