Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My Review for Batman: The The Siren's Wail

My review of "The Wail of the Siren" episode of the 1966-8 Batman TV series.

I like reviewing episodes. Most of them are still waiting for their first review, whereas something like Star Wars has 1169 reviews and counting. I could review Star Wars, but who's gonna read review #1170?

Made when the show's episode length was cut in two and the budget slashed maybe even more, this episode does a pretty good job of overcoming those constraints.

It has a new and original villain, beautifully played by the perfectly cast Joan Collins. The Siren's ability to mesmerize men with her high-pitched singing makes her a credible threat, and her plan to defeat Batman and steal Bruce Wayne's millions actually make sense, as do the counter measures taken by Batman, Robin, and Batgirl.

Several twists make this show stand out. The mesmerized Commissioner Gordon actually infiltrates the Batcave and discovers Batman's identity, and Robin and Batgirl have to go it alone when Bruce Wayne falls under siren's spell. But the most interesting idea was that the Siren appeared in the middle of the previous episode as a supporting character, not just in the standard end teaser. Continuity like that was rare in the episodic TV of the '60s, and more of it might have helped the series.

The script cleverly utilizes most of the regular cast, with guest casting required only for the Siren and her two chief henchmen, one of them being popular movie and TV tough guy Mike Mazurki.

Like most of the third season, the new sets are cheap and lack even walls, but clever design here makes good use of them. The Siren's grotto hideout is dark and exotic, and the rooftop Bruce Wayne nearly jumps off of doesn't need walls to work.


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