Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law

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Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law
HarveyBirdmanTitle.png
Genre
Created by Michael Ouweleen
Erik Richter
Based on Hanna-Barbera cartoons/characters
Written by Michael Ouweleen
Erik Richter
Directed by
Voices of
Theme music composer Reg Tilsley
Opening theme "Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law", performed by Erik Richter
Ending theme "Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law" (Instrumental)
Composer(s) Michael Kohler
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 4
No. of episodes 39 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
  • Michael Ouweleen
  • Erik Richter
  • Evan W. Adler (Season 2–4)
Producer(s)
  • Christine Griswold (Season 1)
  • Jeffrey Goldstein (Season 1)
  • Evan W. Adler (Season 2–4)
  • Pilot: Billy Cone, Dave Drabik, Craig Gordon, Casper Kelly, Jeff Olsen, and Matt Peccini
Editor(s) Jon Dilling
Running time 12 minutes
Production company(s)
Release
Original network Adult Swim
Picture format 4:3 SDTV
Original release December 30, 2000 (2000-12-30) – July 22, 2007 (2007-07-22)
Chronology
Preceded by Space Ghost Coast to Coast
External links
Website

Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law is an American adult animated television series created by Michael Ouweleen and Erik Richter for Adult Swim. The show revolves around the activity of the Sebben & Sebben law firm, which is staffed mainly by superheroes and other characters who had originally been featured in past Hanna-Barbera cartoons, most notably Birdman and the Galaxy Trio. The show is also a spin off from Space Ghost Coast to Coast, from which Birdman gets his first name. Both Space Ghost and Birdman original series were based on action/adventure script, and, decades later, applied in comedic contexts.

Harvey Birdman's pilot first aired as a sneak peek on Cartoon Network on December 30, 2000.[1] The series officially premiered on Adult Swim on September 2, 2001, the night the network launched,[2] it ended on July 22, 2007 with a total of 39 episodes, over the course of 4 seasons. The entire series has been made available on DVD, and other forms of home media, including on demand streaming on Hulu. An upcoming special, entitled Harvey Birdman, Attorney General, is slated to premiere sometime in Fall of 2018.

Premise[edit]

Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law features ex superhero Harvey T. Birdman of Birdman and the Galaxy Trio as an attorney working for a law firm alongside other cartoon stars from the 1960s and the 1970s Hanna-Barbera cartoon series. Similarly, Harvey's clients are also primarily composed of characters taken from Hanna-Barbera cartoon series of the same era. Many of Birdman's nemeses featured in his former cartoon series also became attorneys, often representing the opposing side of a given case.

Harvey usually fills the role of a criminal defense attorney, though he will act as a civil litigator or other such job when the plot calls for it, the series uses a surrealist style of comedy, featuring characters, objects, and jokes that are briefly introduced and rarely (if ever) referenced thereafter. Also, because the series relied heavily on popular culture references to classic television animation, Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law constantly delves into parody, even featuring clips of these series or specially created scenes which mimic the distinctive style of the animation being referenced.[3]

Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law is the first Williams Street cartoon to maintain continuity through the entire series. Various episodes reference Harvey's (or another superhero's) former crimefighting career, the episode "Turner Classic Birdman" even serves to bridge the gap between Birdman and the Galaxy Trio and Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law.

Instead of rigid plot structure, much of the humor is derived from the fact that superheroes and supervillains are given more realistic and human qualities, such as a mad scientist named Dr. Myron Reducto, who becomes a paranoid prosecutor. Also, several of the plots revolve around the popular myths about classic Hanna-Barbera characters, such as Shaggy and Scooby-Doo being stoners.

Production[edit]

Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law creators Michael Ouweleen and Eric Richter were originally writers for Space Ghost Coast to Coast, which was where the titular character originally made its debut.

Although the first season was animated using digital ink and paint, the remaining seasons were animated using Adobe After Effects, the reason for the switch was that the animation studio was having difficulty maintaining the fast pace of the show, and thus the production of episodes slowed down due to constant retakes.

By animating the later episodes at Turner Studios in Atlanta with Adobe Flash, not only were problems corrected more quickly, but production costs were much lower,[4] some animation was also done for the show at Bardel Entertainment in Vancouver, British Columbia.[citation needed]

Voice actors[edit]

Episodes[edit]

2018 special[edit]

On May 14, 2018, it was announced that there will be an upcoming special based on the series entitled Harvey Birdman, Attorney General. In the special Harvey Birdman will become the next Attorney General of the United States, under President Phil Ken Sebben. The original voice cast will return for the special, it is slated to premiere sometime in Fall of 2018.[5]

Reception[edit]

Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law was named the 91st best animated series by IGN. They compared it to Space Ghost Coast to Coast, a show that is also based on an old Hanna-Barbera cartoon, and described it as a clever show.[6]

Home release[edit]

DVD name Release date Ep # Additional information
Volume One April 12, 2005 13 This two disc box set contains the first thirteen episodes of the show ("Bannon Custody Battle" through "High Speed Buggy Chase") in production order, along with commentaries on selected episodes, deleted scenes, and other special features. A Region 2 version is to be released on November 3, the color of the DVD box art is purple.
Volume Two October 10, 2006 13 This two disc box set contains the next thirteen episodes of the show ("Back to the Present" through "Evolutionary War") in production order, along with commentaries on nine episodes, additional footage, and other special features. The color of the DVD box art is blue.
Volume Three July 24, 2007 13 This two disc box set contains the final thirteen episodes of the show ("Turner Classic Birdman" through "The Death of Harvey") in production order, along with special features. The color of the DVD box art is black.

Each DVD is in the shape of a law book, each season's box art is nearly identical, and the only change for each season is the background color (Volume 1 is brown purple, Volume 2 is blue, and Volume 3 is black). The small picture next to the title and the title itself also appear different.

In April 2005, Adult Swim had a "Do Our Work For Us" contest for Harvey Birdman Season 1 on DVD, the objective for the contest was asking viewers to make their own fan made promo commercial for the upcoming DVD.

Music[edit]

The theme song is an edited version of the song "Slow Moody Blues" written by Reg Tilsley. Other notable songs used in the show include Charlie Steinman's "It Is Such A Good Night" (also known as "Scoobidoo Love") and a lyricless version of Gianni Morandi's "La Mia Mania" (also known as "Okay Maria").

Video game[edit]

A video game based on the series has been released for the PlayStation 2,[7] Wii[8] and PlayStation Portable[9] video game consoles. It was developed by High Voltage Software and published by Capcom, with gameplay mechanics similar to Capcom's Ace Attorney series. It was released on January 8, 2008.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Daily Ghost Planet : The Past!". Lustforlunch.com. Retrieved 2011-01-22. 
  2. ^ "Harvey Birdman Finale on Adult Swim". Animation World Network. 2007-07-12. Archived from the original on 2007-10-16. Retrieved 2007-08-06. 
  3. ^ Harvey Birdman Volume 1 DVD commentary for episode 1
  4. ^ Carrera, Philip. Adobe® Flash® Animation: Creative Storytelling for Web and TV. 
  5. ^ Ramos, Dino-Ray (May 14, 2018). "'Harvey Birdman, Attorney General' Lands At Adult Swim With New Special". Deadline. Retrieved May 14, 2018. 
  6. ^ "91, Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law". IGN. 2009-01-23. Archived from the original on January 19, 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-23. 
  7. ^ Onyett, Charles (2007-07-12). "E3 2007: Harvey Birdman Preview". Retrieved 2007-08-06. 
  8. ^ Kim, Alicia (2007-09-04). "Wii takes the case – Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law comes home to roost on the latest Nintendo video game system". Archived from the original on 2013-01-18. Retrieved 2007-09-24. 
  9. ^ Baity, Naquan (2007-08-01). "Move Over Phoenix Wright, PSP Has Harvey Birdman on the Case!". Retrieved 2007-08-06. 

External links[edit]