Whether it’s your first time, or your 91st time, there is much to love about watching Batman: The Animated Series – easily the greatest Batman ‘toon of all time. But if you are new to the series, where do you even start?!
You start with the best episodes, of course!
Below are the ten best episodes of Batman: The Animated Series (B:TAS). The episodes are listed in no particular order, but are in my opinion the crème de la crème of the show’s entire run.
Note: I’m counting two-part stories as one episode.
On Leather Wings
Not only is On Leather Wings one of the best episodes of B:TAS it is also the very first episode! The episode focuses on the arrival of a bat-like creature, stalking the skies of Gotham City and for once, it isn’t Batman!
Dark, serious and packed with eye-popping imagery, this is an awesome episode of the show!
Heart of Ice
Arguably the most famous episode of B:TAS and for good reason, Heart of Ice is a real corker. Heart of Ice introduces Mr. Freeze into the series and elevates him from a gimmicky hood to a credible and tragic figure amongst Batman’s rogues’ gallery.
Feat of Clay (1 & 2)
This two-part story revolves around Matt Hagen – a movie actor who is transformed into the shape shifting bad guy, Clayface. As with Mr. Freeze, Clayface’s story has a somewhat tragic element, which is heightened through an engaging story and a beautiful score.
Perchance to Dream
What if Bruce Wayne wasn’t Batman? That’s the premise of this episode, which sees Bruce living in a Gotham City where he no longer has to devote his life to fighting crime. What’s more – his parents are still alive!
Robin’s Reckoning (1 & 2)
The origin of Robin is retold in this detailed account of loss, anger and revenge. Robin’s Reckoning is a steller two-part story, where both episodes are as good as each other.
Almost Got ‘Im
The Joker, Penguin, Poison Ivy, Two-Face and Killer Croc all meet up to take part in a poker game. During the course of the game, as the villains converse, they all share a story about the time they almost bumped off Batman – but one of them might not be telling the whole story.
The inmates of Arkham take over the asylum and decide to use the opportunity to hold a trial, with death on the cards for the defendant. Who is on trial? Why, Batman of course!
In this episode, Batman must prove that he isn’t responsible for creating the villains of Gotham. He only needs to convince the jury… which is composed of his most fearsome foes.
Over the Edge
Batgirl is murdered, Batman is blamed and the Dark Knight’s secret is exposed. Over the course of this twenty-minute episode, all hell breaks loose in Gotham as former friends become bitter enemies.
This is arguably the BEST episode of B:TAS after Heart of Ice. You MUST watch it.
Once upon a time, Dr. Harleen Quinzel was a promising psychologist at Arkham Asylum… and then she met the Joker. Mad Love tells the origin story of Harley Quinn, showing her transformation from doctor to criminal.
Beware the Gray Ghost
And finally, someone is bombing areas of Gotham City, leading Batman to enlist the help of a former TV actor who once played Bruce Wayne’s biggest hero, the Gray Ghost. But can the Gray Ghost be trusted?
Adam West provides voiceover duties for Simon Trent/the Gray Ghost in what is a poignant passing of the torch from one Batman to another. This episode is simply superb.
More to explore:
If you work your way through these episodes and you want even more excellent stories from Batman: The Animated Series, then check out the following:
- Two-Face (1 & 2)
- Fear of Victory
- Dreams in Darkness
- Mad as a Hatter
- Heart of Steel (1&2)
- I Am the Night
- His Silicon Soul
- Read My Lips
- Harley’s Holiday
- Old Wounds
- Legends of the Dark Knight
All of these are fantastic episodes and are genuinely worthy of your time!
If you want to remain firmly planted in the DC Animated Universe then check out my guide to the best episodes of Batman: Beyond. You should also take a look at my review for the Batman: The Animated Series Blu-ray collection which explains why it is such a great boxset.
- Batman Beyond is coming to Blu-ray
- What is the best order to watch the Batman movies?
- A 4K Batman Anthology marathon – It was stunning