The Batman

CW has a little thing going on Saturday mornings at 11:30 AM called The Batman. I think the title is pretty self-explanatory, and a press release was just issued detailing what to expect from the coming season. Let's listen in shall we (pretend this is being read on makes it seem shorter than it is): Standing tall after claiming its fourth Daytime Emmy Award, "The Batman" will set the bar even higher as it steps up the action in its new fifth season with the much-anticipated introduction of the Justice League, an array of new and/or improved villains, a sparkling arsenal of breakthrough technological support, and a voice cast packed with actors from feature films and primetime television, not to mention some of the finest voice performers on the planet. "The Batman" premieres September 22 at 11:30 a.m. ET/PT as part of the Kids' WB! Lineup on The CW Network. Entitled "The Batman/Superman Story," the two-part season premiere (the finale airing on Sept. 29) finds Lex Luthor joining forces with Gotham City's rogues gallery to finally defeat the Man of Steel -- but he doesn't count on Batman and Robin coming to the rescue. When we last left Batman, the Martian Manhunter had just proposed the Dark Knight join the ranks of the Justice League. It doesn't take long to learn Batman's answer as Superman sparks a "World's Finest" tale in the thrilling, two-part season opener. Over the course of the new season, several of the Justice League's key players ­ Green Lantern, The Flash, Green Arrow, Hawkman and Martain Manhunter ­ will stand cape-to-cape with Batman in defense of Gotham City Š and beyond. Last season's character arc gave Batman greater insight into the virtues of teamwork, and he'll continue to embrace the contributions of Robin and Batgirl, as well as occasional help from Lucius Fox and Nightwing. This is truly a season of team-ups, whether it be Batman and his trusted family, or the Dark Knight uniting with fellow members of the Justice League. Of course, the JL heroes and their new recruit won't be alone in their pursuit of villainy ­ they'll be well-armed by the Batman's never-ending array of technological wonders. "Shadow-Tek" takes center-stage throughout the 2007-08 campaign, bringing a new level of "Oh, I want that" wishes in living rooms across the land. It's like Christmas came to the Batcave during the offseason as the "toys" roll out of Batman's significant arsenal, ranging from an all-new Batarang, to jet packs, to an incredible criminal assault suit. Every hero is only as good as his opposition is evil ­ and Gotham never runs out of baddies. The usual suspects return with nefarious new schemes and more sophisticated gadgetry as the Joker, Penguin, Harley Quinn and Mr. Freeze are joined in their quest to rid Gotham of any nocturnal winged creatures by the likes of Sinestro, Black Mask, Scarface, Count Vertigo, Toyman, Mirror Master, Metallo,Clayface, Mercy and a new, improved Firefly-turned-Phosphorus. Lex Luthor even makes an appearance in NYC's alter-ego, enlisting Poison Ivy and her enchanting spores to turn Superman against Batman. Speaking of alter-egos, every great animated character is backed by an outstanding voice ­ and this season's Batman cast rivals all others. Veteran voice actor Rino Romano returns as the pipes of the Caped Crusader, and his supporting cast includes stars from every corner of the entertainment spectrum. Feature film actors Louis Gossett Jr. ("An Officer and a Gentleman"), George Newbern ("Father of the Bride"), Dorian Harewood ("Full Metal Jacket") and Daryl Sabara ("Spy Kids") fill several key roles. Primetime television provides a host of voices including Dana Delaney ("China Beach"), Clancy Brown ("Carnivale"), James Remar ("Dexter"), Miguel Ferrer ("Crossing Jordan"), Gwendoline Yeo ("Desperate Housewives"), Jerry O'Connell ("Crossing Jordan"), Peter MacNichol ("24"), John Laroquette ("Night Court"), Patton Oswalt ("The King of Queens"), Mitch Pileggi ("The X-Files"), Diedrich Bader ("The Drew Carey Show") and Chris Hardwick ("Singled Out"). And Hollywood's esteemed voice acting community is well represented by some of the finest in the business, ranging from Dan Castellaneta, Kevin Michael Richardson, Grey Delisle and Tom Kenny to Hynden Walch, Jason Marsden and Charlie Schlatter. It's a season of non-stop action with new heroes, villains, technologically-advanced "toys" and all-star talent. Somebody had better start polishing another Emmy. Phew, that's a lot to take in. In my youth, I always hated the 11:30 Saturday shows. Not because they were bad, but because the Saturday morning was almost over. But it also meant that American Gladiators was getting ready to come on, so that extended the Saturday morning by another hour.