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The new animated Batman

The new animated Batman — The caped crusader returns to Fox as a cartoon inspired by Tim Burton

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Holy Animated Batman! Or rather, wholly animated Batman. It seems that the movies aren’t the only place where the Caped Crusader will clash with Catwoman this summer. Beginning Sept. 7, 65 half-hour episodes of a new Batman cartoon will air weekdays on Fox. But unlike previous TV-cartoon Batmans, this one will be ”dark and scary, inspired by DC’s Dark Knight comic books and the look Tim Burton created in Batman,” says Fox Children’s Network president Margaret Loesch.

Just how dark and scary has caused some nervousness. ”Violent? It’s more violent than Tiny Toons, but less violent than the nightly news,” says Tom Bumbera, associate program director of Seltel Inc., a company that advises many Fox affiliates. ”It’s on the creepy side, but that’s not a negative — they’ve done a very good job.”

”We agonize over every script,” admits Loesch, ”over whether there’s anything a child can imitate to his or her harm. We have weapons in the show, so that’s an ongoing issue.” But she says the final product will be safe for kids while appealing to teens and young men too. Among the highlights: A ”very interesting relationship between Batman and Catwoman,” and regular appearances by one major minor missing from Burton’s Batman films: Robin.