Friday, December 16, 2011

Batman Season 3 and the Complete Series - A Final Report

We hope you've enjoyed this nostalgic trip through the 60s with the dynamic duo (Peter and John) along with our Extra Special Guest Batscholar, Joel Eisner.

Before we get to our individual picks, here are the top five "visited" third season episode reviews on the blog:
  1. The Wail of the Siren
  2. Nora Clavicle and the Ladies' Crime Club
  3. The Great Escape/The Great Train Robbery
  4. Enter Batgirl, Exit Penguin
  5. Surf's Up! Joker's Under!

Our Season 3 Top Five Lists

Peter's Picks
  1. The Unkindest Tut of All
  2. The Great Escape/The Great Train Robbery
  3. I'll Be a Mummy's Uncle
  4. Enter Batgirl, Exit Penguin
  5. The Wail of the Siren
John's Picks
  1.  Enter Batgirl, Exit Penguin
  2.  The Unkindest Tut of All
  3.  I'll Be a Mummy's Uncle
  4.  Surf's Up! Joker's Under!
  5.  The Great Escape/The Great Train Robbery

Season 3 Best Special Guest Villain/Villainess

Peter and John's Pick
Victor Buono as King Tut

Season 3 Best Bat-Babe (Batgirl/Villainesses not eligible)

Peter's Pick
Sivi Aberg (Surf's Up! Joker's Under!)

John's Pick
Angela Dorian (I'll Be a Mummy's Uncle)

Season 3 Best Gadget

John's Pick
The Bat Crawler

The Best of the Bats - the Entire Series

The Top Ten Batman Episodes

Peter's Picks
  1. Hi Diddle Riddle/Smack in the Middle
  2. The Unkindest Tut of All
  3. The Great Escape/The Great Train Robbery
  4. I'll Be a Mummy's Uncle
  5. Hizzoner the Penguin/Dizzoner the Penguin
  6. Come Back, Shame/It's How You Play the Game
  7. The Ring of Wax/Give 'Em the Axe
  8. King Tut's Coup/Batman's Waterloo
  9. The Purr-fect Crime/Better Luck Next Time
  10. The Bookworm Turns/While Gotham City Burns
John's Picks
  1. King Tut's Coup/Batman's Waterloo 
  2. The Purr-Fect Crime/Better Luck Next Time  
  3. The Devil's Fingers/The Dead Ringers 
  4. Hi Diddle Riddle/Smack in the Middle 
  5. Enter Batgirl, Exit Penguin
  6. The Ring of Wax/Give 'em the Axe
  7. The Joker is Wild/Batman is Riled 
  8. True or False Face/Holy Rat Race 
  9. I'll Be a Mummy's Uncle 
  10. The Cat's Meow/The Bat's Kow Tow

Best Special Guest Villain/Villainess

Peter's Pick
Frank Gorshin as The Riddler
runner-up: King Tut

John's Pick
Julie Newmar as Catwoman

runner-up: King Tut

Best Bat-Babe (Batgirl/Villainesses not eligible)

Peter and John's Pick
Lee Meriwether
Peter's runner-up: Jill St. John

Best Writer 
Peter and John's Pick
Stanley Ralph Ross

Best Director
Peter's Pick
Oscar Rudolph

John's Pick
James B. Clark

Bat-Babe Lifetime Achievement

Yvonne Craig as Batgirl

That's how we saw it. Let us know which you thought were the best!

And be sure to join us in 2012 as we follow the exploits of intrepid reporter Carl Kolchak one day at a a time in our latest blog—It Couldn't Happen Here. If you're a fan of Kolchak: The Night Stalker, you won't want to miss it!


  1. Continuing from the first and second seasons, here are the third season statistics, analyzing the show based on Peter and John's ratings for each episode.


    Peter's average third season episode rating was 1.75 (down from 2.23 for season one and 2.13 for season two) and for John the average was 1.95, (down from 2.76 and 2.39) which means both rated season three as below average.

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

    Peter and John agreed on two shows:

    The Unkindest Tut Of All

    I'll Be A Mummy's Uncle

    In addition, Peter gave The Great Escape a high rating, and John ranked Enter Batgirl/Exit Penguin among the best.

    At the bottom of a very deep barrel, both agreed that Louie's Lethal Lilac Time was the weakest third season show, with a 0.25 average. Other duds were The Londinium Larcenies which scored a miserable 0.5 average, The Sport Of Penguins 0.75, Louie The Lilac 1.0 and The Ogg Couple 1.0.

    For season three, Peter and John scored all episodes bar one to within a Bat Signal or less of each-other.

    The only major difference of opinion was the 1.5 Bat Signal split for The Great Escape (Peter 4.0 John 2.5). Peter gave it his top rating while John thought it was just better than average.


    Ranking the Villains:

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

    01. King Tut 3.5

    02. Shame 3.25

    03. The Riddler 2.75

    04. Siren 2.5

    05. Dr. Cassandra 2.0 (tied)

    05. Minerva 2.0 (tied)

    07. Nora Clavicle 1.75

    08. Penguin 1.66 (tied)

    08. Joker 1.66 (tied)

    10. Catwoman 1.625

    11. Olga and Egghead 1.375

    12. Lord Ffogg 0.75

    13. Louie The Lilac 0.625

    Highlighting the shows ailing fortunes, of the thirteen villains, only four got a better than average rating.

    My observations:

    Julie Newmar is sadly missed. Victor Buono and Cliff Robertson can do no wrong. Despite the best efforts of Yvonne Craig, the Batgirl novelty wore off very quickly. The writers are completely burned out, and cannot come up with a decent Penguin or Joker script, or for that matter, a half decent new villain. The less said about Lord Ffogg and Louie The Lilac, the better. Vincent Price was completely wasted.

    Although we cringed at the retro sexism of the Nora Clavicle show, in season three there was a genuine attempt to introduce more female characters. Besides Batgirl and Catwoman we got Siren, Olga, Nora, Dr. Cassandra, and Minerva. Back in season one, Catwoman and Zelda were the only major female characters.


    Of the 20 third season shows, collectively, Peter and John rated four shows at 3 Bat Signals or higher, five between 2 to 3 Bat Signals, and eleven stories ranked lower than 2 Bat Signals.

    So, what does it all mean?

    For season three, Peter and John rated 20% of the shows as great (season one 23.5% season two 17%), 25% were average to better than average (season one 58.5% season two 58%) and a whopping 55% were deemed below par (season one 17.5% season two 25%). That's a serious drop in quality. The show still produced a handful of great shows, but the number of average shows halved, and the number of below average shows more than doubled to the point that for season three, most of the shows are well below average.

    All the best,

    Glenn :)

  2. Glenn -

    We've said it before, and I'll say it here again. Reading your analysis of the data is always enlightening, and one of the things we look forward to as we close out a blog! Thanks again, and I hope you'll stick around for our further adventures in TV blogging!


  3. No worries John. As promised earlier, I've whipped up a graph that will show how Batman would've done had you and Peter had been in charge back in 1966. I just spotted a couple of mistakes, so I'll post it later.

    All the best,

    Glenn :)

  4. Okay, here goes:

    Top Third Season Episodes:

    1. "Enter Batgirl, Exit Penguin"
    2. "The Wail of the Siren"
    3. "I'll Be a Mummy's Uncle"
    4. "Great Escape/Great Train Robbery"
    5. "The Entrancing Dr. Cassandra" (oh what the hell)

    I agree that Buono was the best villain, and both Sivi and Angela (Victoria) tie for most memorable henchbabe.

    Best episodes of the entire run? Hmmm...

    1. "Hi Diddle Riddle/Smack in the Middle" (naturally)
    2. "The Devil's Fingers/Dead Ringers" (likewise)
    3. "A Riddle a Day..."
    4. "The Joker is Riled..."
    5. "Hizzoner the Penguin..."
    6. "The Purr-fect Crime..."
    7. "True or False Face..."
    8. "Ring of Wax..."
    9. "The Joker Goes to School..."
    10. "The Bookworm Turns...", "Enter Batgirl, Exit Penguin" (tie)

    Best villain of the series: Frank Gorshin's Riddler

    Best directors: Robert Butler, Tom Gries, Don Weis.
    Best writer: Lorenzo Semple Jr., Stanley Ralph Ross (tie)

    Whew. Onward to KOLCHAK... at least there are only twenty episodes!

  5. How successful would Batman have been if the show's fate was decided by Peter and John? Would it have run for its full three years, been given a fourth season, or cancelled earlier? Let's find out.

    10 years ago, the owner of the company I worked for came into my office and wrote a dollar amount on a piece of paper. He told me that if we took in that amount of money, or less, for three consecutive months, he would shut the place down and retire. We got to two in a row a couple of times, but the company survived (until he sold it to a giant corporation).

    And, that's how we're going to play it. We'll use Peter and John's Bat Signal scores as ratings points, and set the line at two Bat Signals. If either of them rate three consecutive shows at two Bat Signals or less, the series becomes a candidate for cancellation. If both agree on the same three shows, the series is cancelled.

    To help clarify things, here's a link to a graph I whipped up. Peter's ratings are in red, John's are in blue.

    Let's get started. Peter gives the first episode, “Hi Diddle Riddle” a very high rating, but he ranks the next three shows at two or less, and argues that, at week four of season one, the show should be cancelled. John rates one of the three, “Instant Freeze,” lowly, but it's not enough to kill the show.

    Peter strikes again. Shows seven, eight, and nine fall under the line. However, John rates the same three shows, “The Thirteenth Hat,” “The Joker Goes To School,” and “True Or False Face” highly, so there's no danger of cancellation. The rest of the season has its ups and downs, but Peter and John advise the top brass at ABC to renew the show for another season. Willam Dozier takes them out to dinner at an expensive restaurant (and charges it to William Self).

    Peter gave “Fine Finny Fiends,” the last episode of season one a low score, and along with low rankings for the first two shows of season two, “Shoot A Crooked Arrow” and “Hot Off The Griddle,” he's already pushing for cancellation. John agrees about “Fiends” and “Arrow” but, not “Griddle.” It's a close call, but Batman lives on.

    Later in the season, Peter rates six consecutive shows as cancellation candidates. Again, John agrees with two of his selections, “The Puzzles Are Coming” and “The Sandman Cometh.” Batman survives, but only just.

    Two weeks later, Peter begins a run of four straight shows in the cancellation zone, “Penguin Is A Girl's Best Friend,” “Batman's Anniversary,” The Joker's Last Laugh,” and “Catwoman Goes To College.”

    John agrees with “Anniversary” “Last Laugh” and “College” … and, it's all over. The show is cancelled, five weeks before the end of the second season.

    The downside: Cancelling the show at this point means we miss out on three great King Tut shows, and the return of Shame.

    The upside: We don't have to suffer through a, for the most part, mind numbingly dull third season of dross, and thankfully, Lord Ffogg and Louie The Lilac have been erased from our collective memory.

    And, speaking of our collective memory, “Who is Batgirl??? … never heard of her.

    Glenn :)

  6. Really wanted to thank you guys for the blog. It was a lot of fun revisiting the shows and hearing other (extremely fun) views of them. You provided a great forum for the rest of us, in addition to all your efforts. I had a very good time, and I think a lot of other people did, too.

  7. Let's polish these off and send them to bed.

    Top two S3 sequences (four episodes in all):
    1. The Unkindest Tut/Mummy's Uncle
    2. The Great Escape/Great Train Robbery
    As earlier, I refuse to lower the bar to scrape another episode in.

    Best Villain: Victor Buono
    Best Babe: Sivi Aberg
    Best Gadget: There were practically no gadgets. How can one be best?
    Set Decoration in Hell: Limbo sets draped in black velvet. Shame on you, Doughzier.

    All-'Round Best At Bats:

    1. Diddle/Middle (S1)
    2. Wax/Axe (S1)
    3. Coup/Waterloo (S2)
    4. Unkindest Tut/Mummy's Uncle (S3)
    5. Egg/Yegg (S2)
    6. Purr-fect Crime/Next Time (S1)
    7. False-Face/Rat-Race (S1)
    8. Shame/Game (S2)
    9. Great Escape/Train Robbery (S3)
    10. Bookworm Turns/Gotham Burns (S1)

    Best Villain: Milton Berle. NOT. Frank Gorshin. Runner-Up: Victor Buono, in a photo-finish for second with Julie Newmar.
    Best Babe: Jill St. John. Runner-Up: Lee Meriwether.
    Best Composer and Arranger: Nelson Riddle.
    Best Exterior: Stately Wayne Manor.
    Best Attempt to Save a Dying Wretch: Yvonne Craig. She ought to qualify for something.

    Best Writer: Lorenzo Semple, Jr. Runner-Up: Stan Ross.
    Best Director: Bob Butler. Runner-Up: Tom Gries.

    Best Bat-Scholar: Joel.
    Best Bat-Statistician: Glenn.
    Best Bat-Partner with Whom to Disagree: LJS.
    Best Beyond All Bats: Beyond dispute, John and Peter. How you guys slogged to the bottom of this toxic waste defies belief.

    Stick a fork in it. I'm done.

  8. I was a little rushed before, so here are my picks:

    Top 5 Third Season:
    I'll Be A Mummy's Uncle
    The Unkindest Tut of All
    Enter Batgirl, Exit Penguin
    Penguin's Clean Sweep
    The Ogg Couple

    Top Third Season Villain:
    The Don Juan of Aswan himself--King Tut

  9. Best Bat Babe? Batgirl!

    Series Top 10:
    The Penguin Goes Straight...
    The Ring of Wax...
    An Egg Grows in Gotham...
    Hizzoner the Penguin...
    The Cat's Meow...
    That Darn Catwoman...
    Penguin is a Girl's Best Friend...
    King Tut's Coup...
    Pop Goes the Joker...
    The Unkindest Tut.../Mummy's Uncle (cheated a little to get them both!)

  10. Best Villain: Victor Buono as Tut.
    Runner-up: Burgess Meredith as The Penguin.

    Best Writer: Stanley Ralph Ross
    Runner-up: Lorenzon Semple, Jr.

    Best Director: James B. Clark
    Runner-up: Robert Butler

    Clifton, I am honored at my inclusion in your list. The sentiment is warmly reciprocated!

  11. I just pulled up Glenn's graph, which looks like my last EKG. I expect to kick the bucket any moment.

  12. Let me echo what John said. Clifton, LJS, Glenn, Gary, and all the others who slogged through the muck and mire that was this show. I truly would not have made it through to the end without my daily dose of fun-lovin' commentators. A big slap on the back (to bring him to his senses) goes to GlennME who really needs a life even more than me and Scooter.
    And, of course, a giant thank you to Joel Eisner for putting up with a couple of Bat-Neophytes.
    Now on to the Kolchaks. I trust Glenn has his slide ruler ready?

  13. Wonderful recap and wrap, gentlemen! Thanks for all your hard viewing and bat-opinions... You put O'Hara and Gordon in a new light for me. As someone who once viewed this series with Camelot-like endearance, I am still ready to plunk down my hard coin for a legal dvd copy (which hopefully will utilize yourselves and Mr. Batscholar in the extras!)... While Tut was never among my favourite three before, he has supplanted the Joker at No. 1, while Newmar's Cat owns my 2nd fav spot.
    Count me in for kolchak!

  14. Peter Enfantino wrote: "A big slap on the back (to bring him to his senses) goes to GlennME who really needs a life even more than me and Scooter."

    Geez Peter, with the graph, I was desperately trying to find some way to make trawling through the third season bearable.

    rockfish said: "I am still ready to plunk down my hard coin for a legal dvd copy."

    You beat me to it. I would buy a Batman Box set too, for the Gorshin, Newmar, Buono and Robertson shows, selected Penguin stories, Pop Goes The Joker, The Bookworm Turns, True Or False Face, and a handful of others. It'd be great to see these shows in vivid color in high definition. So, who else would buy the series if it became available?

    All the best,

    Glenn :)

    P.S. Again, many thanks to our hosts for their always insightful and entertaining blogs. See you next year in Chicago.;)

    P.P.S. Where's Christine? I was looking forward to her assessment of the show.

  15. Glenn-

    I think your graphs and numbers kept me going as well through the entire run! I'd like for you to try that trick with our Marvel University blog.

    As for who'd drop coin for this thing: I'm hesitant to be a party pooper but I've a feeling when (and it's when not if) the rights issues get solved and Batbrain gets a dvd and blu release, it's gonna be pricey. Count me out. There's only a handful of eps I'd like to rewatch anyway. I'd lay down a twenty for a single disc blu of that first Riddler arc though. Still one of the greatest TV episodes I've ever seen.

  16. After seeing how good the series can look in standard definition (thanks to the Batmania documentary on DVD), I wouldn't hesitate to pick up the series on Blu Ray, or, if it was the only option, standard def DVD.

    For those of you who haven't checked out the movie on Blu Ray, it's stunning.

  17. The wonderful thing about John & Peter's service here, is that if you don't have time, or are uninterested in slogging through every Batman episode, you can use this handy dandy blog as a sensible guide. I have been lagging behind, and there were a few episodes I wanted to see before closing out the old year with Batman and looking forward to starting the new year with the intrepid Carl Kolchak. I do trust my views will not change too much by not having seen the Londinium Larcenies yet.

    I'd like to see the series remastered on DVD. These shows were meant to be seen "In Color," and I think we miss out on the richness of this series with the drab, fuzzy versions currently available.

    Season 1, without a doubt, has some of the best episodes, but there were still a great many to enjoy in Season 2. Season 3...well, there was Batgirl, who was a breath of fresh air to the series, but couldn't do much to reduce the overall stink. Lucky for us, she's an Egyptian bibliophile, as well as the supremely feminine scourge of all that is criminal. Without her, it would have been deadly dull in S3.

    I find it difficult to claim there is a best villain. I enjoyed Riddler, King Tut and Catwoman the most. I think they had the most dynamic performances and some of the better story lines. I remain fond of the Joker and Penguin, because they were my favorites when I was younger, and because they also gave fantastic performances. Bookworm, we hardly knew ye. False Face got no respect. How could we not love Eggy-baby? I wish there'd been better stories and more appearances for Vincent Price. I never imagined I would have enjoyed Liberace, but he was pretty awesome. Shame was another unexpected treat. Having well known actors appear as guest villains was brilliant, and there is something to enjoy about each one.

    My top ten favorites:
    Ring of Wax/Give 'em the Axe
    King Tut's Coup/Batman's Waterloo
    The Purr-Fect Crime/Better Luck Next Time
    Hi Diddle-Rddle/Smack in the Middle
    The Bookworm Turns/While Gotham City Burns
    The Devil's Fingers/The Dead Ringers
    The Unkindest Tut of All/I'll Be A Mummy's Uncle
    Hizzoner the Penguin/Dizonner the Penguin
    Pop Goes the Joker/Flop Goes the Joker
    A Piece of the Action/Batman's Satisfaction

    I could list ten more I really liked, but I won't, especially since everyone's gotten over their Batman hangovers by now and moved on.

    Best Bat-Babe: Jacques Bergerac
    Runner-up: Van Williams

    Congratulations on two successful and huge TV blogging projects this year with Outer Limits and Batman, John & Peter. It's been fun, as always, and your hard work, dedication, and humor is appreciated. Thanks to Batscholar Joel for sharing his love and knowledge of the series, and providing us with the background info and inside information to help us all appreciate and enjoy the series a bit more. It's always fun hearing the banter from the peanut gallery, and especially great to hear the perspectives of the likes of Gary G. and others who were there at the time and can point out those things all the rest of us might be missing. Happy New Year, everyone! What happens in Vegas...well, it couldn't happen here.