Long before the DC Cinematic Universe, millennials’ first taste of the Justice League came via DC’s animated series on the WB network (now known the CW). Now that Justice League has released theatrically, you may want to feed your DC addiction with a look at some of DC’s most memorable animated series.
Batman: The Animated Series
Released in 1992, this series was the catalyst for the modern animated DC universe. The animation style, the gritty (for a kid’s show) storytelling and the voice talents of Kevin Conroy as Batman and Star Wars‘ Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill, as the Joker led to this show remaining a cult favorite to this day.
Superman: The Animated Series
Thanks to the success of Batman: The Animated Series, it was Superman’s turn in 1996. For most millennials, this was their first introduction to Superman. For over 20 years, the series has been praised as one of the most faithful adaptions of the character of all time. Perhaps this is best demonstrated in the Superman/Clark Kent dichotomy. Superman is supposedly infinitely powerful, and yet in the series, there are limits to Superman’s powers, and he is often overpowered by his enemies. As for Clark Kent, often depicted as a “dork,” he’s quite confident and charming. He could win over Lois Lane without even being Superman! Subtle, and not so subtle, changes like these make this series a must-watch for any Superman aficionado.
In 1999, 2019 seemed like the future. It also happens to be the setting for Batman Beyond, effectively a sequel to Batman: The Animated Series. After nearly using a gun, something he vowed never to do because it was a gun that killed his parents, Batman decides it’s time to hang up the suit.
Fast-forward to 2039, and a young boy named Terry proves himself worthy to the elder Bruce Wayne (formerly Batman). Bruce decides Terry should be the Dark Knight and defend Gotham from a new generation of villains. There are a lot of parallels to the classic Batman. Bruce Wayne worked alongside Police Commissioner James Gordon, and now Terry works alongside James’ daughter Barbara, the new Police Commissioner.
Astute viewers of the show, or even readers of this article, will be able to predict the twist in the series finale. What is it? Watch the show and find out!
By 2001, DC had proven itself a force to be reckoned with in animation. Now it was time to bring Earth’s mightiest heroes together. The series was well-received by fans, although Wonder Woman was portrayed as being greener than the rest of the team, which many fans felt was undermining considering the fact that Wonder Woman is an immortal goddess. The series is also notable because of an implied romance between Batman and Wonder Woman. Could we see the same in the Justice League franchise? Let us know in the comments if that’s something you’d like to see, or if Steve and Diana are #otp (one true pairing).
Do you have a favorite DC animated series? Let us know in the comments. ~ Yanis Khamsi