The Bruce Timm era of DC Animated Series is arguably one of the best adaptations of the superheroes we all know and love. There are some classic episodes that really are the best of the best so here’s the question for you. There’s also of course the more recent Young Justice and Green Lantern Animated Series
In your opinion what are the top three episodes for the following categories:
Batman the Animated Series Seasons 1-3 (from each season)
Superman the Animated Series Seasons 1-3 (from each season)
Justice League the Animated Series Seasons 1-2 (from each season)
Justice League Unlimited Seasons 1-2 (from each season)
Young Justice Seasons 1-3 (from each season)
Batman Beyond Seasons 1-3 (from each season)
Green Lantern Season 1
If you only have one favorite from a particular season you can just list one. But you can list up to three episodes per season if you cannot decide.
Here’s my master list
Batman TAS Season 1
- Almost Got Im
- If You’re So Smart Why Aren’t You Rich
- The Demon’s Quest
Batman TAS Season 2
- The Lion and the Unicorn
- Harley’s Holiday
Batman TAS Season 3
- Old Wounds
- Over the Edge
- Mad Love
Superman TAS Season 1
- The Main Man
- Feeding Time
- The Way of All Flesh
Superman TAS Season 2
- Blast from the Past
- World’s Finest
- Brave New Metropolis
Superman TAS Season 3
- The Demon Reborn
- Knight Time
Justice League TAS Season 1
- Paradise Lost
- The Enemy Below
- Injustice For All
Justice League TAS Season 2
- Maid of Honor
- The Terror Beyond
Honorable Mention: Tabula Rasa
Justice League Unlimited Season 1
- The Once and Future Thing
- The Balance
Justice League Unlimited Season 2
- Grudge Match
- To Another Shore
Batman Beyond Season 1
- The Winning Edge
Batman Beyond Season 2
- Ace in the Hole
Batman Beyond Season 3
- The Call
- Our of the Past
Green Lantern Season 1
- Razer’s Edge
- Blue Hope
- In Love and War
Young Justice Season 1
- Usual Suspects
Young Justice Season 2
- The Fix
Young Justice Season 3 (so far)
- True Heroes
- Rescue Op
- Private Security
Denial is one of my favorite Young Justice episodes.
And it honestly made me way more interested in Doctor Fate. And the dynamic of the helmet and how anyone who wears it basically signs their life away.
I’m not breaking it down by season, but a few of my favorites from each show are:
-Almost Got 'Im
-Perchance to Dream
-In Brightest Day
The New Batman Adventures
-Legends of The Dark Knight
-Beware The Creeper
-Sentries of The Last Cosmos
-The Enemy Below
-Injustice For All
Justice League Unlimited
-The Greatest Story Never Told
No mentions for Static Shock or The Zeta Project as I’ve only seen a few episodes of each and I remember nothing of them.
Over the Edge
Demons Quest 1 & 2
The Demon Within
Savage Time 1-3
A Better World 1&2
The Call 1&2
The Laughing Bat (season 2)
pops Knight Time into his STAS favs and then puts Over The Edge into his fav TNBA list
What haven’t some of y’all watched young justice. It’s a good show
A Better World is definitely a good one. So many great Justice League episodes. I would also toss Eclipse in there. I really liked that one. Same with Little Pig.
I feel like Young Justice is the best when it comes to continuity and longevity. When Season 2 starts, for instance, it does that time jump and you find your favorite character (or the one that relates most to you) has grown just like you. I love that!
And that’s what’s really cool about Young Justice, I feel like there is a character for everyone and even if you’re older like me, I think there’s someone in tht show in which you can relate to. They all seem like people that I would like to chill with as well.
I don’t think any other animated DC show captured that very feeling. So I can defos see why you picked Young Justice!
Well the Animated Series in general do a great job at keeping continuity consistent. With Batman, Superman Justice League, and Batman Beyond The Animated Series all being connected together it really brought previous episodes back into importance. For example Legacy from Superman TAS ended up being really crucial to the Justice League Unlimited series. They really worked a lot to build this universe and make them extremely relatable despite the obvious powers and such that aren’t as relatable. It’s difficult to find shows especially cartoon shows that have that level of maturity anymore. When Justice League Unlimited and Batman Beyond aired their last episodes it was sad because for awhile there would be no show like them for awhile until Young Justice came around and was very much a reminder of why The Animated Series were so good. And now we’re reaching that point where that era of great superhero shows especially cartoon shows are coming back.
I grew up with Batman The Animated Series, I never felt like there was any real consistency - other than episodes that had Part 1 and Part 2. Even The New Adventures Of Batman & Robin weren’t at all too invested in continuity. BTAS especially, is one of those shows where I felt like I jump in almost any episode and not worry about what happens in the next or what happened in the previous. That’s not to say that it was bad writing, just a different style of writing.
Young Justice seems more focused on building relationships within the team and developing it, enduring the losses and moving forward wih the consequences. Both Batman and Superman’s The Animated Series were never about that, it’s a depth that the older DC shows lacked. It’s one of those things to where they may introduce someone and make them the focus of 1 or 2 episodes and then you won’t see them til next season without really knowing why. Young Justice isn’t so much like that, in Young Justice you get explainations and answers for plotholes, even if it’s 10 episodes later or a full season later. I think that’s the difference.
That said, neither Batman and Superman The Animated Series do not offer more quality in any aspect except voice acting and animation. I feel like Young Justice is an evolution over most DC’s animated shows in basically everything else whether story-telling, relatability, social aspects, etc. That’s alot, to be honest I thought it was going to be an overrated show but then I watched it and felt for each of the characters.
I mean shows also worked a lot differently back then. The Animated Series were really intended so that you could start at any point, at any episode and still have a general idea of what was going on. So while there wasn’t a general arch like Young Justice, there was still continuity tying over to the other shows. Superman TAS and Batman TAS were really meant to be standalone shows. But when they realized they were going to do Justice League they started experimenting with episodes especially in Superman. Justice League and Justice League Unlimited definitely had better continuity as they had a more defined direction as to where they wanted to go with everything. All of the Justice League episodes especially Unlimited has greater consequences especially the back half of season 1 and all of season 2
Another reason why continuity wasn’t as important Batman or Superman’s the animated series is because they were focused on introducing an enemy and taking them down in 30 minutes, sure they would appear later or in the next season but there were no references or flashbacks to these moments, unlike Young Justice which would leave a new viewer wondering “What was that about?” You can jump in any episode (assuming it’s not a part 2 of one of the few continued episodes) and understand everything without any question.
When you see the riddler in his second appearance, he’s not going to say “You may have beat me last time Dark Knight detective but this time I will be successful” instead it’s more subtle to make the viewer feel like there was nothing that important that they missed.
The only episode which reminisces on past episodes is “Almost Got 'em” which tells the story from villains angles of how Batman defeated them, or rather what went wrong.
This is the same for Superman The Animated Series and can be shown with Livewire Pt1&2 and then looking at Girls Night Out which brings Livewire to Poison Ivy and Harls while fending off Batgirl and Supergirl. It feels like a completely different show and while using the same characters, it feels disconnected but that wasn’t a bad thing because it was one of the better episodes of Superman The Animated Series. It just felt out of place.
Btas never had over arching plots but it had a lot of subtle character development. The best example I could give would be Harley Quinn. She develops even though the episodes aren’t extremely interwoven. It had a tendency to develop it’s villains because it was a reflection of Batman. The story telling had layers to it while still being presented in a very simplistic way. Same could be said for the animation. The whole show is about cutting off the fluff and getting to the root of what makes the story compelling. Also; “Heart of Ice”, "Mad as a Hatter”, “Nothing to fear”, and basically every villain introduction gives just enough detail to bring out the best in each character while also giving some serious depth.
There is no such thing as different types of “continuity” though lol When people say that, it sounds like arguing for the sake of arguing.
It either has continuity throughout the season or it doesn’t.
Batman and Superman The Animated Series didn’t have it. Again, this isn’t a flaw, it’s just a direction choice. I’m not sure why pointing this out is being looked at as a negative, I mean, it’s true and it doesn’t affect quality and enjoyment so…
And to be clear, I agree that that continuity doesn’t necessarily mean depth. I will always be the guy that roots for the 20 hour rpg indie video game with no filler over the 200 hour Final Fantasy games which are usually messes.
In this case though, I’d be lying if I said I believed that BTAS and STAS had just as much depth or more depth than Young Justice. Young Justice goes much much further in terms of depth and character development, much deeper in political issues as well as the writing is much more mature, while BTAS and STAS are simplified to the max.
Both Batman and Superman The Animated Series have been (and still are) my go-to’s for casual enjoyment for all these reasons, they are also easy to be my most recommended animated shows on where to start if someone is being introduced to Batman/Superman. Still, far more depth in shows like Young Justice and Batman Beyond since DC knows that viewers are already familiar with certain characters, they were able to focus on other areas of writing in script.
Continuity doesn’t necessarily have to be for a whole season though. It can set up bits of lore for future seasons like the episodes intended. When I think of continuity I think of established lore carrying on to future episodes just like Legacy from Superman carried onto future episodes in Justice League Unlimited. It wasn’t tied in by one large arch in the season, but it was carried over in effect for the future show.
When I look at the definition of continuity, obviously the main definition is “the unbroken line” to paraphrase the dictionary definition. That applies to shows like the Flash where there is that one big arch.
However there is also the alternative definition. “the maintenance of continuous action and self-consistent detail in the various scenes of a movie or broadcast.
the linking of broadcast items by a spoken commentary.”
That doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s one big arch but it can also mean that content in previous episodes are relevant information for future episodes. So in a way yes there is different types of continuity but also not it’s just a different interpretation of the definition.
For example the DC Universe has continuity but it’s not necessarily one big arch. For example even though technically the archs were all retconned, characters like Batgirl still have memory of their past versions such as her having PTSD from being Oracle. There is still that information that is relevant but technically it follows a new continuity. If that makes sense.
Like I said before BTAS was supposed to be a standalone show which is why continuity didn’t really matter as they were establishing the world around but as they grew more fond of making this a whole universe the continuity started getting much more defined and much more regulated. For example, shows like MLP FIM have continuity in the sense it references previous seasons, but individual episodes might not be tied together as much to ensure that any kid or person can choose an episode and have a general understanding of what is going on without needing to watch previous episodes. It is the same with shows like Spongebob which has continuity but the episodes themselves stand on their own so that when they air separately and randomly people can still watch them without needing previous episodes.
By DC Universe I meant the comics
And just because there may not be a continuous arch does not mean that there isn’t character development and growth. You can just see it in Superman for example. After Legacy, Superman changed from just being a boyscout to having this envy and want for revenge on Darkseid for what he did to him. The way that he is much more aggressive and bloodthirsty for revenge on Darkseid and even other villains. He very much could have become his Justice Lord self. He still had his boyscout nature but his manners and beliefs changed as he saw the world and its evils.
Same with Batman as well. He started out as a dark and gritty person, simply wanting vengeance. But when he took his sidekicks under his wing; Dick, Tim, and Barbara, he became much more humble and openminded. It’s like old Bruce said to young Bruce in that one episode that he was getting soft and that he couldn’t believe he was ever so green. It was because Batman WAS getting soft and getting less aggressive as he cared for more people than just himself. In his time raising Terry, however he becomes his darker self again ESPECIALLY after what happened to Tim and Ace. He became his vengeful old self that he was when he first became Batman but he also became even darker until Terry reminded him of his lighter and softer side.
Hail the tornado tyrant. This episode of batman the brave and the bold is easily one of the best animated episodes put out ever.
I know it’s not on topic, but it deserves a mention