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Topic: Superman: The Animated Series General Discussion (Read 192 times) previous topic - next topic
Superman: The Animated Series General Discussion
Superman: TAS is a show I have mixed feelings about. It's well-done overall and there's a lot to like about it, and it doesn't have any glaring flaws. But on a more subtle level, I feel it has some issues and just sort of feels like it's missing something. I mean, I can definitely say I like it, but I don't really feel like it met its potential in some ways, I guess?

I guess the simplest way to summarize my opinions on it is a pros-and-cons list.

Pros
  • Really great art style and character designs, and usually well-animated.
  • Voice actors have great voices for the characters.
  • Post-Crisis based, which suits my personal tastes for the most part. Specifically, I like the Kents being alive and I like Clark Kent being seen as the "real" identity of Superman (though, I have issues with this version of Clark as I'll explain later).
  • The basic personalities of the main characters are good, and combined with the designs and voices makes them come across as very solid takes on the characters.
  • Pretty great takes on a lot of supervillains.
  • Some episodes are extremely good, such as The Late Mr. Kent, Legacy (Parts I and II), Ghost in the Machine, and probably some others.
  • Most episodes of Season 1 are great or close to great, IMO.
  • Introduced Livewire, a fun character, into existence.

Cons
  • Superman's emotional range is stunted. Most of the time he's in one of two modes: very serious and/or angry, or mildly jocular. He seems almost incapable of most other emotions, even when they would make sense or add to the story. When his own mother is in deep trouble (in the episode Unity), he doesn't seem distressed like you would expect, which is really weird and off-putting. His only strong/extreme emotion is anger - not that he's a super angry person, but just that anger is the only intense emotion he seems to show.
  • Even though Clark is supposed to be Superman's true identity in this universe, he's really underdeveloped and underutilized except for a few rare occasions. In large part, I'd say this is true of the Daily Planet and its staff in general (poor Perry White is demoted to background character), though Clark is the worst and most detrimental, I think it's fair to say. There are occasions when we get a glimpse into Clark's life and who he is as a person, which is wonderful, but it's the exception rather than the norm. I don't really get a sense of who Clark is, his relationships with his friends or other people, his life, or anything like that. Basically, they don't develop the Clark side of Superman, and plus, they literally just don't have him appear enough. Also, even though I like a more assertive Clark, they may have gone a bit too far here, honestly. In a sense, I feel like Bruce Wayne from Batman: TAS is a better Clark Kent than this Clark Kent, in the sense of being a more traditional clumsy/goofy Clark, but the clumsy Clark is good too, and might have been more fun than a boring, half-hearted take on the assertive version of Clark.
  • Overlap with the previous point, but in general I don't think that character depth and development, or even just showing characters bouncing off of each other, gets focused on enough in this show. This makes it feel a bit boring to me at times.
  • I understand not wanting Superman to be OP, but this show went too far. The amount of times he gets beat up or seems weak in this show is ridiculous and distracting/annoying.
  • Later on in the show, there's some weaker animation.
  • Supervillains are nice, but personally I like a balance between iconic supervillains and one-off threats or street-level crimes. This show focus almost solely on the former.
  • Sometimes the voice acting is less expressive than I'd like.
  • I don't really understand Livewire's motives to be a supervillain. When Gail Simone introduced her in the comics, she seemed like a more well-thought out character (from what I remember, I only read her intro comic and it was a while ago).

There may be other pros and cons that I'll discuss later, but that's a good overview of my opinions, I guess.