DC Comics is currently celebrating the return of one of their most popular and dynamic series with season three of Harley Quinn releasing on HBO Max. This is just one example of the seminal work being done in animation and the next in a long history of groundbreaking animated series in DC.
Some of the best are part of the DC Animated Universe (DCAU) – a collection of different series spanning from 1992 to 2005 with films interspersed – or they’re independent shows with a distinct and entertaining flair. Of all the different animated series, these are considered to be the best, according to IMDb users.
10 Teen Titans – 7.9
Though Justice League is rightfully the most popular team from DC Comics, the Teen Titans are often close behind them. That’s the case for DC’s animated shows, with Teen Titans ranking high among them. It features the classic team of Robin, Starfire, Raven, Cyborg, and Beast Boy in many of their seminal portrayals.
It ran for five seasons on Cartoon Network – which is a special achievement, as most animated shows geared toward younger audiences don’t last that long. Even after the series finale in 2006, it was then followed by the movie Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo and the still-running spin-off Teen Titans Go!. Though it is largely for kids, it does still touch on deeper and darker subjects which really makes it enjoyable for all audiences.
9 Green Lantern: The Animated Series – 8.0
While Teen Titans ran for five years, some of the best DC series didn’t last longer than a season, as is the case for Green Lantern: The Animated Series. Unlike other shows, Green Lantern: The Animated Series used a CGI and 3-D design.
Nevertheless, it has a very respectable ranking and gives one of the most well-rounded story portrayals of not only the Green Lanterns, but also the other Lantern Corps – an approach that should be applied to the DCEU whenever these characters finally arrive. Interestingly, the ending of Green Lantern: The Animated Series is left ambiguous but finally finds closure a decade later in Young Justice when Razer – an original creation of the show – returns with a blue power ring in addition to his red ring.
8 Superman: The Animated Series – 8.1
Superman: The Animated Series was the second series in establishing the DCAU and ran for four seasons in the late 1990s. There have been many animated Superman TV shows over the years, but this one takes the cake as the highest-rated among them – in part likely to its interconnectivity and inclusion of characters from throughout the DC Comics universe.
Tim Daly voiced Superman through the series and subsequent projects, with his most recent being the animated film Justice League: Doom. It did receive numerous Emmy nominations during its run and was praised for its dedication to Superman’s vast source material and broader audience appeal.
7 Batman Beyond – 8.1
Batman Beyond is quite an interesting show, as though it’s based in the universe of the DCAU, the show is an entirely original project featuring a completely new protagonist. It takes place in the future and stars Terry McGinnis as the new Batman, taking over for an older Bruce Wayne who had been in secluded hiding for decades. This allowed for new interpretations of various heroes and villains, telling stories not yet seen in the comics.
Batman Beyond took an even darker approach to the story than other shows in the DCAU. Right now, there’s an overload of Batman in live-action between Ben Affleck, Michael Keaton, and Robert Pattinson’s portrayals this year and in the future. Therefore, the DCEU might look to a variation on the character by introducing Terry McGinnis – though there are still other iconic related characters like Nightwing or Red Hood who might make better fits first.
6 The New Batman Adventures – 8.4
Batman Beyond is actually the third Batman-centered series in the DCAU. Before it was The New Batman Adventures, which chose to give more focus on his allies, Nightwing, Batgirl, and Robin. It was released concurrently with Superman: The Animated Series and featured updated animations and character designs, helping to connect its predecessor Batman: The Animated Series to the future of the DCAU.
It only did that for a single season before it was decided to take a greater creative risk – that definitely paid off – by creating Batman Beyond. It might not be as good as Batman: The Animated Series, but it’s still quite entertaining, thus why it’s rated highly.
5 Harley Quinn – 8.5
Harley Quinn is an exceptionally interesting character. She’s become one of the most popular characters from DC Comics and a mainstay in so many different stories, yet it might come as a surprise that she was actually an original creation of Batman: The Animated Series. Nevertheless, her characterization and compelling arcs are what have helped Harley Quinn become one of the most beloved animated series from DC.
The animation style, its violent, yet still incredibly humorous tone, and the impeccable voice-acting are why fans are so excited for the third season which recently premiered on HBO Max. In fact, there’s even more to look forward to since a spin-off, Noonan’s is in the works, following breakout-star Kite-Man. Hopefully, this sort of expansion continues as there are other prominent characters who’d be worthy of their own series in the Harley Quinn animated universe.
4 Justice League – 8.6
The numerous individual series in the DCAU eventually culminated in Justice League. In the show, the titular team consisted of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkgirl, and Martian Manhunter, and it features many episodes focusing on each individually along with them altogether and all the variations of groupings in between.
By uniting all these characters together, the show also allowed for the introduction of numerous iconic villains – several of whom fans hope are brought into the DCEU for future Justice League films.
3 Justice League Unlimited – 8.7
After two years Justice League was allowed to evolve exponentially by creating Justice League Unlimited, which featured an expanded Justice League roster. Some of the best new recruits include Green Arrow, Captain Atom, Supergirl, and Zatanna – who would also make great additions to the DCEU in the future. Like many of the shows in the DCAU, Justice League Unlimited is beloved by all sorts of viewers.
Though it was built on a decade of stories starting with Batman: The Animated Series, it was still very open and welcoming to new audiences. That’s something that shouldn’t be taken for granted, as it’s an element missing from a lot of current franchises including the DCEU and especially the MCU.
2 Young Justice – 8.7
In 2010, Young Justice premiered on Cartoon Network, filling the void left by both Justice League and Teen Titans. Fans absolutely love it for its animation style, mature tone, and intricate storylines, yet in 2013, following its second season, it was canceled. Despite that, it retained its popularity, developing a dedicated cult following and in 2016, a third season was announced. Most recently, the fourth season concluded on HBO Max, and though there’s no news for a fifth, hope is high – especially based on where it left off.
Young Justice started off with the team of Robin, Aqualad, Kid Flash, Superboy, Miss Martian, and Artemis – with Zatanna and Rocket joining later in season 1. The characters have gone through all sorts of development and evolutions and the recent seasons are being especially praised for including important discussions on mental health, sexuality, and gender identity.
1 Batman: The Animated Series – 9.0
It’s really no surprise that Batman: The Animated Series still remains the highest-rated and most popular animated series from DC, even nearly thirty years after its series finale. It’s far from the first Batman show, but it is critical in developing these crossover series and franchises. Frankly, if it wasn’t for Batman: The Animated Series there likely wouldn’t be the DCEU, nor even the MCU.
In particular, fans gravitate to Kevin Conroy’s legendary voice acting as Batman – putting him in contention with Michael Keaton, Christian Bale, and now Robert Pattinson as the best Batman portrayal. The noir aesthetics fit perfectly with Batman and helped in establishing unique depictions of many characters. Right now, only Harley Quinn or Young Justice could probably unseat Batman: The Animated Series as the best-animated show from DC Comics, though they both still have a ways to go.
Go to Source
Author: Bradley Prom