Well, that took a bit of time to figure out!

In my last post I related how I was embarking on an experiment - basically starting a complete rewatch of the DCAU based on a more “arc-driven” order I had sussed out a few years back, but never gotten around to actually... ya know... viewing.

The caveat to this whole project, however, was that the initial portions of the order - involving BTAS - weren’t actually my own design, but rather had been lifted from another poster long ago, but then serving as my inspiration for attempting something similar for the entire DCAU.

So, what did I find out? Well, I learned that while the other guy’s initial order was pretty good, it’s not quite how I’d do it.

Let’s dig in and find out, shall we?

So, to begin with, as I had mentioned previously, I sort of envisioned the whole arc-driven DCAU to run about 20 “seasons” of varying length, but figuring about 18-20 eps per.

The original suggested order by the other poster was as follows:

Rewatch Order Airdate Order Prod. Order Title
0021.251.31The Cape and Cowl Conspiracy
0031.271.06The Underdwellers
0041.061.12It's Never Too Late
0051.121.26Appointment in Crime Alley
0061.591.64Read My Lips
0071.101.03Nothing to Fear
0081.011.15The Cat and the Claw, Part I
0091.081.16The Cat and the Claw, Part II
0101.201.13I've Got Batman in My Basement
0111.151.04The Last Laugh
0121.281.35Night of the Ninja
0131.021.01On Leather Wings
0141.091.05Pretty Poison
0151.321.18Beware the Gray Ghost
0161.071.22Joker's Favor
0171.221.19Prophecy of Doom
0181.231.08The Forgotten
0191.171.10Two-Face, Part I

How did it stack up on rewatch, using that order?

Well... fairly well, but I think I’ve got a few changes.

First two eps... perfectly fine. Better than fine, really... actually a great intro!

P.O.V. is about the best opening I can imagine, with the unreliable narration of the GCPD providing the perfect set up for an almost mythic character of the Batman. The mystery of the character is maintained throughout, while providing nice character bits to intro Gordon, Bullock and Montoya.

This carries through to The Cape and Cowl Conspiracy - still providing no clue to Batman’s real identity (but slightly humanizing him as he removes his cowl to reveal a bit of his face). This, along with the intro of the Bat-signal, and noting that Gordon is running interference with the Mayor, makes for a great ep 2.

The Underdwellers as ep 3, though? Not so much. I see what the other guy was trying to do - keeping it street-level - but I think it gives too much away too soon, with the appearance of Alfred, the cave, the use of Bruce’s name, etc. There is just no continuation of the build that had previously been established.

I think instead, I’d move Underdwellers down a couple spots, Bringing It's Never Too Late to the third spot (fully revealing Bruce’s face... but with no name yet, and intro-ing Rupert Thorne who will play a big part later on), then having the big identity/origin reveal of Appointment in Crime Alley stick the landing in ep 4 (as well as intro-ing another main Gotham player in Roland Daggett). That would make Bruce’s empathy for the children in “Underdwellers” that much more resonant, placing that one in ep5.

I do like his next two eps Read My Lips and Nothing to Fear exactly where they are as ep 6 and 7... ramping up the threat level as Batman’s opponents become odder and odder. Alfred remarks that although Bruce has had his share of odd opponents, the Ventriloquist "takes the biscuit". That line only really works in the absence of any of the more outre villains. This is then reinforced with the intro of the Scarecrow as Alfred talks about "someone running around in a costume... imagine that." The ending of "Nothing to Fear" at the Wayne’s grave also puts a perfect button on a 7 ep introductory "mini-arc".

The next section then deals with the intro of a trio of important costumed villains: The Joker, Penguin, and Catwoman. I like the intent... but I’d mix the order a bit and swap a couple eps.

The Cat and the Claw, Parts I and II... perfectly fine as eps 8 and 9. They start a new “mini-arc”, provide a great intro for Selina, and expand the whole “costume” idea... which is exactly why I’d swap out the next episode for one that didn’t appear in this section originally, Be A Clown.

I think "Be A Clown" provides a much better intro for the Joker than The Last Laugh. Not only do we get the Mayor expressing his distaste for those "costume" types, but the Joker’s offhanded remark about wanting a "protege" - placed this early - would provide a HUGE foreshadowing opportunity for what I think is the the biggest payoff of the whole DCAU saga.

I've Got Batman in My Basement is pretty much a crap episode in my opinion - and a very poor intro for the Penguin - but, as long as we are intro-ing main villains, this is as good a place as any, and the appearance of the "Joker" poster is at least a nice callback.

And speaking of callbacks... my suggestion for ep 12 (in place of the originally placed Night of the Ninja which I think is far too stylistically jarring his early on... and not the best Robin intro IMO) would be to instead place Cat Scratch Fever at this point as a closure for the initial Catwoman story. The timeline makes sense, and I think it provides more resonance to place it a bit closer to "The Cat and the Claw", as well as acting as a call back to Roland Daggett.

That would conclude the second “mini-arc” and brings us to the final movement... intro-ing Harvey Dent.

Beginning part 3, On Leather Wings stays where it is at ep 13, with Harvey as just a background character - nameless flipping his coin while Batman engages Kirk Langstrom in the first episode of what will become the long-running theme throughout the DCAU saga of DNA manipulation (great to intro that so early on).

Harvey then takes on a starring role in Pretty Poison, intro-ing the major villain, Poison Ivy.

A bit of a break from the Harvey stuff with a couple of Bruce-centric tales. I’d leave Beware the Gray Ghost where it is, but bump up The Forgotten to episode 16 to make the "Bruce as a child" flashbacks occur in back to back episodes.

Here is where I’d now add The Last Laugh back in because: A. Bruce seems very tired in this episode (a perfect reaction after "The Forgotten") and B. because he’s already familiar with the Joker. (Similar to removing "Night of the Ninja" earlier, eliminating Robin this early on, I’d also now excise Joker's Favor here... it's makes no sense to intro Harley Quinn out of the blue in the middle of what is now a fairly cohesive story).

Prophecy of Doom - meh - perfectly fine as a filler to catch one's breath before the dramatic season closer, where we see the return of Rupert Thorne and the fall of Harvey Dent in:

Two Face, Part I

Aaaaaaaaand... scene.

So, my own custom order for the first “Season” of the DCAU winds up looking like this:

Rewatch Order Airdate Order Prod. Order Title
0021.251.31The Cape and Cowl Conspiracy
0031.061.12It's Never Too Late
0041.121.26Appointment in Crime Alley
0051.271.06The Underdwellers
0061.591.64Read My Lips
0071.101.03Nothing to Fear
0081.011.15The Cat and the Claw, Part I
0091.081.16The Cat and the Claw, Part II
0101.111.09Be A Clown
0111.201.13I've Got Batman in My Basement
0121.331.36Cat Scratch Fever
0131.021.01On Leather Wings
0141.091.05Pretty Poison
0151.321.18Beware the Gray Ghost
0161.231.08The Forgotten
0171.151.04The Last Laugh
0181.221.19Prophecy of Doom
0191.171.10Two-Face, Part I

Whew… this is quite a bit of work. But also quite rewarding!

I’m definitely going to keep on with this experiment. I think for the next “season”, I’m going to hold off on posting the set of episodes until after I watch them and decide on the order I’m going with. I’ll still post the original suggested order in the beginning of the next post but, as I already know - based on this go round - that I’ll be reordering at least a few, I think I’d prefer not to color the expectation.

I’d also be interested in hearing from anyone else who has their own “custom order” or has any ideas on mine.

Assuming, of course, anyone even reads this. :-)

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