Producers Alan Burnett, Paul Dini, and Bruce Timm gave us the very best adaptation of the dark world of the caped crusader with Batman: The Animated Series, one of the very finest in its genre. With their somewhat lighter and more colourful Superman: The Animated Series, they once again prove themselves as a team with a real eye for bringing comic characters to life.
Across 54 action-packed episodes, this explosive series takes viewers on unforgettable adventures with the so-called Man of Steel boasting stunning animation, impeccable storytelling, and stellar voice acting. Tim Daly proves himself as the definitive Superman with soaring performance, creating a distinctive voice for the hero that injects a surprising amount of pathos into the character. An incredible roster of appearances from names like Brian Cox, Malcolm McDowell and Ted Levine (to name just a few) certainly add even more quality to proceedings.
But while this is an action beat-’em-up series at its’ core, there is a whole lot of maturity and thematic complexity – as in its predecessor Batman series – that separate it from the majority of modern kids’ cartoons. The series is written and performed with such genuine passion and respect for not just the source material but for good storytelling in general, this is a series that gives its young viewers credit by not just spoon feeding them the adventures. There is a lot here to sink one’s teeth into, and that is why the series soars. But for younger viewers not ready to tackle the deeper content, they’ll still have an absolute ball watching the colourful battles and action.
While the format of the show can be a little repetitive with its villain-of-the-week approach, there’s something so comforting and nostalgic about this kind of 1990s cartoon. It harks back to a simpler time – not for the world, but for the viewer. A time when the biggest concerns were homework and crushes, not careers and bills. Sometimes, it’s important to jump back into that mindset and just enjoy a cartoon superhero fight for justice and kindness.
With surprisingly layered characters, a roaring score, terrific animation and superb voice performances, Superman: The Animated Series is a must-own for anyone with an interest in the superhero genre.
SUPERMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES is available now on Blu-ray from Warner Bros Home Entertainment