Nostalgia
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15 Reasons Batman: The Animated Series Is The Greatest Cartoon Ever Made

Updated June 14, 2019 3.8k votes 526 voters 17.7k views15 items

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Most '90s cartoons will inspire nostalgia in anyone who grew up watching them after school and on Saturday mornings. But one of the greatest animated shows of all time was Batman: The Animated Series, an amazing cartoon that combined the neo-noir of Tim Burton’s two forays into the bat-chise with the pulpy detective work of the comics. This series was without a doubt the best Batman on television, and likely the greatest Batman of all time. When you think back on all the revivals of Batman, and how many different Bruce Waynes audiences have had to deal with, it’s not hyperbole to state that the animated Batman series was the closest representation to the Batman of the comic books. The Batman of The Animated Series was sleek and stylized without being silly.

Was Batman: The Animated Series the best cartoon ever? It’s certainly up there in terms of production design and story. There was obvious care placed on this program that audiences hadn’t seen in an animated series before, and likely won’t see for a long time. Remember, in the early '90s cartoons were still specifically being made to sell toys. While Batman was no different, it strived to be something more than a 25 minute commercial. That’s only one of the reasons that Batman: The Animated Series was one of the greatest cartoons ever made.

Vote up the points you agree with and vote down the points you disagree with. Although if you vote anything down don’t be surprised if you find a bat-shaped hole in your windshield in the morning. 

  • 5

    The Gothic Architecture Of The City Of Gotham Was Mind Boggling

    The Gothic Architecture Of The City Of Gotham Was Mind Boggling
    Photo: Warner Bros.

    Thanks to Tim Burton's design boner for art deco and Gothic architecture in his first two films in the Batman film series, the animators were given a blueprint for how Gotham looked. Rather than slap up some simple matte paintings and call it day they went deeper than most animators at the time dreamt of going. The final product of Batman: The Animated Series shows a city drenched in permanent midnight, and drawn with proportions that make the city look like it was filmed by a German Expressionest who'd just fallen out of a time machine on the Warner Brothers lot.

    Until the Animated Series, stark black and whites hadn't been used in animation, and the back drop of Gotham provided a grim tone that was omnipresent even in the show's lighter moments. 

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  • 6

    The Animated Series Rarely Felt Like A Children's Show

    The Animated Series Rarely Felt Like A Children's Show
    Photo: Warner Bros.

    Even though Batman: The Animated Series played directly after The Animaniacs on the WB in the afternoon, there was nothing about the show that suggested that it belonged in a tight squeeze between Yakko, Wakko, and Dot. It's rare that a show aimed at selling toys to children would be so nuanced and full of shades of grey, but it's obvious that Batman's writers knew they could have their cake and eat it too as long as they hit all the prime bullet points for putting something on TV right when 9 year olds were getting home from school.

    For every moment of heartbreaking loneliness that Bruce Wayne felt after telling yet another paramour that he couldn't be with them because his one true love was lady justice, there would be a neato ice-ray or something. 

    Even now, if you watch the show it never feels like it's pandering to the audience. All of the fun action scenes are earned, and the pathos that the characters feel rarely tips over into being maudlin. While there are some moments that are a bit silly (the Joker hosting a Christmas telethon comes to mind), they never feel insulting. 

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  • 7

    The Music Was Aces

    The Music Was Aces
    Video: YouTube

    It may seem easy to have spectacular music when you have Danny Elfman compose the main theme for the series and movies, but it was not necessarily the recipe for a slam dunk that it sounds like. Elfman is known for composing lush soundscapes without being encumbered by a budget, and that kind of freedom never happens when it comes to animation.

    The composer for the animated series, Shirley Walker, didn't miss a beat with her compositions that parallel the dark, yet playful nature of Elfman's music, while taking the show in its own direction. The momentous undertaking of using an orchestra to score an animated series had never been accomplished in such a brazen manner, and it's telling that there are only a few shows that have tried to reproduce the outcome. 

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  • 8

    Audiences Were Treated To Top Tier Animation

    Audiences Were Treated To Top Tier Animation
    Photo: Warner Bros.

    The animation in this series is so good (save for a few episodes animated by AKOM but that's a whole other conversation) that it actually makes you wish that Batman were wearing something grey and skintight in his film appearances. Yes, Batman looks very cool fending off dozens of men dressed like mimes in the middle of Gotham City, but the guy can barely move from the neck down.

    In The Animated Series you actually got to see Batman move in a fight scene and it was glorious. One day, bulletproof rubber technology will catch up to stunt-fighting technology and audiences will get the live-action Bat fight that they deserve, but until then the animated series should hold them over. 

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