The 5 Best Batman Animated Series

Batman (2004-08)

By 2004, Batman had been relegated to a member of the Justice League ensemble, and Batman’s last solo show had ended three years earlier. The producers of had the daunting task of redefining the Caped Crusader in light of what many considered his ultimate incarnation. Given the monumental task before them, they did quite well, with imaginative new takes on classic characters, and a younger Batman than Batman Animated felt different enough from Kevin Conroy’s iconic vision to stand on its own.

Batman Beyond (1999-2001)

If a Batman series in the Diniverse seemed destined to fail, it was this one that featured a future Gotham cyberpunk and Conroy’s aging Bruce Wayne in dire need of a protégé to take over. Terry McGinnis, voiced by Will Friedle, took on the persona of Batman and, with Wayne as his reluctant guide, created a new chapter in the Bat saga. The mix of dystopian sci-fi and assorted new rogues’ gallery proved effective, and McGinnis quickly distinguished himself as his own character rather than a clone of Wayne or Dick Grayson.

Batman: The Brave And The Bold (2008-11)

This series caused a lot of controversy among fans. Some were annoyed by its deliberately campy tone and overt appeal to children. But he found his own voice in what they criticized: a creative echo of Dick Sprang’s wacky adventures in the 1950s. Each episode of the series paired the Dark Knight with a different hero, giving exposure to lesser-known DC characters as well as instant fan favorites like John DiMaggio’s Aquaman. Diedrich Bader, who played the character throughout the series, returned to the role for a second time in a very different Harley Quinn, a sign of how strong her portrayal was.

The New Batman Adventures (1997-99)

Technically, this entry belongs to Batman: The Animated Series and serves as a continuation of what would become known as the Diniverse. Characters received redesigns, Dick Grayson became Nightwing, a new Robin arrived, and Batman himself became darker and more sinister. But it was still the same top-notch storytelling as its progenitor: exploring new frontiers for the character and ultimately leading to the Diniverse’s Justice League..

In fact, many of his stories took place with that in mind, including guest appearances by Superman and Brainiac. It also featured surprising developments among the rogues gallery, including Harley Quinn’s origin story in Season 1, Episode 24, “Mad Love,” and a villain’s rare reformation in the strangely moving Season 1, Episode 4, “Double Talk.”

This series has Continuation in cartoon.

Batman: The Animated Series (1992-1995)

When it comes to animated series, there’s this one, and then there’s everything else. It was proposed in the wake of Tim Burton’s Batman Returns, but quickly stood out with its own unique vision. It drew heavily on the character’s 1940s noir roots, including several episodes based on period classics such as Angels with Dirty Faces. With highly developed villains, characters like Two-Face and Poison Ivy appeared outside of the comics for the first time, and one of the greatest nemeses, Harley Quinn, was created directly on the show.

Added to all this was an exceptional cast of vocal talent, led by Kevin Conroy as Batman and Mark Hamill as the Joker, whose character interpretations remain definitive for a significant percentage of Bat-fans. With one or two other contenders, it ranks not only among the best animated superhero stories made, but also among the best superhero series of any kind. And none of it has aged a day, making it a perennial top spot.

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