While it’s safe to say that Batman: The Animated Series (which I wrote about extensively a couple years ago in Batman: Reanimated) ushered in the DC Comics Animated Universe, the interconnectedness of all of the comics’ many heroes and villains didn’t take shape until the follow-up series, Superman: The Animated Series. It crossed over with Batman and featured alliances with the Flash, Green Lantern, Lobo, and Steel, and expanded the breadth of the villains to include everything from Toyman to Darkseid.
Believe it or not, folks, Superman: TAS turns 20 on September 7. While it’s not as iconic a series as Batman: TAS, Bruce Timm and crew were doing some incredibly interesting things that are worth noting. The first of these is giving Superman’s usual setting of Metropolis a distinctive and complex look. If their version of Gotham City was “Dark Deco,” where everything looks like the 1940s but has updated technology, then their Metropolis is the perfect example of the bright and sunny 1950s view of the future, looking like a totally non-menacing version of Fritz Lang’s silent film of the same name.
Another major thing Superman did that differed from Batman was to make things much more serialized. The previous series could essentially be watched in any order at all, save some of the episodes near the end of the run, which formed continuity with each themselves. By contrast, Superman kept a lot of things going in an overall arc, which would be brought back intermittently amid the one-off adventures. Eventually, the series even brought in the whole of Jack Kirby‘s New Gods series in to the TV show continuity.
I’ve talked about the series’ worst episode, “Superman’s Pal,” but I’ve never actually done any writing on the great parts of the show, which were legion. It’s definitely my favorite version of the Man of Steel, and to celebrate it turning 20, I’ve put together a gallery of the 11 best episodes (in my humble opinion) of Superman: The Animated Series, in chronological order.
Share your favorites in the comments below!
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Images: Warner Bros/DC Comics
Kyle Anderson is the Associate Editor for Nerdist and a purveyor of old cartoons the world over. Follow him on Twitter!