Definitely Not in Kansas Anymore
I had every intention of actually having the entire series completely reviewed by now, but here we are only recapping the first season. There are a lot of reasons for this, and some of them are covered over in my other recent article, “The Many Deaths of Superman”, but I will also add a little bit more to it.
In that article I wrote about how I am struggling to enjoy adaptations these days. I thought I was struggling with Superman: The Animated Series because of this, but in fact, watching the Death and Return of Superman, rewatching Superman: Doomsday and then going back to the first season of Superman: The Animated Series for a second and third watch in a year (yes, I went back two more times during this hiatus) finally helped everything click.
As I said in the other article, I struggle with adaptations, and yes, Superman: The Animated Series is an adaptation of already existing characters, the series also pays homage, tweaks, displays and showcases the best of what the mythos has to offer. So, if when I start seeing this series, and by extension, the Timmverse as an original piece of art, it becomes a different viewing experience altogether.
Batman: The Animated Series was an incredibly successful series, as I’ve written time and time again, but there seems to be zero indication that Bruce Timm, DC or Warner Brothers were thinking much past this series and thinking “bigger”. They would eventually, and that would become Superman: The Animated Series.
As you’ve read throughout my first season reviews, it was a foundational year for the series. For a first season containing only thirteen episodes, it laid a lot of groundwork: the origin of Superman, the introduction of the obvious characters, but also Lex Luthor, a modified Brainiac, Bruno Mannheim/Intergang, Toyman, Parasite, a brilliant interpretation of Metallo, Darkseid, the Metropolis SCU and and the countless easter eggs and scripted references! Again, in thirteen episodes.
It certainly had its weak moments, and even a weak episode or two, but the true measure of its success at the time was the fact that it accomplished so much in such little space. It had created a space in which the Man of Steel could exist in… season two will be about world building. On a personal note, as an adolescent the second season was my personal favourite, and the one that I remember the most. Let’s see just how well it holds up.