Look out, bad guys! There’s a new Bat-team in Gotham City. Join B.C., Mo, Bam and the rest of the Batwheels crew as they take on villainous vehicles inspired by some of Gotham’s worst baddies. This colorful animated series, DC’s very first aimed at a preschool audience, is packed with puns, one-liners, high-speed action and Bat-gadgets galore. And best of all, it introduces even the youngest superhero fans to Batman and his friends in bite-sized, family-friendly adventures.
Here's the thing, though. You’ll want to grab a seat on the sofa next to your preschooler because you’re going to be surprised at how much fun there is for parents as well. In fact, we’ve gone so far as to put together five distinct reasons why Batwheels is perfect for preschoolers and their parents. Buckle up!
Ethan Hawke as Batman and SungWon Cho as the Badcomputer
He’s got the growly voice of Batman, but there’s also a faint amusement in his voice every time Ethan Hawke delivers a line as the Dark Knight. Hawke plays the role of tired dad to Robin and Batgirl impeccably, but he’s still the Batman you know and love. Well, with one exception: he actually smiles. You’ll get used to it.
On the other side is the super-villain-wannabe Badcomputer, with bad guy speeches delivered with glorious gusto from SungWon Cho. Cho’s monologues are bombastic and enthusiastic, which is just how I like my super-villains. And can we mention what a perfect name that is for the antithesis of the Batcomputer? Genius.
The energy is reminiscent of Batman '66
From the Penguin’s “wah wah wah” laugh to the puns—so many puns—Batwheels gleefully shares the over-the-top silliness of Batman ’66. There’s even a familiar musical motif that will bring back your own memories of watching Batman and Robin on your TV as a kid. Cheesy jokes, bright colors and the unabashed embrace of a wild world with superheroes and talking vehicles give Batwheels the same sense of delight as the iconic Adam West series.
Bam (the Batmobile), Bibi (Batgirl’s cycle), Redbird (Robin’s car), Batwing and Buff (the Bat Truck) are the real stars of the show. Their expressive eyes and lively voices fit right in with that old school energy. Like Batman and Robin of 1966, these crimefighters work hard to be the best heroes they can be.
A Robin and Batgirl we don’t usually see on our TVs
Batgirl and Robin are here…and they’re not who you might expect! In this case, it’s Duke Thomas in the role of Robin and Cassandra Cain as a fearless Batgirl. They’re both smart, funny and confident, and quick on their feet with both quips and kicks. These incarnations of the comic book Bat-Family members have their own personalities. Duke is younger than we usually see, and Cassandra is talkative and peppy. They also both love being superheroes, and their joy is contagious.
More of these two together, please!
New takes on classic villains
The Dark Knight’s foes on Batwheels may seem familiar on the surface, but this Joker wears his seatbelt. Batwheels’ take on Gotham’s iconic rogues’ gallery is both diverse, funny and utterly unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Their character designs are so brilliant that you’ll probably ask yourself, “Why hasn’t this been done before?”
The vehicle versions of the super-villains—the Legion of Zoom—are imaginatively designed and instantly recognizable. Penguin’s rubber duckie duck boat (a nice wink to Batman Returns) and Harley Quinn’s giant mallet-wielding ATV are particularly inspired.
Gotham City dazzles in a soothing blue and purple palette
Yes, I did use “Gotham” and “soothing” in the same sentence. The Gotham City of Batwheels is a shimmering metropolis with the deep colors of twilight illuminated with pops of yellow. The Bat-signal shines bright in the night sky. As the Batmobile streaks by on a high-speed chase, the streetlights cast a comforting glow on the denizens of Gotham.
These gorgeous Gotham City streets are safe thanks to the Batwheels! Catch their adventures now on HBO Max.
Watch Batwheels in the Cartoonito preschool block on Cartoon Network and in the Cartoonito hub on HBO Max. Race through the latest news, features and trailers from the series on our official Batwheels series page!
Kelly Knox writes about all-ages comics and animation for DCComics.com and her writing can also be seen on IGN, Nerdist and more. Follow her on Twitter at @kelly_knox to talk superheroes, comics and pop culture.
NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this feature are solely those of Kelly Knox and do not necessarily reflect those of DC Entertainment or Warner Bros.