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Superman: The Animated Series- The Complete Series Blu-ray Review

“Superman: The Animated Series” lands on Blu-ray.

After putting out the animated classics “Batman: The Animated Series” and “Batman Beyond,” WB has now released the complete series set of the often overlooked “Superman: The Animated Series” in honor of the show’s 25th anniversary. The series (which ran for 54 episodes) was headed up by many of the talented folks involved with the Batman series ala Paul Dini, Bruce Timm and Alan Burnett. Although the opening 3 parter does deal with Kal-El arriving on Earth and his birth and adoptive parents, the series is largely about the life of Superman. In addition to threats that both he, Earth, and Metropolis face, Superman (perfectly voiced by Tim Daly) goes toe to toe with an impressive rogue’s gallery made up of the likes of Lex Luthor, Darkseid, Brainiac, Ra’s al Guhl, Toyman, Parasite, Metallo, Lobo, Bizarro, Mister Mxyzptlk (who appears in one of the series best episodes with the whimsical “Mxyzpixilated”), and Livewire. Of course some of Superman’s allies also get the spotlight such as Lois Lane, Lana Lang, Jimmy Olsen and later Supergirl. Other characters from the DC Universe also cameo including Doctor Fate, Steel, Green Lantern, The Flash (in the ultra fun episode “Speed Demons), and, of course Batman. 

“Superman: The Animated Series” is among the (world’s) finest Superman television series. It wasn’t just another hopeful and inspirational Superman show about him saving the day over and over. This one was surprisingly well rounded and touched on many different aspects of the Superman universe. It deals with intergalactic threats like Darkseid, the dangers against him ala Kryptonite, the Phantom Zone, outer space adventures (to places like Apokolips), characters that are ideologically against Superman, Lex Luthor’s nefarious plots against Superman, Superman’s personal life and connections, a parallel universe, villains that aren’t one dimensional, and bigger connections to the DC Universe as a whole with crossover stories like the great 3 parter “World’s Finest” where Superman and Batman team up against the Joker. What really caught my eye the most though is that the series has an edge to it. It can get rather dark in spots. The series finale in particular ends on a less than cheery note with Superman not being trusted by the people of Earth after his encounter with Darkseid has serious repercussions. 

Another rewarding aspect of this series is that it wasn’t entirely episodic. It wasn’t just a villain of the week type of show. Not only were there multi-episode arcs, but there were ongoing arcs throughout the whole series with villains and characters continuing their individual storylines (ala Metallo). It’s a shame the series didn’t last longer as it’s clear there was potential for so many more stories and character appearances (General Zod anyone?).

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.33:1 1080p. How does it look? Honestly, this series looks even better than the 2 Batman shows. The colors are incredibly crisp and the episode prints have been cleaned up to an impressive degree.

Audio Track: 2.0 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? A lot of the time older cartoon series can sound a bit flat. That is not the case here as this 2.0 track is surprisingly layered.

Extras:
* Digital copy
* “The Despot Darkseid: A Villain Worthy Of Superman”- A featurette on Darkseid.
* Commentary on “The Last Son Of Krypton Part 1,” “Stolen Memories,” “Mxyzpixilated,” and “The Main Man Part 2.”
* “Superman: Timeless Icon”- A brand new 32 minute extra with cast and crew comments and discussions about the inspirations for the animated series, the history of Superman, behind-the-scenes stories, the animation, and more. Easily the best extra here.
* “Menaces And Metropolis: Behind The Villains Of Superman”- A featurette on the villains.
* A trivia track for the episode “A Little Piece Of Home.”
* “Building The Mythology: Superman’s Supporting Cast”- A featurette on Superman’s allies.
* “Superman: Learning To Fly”- An archival bonus feature that explores the making of this animated series. 

November 1, 2021 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , , ,

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