September 6 marks the 20th anniversary of Superman: The Animated Series, creator Bruce Timm’s follow up cartoon series to Batman: The Animated Series. Premiering in 1996, S:TAS was the second entry in what would soon come to be known as the DC Animated Universe, eventually leading to the revival of B:TAS and the eventual premiere of the Justice League team-up series.
While S:TAS is not as fondly remembered as the Batman cartoon series that preceded it, Timm worked similar magic in this animated interpretation of The Man of Steel. From the character’s classic origins to his escalating battles with the villainous Darkseid and the legions of Apokolips, Superman: The Animated Series sought to bring every classic element of its hero to life faithfully.
Inspired by Max Fleischer’s cartoon serials of the 1940s, Jack Kirby’s 4th World comics, and John Byrne’s 1986 modern reboot of the character, Timm and his Warner Bros. team sought to make Superman: The Animated Series a tribute to both the classic and modern versions of the hero. Over the course of almost four years and 54 episodes, they created one of the best versions of Superman ever seen on screen.
Follow along for a celebratory ranking of every episode of Superman: The Animated Series, with multi-part episodes grouped together, and let us know your favorite episodes in the comment section below!
45. Superman’s Pal
When Bruce Timm himself proclaims an episode to be the worst thing they ever did on the show, it’s hard to argue with the man. And Superman’s Pal, which focuses on Jimmy Olsen as he deals with overwhelming fame due to being identified as The Man of Steel’s best friend, is shoddy. It doesn’t get any better when Metallo is introduced as a last minute villain, who is defeated by Jimmy splashing battery acid on him. It’s all dumb. Let’s move on.
S:TAS often found its greatest strengths in relying on well-established characters and pursuing a more classic sensibility in its storytelling. Unity does neither of those and it shows. Starring Supergirl (with Clark conveniently written out of the episode), Unity sees a roaming preacher come to Smallville who is actually a grotesque, tentacle monster who plans to take over the world one person at a time. It’s gross, dark, and weird, but not in a refreshing break from the normal episode sort of way. As such, it turns out to be a misfire in general.
Continue reading “Every Superman: The Animated Series Episode Ranked, Part 1: #45 – 21”