So, you've got a wealth of Batman: The Animated Series episodes here at DC Universe and you're wondering where to start. Sure, you could begin at the very beginning and work your way through every episode one by one, but that's going to take some serious time. Maybe you just want to hop to some of the highlights. Or maybe you've been through the show more than a few times and just want to revisit some old favorites. Either way, you've come to the right place.
Make no mistake: every episode of The Animated Series is worth rewatching, and each one of them has its place in the rich history of the Caped Crusader. But because it sometimes it helps to narrow things down, we've compiled select lists of ten episodes from each season for you to check out, starting with the show's first landmark year. Give 'em a watch (or a rewatch) and let us know if they've made your own list of favorites!
An Emmy Award-winning exploration of Batman and Robin's relationship, "Robin's Reckoning" is a two-part story that forces Dick Grayson to make some tough choices about his past, present, and future, under the watchful eye of the Dark Knight. Borrowing elements from Golden Age comics stories but giving them some contemporary flair, this is the episode to watch if you're someone who lives for Batman family drama.
Almost Got 'Im
"Almost Got 'Im" (written by the ever-masterful Paul Dini) gives us the chance to hear another perspective on Batman's adventures -- this time, from his rogue's gallery. The Joker, Poison Ivy, Killer Croc, The Penguin, and Two Face sit down to share their near-misses with the Dark Knight. What results is an exploration of Batman's history as well as his unique relationship with his costumed enemies. In a place like Gotham City, the truth is always relative.
Heart of Ice
Mr. Freeze is a character who's sometimes easy to take for granted. His name doesn't exactly leave his motivations or his powers very ambiguous. But the Freeze that Batfans know and love today is the result of this Emmy Award-winning episode (from writer Paul Dini). In "Heart of Ice", Freeze's backstory was completely overhauled from the one he received in his 1959 comics debut. A tragic love story fueled by his desperation to save his wife. "Heart of Ice" would inspire most every subsequent version of the character.
Harley and Ivy
Harley Quinn's origin and personality weren't the only things introduced in The Animated Series -- her relationship with Poison Ivy began in the episode "Harley and Ivy". The other dynamic duo of Gotham, the pair who would go on to become founding members of the Gotham City Sirens and the DC Comics Bombshells. But those groups would look decidedly different if not for the dream team's stint as the Queens of Crime here.
The Demon's Quest
It's harder to get more diabolical and menacing than eco-terrorist and League of Assassins leader Ra's al Ghul. This two part episode does a great job of showing exactly why that is. It features all the Ra's drama you could ask for: kidnapping, detective work, torrid affairs, immortality -- the works. "The Demon's Quest" introduced both Ra's and his daughter Talia to a new generation of fans as the show did many of the Dark Knight's rogues: in a brand-new but still time-honored way.
I Am the Night
Sometimes Batman has to face enemies he can't punch or outsmart. "I Am The Night" takes a deep dive into Bruce's psyche, mission, and the ways he must struggle with the emotional costs of his mission. This episode proves that even the Dark Knight has bad days -- and that overcoming the hurdles in his own head is no less a heroic act than putting a costumed criminal away in Arkham.
The Strange Secret of Bruce Wayne
Dr. Hugo Strange may not be the most popular villain in Gotham, but that doesn't make him any less terrifying. A psychologist and master manipulator, Hugo has spent his career obsessed with uncovering the truth behind Batman, in the hope of one day replacing him as the city's sole defender. In The Animated Series, Hugo's mission spirals out of an attempt at psychoanalyzing Bruce Wayne -- which leads him down a path that nearly upends Batman's world for good.
Perchance to Dream
Ever wonder what Gotham would look like without Batman? Well, "Perchance to Dream" has some theories for you. Set in a world where Batman is knocked unconscious and wakes up in a Wayne Manor with no Batcave, no Robin, and -- according to Alfred -- no Batman at all, this is the ultimate what-if episode, which examines the cost of getting a new life. Think you can figure this one out before Bruce does?
The Man Who Killed Batman
Killing Batman is no task for the faint of heart -- just ask any number of Gotham's Super-Villains. Or ask Sidney Debris, a two-bit hood who was almost the one to get the job done. "The Man Who Killed Batman" is a great look at the other side of Gotham's criminal element, and the way the Dark Knight has reach from even beyond the "grave."
The Cat and The Claw
Though they were technically produced as the fifteenth and sixteenth episodes, "The Cat and The Claw" served as the two-part series premiere of The Animated Series and the show-stopping introduction to Batman and Catwoman's dynamic. So if you're looking to start your journey at the very beginning, you really can't go wrong with this one. Kick off your watch in style.