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Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law (sometimes referred to simply as Harvey Birdman) is an American animated television series created by Williams Street and produced by Cartoon Network Studios that aired on Cartoon Network during its Adult Swim late night programming block. The series' pilot first aired in 2000 before the Adult Swim block was officially incepted,[1] and later became a series in 2001.[2]

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 1960s-era Hanna-Barbera cartoons, most notably Birdman and the Galaxy Trio. The series' final episode aired on July 22, 2007.

Overview

Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law features ex-superhero Harvey T. Birdman as an attorney working for a law firm alongside other cartoon stars from 1960s and 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 relies 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. Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law is notably 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.

Although the first season was animated using traditional cel animation, the remaining seasons were animated using Adobe Flash. 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 series at Turner Studios in Atlanta, Georgia with Flash, not only were problems corrected faster, but production costs were much lower.[citation needed] Some animation was also done for the show at Bardel Entertainment in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Characters

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Harvey Birdman - A superhero who starred in the Hanna-Barbera show Birdman and the Galaxy Trio in the 1960s. Birdman's secret alter ego from that show, Ray Randall, is not mentioned in this series, though it can be found hidden in the opening credits; as well, in the episode "Deadomutt, Part 2", a police mugshot of Harvey identifies him as "Harvey R.R. Birdman."

Birdman gets strength and power from sunlight, and grows weak if kept away from the sun for too long. His superpowers include flight, though as Harvey Birdman, he often completely forgets about this. He also has the ability to create a shield of solid light, and the ability to shoot destructive energy beams from his fists. These powers are thought to stem from the crest on his helmet, though Harvey is not entirely sure of the crest's true role in his powers.

He has since retired from his superhero job and is now working for the law firm of Sebben & Sebben. Harvey is generally honest, a little dim, 6'6", and has large wings growing out of his back, genetically inherited from his father. His clients consist of other Hanna-Barbera characters of the past and present.

Cast

  • Gary Cole - Harvey Birdman, Hiram Mightor
  • Stephen Colbert - Phil Ken Sebben, Myron Reducto
  • Thomas Allen - Peanut
  • Peter MacNicol - X the Eliminator
  • John Michael Higgins - Mentok the Mindtaker, Zardo, Grape Ape
  • Joe Alaskey - Peter Potamus (first season)
  • Chris Edgerly - Peter Potamus (second season), DVD, Mr. Finkerton, The Funky Phantom, Augie Doggie, Cumulus the Storm King, Captain Caveman, Fancy Fancy
  • Debi Mae West - Gigi
  • Maurice LaMarche - Azul Falcone, Stan Freezoid, Apache Chief, Fred Flintstone, Yogi Bear, Der Spuzmacher, Inch High, Speed Buggy, Hi-Riser, Doggie Daddy, Droopy, Quick Draw McGraw, Wally Gator, Morocco Mole, Garok, Cavey Jr., Magilla Gorilla, Mr. Peebles, Benny the Ball, Dum Dum, Shazzan, Atom Ant, Nitron
  • Grey DeLisle - Debbie, Daphne Blake, Dr. Gale, Melody, Mary
  • Michael McKean - Evelyn Spyro Throckmorton
  • Neil Ross - Vulturo, Dr. Benton Quest, Ding-A-Ling Wolf
  • Phil LaMarr - Black Vulcan
  • Matt Peccini - The Bear
  • Paget Brewster - Birdgirl

Home Release

Harvey Birdman DVD

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 purple, Volume 2 is blue, and Volume 3 is black). The small picture next to the title and the title itself also appear different.





References

  1. "The Daily Ghost Planet : The Past!". Lustforlunch.com. http://lustforlunch.com/dgp/oldnews.htm#morestealth. Retrieved on 2011-01-22. 
  2. "Harvey Birdman Finale on Adult Swim". Animation World Network. 2007-07-12. http://news.awn.com/index.php?ltype=top&newsitem_no=20398. Retrieved on 2007-08-06. 

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