In 2008, when La-La Land released the first B:TAS soundtrack (highlights from this two-CD set can be heard during A Fistful of Soundtracks' "AFOS Prime" block), I wrote, "Though this release is loaded with over two hours of music, it's missing Walker's memorable Catwoman theme from 'The Cat and the Claw, Part I,' the first B:TAS ep that ever aired, Carl Johnson's lively score from the excellent 'Beware the Gray Ghost' ep with special guest voice Adam West, and [Michael] McCuistion's Lawrence of Arabia-style epic score from the 'Demon's Quest' two-parter, which gives me hope about a Volume 2 from La-La Land."
Volume 2 is finally here--the first few copies are being sold at La-La Land's booth at this weekend's San Diego Comic-Con before the four-CD set becomes available on Thursday--and cues from "The Cat and the Claw," "Beware the Gray Ghost" and "The Demon's Quest" are indeed on the album. After taking a look at the abbreviated Volume 2 track listing that the World's Finest fansite posted on its blog, the batch of B:TAS eps that are represented on Volume 2 is more impressive to me than the first volume's, even though one of those eps is the abysmally animated and extremely kid-friendly "I've Got Batman in My Basement," widely regarded as the series' worst ep and derided by lead B:TAS showrunner Bruce Timm, who told Cinefantastique magazine in 1994 that "I can't even watch ['I've Got Batman.'] It's the epitome of what we don't want to do with Batman."
"The Cat and the Claw," "Beware the Gray Ghost" and "The Demon's Quest" are joined on Volume 2 by series high points like the Emmy-winning Mr. Freeze revamp "Heart of Ice," "Feat of Clay," "Almost Got 'Im" and "Harley and Ivy," an ep that's even more popular than "Heart of Ice." Penned by "Heart of Ice" writer Paul Dini, the sharply written first-time pairing of Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy, who are referred to in Dini and Chip Kidd's 1998 coffee table book Batman: Animated as "the Thelma & Louise of the supervillain set," was so popular it spawned a 2004 DC miniseries from the trio of Dini, Timm and their fellow New Batman Adventures and Superman: The Animated Series staffer Shane Glines and tons of steamy Harley and Ivy fan art by Glines and many others.
Glines recently posted his character designs from a Harley and Ivy animated series that failed to get off the ground in the early '00s. You'd have to be either really, really stupid or brain-dead to say no to a Harley and Ivy animated series.
"We wanted ['Harley and Ivy'] as our first prime time show, and Fox was going to run it. Then a Fox executive saw it and said, 'What the hell is this? Batman's not in this episode. He's only in it at the end? The whole episode is two girls running around in their underwear. There's no boy appeal here,'" recalled Dini to Cinefantastique in 1994. "I said, 'Well maybe not any boys you know.'"
|Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn in a scene from B:TAS' "Harley and Ivy" episode that's too unappealing for boys (Photo source: World's Finest Online)|
|(Photo source: World's Finest Online)|
|(Photo source: World's Finest Online)|
"There's a full symphonic orchestra in there, but a lot of the earlier cues are just moaning violas," continued Timm. "From the first moment the Joker shows up, even though he's acting funny and wacky, Shirley has the strings doing something really strange. They're not playing his silliness, they're playing the underlying threat of what he's doing. It kicks the scene up a notch in terms of tension. It's one of our most unusual scores and it works really well."
Timm's simpatico working relationship with Walker and her composing team was a reason why the music on B:TAS was so effective, even when it wasn't present in several scenes.
"In animation, it's real typical to want the music to be there to sort of cover up the holes and make you feel like there's no air and no space," said Walker to Cinefantastique in 1994. "I think part of the visceral success of the Batman show is the fact that we put you on edge by making you uncomfortable with silence occasionally. It sets the show apart from a lot of the cartoon music that's being done."