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All The Best DC Animated Series Ranked and Where You Can Stream Them

Riley Van Steward

While Marvel dominates the big-budget blockbusters you see at the movies, DC has longed reigned supreme in one area: animated television series. Comedy, fantasy and action are wielded with extreme precision over in the secretive offices where DC plans their animated storylines. And though DC animated films have recently hit some stumbling blocks, nothing may ever compare to the superb slate of television DC has been giving fans for over a decade.

DC’s focus on inclusivity and diversity has been evident from day 1. Women such as Hawkwoman, Wonder Woman, Jessica Cruz and Lois lane have worked alongside Static Shock, John Stewart, aliens, Cyborg and Jaime Reyez. What makes the DC universe special is its heart, its morality as you can see in its story and character decisions. All of these shows are available to stream on HBO Max.

#10 Batman: The Brave and the Bold

Let’s get this out of the way. Every property on this list is incredible, and ‘Batman: The Brave and the Bold’ is no exception. The irreverent style and frequent team-ups were perfect decisions to showcase the caped crusader’s lighter side.

Since Frank Miller’s “The Dark Knight Returns,” the character of Batman has become more than a mask, it’s Bruce Wayne’s true identity. He’s a brooding, angry fist-first sort of character. And this portrayal has fascinated audiences but left them with an incomplete picture.

Batman can be light. Batman can be campy. Batman can be fun. And “Batman: The Brave and the Bold” is the perfect introduction to that version of the character.

#9 The Batman

“The Batman” is so easy to love. It’s fun. Bruce fights Dracula. The Joker has dreadlocks. What more could casual fans want?

Kevin Michael Richardson’s Joker is a chaotic delight. Characters like Firefly and Killer Croc give this show the breadth and 2000’s oomf that make this series maybe not something that you’ll rewatch endlessly like everything else on this list, but something that will prove a fun watch from front to back you’ll look back on fondly.

#8 Justice League

Who doesn’t love the “Justice League”? Crazy people. The original team-up, the original cinematic universe, the original multi-verse came on the small screen, not in Marvel’s “The Avengers.”

This classic series coming in number 8 should tell you exactly how quality DC’s offerings are. Without “Justice League” we never would have had “Justice League Unlimted.”

John Stewart, J’onn J’onzz, Bruce Wayne and Wally West are all in full force here. And this series alone should be enough to never say the name Barry Allen again unless it’s to put him in a distant third place for the Flash mantle. But the crown jewel of this series is the three-part finale and the beginning of Shiera Hall’s redemption arc.

#7 Teen Titans and Teen Titans Go!

Before you start complaining that “Teen Titans Go!” is lumped in with the late great “Teen Titans,” watch these two clips.

Not only is the series woke, it sings. It may not be what fans expected, projected or wanted after years of pining for continued Teen Titans storylines, but it’s what the world needed. If the new show isn’t for you, that’s because it wasn’t made for you. It’s made for a younger generation, and on all levels, it succeeds.

The two Teen Titan shows are far and away the best portrayals of Beast Boy. Villians like Trigon, Blackfire, Deathstroke, Brother Blood, Mammoth, Doctor Light, Red X and Mad Maud make these shows something unique. You’ll see storylines and energized portrayals that’re unavailable outside these series. Lots of lore carries over properties in DC, and Teen Titans might be the most self-contained.

The mixture of humor from “Teen Titans Go!” and serious drama from “Teen Titans” makes this franchise more than special. It’s beloved and deservedly so.

#6 Young Justice

This show would be even higher if Mark Hamil voiced the joker or if Young Justice’s version of the joker wasn’t just a slightly more tolerable version of Jared Leto’s.

The covert element and grounded drama of “Young Justice” introduced audiences to Artemis and Miss Martian. Connor Kent’s struggles with identity and fatherhood are relatable despite involving copious cloning. Wally West’s tragic disappearance in season 2 will only be forgiven when he hopefully returns this season. Beast Boy’s arc in season 4 has been nothing but depressing, and fans hope that his arc will include some much-needed healing and self-reflection.

Where this show fails is where it shines. It may introduce too many characters for the audience to fully chew and digest them, but it gives an excellent feeling of breadth to the DC universe. You can catch season 4 as it debuts on Thursdays on HBO Max.

#5 Batman: The Animated Series and Superman: The Animated Series

The best version of Lex Luthor, the best version of the Joker and the best versions of Clarke and Bruce all debut in the same two series.

What these two lack in action, adventure and modern sensibility, they make up for in heart, art and clarity.

Batman: TAS created the character of Harley Quinn. That alone makes the series’ impact on popular culture immeasurable. And Clayface has never been portrayed with such horror and class as when the actor melted, transformed and screamed his way to puddle-hood before a hundred screens displaying all the different roles Clayface had assumed over the years.

For pure Man of Steel and Caped Crusader goodness, there’s no better place to land than these two shows.

#4 Harley Quinn

This show is good. It isn’t just good. It’s irreverent. It’s timely. It’s biting. It takes its criticizers and makes them look like caked-pants dorks.

“Young Justice” may have the most romances and love triangles of any show on this list, but no one does love better than “Harley Quinn.” Alcoholism and abuse aren’t just sad facts of the human experience in this show, they’re hilarious stepping stones for growth and education.

There aren’t any shows out like “Harley Quinn.” And we’re lucky to have it. If you haven’t watched it, do yourself a favor.

#3 Batman Beyond

Terry McGinnis is second in line for the title of Batman, and if there’s any place to be happy with a silver medal, it should be for one of the most popular superhero mantles out there. If there’s any place to be happy with a bronze, it should be on this list.

Terry has a family. Terry has friends. And Terry has a sense of humor which he uses to great effect against the Joker in this series’ movie.

Connections with “Justice League Unlimited” and “Batman: The Animated Series” are all over “Batman Beyond,” and they give a series that takes place far in the future a feeling of the present. But what makes this show unique is its disconnection. Villains are often original to the series and endearing in their novel fantasy. One minor villain is known for diagnosing society’s increasing corporatism, oligopoly, information overload and consumerism, but his solution is to blow up libraries. He’s funny. You’ll like him.

#2 Justice League Unlimited

Justice League just gets better when it becomes unlimited. The addition of extra characters outside the original seven like Green Arrow, Black Canary, Mister Terrific, Booster Gold, Supergirl and Vixen only sweetens this already sweet Malbec of a show.

Lex Luthor, Gorilla Grodd, Darkseid and other villains are at their best when they’re up against a stacked lineup of superheroes and when they can recruit their own long line of complimentary villains. No other show proves as full of a DC universe as “Justice League Unlimited.”

#1 Static Shock

Static is DC’s best competitor with the massively popular Spider-Man, but Static is more than that. He’s an iconic hero with a fantastic powerset that’s mobile, pragmatic and dangerous. The villains of “Static Shock” are as endearing and silly as they are terrifying. Static doesn’t feel like he lives in a more deadly world than our own despite the prominent existence of “bang babies.” Static feels like it exists in a world where good overwhelms evil and humor overwhelms all.

Static isn’t just number one on this list because it’s the most engaging, dramatic and iconic of DC’s animated ventures. It’s number one because the show tackled topics that other shows were too cowardly to handle. Gun violence and bullying get their own episodes. Jealousy, race and friendship are tested and talked about. This show isn’t just good. It did a lot of good. Do yourself some good. Watch it.


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