Superman on Television
Superman: The Animated Series
In September 1996, the Warner Brothers television network began a new animated series: Superman with 13 episodes in the first season. It started as a 90-minute primetime movie special on September 6, 1996 showing the first 3 episodes.
Tim Daly (Wings) voices Superman. Dana Delany (China Beach and Batman: Mask of Phantasm) is the voice of Lois Lane. Clancy Brown (Highlander) is Lex Luthor. Malcolm McDowell as Metallo. Michael York plays Kanto. Michael Ironside plays Darkseid. Gilbert Gottfried is Mr. Mxyzptlk.
Bruce Timm and Paul Dini (from Batman: The Animated Series) worked on character designs and stories. Timm acted as Animator, while Dini and Alan Burnett (story editor for the Super Friends in 1985) joined Timm as Producers.
The comic book Superman Adventures was based around the Animated Series.
The television series was similar, but did not copy the continuity from the Superman comic books of the time. In the first season episodes Lobo featured in a two part episode. Other episodes have Brainiac, Bizarro, Metallo, Dr. Fate, Batman, The Flash, Jax-Ur, Parasite, and the Toyman.
Two of the best animated series on television joined forces on the Kids' WB! when the legendary Man of Steel and the Caped Crusader came together in The New Batman/Superman Adventures. The hour-long show featured a half-hour each week of both Batman and Superman, and included brand-new episodes of both from the same critically-acclaimed team who brought you Batman: The Animated Series, The Adventures of Batman & Robin, and Superman. The new episodes also aired on weekdays in half-hour segements, with each day alternating between the two heroes. And if that wasn't enough, Superman also continued its run on Saturday mornings, with new episodes, just before The New Batman/Superman Adventures.
To celebrate this thrill-packed season, the Kids' WB! aired a 90-minute animated special teaming up Batman and Superman. In the special, Batman follows his nemesis, the Joker, to Metropolis, where he finds that the master villain has joined forces with Lex Luthor. Batman must enlist the help of the Man of Steel to stop the evil duo, but things get even more complicated when Lois Lane falls head-over-heels for... Bruce Wayne!
To coincide with its airing, DC Comics released a 64-page, Prestige adaptation of the special. BATMAN & SUPERMAN ADVENTURES: WORLD'S FINEST was written by The New Batman/Superman Adventures co-producer Paul Dini and illustrated by Joe Staton and Terry Beatty, with a painted cover by Dini's fellow co-producer Bruce Timm.
The New Batman/Superman Adventures debuted in the weekday afternoon time slot, with the two-part Superman episode "Blasts from the Past" which aired on September 8-9.
There were 26 episodes produced for the 2nd season, with Warner Bros. holding 13 episodes for a third season.
Guest-stars which appeared in the 2nd season were: The Flash, and Dr. Fate. The episode with the Flash centers around a charity race which is interrupted by the Weather Wizard! Jack Kirby's Fourth World characters appear, including Kalibak, Orion, Mister Miracle and the rest of the New Gods.
No Superboy was scheduled for season 2, but Steel and Supergirl both make their debut, and both became recurring characters. Supergirl isn't a relative of Superman's, she comes from a neighbouring moon of Krypton's called Argos, and eventually moved in with the Kents after her introduction.
As for villains, Metallo and Intergang made a return. New arrivals: LiveWire, Mr Mxyzptlk and the Phantom Zone villains. Also introduced was Ms Gsptlsnz (Mxy's girlfriend). Bizarro and Titano popped up, and Kirby's Fourth World villains also showed up in force, including Darkseid, Kanto, Granny Goodness, the Female Furies and Desaad.
The new season of Superman: The Animated Series began on September 19, and the schedule changed a bit. Kids' WB still lumped Superman and Batman together as The New Batman/Superman Adventures, and this hour-long program aired on weekday afternoons from 4:00 to 5:00 PM Eastern in the U.S., with one Superman and one Batman episode each day. The hour-long program also aired on Saturday mornings from 8:00 to 9:00 AM Eastern.
"Knight Time," the "World's Finest" sequel teamed Superman and Batman against Ra's Al Ghul, was a multi-part episode which didn't count as part of Superman's 13 episodes.
Melissa Joan Hart (Sabrina the Teenage Witch) provided the voice of Saturn Girl in the Legion crossover, in which three members of the Legion of Super-Heroes travel back in time for an adventure with Superman. The other two Legion members are Cosmic Boy and Chameleon, but there is be a brief glimpse of the entire Legion.
Supergirl and Steel appear in more episodes. There was a Supergirl/Batgirl team-up which was part of the Batman episodes.
Green Lantern teamed-up with Superman against Sinestro. GL is Kyle Rayner.
Aquaman shows up in the series finale, and was voiced by Miguel Ferrer. Unlike his DCU rendition, this King of the Seas does not sport a hook for a hand.
Darkseid is featured in the third season premiere, as well as in another episode later in the season. Other episodes include the return of Mr. Mxyzptlk, Lex Luthor, Brainiac, Metallo, Parasite, and Toyman, as well as the introduction of Volcana, a new fire-based villainess voiced by Peri Gilpin (Frasier).
***WARNER BROS. TELEVISION ANIMATION SHINES WITH SIX ANNIE AWARDS***
Studio Honored for Both Animated Series and Direct-to-Video Movie.
Warner Bros. Television Animation was honored on Saturday, November 14th 1998 with a total of six International Animated Film Society ("Annie") Awards for three of its animated series and a direct-to-video movie. The studio's super-hero saga, The New Batman/Superman Adventures, was named Outstanding Animated Daytime Television Series, and Batman & Mr. Freeze: Subzero was honored for Outstanding Home Video Production. Steven Spielberg Presents Pinky and The Brain was thrice-honored, receiving Annies for Outstanding Storyboarding in an Animated Television Production (Barry Caldwell for the episode "Brain Acres"); Outstanding Writing in an Animated Television Production (Charles M. Howell IV, Earl Kress & John Ludin for the episode "The Family That Poits Together, Narfs Together"); and Outstanding Voice Acting by a Male Performer in an Animated Television Production (Maurice LaMarche, as the voice of The Brain).