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Superman: The Animated Series

Entry updated 6 September 2019. Tagged: TV.

Animated tv series (1996-2000). Warner Brothers Animation for The WB Network. Produced by Alan Burnett, Paul Dini, Bruce W Timm, and Glen Murakami. Based on characters created by Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel. Directors included Curt Geda, Dan Riba, Toshibika Masuda, and many others. Writers included Dini, Hilary J Bader, Burnett, Mark Evanier, Timm, and others. Cast includes Tim Daly, Dana Delany, George Dzundza and David Kaufman. 52 21-minute episodes. Colour.

The last son of the destroyed world of Krypton, Kal-El/Superman (Daly), crash-lands on Earth in a single-occupant Spaceship and is adopted by the Kent family. Given the human name Clark Kent, he learns as he grows up that he has various Superpowers, including the ability to fly without a vehicle, nearly unlimited physical strength, and x-ray vision, in addition to being almost indestructible. On reaching adulthood, Kent becomes a reporter for the newspaper The Daily Planet in the City of Metropolis (a barely disguised New York), while his secret alter-ego Superman fights both menaces to Earth and everyday criminals. Kent's main reporter friends at the newspaper are Lois Lane (Delany), with whom he has a constant friendly rivalry, and young James "Jimmy" Olsen (Kaufman); the editor in charge is Perry White (Dzundza).

Adapted from John Byrne's 1980s reboot of the classic DC Comics character, this series was spun off from the animated The New Adventures of Batman and Robin (1977-1978), and proved equally popular. Written in an adult-oriented style like the Batman series, the programme featured many of Superman's regular comics foes including Brainiac, Lex Luthor on a continuing basis, Metallo, the Parasite, and others, plus original Villains such as Volcana created for the series. Darkseid, a member of the New Gods created for DC by Jack Kirby was added to become Superman's deadliest enemy, who can defeat him in single combat. In one of the most memorable episodes Darkseid kills Metropolis Police Lieutenant Dan Turpin, a character based on Kirby. In the original airing, Stan Lee, the Marvel Comics Fantastic Four, and others known to or created by Kirby attend Turpin's funeral. This scene was altered after its original airing, deleting these characters for repeats and home-video release. Halfway through its run, Superman: The Animated Series became The New Batman/Superman Adventures, each segment comprising two episodes – one Superman and one Batman adventure. Other DC characters appeared from time to time, such as Green Lantern and The Flash. [GSt]


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