Pow! Bam! 'Batman' returns -- but why?

Saturday, March 8, 2003

Holy travesty, Batman! "Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt" (8 p.m. Sunday, CBS) may put the final nail in the coffin of 1960s nostalgia.

Similar to a "Gilligan's Island" retrospective that ran some time back, "Return" is a movie within a movie, a flashback recreation of the old series folded into a present-day spoof featuring the show's original stars, Adam West and Burt Ward. West has lingered on the fringes of the public spotlight as a kind of third-string William Shatner, a pair of human quotation marks whose mere appearance is supposed to cue the audience for "ironic laughter." The once boyish Ward returns from obscurity after far too many trips to the Bat-fridge.

"Return" proceeds at a tortoise-like pace that almost dares viewers to change the channel. Special appearances by Frank Gorshin, Lee Meriwether and Julie Newmar only serve to remind us of the miles we have put on our personal Batmobile odometers since this show was canceled back in 1968. If you loved the old "Batman," as I did, you'll honor its memory by skipping this atrocity.

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