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The Top 5 DC Animated TV Series Christmas Episodes

The Top 5 DC Animated TV Series Christmas Episodes

Despite the way it’s presented in recent live-action films, the DC Universe for most of its history has been a cheerier place than the Marvel Universe. So it stands to reason that the animated incarnations of DC’s characters should provide an abundance of memorable holiday tales, including everyone from stalwart icons like Batman and Superman to lesser known champions like Static Shock. So light a fire, pour yourself a cup of egg nog, and settle back in your favorite easy chair as we take a look at the top 5 DC animated TV series Christmas episodes…

Batman: The Animated Series — “Christmas with the Joker”

Sure, he’s a psychotic maniac, but is there a more mirthful character in the DCU than the Clown Prince of Crime, especially when voiced by Mark Hamill in Batman: The Animated Series? The granddaddy of contemporary DC Christmas cartoons is this 1992 episode in which Mr. J escapes from Arkham Asylum and stages his very own Christmas TV special, poking fun at the annual pop culture tradition while holding Commissioner Gordon, Summer Gleeson, and Harvey Bullock hostage. Featuring references to It’s a Wonderful Life, Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite, and, of course, that “Jingle Bells, Batman Smells” song parody we all sang as kids, “Christmas with the Joker” is the definitive yuletide greeting cad from what is still arguably the best screen version of the Caped Crusader.

The New Batman Adventures — “Holiday Knights”

While “Christmas with the Joker” focuses primarily on Batman, Robin, and their arch-nemesis, “Holiday Knights” (the premiere episode of 1997’s The New Batman Adventures, which continued Batman: The Animated Series mythology) is divided into three separate stories. Each written by Batman Animated writer par excellence Paul Dini, they shine a seasonal spotlight on some of Gotham City’s other denizens. The first and best of the tales (based on a comic book yarn by Dini and his fellow BTAS producer Bruce Timm) sees Bruce Wayne forced to play sugar daddy to Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn when they embark on a holiday shopping spree; the second finds Batgirl confronting Clayface; and the third, a sequel of sorts to “Christmas with the Joker”, features the Dynamic Duo once more engaged with the Harlequin of Hate at New Year’s.

Static Shock — “Frozen Out”

In a very different corner of the DC Animated Universe lies perhaps its most underrated series, 2000’s Static Shock, chronicling the adventures of Milestone/DC’s African-American teen superhero, Static. While it’s disappointing that only the first six episodes of the show are available on DVD, many of its other episodes can be found online, including the above “Frozen Out”. Unlike all of the other entries in this list, this one is decidedly non-secular, honoring not only Christmas but Hanukkah and Kwanzaa as well. Now if only we could get ourselves a Festivus cartoon…

Justice League — “Comfort and Joy”

The most laid-back episode of 2001’s Justice League is the series’ only single-episode story, “Comfort and Joy.” It gives fans an opportunity to see their favorite heroes simply enjoying each other’s company at the most festive time of year. Hawkgirl and Green Lantern’s romance heats up when the two warriors get involved in an off-world bar fight, the Ultra-Humanite learns the true meaning of Christmas from the Flash, and, best of all, Superman brings J’onn J’onzz, who’s unfamiliar with Earth holidays, home to Smallville to spend Christmas with Ma and Pa Kent.

The Brave and the Bold — “Invasion of the Secret Santas!”

Last but by no means least we have what might be the most appropriate entry of all. For Christmas is a time of good cheer, and there’s no DC cartoon brighter than 2008’s Batman: The Brave and the Bold. The most purely enjoyable screen version of the Dark Knight gave us a typically absurd and inspired adventure in its yuletide saga “Invasion of the Secret Santas!” Here, Batman (voiced as always on the show by the unflappable Diedrich Bader) teams up with Red Tornado, and both the android and his taciturn human ally catch the holiday spirit while battling exactly what the episode’s title promises — a full-scale assault by an entire army of robot Santa Clauses.

What are your favorite DC Christmas cartoons? Let us know below!

Images: Warner Bros.

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