Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law

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Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law
Created by Michael Ouweleen
Erik Richter
Based on Hanna-Barbera cartoons
Written by Michael Ouweleen
Erik Richter
Directed by
Voices of
Theme music composer Michael Kohler
Opening theme "Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law"
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)
Executive producer(s)
  • Michael Ouweleen
  • Erik Richter
  • Evan W. Adler (Season 2–4)
  • 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)
Distributor Warner Bros. Television
Original network Cartoon Network (episode 1)
Adult Swim
Picture format 4:3 SDTV
Original release December 30, 2000 (2000-12-30) – July 22, 2007 (2007-07-22)
Preceded by Space Ghost Coast to Coast
External links

Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law is an American animated television series comedy 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 classic Hanna-Barbera cartoons, most notably Birdman and the Galaxy Trio.

Harvey Birdman's pilot first aired on Cartoon Network on December 30, 2000.[1] On September 2, 2001, the series moved to Adult Swim,[2] continuing for four seasons and 39 episodes before ending on July 22, 2007. The show is also a spin-off of Space Ghost Coast to Coast, where Birdman got his first name from.


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 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.[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.


Although the first season was animated using traditional cel animation, 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, Georgia 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



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.[5]

DVD releases

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.


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" (AKA "Scoobidoo Love") and a lyricless version of Gianni Morandi's "La Mia Mania" (AKA "Okay Maria").

Video game

A video game based on the series has been released for the PlayStation 2,[6] Wii[7] and PlayStation Portable[8] 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.


  1. "The Daily Ghost Planet : The Past!". Lustforlunch.com. Retrieved 2011-01-22.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Harvey Birdman Finale on Adult Swim". Animation World Network. 2007-07-12. Retrieved 2007-08-06.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Harvey Birdman Volume 1 DVD commentary for episode 1
  4. https://books.google.ca/books?id=NTGiQL9QCcQC&pg=PA253&lpg=PA253&dq=harvey+birdman+adobe&source=bl&ots=deLvXohQl5&sig=Z47vpTVSnsT_Cli-zsJdFZP_8r0&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjS4cz65szLAhVFnoMKHYlgC884ChDoAQhBMAk#v=onepage&q=harvey%20birdman%20adobe&f=false. Missing or empty |title= (help); External link in |website= (help); Missing or empty |url= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "91, Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law". IGN. 2009-01-23. Archived from the original on January 19, 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-23. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Onyett, Charles (2007-07-12). "E3 2007: Harvey Birdman Preview". Retrieved 2007-08-06.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. 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". Retrieved 2007-09-24.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Baity, Naquan (2007-08-01). "Move Over Phoenix Wright, PSP Has Harvey Birdman on the Case!". Retrieved 2007-08-06.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links