Superman: The Animated Series

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Jabroniville
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Superman: The Animated Series

Post by Jabroniville » Wed Apr 12, 2017 7:39 am

SUPERMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES-

* So I was hoping to find this at one of the local HMVs as the bankrupt business has been reducing prices like crazy (no way was I gonna pay the full price for the whole set- I wasn't a huge fan of the show when I first saw it), but never could. BUT, I did manage to find one at Walmart for insanely-cheap (twenty bucks! for the entire series!). So I figured I'd write lil' reviews of them, both to amuse myself and to keep up a stock of which episodes I thought were good for later re-watches. Plus, it's a bit more content for the site :).


1-3) Huh- Lara has Kal-El's spitcurl- that's cute. Curiously, the entire first part is just Jor-El focused- I think that if you're spending more than 5-10 minutes on Krypton, you're making a mistake- this is SUPERMAN'S story, and you should always focus on the hero. And really, the whole "Jor-El has a theory/nobody believes him" thing can't really take up a whole 22 minutes as an interesting plotline.

The second part mostly has Clark as a teen- the latter half involves him arriving in Metropolis and interacting with a snarky, pushy Lois Lane (who gets some killer lines and delivery- "You ever been to Kansas?" "GOD no." He does some pretty standard "Superman stuff", but it's pretty low-key- even Lex Luthor only shows up for a single line of dialogue. It's not until Part III that we REALLY get into anything, and it culminates with Supes selling for a Giant Kill-O-Bot for a few minutes, before making the Superman Comeback all WWE-style (... wait a minute) and taking it apart. Lex Luthor loses his cool a bit, but taunts Superman that nothing will ever stick to him.

Not really a terrific start, though it's a decent "slow burn". Decent enough action (I like how saving the airplane is actually made DIFFICULT- he struggles to lift it), but we need more of a focus on the main character- why is he wearing a costume? Why is he a superhero? Why is he a reporter? With Batman: The Animated Series, they stuck you right in the middle of a "typical adventure" (fighting Man-Bat) and also skipped some stuff (we didn't learn there was a Robin until much later, for example), but you got repeated notes about his origin over time. Superman here starts off with Mission #1 and introduces him to Lois, Lex, Jimmy, etc.- I feel like there's stuff missing, especially for a first story.

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StarGuard
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Re: Superman: The Animated Series

Post by StarGuard » Wed Apr 12, 2017 2:51 pm

I've owned these on DVD for quite a while. I actually need to pick up a missing season of BAS. While the former, at least the first two seasons were superior to the former I think Supes is just too hard in the modern age to make good long term story arcs for.

Which makes the multitude of Supermanologues a mystery other than as antagonist.

I don't think you could have had a Justice League or JLU without the having had Superman: The animated Season. It was a needed stepping stone from BAS imo.

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Re: Superman: The Animated Series

Post by Shock » Wed Apr 12, 2017 2:55 pm

Superman definitely started out slow. There were a few good ones later on in the series.

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Ares
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Re: Superman: The Animated Series

Post by Ares » Wed Apr 12, 2017 3:47 pm

While I liked Superman:TAS, it did have more initial trouble finding its feet than Batman:TAS did. B:TAS started out strong but got weaker in its last seasons while Superman was hit or miss for a lot of its run. Still, when it was good it was very solid, the Batman/Superman team up was fantastic and Clancy Brown is still the definitive Lex Luthor to me.

I think one issue Superman:TAS had was that they tried too hard in some cases to be subversive. Like, they specifically stated they wanted to make Superman more mysterious, make him less of a boyscout, to the point that several times in the DCU they point out how he isn't a boyscout, etc.

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Re: Superman: The Animated Series

Post by MacynSnow » Wed Apr 12, 2017 4:16 pm

What a lot of people don't realize is that,with anything "Timmverse" related,he tended to go different routes to allow the writers to have their own style. For example:let's compare BTAS&STAS......
BTAS-the imagery for the first season alone was very "Art Deco" in how it was all done&the stories reflected that (Beware The Gray Ghost being my favorite of the Lot),being more quasi-Noir in tone and direction(True:they changed it for the Second&third seasons by adding Robin&Batgirl,but they tried to keep as much as they could....).

STAS-You ever seen any of those old WW2 art deco posters?that's what they were trying to do in the Series...Have a Less Powerful Superman(like his really old cartoons),but with a more Modern twist on them.

Jabroniville
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Re: Superman: The Animated Series

Post by Jabroniville » Fri Apr 14, 2017 11:01 am

4) It's the debut of Toyman, who I always felt kinda sucked. I mean, I could see what they were going for- "Creepy Uncanny-Valley Unmoving Doll", but instead of looking like a porcelain doll or a reasonable facsimile of a human being (which is how you REALLY set off the Valley effect), he just looks like a cute little robot boy. The voice doesn't move me, either. In this story, he's after the mobster who ruined his father's life, and Superman gets involved as Lois gets captured (the first time that old saw shows up in this cartoon!), and he pretty quickly beats the villain. Supes is now shrugging off mini-missiles, as far as his power level goes.

5) Another big one, as we see the debut of Kryptonite, established as Superman's weakness, making him both ill and powerless. However, the way it's dealt with is a bit odd, as rather than have Superman be DONE right away (that is a HUGE chunk of rock), he's instead put into a brawl with a meathead who fails to kill him. Then later on, he fights Luthor's Tyrannosaur-Bot once Lois sinks the rock into a lead container. At least it's a clever use of "Chekov's Gun", as both the backdrop info at the museum and Lois's playing basketball with paper come in handy in the end. This is also the debut of Mercy, Luthor's "Girl Friday", who gets the cheesy "Don't call me 'baby'" line and probably kills that scientist who was betraying the boss. I never cared much for her design- the Lady Chauffer thing just doesn't really "pop". Killer gams, though- she's practically MADE of thigh.

MacynSnow
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Re: Superman: The Animated Series

Post by MacynSnow » Fri Apr 14, 2017 2:03 pm

Jabroniville wrote:
Fri Apr 14, 2017 11:01 am
4) It's the debut of Toyman, who I always felt kinda sucked. I mean, I could see what they were going for- "Creepy Uncanny-Valley Unmoving Doll", but instead of looking like a porcelain doll or a reasonable facsimile of a human being (which is how you REALLY set off the Valley effect), he just looks like a cute little robot boy. The voice doesn't move me, either. In this story, he's after the mobster who ruined his father's life, and Superman gets involved as Lois gets captured (the first time that old saw shows up in this cartoon!), and he pretty quickly beats the villain. Supes is now shrugging off mini-missiles, as far as his power level goes.

5) Another big one, as we see the debut of Kryptonite, established as Superman's weakness, making him both ill and powerless. However, the way it's dealt with is a bit odd, as rather than have Superman be DONE right away (that is a HUGE chunk of rock), he's instead put into a brawl with a meathead who fails to kill him. Then later on, he fights Luthor's Tyrannosaur-Bot once Lois sinks the rock into a lead container. At least it's a clever use of "Chekov's Gun", as both the backdrop info at the museum and Lois's playing basketball with paper come in handy in the end. This is also the debut of Mercy, Luthor's "Girl Friday", who gets the cheesy "Don't call me 'baby'" line and probably kills that scientist who was betraying the boss. I never cared much for her design- the Lady Chauffer thing just doesn't really "pop". Killer gams, though- she's practically MADE of thigh.
In all Honesty,i kind-of crushed on Mercy a lot whenever I saw the Cartoon(I have a thing for Leggy Blondes),but was never a fan of Lois myself(she came off as too "in your Face" to me)...

Jabroniville
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Re: Superman: The Animated Series

Post by Jabroniville » Fri Apr 14, 2017 7:43 pm

Heh, I can see that. I was never into Lois back in the day (the comics are often so old-fashioned that Lois comes off more like your mom than a sex symbol), but hearing Dana Delaney's voice (she was a noted hottie in the early '90s- enough to get a shout-out in one of the Animaniacs opening gags, but isn't that well-known) combined with her pushy attitude is pretty rad. And THOSE SKIRTS.

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Re: Superman: The Animated Series

Post by Shock » Fri Apr 14, 2017 7:54 pm

The animation for Superman definitely had a "leg-man" slant between Lois' skirts, and Merci and Maggie Sawyer just not wearing pants at all. Sawyer was the real eye-opener because she wore just a coat that barely made it down to mid-thigh and she's a police detective(!).

Jabroniville
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Re: Superman: The Animated Series

Post by Jabroniville » Sun Apr 16, 2017 10:03 am

6) The debut of Parasite, who's a wimpy guy who gets the omnipresent Comic Book Origin of "stuff got dumped on him". He turns into a guy who looks like a single piece of gum got stretched all over him, and starts absorbing strength and thoughts from everyone, including Superman. This makes him the first villain to "make" Clark's secret identity, which is pretty quick (six episodes in!). Pretty boring, and the ending is seen coming from 150 miles away given that they spend time explaining a damn lead-lined suit for Superman to wear right in the opening scene, but at least Superman has a real physical rival.

Jabroniville
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Re: Superman: The Animated Series

Post by Jabroniville » Tue Apr 18, 2017 8:56 am

7) Ah, so that mercenary loser from the first arc is actually METALLO. All because he's given a disease and has to be transfered to a Superman-class physical body. I always though the name was too goofily-Silver Age (I don't like the "____-o" names, of which DC seems to have a lot- even Marvel got into the act with Mentallo, Magneto & Mesmero back in the day), and his look is a ridiculously-boring one, consisting of Terminator-Lite frame with some torn-up clothes. Superman blows up Luthor's yacht and dumps Metallo into the water to get away from his "Kryptonite Heart", then saves Luthor from a shark- now they BOTH have enemies.

8) Brainiac returns, but in a robotic body. His goal is... pretty asinine. He wants to gather all the information in the galaxy, then destroy the sources of that info, just to make it more precious. So he commits planetary genocide for this weirdly half-assed reason. Superman just beats him up after finding this out, but manages to keep an orb full of the legacy of Krypton.

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Re: Superman: The Animated Series

Post by Jabroniville » Thu Apr 20, 2017 7:55 pm

9-10) Heh, this is actually a pretty good set. It's the debut of LOBO, who here is depicted as a giant buffoon obsessed with partying. So they skip over his DCU persona, which is kind of like "parody of an extreme bad-ass", which just ended up giving him a LEGITIMATE bad-ass reputation, and instead make him a stupid lunkhead. Voiced by the brother from Everybody Loves Raymond. So Lobo gets hired to capture the "last Kryptonian" for a Space Nerd's collection, and finally does so after some shenanigans (for a powerful hero, Supes sure ends up getting weakened/fighting guys on his level a lot)... but it turns out that as The Last Czarnian, he's ALSO perfect for the collection. Superman tricks his way out of his "Red Sun" cell (okay, tricking a Space Rhino into slamming into his cell is clever... but why was that Rhino given such a weak holding... fence?), powers up, and the two heroes ally and knock the Space Nerd out of airlock once he transforms to an unkillable monster version of himself.

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Re: Superman: The Animated Series

Post by Jabroniville » Wed Apr 26, 2017 7:47 am

Ugh, so APPARENTLY episodes 11-13 are literally unsalvagable on the DVD set I have, because even my Blu-Ray player can't do squat with them. I get maybe six minutes of the "New Genesis Weapons Dealer" episode before it skips to hell. Can't find those episodes online either, so I guess I'll have to go without. There's little chance I still have that receipt, either. Probably not worth the effort of going to Walmart and trying to find a new one (it's not like there's a lot of these out there).

So whatever happened on My Girl, Tools of the Trade, and Two's a Crowd... I'll have to stick with summations.

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Re: Superman: The Animated Series

Post by Shock » Wed Apr 26, 2017 11:34 am

Jabroniville wrote:
Wed Apr 26, 2017 7:47 am
Ugh, so APPARENTLY episodes 11-13 are literally unsalvagable on the DVD set I have, because even my Blu-Ray player can't do squat with them. I get maybe six minutes of the "New Genesis Weapons Dealer" episode before it skips to hell. Can't find those episodes online either, so I guess I'll have to go without. There's little chance I still have that receipt, either. Probably not worth the effort of going to Walmart and trying to find a new one (it's not like there's a lot of these out there).

So whatever happened on My Girl, Tools of the Trade, and Two's a Crowd... I'll have to stick with summations.
Tools of the Trade is significant for being the first appearance of Darkseid but other than that, I'd call all three of these episodes mostly forgettable.

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Re: Superman: The Animated Series

Post by bsdigitalq » Wed Apr 26, 2017 6:36 pm

I personally liked "Two's a Crowd," though it's not a "must watch" episode. I liked it as a fun take on how dangerous Parasite could be with more serious, smarter criminal at the helm, while also humanizing the Parasite a bit in a kind of Spider-Man/Flash Rogue type way.

"Tools of the Trade" is okay, though it's main prominence is introducing the Fourth World. It does give a nice story arc for Dan Turpin that'll pay off once Darkseid invades in full.

"My Girl" is the most skippable one. It's a character episode focused on Lana Lang and her relationship with Clark/Superman, but I don't recall it ever really paying off or having any ramifications for the rest of the series. A shame, as I think a love triangle arc through the series would've been interesting.

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