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The Best Episodes Of Superman: The Animated Series According To IMDb

After two seasons and 85 episodes of "Batman: The Animated Series," which earned broad acclaim and two Emmy awards, Warner Bros. Animation set their sights on DC Comics' other superstar hero to showcase in a high-quality series. However, "Superman: The Animated Series," while produced by the same team of Bruce Timm, Alan Burnett, and Paul Dini, took a different approach than their previous effort. 

"Batman: The Animated Series" begins with the caped crusader already established as an experienced crime fighter, with his origin only covered in a handful of brief flashbacks over the course of the series. However, "Superman: The Animated Series" kicks off with an epic three-part story that covers the entire origin of the Man of Steel, from his father's fight to save Krypton up to his first clash with the malevolent super-computer Brainiac.

Over the next four years, episodes of "Superman: The Animated Series" would showcase a wide variety of his rogues' gallery and supporting cast, from Dan Turpin to Darkseid. The series also featured fellow superheroes such as The Flash and Aquaman, who would team up with both Superman and Batman in episodes that set the stage for the formation of the Justice League. The show received strong reviews, per Rotten Tomatoes, and was largely seen as a worthy follow-up to the acclaimed "Batman: The Animated Series," with several standout episodes. Here's a list of the best of the bunch, as ranked by their IMDb scores.

Speed Demons

"Batman: The Animated Series" introduced audiences to a few other DC heroes, such as Zatanna and Jonah Hex, but never brought in any of DC's true heavy hitters. All that would change in "Superman: The Animated Series" with the Season 1 episode "Speed Demons," which introduces the Scarlet Speedster himself. Years before "Justice League Unlimited" would make a habit of introducing multiple heroes each week, it was quite a thrilling moment to see Superman and The Flash running side by side on screen together.

The Flash is already an established do-gooder when we meet him, as he arrives in Metropolis to take part in a charity race with Superman. Unfortunately, the supervillain the Weather Wizard — mentioned as already having clashed with the Flash — has other plans in "Speed Demons." The Weather Wizard uses a special device to tap the kinetic energy from both racers to power his weather control machine. The arrogant Flash doesn't want Superman's help, but it soon becomes apparent that he needs it.

The pair team up to destroy their enemy's doomsday device, which is capable of generating disastrous weather events at will anywhere in the world. The Flash was voiced by Charles Schlatter, who would be replaced by Michael Rosenbaum in the "Justice League" animated series, but would return to voice the character a handful of times later in his career.

Legacy, Part 1

When the first episode of the two-part "Legacy" begins, it appears that Darkseid's forces from Apokolips have a terrifying new herald in a powerful, helmeted warrior who invades an alien world and subjugates its people with ease. After forcing the alien leader to bow before him, he returns to the starship throne room where Darkseid addresses him as his son before removing his helmet to reveal Superman, who kneels before the cosmic despot in deference to his "father." Superman has been brainwashed to become their most powerful soldier, and now he will lead their forces to an invasion of Earth, bent on nothing less than total armageddon.

While Clark's mind struggles with the internal torment of being turned into a living weapon in "Legacy," Granny Goodness convinces him that it was Darkseid, not Ma and Pa Kent, who found him and raised him after the destruction of Krypton. Meanwhile, in Metropolis, Supergirl struggles to maintain the illusion that nothing is wrong while Clark has gone missing. Things go from bad to worse when Lex Luthor deduces that Superman is nowhere to be found. With Luthor looking to exploit the situation, viewers learn that Darkseid may also have an even more sinister scheme in the works.

Ghost in the Machine

 "Ghost in the Machine" sees the return of the evil Kryptonian super-computer Brainiac. With his programming having survived within the LexCorp systems after the events of "Stolen Memories," Brainiac seeks to resurrect himself physically, using drones to help stitch together a new body. However, there's only so much work the drones can perform, and Brainiac must recruit human help to finish the job. After kidnapping Lex Luthor, Brainiac forces the head of LexCorp to work in the bowels of the building's offices to perform the delicate work of installing his artificial intelligence in his new robot shell.

Clark Kent starts to get suspicious when Luthor hasn't been seen and starts asking questions, forcing Brainiac to have the Daily Planet reporter killed. The assassination doesn't go as planned, thanks to Kent's alter ego, and soon it's up to Superman to save Luthor's life and put a stop to the Kryptonian computer's dastardly plan to reboot himself — and enact Earth's ultimate destruction. 

"Ghost in the Machine" is an intriguing thriller of sorts, and the episode demonstrates the unconventional stories that the series became known for, rather than simply serving as a showcase for big superhero smackdowns and over-the-top action.

Apokolips Now! Part 1

"Superman: The Animated Series" could have run for years and simply stuck to stories in Metropolis, with Superman battling his Earthly rogues' gallery and villains like Lex Luthor, Parasite, Toy Man, and Metallo. However, the series went cosmic with "Apokolips... Now!" an epic two-part tale that dove headlong into the world of Jack Kirby's New Gods.

In a story that was teased throughout Season 1, mob boss Bruno Manheim and his Inter-Gang thugs stage a daring heist using devastating alien technology and are able to knock out Superman with ease. It all seems to foreshadow a more significant confrontation on the horizon, and their fears are confirmed when the cosmic hero Orion arrives with a warning for Superman. It soon becomes clear — Darkseid is finally coming to Earth, and he's looking to conquer the planet on his genocidal quest to discover the Anti-Life Equation. 

"Apokolips... Now!" sees Metropolis Police Department Inspector Dan Turpin play a major role, as he is not afraid to take on a group of cosmic baddies. Even with Superman and Orion's help, however, it may not be enough to stop Inter-Gang and their Apokoliptic technology from preparing the planet for Darkseid's arrival, who, along with his minions, is quickly making his way to end life on Earth as we know it.

World's Finest, Part 3

In the third part of "World's Finest," which features the long-awaited first meeting between the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel, Lex Luthor and the Joker's alliance is on the rocks after Joker fails to kill Superman. With one last chance to make good on his deal with Superman's nemesis, Joker sends powerful killer robots after Batman to get him out of the way. 

However, in an uncharacteristic move, the Caped Crusader is able to keep them at bay just long enough for Superman to come to his rescue, and the pair finally come to accept that they make a good team. Unfortunately, Lois Lane also discovers that her new lover Bruce Wayne is none other than Batman, driving a wedge between them and ending their partnership just as it begins.

"World's Finest" features one of the most exciting and beloved stories of the entire '90s DC Animated Universe, as audiences at long last saw the two legendary heroes fighting side by side. The episode would be a precursor to several more crossovers and team-ups, including "The Demon Reborn" and the Batman: New Adventures episode "Girl's Night Out," and set the stage for the "Justice League" series that would debut a few years later.

Brave New Metropolis

Superman turns bad on so many occasions in the DC Animated Universe that it almost started to become a tired trope. From the alternate reality evil Superman "Justice Lords" to his brainwashing by Darkseid, audiences were repeatedly shown how different the world would be if Clark Kent didn't use his powers for good. However, "Brave New Metropolis" tries out a new angle, as this episode is the first time audiences see a Superman gone rogue. In the episode, Lois is conducting an interview with Emil Hamilton at S.T.A.R. Labs when she unwittingly steps through a window into a parallel reality. 

What she finds shocks and saddens her. Metropolis is no longer the bright, glimmering city of hope but a totalitarian nightmare world run by a fascist regime presided over by Lex Luthor and Superman. Clad in all black, this version of Superman has turned evil after a personal tragedy and uses Luthor to help bring peace and order to Metropolis the best way he knows how — with an iron fist. However, at the conclusion of "Brave New Metropolis," Lois discovers just what it was that turned Clark to the side of darkness and reignites the spark of goodness that she believes still lives within him to save this world from his despotic rule.

World's Finest, Part 2

In part two of "World's Finest," Superman and Batman separately hunt the Joker with little luck, as they are still unwilling to work together. When Joker kidnaps Lois while she's on a date with Bruce Wayne and uses her as bait to get Superman's attention, it only gives Superman more reason to distrust the Caped Crusader. Superman heads off to rescue her, thinking he's well prepared with a lead-lined spacesuit, but Joker still manages to get the drop on him with his kryptonite, leaving it up to Batman to save the day. Meanwhile, the Joker uses a LexCorp facility as the site of his confrontation with Superman, putting him on thin ice with Luthor, as it threatens to expose the businessman's involvement.

It may have seemed like a lopsided matchup, but some clever writing made the showdown between Superman and the Joker in "World Finest" surprisingly fun. Having Batman save Superman is also a clever reverse setup that few fans saw coming at the outset of the episode and helps the two heroes find common ground. Some fun, dynamic action sequences — including a skyscraper shootout between Bruce Wayne and Joker's goons, as well as an explosive confrontation at Joker's hideout — along with some gorgeous-looking animation, help make this one of the series' best installments.

Knight Time

Fans love it when Superman and Batman get together, but In "Knight Time," Superman and Robin are teaming up. Superman gets word that Batman has gone missing and heads to Gotham to find crime running rampant, with nobody but Robin to stem the tide. Superman uses his investigative skills as Clark Kent to get to the bottom of Batman's disappearance and dons the bat-suit to make sure that the criminals of Gotham know that Batman is back in town. Playing detective, Clark soon discovers it's actually one of Superman's oldest foes who has kidnapped Bruce Wayne and brainwashed him as part of a villainous scheme.

At the beginning of "Knight Time," Superman notes that he and Batman are "not exactly friends." By the end of the episode, that's all changed. Having Clark Kent pose as Batman — which works thanks to their striking physical similarities — is a classic move taken directly from the comics and proves a great premise. Beyond that, seeing Superman take on the Dark Knight's rogue's gallery is a set-up that the writers mine for plenty of fun gags. That Superman's greatest villain is left to believe that Batman and Superman are the same person is just the icing on the cake of this delightful crossover episode.

World's Finest, Part 1

"World's Finest" is the long-awaited meeting of DC's top two heroes, and it doesn't disappoint. It's not just a good episode, it's a surprising one too. Unlike their first team up in the comics, when the two heroes first meet they don't get along. Superman is skeptical of the masked Batman, whose tactics seem criminal. At the same time, Batman is distrustful of the super-powered alien, unsure of his true allegiances, and well aware of the danger his Kryptonian powers pose. It's a realistic and fresh approach to the age-old team-up of the two titans.

However, they're not banding together for the fun of it. The Joker has arrived in Metropolis armed with a statue made of kryptonite and strikes a deal with Lex Luthor to kill Superman for a king's ransom. Luthor knows he can't trust him but can't help himself and accepts his offer. With Gotham's most dangerous criminal loose in Metropolis, Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent must find a way to stop them. 

Other surprises are waiting for fans in "World Finest," including both heroes discovering each other's secret identities and Lois Lane falling in love with billionaire Bruce Wayne, much to Clark's chagrin. Not only is it one of the best episodes of either stars' series, but it's also perfectly written, wonderfully animated, and features some of the best performances from its star voice talent.

Legacy, Part 2

After invading Earth as a brainwashed minion of Darkseid, Superman is defeated by Earth's military thanks to a weapon developed by Lex Luthor that is powered by his own supply of kryptonite. Now in the custody of the United States military, his memories slowly begin to return, and he vows to help defeat Darkseid if he is set free. However, the military commanders aren't taking any chances and don't buy his protestations of innocence. While authorities debate over how to deal with him, Lex proposes a radical solution, proposing they execute Superman with an injection of liquid kryptonite.

Thanks to some help from an intrepid Lois Lane, Superman manages to escape his death sentence, just in time to face off against Darkseid and his army. "Legacy, Pt. 2" is the culmination of two seasons worth of story, one which forces Clark to confront the nature of his power and how it separates him from humankind. An extremely significant episode, the storyline of "Legacy" left ramifications that would be felt well into the follow-up series "Justice League," from Darkseid's ultimate fate to the weight that Superman carries over from being turned into a weapon of war.


The episode "Mxyzpixilated" is a rare comical tale that harkens back to the days of the more light-hearted "Super Friends." In the episode, Superman receives an unexpected — and unwelcome — visit from "a brilliant god-like lifeform from a dimension twice removed from ours," as described by an entranced Ma Kent. 

Mr. Mxyzptlk (which is apparently pronounced "miss yezz spit lick") has come to test Superman's powers, creating illusions and being a general troublemaker. He wants nothing less than to prove himself against Superman in a game of wits and power. Superman is up for the challenge but cleverly sets rules for their contest and makes Mxyzptlk promise that if he loses, he'll leave.

Superman proves far more clever than Mxyzptlk expects and quickly dispatches of the trickster. However, just when he thinks he's won, "Mxyzpixilated" brings otherworldly being back for a second round, and then a third, until Superman outright tires of him. The tricks Mxyzptlk plays are both funny and appropriately bizarre, including forcing Superman into fisticuffs with the famous sculpture Rodan's Thinker. Voiced by the devilishly charming — and obnoxious — Gilbert Godfried, it's a classic episode that does justice to one of Superman's silliest enemies from the comics.

The Late Mr. Kent

Told in the style of crime noir detective story, complete with a hard-boiled voice-over, "The Late Mr. Kent" opens with the shocking funeral of Clark Kent. Superman watches the proceedings from afar, and it soon becomes clear that he has been forced to abandon his alter ego. 

Flashbacks provide the lead up to the supposed tragedy and show how Clark Kent's investigations into a murderer awaiting execution on death row made him the target of dark forces who appear to have him bumped off. While everyone assumes the man is guilty, the investigation leads Clark to suspect that the detective who originally brought him in may have played a part in the set up. But how can Clark prove the man's innocence if everyone thinks he's dead?

"The Late Mr. Kent" is a unique episode that takes a lot of chances for a kid's Saturday morning cartoon, with a darker and more somber story than one might have expected for a show about a colorful superhero. Its pulp story style, which you might think would only work for Batman, soars here with the Man of Steel, and it is all capped off with one of the most shocking and disturbing endings you're likely to see in the DC Animated Universe.

Apokolips... Now! Part 2

After spending years planning his conquest of Earth, the interstellar tyrant Darkseid is finally ready to conquer the planet "Apokolips... Now! Part II." After using Bruno Manheim for his own ends, he sets about preparing the devastating technology that will terraform the Earth into a version of his homeworld Apokolips and is now ready to oversee the final stage of his plan in person. 

Darkseid sends his fiercest warrior, Steppenwolf, to Earth. Steppenwolf lands his armies at Superman's doorstep, intent on the planet's destruction. However, he knows that he'll have to get through the Man of Steel to do it, and when Superman finally brings the fight to Darkseid's forces, they are more than ready for him.

Superman puts up a valiant effort but is beaten and captured, leaving the fate of the entire world hanging in the balance. However, with the help of Orion, High Father, and the rest of the New Gods, there may just be a chance to save the Earth from total destruction. "Apokolips... Now!" is a dark, action-packed episode that sees the death of a major supporting player, something not often seen in this kind of ongoing series, which proves to be one of the show's most powerful moments. As pivotal as this episode was, it wouldn't be the end of his ongoing battle with Darkseid, as Superman would eventually get a rematch.