Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law
Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law is an American adult animated television sitcom created by Michael Ouweleen and Erik Richter for Cartoon Network's late-night programming block, 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.
|Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law|
|Theme music composer||Reg Tilsley|
|Opening theme||"Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law", performed by Erik Richter|
|Ending theme||"Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law" (Instrumental)|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||4|
|No. of episodes||39 (and 1 special) (list of episodes)|
|Running time||12 minutes|
|Distributor||Warner Bros. Television Distribution|
|Original release||December 30, 2000 –|
|Preceded by||Space Ghost Coast to Coast|
The series officially premiered on Adult Swim on September 2, 2001, the night the block launched. It ended on July 22, 2007, with a total of 39 episodes, over the course of four seasons. The entire series has been made available on DVD, and other forms of home media, including on-demand streaming.
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 1970s Hanna-Barbera cartoon series. Harvey's clients are also primarily characters taken from the Hanna-Barbera cartoon series of the same era.
Many of Birdman's nemeses from his former cartoon series appear as 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 a 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. Because the series relies heavily on popular culture references to classic television animation, Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law constantly delves into parody, 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 the first Williams Street cartoon to maintain continuity through the entire series. Various episodes reference Harvey's (or another superhero's) former crime-fighting career. The episode "Turner Classic Birdman" serves to bridge the gap between Birdman and the Galaxy Trio and Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law.
Much of the humor is derived from giving superheroes and supervillains more eccentric qualities, such as transforming mad scientist Dr. Myron Reducto into a paranoid prosecutor. Several of the plots revolve around popular myths about classic Hanna-Barbera characters, such as Shaggy and Scooby-Doo being recreational drug users.
- Gary Cole as Harvey Birdman, Judge Mightor
- Stephen Colbert as Phil Ken Sebben, Myron Reducto
- Joe Alaskey as Peter Potamus
- Thomas Allen as Peanut
- Paget Brewster as Birdgirl
- Grey DeLisle as Debbie, Daphne Blake, Dr. Gale Melody, Mary
- Chris Edgerly as Peter Potamus, DVD, Mr. Finkerton, The Funky Phantom, Augie Doggie, Cumulus the Storm King, Captain Caveman, Gorak, Fancy Fancy
- John Michael Higgins as Mentok the Mindtaker, Zardo, Grape Ape
- Maurice LaMarche as 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
- Peter MacNicol as X the Eliminator
- Michael McKean as Evelyn Spyro Throckmorton
- Matt Peccini as The Bear
- Neil Ross as Vulturo, Dr. Benton Quest, Ding-A-Ling Wolf
- Debi Mae West as Gigi
- Paul Adelstein as Murro the Marauder
- Jack Angel as General
- Dee Bradley Baker as Jonny Quest, Lizard Man
- Michael Bell as Zan
- Jeff Bergman as George Jetson (in "Shaggy Busted"), Old Man Bakov, Clown
- Mary Birdsong as Chibo, Tana
- Lewis Black as Elliott the Deadly Duplicator
- Steven Blum as Yakky Doodle, Clamhead, Stavros
- Bill Farmer as Secret Squirrel
- Keith Ferguson as Bill Ken Sebben
- Nika Futterman as Debbie
- Mark Hamill as Ricochet Rabbit
- Toby Huss as Ernie Devlin, Shado
- Scott Innes as Shaggy Rogers, Scooby-Doo, Scrappy-Doo
- Tom Kenny as Boo-Boo Bear, Elroy Jetson, Top Cat, Choo Choo, Computer Voice
- Phil LaMarr as Black Vulcan
- Steve Landesberg as Bailiff, Grok, Doctor Quincy
- Tress MacNeille as Wilma Flintstone, Pebbles Flintstone
- Diane Michelle as Jane Jetson, Orbitty
- Laraine Newman as Sybil Schussler
- Rob Paulsen as Baba Looey
- Doug Pries as Thundarr the Barbarian, Beegle Beagle
- Kevin Michael Richardson as Barney Rubble
- André Sogliuzzo as Dynomutt
- Fred Tatasciore as Nikos
- B.J. Ward as Velma Dinkley
- Frank Welker as Fred Jones, Jabberjaw, Biff, Robot, Avenger
- Billy West as Dr. Zin
- Kym Whitley as Norlissa
- Wally Wingert as Hadji, George Jetson (in "Back to the Present"), Astro, Harry Twiddles, Moby Dick
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||9||December 30, 2000||June 8, 2003|
|2||11||January 1, 2004||November 2, 2004|
|3||12||July 24, 2005||October 23, 2005|
|4||7||October 1, 2006||July 22, 2007|
|Special||October 12, 2018|
Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law creators Michael Ouweleen and Erik Richter were originally writers for Space Ghost Coast to Coast, which is where the titular character made his debut. The show was Adult Swim's most expensive original series at the time, and is the most expensive spin-off of Space Ghost Coast to Coast.
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.
In Canada, Harvey Birdman, Attorney At Law previously aired on Teletoon's Teletoon at Night block and later G4 Canada's ADd block. The series currently airs in Canada on the Canadian version of Adult Swim.
On May 14, 2018, it was announced that there would be an upcoming special based on the series entitled Harvey Birdman: Attorney General. In the special, Harvey Birdman becomes the next Attorney General of the United States, under President Phil Ken Sebben. The original voice cast returned for the special. It premiered at midnight on October 15, 2018.
In 2009, Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law was named the 91st-best animated series by IGN. They called the concept of the show "wonderful" and the show as a whole "especially clever." The review summarized that "Harvey Birdman worked as both a parody and homage to these animated characters we know and love, with plenty of funny, surreal jokes along the way."
|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 colour 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 colour 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 colour 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 colour (Volume One is brown purple, Volume Two is blue, and Volume Three is black). The small picture next to the title and the title itself also appears different. In April 2005, Adult Swim had a "Do Our Work For Us" contest for Harvey Birdman Season 1 on DVD. The objective of the contest was to ask viewers to make their own fan-made promo commercial for the upcoming DVD.
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").
A video game based on the series has been released for the PlayStation 2, Wii and PlayStation Portable 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, and includes five new, interactive cases.
- Ramos, Dino-Ray (May 14, 2018). "'Harvey Birdman, Attorney General' Lands At Adult Swim With New Special". Deadline. Archived from the original on May 14, 2018. Retrieved May 14, 2018.
- "The Daily Ghost Planet : The Past!". Lustforlunch.com. Archived from the original on 2001-12-20. Retrieved 2011-01-22.
- "Harvey Birdman Finale on Adult Swim". Animation World Network. 2007-07-12. Archived from the original on 2007-10-16. Retrieved 2007-08-06.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-09-20. Retrieved 2018-09-18.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Porter, Rick (May 9, 2019). "'Harvey Birdman' Spinoff With Paget Brewster Greenlit at Adult Swim". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on May 9, 2019. Retrieved May 9, 2019.
- Harvey Birdman Volume 1 DVD commentary for episode 1
- Carrera, Philip (2011). Adobe® Flash® Animation: Creative Storytelling for Web and TV. ISBN 9780763784157. Archived from the original on 2016-03-29. Retrieved 2016-03-19.
- "TELETOON Canada Inc. Announces Cartoon Network and Adult Swim Launch Schedules". Newswire. June 21, 2012.
- "91, Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law". IGN. 2009-01-23. Archived from the original on January 19, 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-23.
- Onyett, Charles (2007-07-12). "E3 2007: Harvey Birdman Preview". Archived from the original on 2007-10-12. Retrieved 2007-08-06.
- 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.
- Baity, Naquan (2007-08-01). "Move Over Phoenix Wright, PSP Has Harvey Birdman on the Case!". Archived from the original on 2007-08-09. Retrieved 2007-08-06.
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