This week sees the release of Superman: The Animated Series The Complete Blu-ray Collection. The fan-favourite ‘90s show has been given a high-definition Blu-ray release, to mark its 25th anniversary, and as a big fan of Superman: The Animated Series I snapped up a copy.
Did I make the correct decision in stumping up the cash for it? You bet I did!
I’ll talk about the show in a moment, but before I get into too much detail in this review, purely from a visual and audio perspective, Superman: The Animated Series looks stunning on Blu-ray, and sounds equally as impressive too. This is the best release of this show to date and if you are on the fence about picking it up, then hopefully this review will provide you with all the information you need.
The strength of the show is in the writing, the casting, and the animation, but to finally see the picture in HD is truly wonderful. As someone who originally taped the series off the television (via a very fuzzy screen), then bought some of the VHS cassettes, before upgrading to DVD, seeing this series arrive in HD is fantastic!
The colours on this release are vibrant, the picture is sharp, and the characters just pop off the screen. I’m going to play my hand early here, by telling you that this review of Superman: The Animated Series Complete Blu-ray Collection is going to be overwhelmingly positive, but don’t let that stop you from reading on regardless!
OK, before I get ahead of myself, for those unfamiliar with the show, Superman: The Animated Series is a three-season cartoon which originally aired between 1996 and 2000. The show was conceived as a spin-off of the critically acclaimed Batman: The Animated Series, and presented a contemporary take on the Superman mythology.
Superman: The Animated Series ran for a total of 54 episodes, beginning with a three-part story that covered Superman’s origin, before continuing with various standalone and two-part tales that introduced classic villains such as Toyman, Parasite, Metallo, and Darkseid. Support characters such as Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, and Perry White also featured in the series, along with heroes including Batman, The Flash, and Aquaman.
Similar to the Batman show, Superman: The Animated Series skewed its stories towards a more adult audience, and included some occasional dark moments. The series was very respectful to the original source material, and told compelling tales in easy-to-view instalments.
In my humble opinion, next to the first couple of Christopher Reeve Superman movies, Superman: The Animated Series is the best adaptation of the Superman mythology to date. It is a show which I would recommend to anyone wanting to delve deep into Superman lore, and it offers a great deal of entertainment no matter the episode.
Although the series doesn’t get quite the same critical recognition as Batman: The Animated Series does, I believe it stands shoulder-to-shoulder with its cartoon counterpart. Superman: The Animated Series is an incredibly well-written show, it tells compelling stories, and it also includes the greatest depictions of Lex Luthor and Lois Lane to date.
And there’s no negotiation on this by the way. The Lex and Lois in this series are both brilliant, and I’ll arguing to my last breath with anyone who says differently!
Anyway, that’s my overview of the series, now let’s get back to this Blu-ray collection which includes all 54 episodes of the show, along with a bunch of bonus features. Both the episodes and the features are spread across six Blu-ray discs, all housed in a slim-line case, which in turn is surrounded by an outer cardboard sleeve.
For those interested in the full details of what’s on the six discs, here is the breakdown:
- Disc One: Eight episodes of Superman: The Animated Series + commentaries for the episodes The Last Son of Krypton Part 1 and Stolen Memories. The commentaries include input from various production folk including Bruce Timm, Dan Riba, Alan Burnett, Paul Dini, Glen Murakami, and Curt Geda.
- Disc Two: Ten episode of Superman: The Animated Series + a commentary on the episode The Main Man Part 2.
- Disc Three: Nine episodes of Superman: The Animated Series + a commentary on the episode Mxyzpixilated.
- Disc Four: Eight episodes of Superman: The Animated Series.
- Disc Five: Eight episodes of Superman: The Animated Series.
- Disc Six: Eleven episodes of Superman: The Animated Series + Menaces of Metropolis: Behind the Scenes of Superman featurette, Building the Mythology featurette, Learning to Fly featurette, Pop-up Trivia, The Despot Darkseid featurette, and Superman: Timeless Icon docu-feature.
Anyone who bought the DVD release of Superman: The Animated Series will recognise almost all of the above special features, as they have been carried over from the previous collection. The only new material here is Superman: Timeless Icon, which is exclusive to this Blu-ray set, and is essentially a 32-minute docu-feature which includes input from cast and crew members.
Although it is a little short on running time, this is an informative piece with good insights from many of the key players involved in the show. It runs through the inspiration behind the series, the casting, the tone, and much more, as it provides an overview of the series.
Now one thing you may have noticed about the list of contents above is that Superman: The Animated Series The Complete Blu-ray Collection doesn’t include the 2006 animated movie, Superman: Brainiac Attacks. For those unfamiliar with the movie, Brainiac Attacks was a direct-to-DVD release which borrowed the character designs and some of the voice actors from Superman: The Animated Series for a feature-length standalone tale.
Brainiac Attacks is not included in this set because a.) the movie is not regarded as canon to the original series and b.) quite frankly, it is absolute garbage. The film’s omission from this set makes perfect sense, and honestly the whole thing is best ignored. In fact, forget I ever mentioned it!
In terms of the quality of the episodes on this Blu-ray release, as previously highlighted this show looks fab. Regardless of what bonus features are included, let’s be honest, the reason you will want to own this set is purely for the episodes, and this is exactly what will delight you.
Having been given a HD upgrade, every episode is presented in tip-top shape. Everything looks so clean and clear, and it is all so beautiful to look at.
Eagle-eyed fans will spot a few specks of dust on the screen, a similar issue occurs on the HD release of Batman: The Animated Series, but this is simply down to the age of the show and the fact that you can only clean up the picture so much. As Superman: The Animated Series is a fairly bright show, these dust particles are few and far between and this really is a very minor issue.
If you already own the show on DVD (or maybe even VHS), it really is high-time you traded in those old releases. This upgrade is excellent, and I can’t praise it enough.
With regard to the presentation of the set, this is a slick-looking release, but it is clear that Warner Bros. haven’t invested quite as much money in this collection as they did for Batman: The Animated Series The Complete Blu-ray Collection. Unlike Batman: The Animated Series (and Batman Beyond), Superman: The Animated Series does not come in limited edition packaging, it doesn’t include any tie-in Funko Pops, and for those of us in the UK there are no accompanying digital copies of episodes either (the US edition does include digital copies).
For the £49.99 price tag you get the 54 episodes, the aforementioned bonus features (including the exclusive docu-feature), and you get it all housed in a perfectly fine case. Sure, it doesn’t look as fancy as the Batman boxsets, but it cuts the mustard nonetheless and who needs fancy cardboard packaging anyway?
When it was first announced that Superman: The Animated Series was being given the Blu-ray treatment, I knew that it would only be a matter of time before this boxset found its way into my shopping basket. I adore this show, so the opportunity to upgrade to HD was something that I have been waiting for, for some time.
If you’re a long-term fan of Superman: The Animated Series, then picking up this set is a no-brainer and (depending on your personal circumstances) the cost shouldn’t be too prohibitive. Of course, with Christmas just around the corner it might be something to stick on your Christmas list too.
As for those who have never watched this series before, now is the ideal time to jump on board. This is an excellent slice of Superman, which looks stunning and offers the perfect pathway into the mythology for audiences of all ages.
Should you wish to pick up a copy of Superman: The Animated Series The Complete Blu-ray Collection for yourself, the boxset is now widely available from all good entertainment retailers, including Amazon UK and Amazon US.
Be sure to check out the edition which is applicable to where you live, and remember if you reside in the US, you get digital copies of the episodes included with the release.
Thank you for stopping by to read this review of Superman: The Animated Series on Blu-ray – I hope it has proved useful. For more posts like this one, be sure to check out the recommended reads below.
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