- DC’s animated series embraces weirdness and abstract concepts, painting the universe in a new light.
- Shows like Harley Quinn poke fun at DC icons with ultraviolent, R-rated humor.
- Teen Titans Go! takes a sillier approach, mocking the original characters to mixed fan reception.
Though their big-screen offerings are hit-or-miss, the folks at DC rule the realm of animation. Their superhero shows earn love from fans across the spectrum. Strong writing and fluid presentation make them among the best comic book series on TV. Even the less popular entries still garner a passionate cult following. Perhaps that’s because they’re not afraid to embrace the strange.
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Several DC animated series are just plain weird, putting their costumed crime-fighters in the most unexpected situations. Not only that, but they deal with concepts so abstract and absurd that they paint the whole universe in a new light. Fans wonder which substances the creators were on when making these shows. On the other hand, they appreciate the off-filter creativity on display.
5 Batman: The Brave And The Bold
IMDb Rating: 7.3
- Aired From: 2008 – 2011
- Seasons: 3
- Episodes: 65
Comics as a medium are weird, and that was especially the case from the 1950s to the 1970s. Batman: The Brave and the Bold is a testament to such weirdness. It follows the Caped Crusader’s exploits as he navigates a Silver Age rendition of the DC Universe. He teams up with countless other heroes from that era in a slew of wacky buddy adventures. Viewers can tell what kind of show this is from the premise.
The Brave and the Bold holds nothing back in that regard. It embraces the random concepts and flamboyant figures permeating that period. One episode sees Batman race against other heroes and villains, all with their own specialized cars. Another involves working with Uncle Sam, who literally derives his power from people’s patriotism. These escapades are usually tongue-in-cheek, but the Dark Knight often offsets that with his classy, straight-faced delivery. What results is a consistently entertaining throwback.
4 Harley Quinn
IMDb Rating: 8.4
- Aired From: 2019 –
- Seasons: 4
- Episodes: 48
One of the craziest comic characters is Harley Quinn. Her starring show presents the entire DC Universe from that crazy point of view. After separating from the Joker, the jilted jester seeks to leave her own mark on crime. So, she gathers a ragtag crew of misfit baddies and takes on bigwigs from both the Justice League and the Legion of Doom. It’s all as ridiculous as it sounds.
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Harley Quinn pokes fun at anyone and everyone in DC. What’s more is that it uses ultraviolent, R-rated gags to do so. From Lex Luthor’s plastic surgery to Batman’s demented attempt to resurrect his parents as zombies, no icon comes out unscathed. These jabs usually unfold at the most unexpected moments. Fans never know when they’ll burst out laughing or cringe in disgust. In that sense, the show mirrors its star’s unpredictable nature.
3 Teen Titans
IMDb Rating: 7.9
- Aired From: 2003 – 2006
- Seasons: 5
- Episodes: 66
A show about the Teen Titans seems straightforward on paper. Sure enough, many episodes are dramatic affairs about the heroes’ interpersonal relationships and inner demons (literally). Then, there are episodes that toss that out the window and opt for pure farce. Mad Mod may morph the city into a Monty Python-inspired London where America never won its independence. Killer Moth might blackmail Robin into being his daughter’s prom date. The tone is all over the place, but what follows is even crazier.
The reboot, Teen Titans Go!, triples down on the silliness. Here, the heroes are caricatures of their former selves. They focus less on crime-fighting and more on selfish, juvenile pursuits. For example, Robin chops down an immortal tree to get a new staff, which then talks to him. The accompanying visuals seem purposely unpleasant. The creators are set on mocking everything these characters stand for. Suffice it to say, it’s not what fans expect or want.
2 Krypto The Superdog
IMDb Rating: 5.6
- Aired From: 2005 – 2006
- Seasons: 2
- Episodes: 39
One of the odder additions to Superman’s circle of friends is his dog, Krypto. The loyal mutt has all the same powers as the Man of Steel. He usually hangs around the Fortress of Solitude, but someone decided he needed his own show.
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Krypto the Superdog portrays the eponymous pooch’s attempts to fight crime both big and small. On top of his other abilities, he also talks. It’s not just him, though. Odder still is the other character. Krypto frequently teams up with the pets of famous DC superheroes. Batman’s dog and Supergirl’s cat are recurring examples. Together, they combat (wait for it) the pets of notorious DC villains. It has all the hallmarks of a kid-friendly Superman series, albeit one with talking animals. The result is admittedly inoffensive, but one can’t help but wonder why the species swap is necessary.
1 Legion Of Superheroes
IMDb Rating: 7.0
- Aired From: 2006 – 2008
- Seasons: 2
- Episodes: 26
The only thing weirder than DC’s past is its distant future. Legion of Superheroes adapts its titular crime-fighters of the 31st century. They work to maintain justice amidst an overwhelming galaxy of threats. To complicate matters further, a young Superman travels here from the present, fighting alongside the Legion as he strives to live up to his eventual legacy. Given that premise and art style, fans might expect a lighthearted romp, but that’s not the case. Legion of Superheroes plays it straight. The series explores its characters’ struggles, showing how that turmoil affects their dynamic and efficacy as heroes.
It just so happens that those struggles are inherently strange. For instance, Triplicate Girl loses one of her three selves and must cope with the emotional and psychological loss. Alternatively, the team must deprogram Chameleon Boy after he goes undercover as a villain and grows to believe his new identity. The writing carries the same action and dramatic core of other compelling comic book shows, but the framework feels downright alien. It’s as if an extraterrestrial or AI came up with a superhero team on the fly. Then again, that otherworldly quality is probably the point.
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