When Batman: The Animated Series first hit television screens in 1992, it became an instant hit with viewers. Long-time Bat-fans loved it, newcomers were marvelled by it, and those with a passing interest in the Caped Crusader thought it was something truly special.
And all these years on from its debut, Batman: The Animated Series remains a hit, gaining new fans with each passing year. DVD, Blu-ray and streaming have opened the series up to a whole new generation, and this has allowed more and more people to enjoy the show.
But what are the best episodes of Batman: The Animated Series? In this post I am taking a look at the 35 episodes of Batman: The Animated Series that I believe are a must-watch.
From fan-favourite tales to standout stories, these are the episodes that will provide plenty of entertainment. So, work your way through the list, take note of the suggestions, then seek them out!
The 35 best episodes of Batman: The Animated Series
On Leather Wings
Let’s begin with the episode that kick-started the series – On Leather Wings.
In this story, a mysterious and menacing bat-creature is terrorising Gotham City, placing all eyes firmly on Batman as the chief suspect. But the Caped Crusader is innocent; Gotham is at the mercy of Man-Bat – and that means Batman must clear his name or take the wrap for something he didn’t do!
Heart of Ice
I’m going to mention this episode early doors, as Heart of Ice is often regarded as THE best episode of Batman: The Animated Series – and rightfully so. Heart of Ice is simply superb.
In this story, Batman crosses paths with Mr. Freeze – a fearless villain, forced to live at temperatures below zero. But as deadly as he is, Freeze is also a tragic figure with a tear-inducing story to tell.
Perchance to Dream
Bruce Wayne awakes to find his life is perfect. His parents are alive, he is engaged to Selina Kyle, and he doesn’t have a care in the world.
But this isn’t Bruce’s life – and who is the mysterious Caped Crusader that watches over the streets of Gotham? Is this the real life, or is this just fantasy?
While heading home from work, Charlie Collins cusses out the Joker on the freeway – something he lives to regret. The Joker catches up with Charlie and in way of an apology, he demands a favour – but one he will collect when he’s good and ready.
Another Joker story, and this one gives the Clown Prince of Crime the opportunity to really shine, with some hilarious dialogue.
In Joker’s Millions, the Joker inherits a huge sum of money from a rival mob boss. Sounds great? But there’s a catch and it means facing up to a worse threat than Batman – The Internal Revenue Service!
Harley Quinn is declared ‘sane’ and is released from Arkham Asylum; but can she stay on the straight and narrow? And if she can’t, what will happen?
All of the answers are provided in Harley’s Holiday – a rip-roaring romp in which Harley rubs everyone up the wrong way, while doing her best not to get in trouble. This is a gem of an episode – one of Harley’s best – and a much-watch story for anyone who likes the movie, Birds of Prey (2020).
Feat of Clay 1 & 2
Matt Hagen is a disfigured actor who becomes addicted to a special face cream which allows him to alter his features. But that addiction gets the better of him, leading to his transformation into the monstrous Clayface.
Across a two-part story, Batman tussles with Clayface – a villain who can look like anyone and is seemingly unstoppable. But as with Mr. Freeze, there is a huge dose of tragedy with this villain, making for an unforgettable story.
In Mudslide, Clayface searches for a cure to his transformation. His clay-like body is deteriorating and unless he can find a way to reverse the process, he might simply fall apart.
Once again Batman: The Animated Series delves into the tragedy of Clayface with a very strong sequel to Feat of Clay. Mudslide is a gem of an episode, with some great visuals.
Robin’s Reckoning 1 & 2
In this two-part story, the spotlight is placed on Batman’s partner, Robin. The tale explores the Boy Wonder’s backstory, including the tragedy that shaped his life.
Robin’s Reckoning is a masterpiece of animated television – and a story you simply MUST view. It is so good that it won an Emmy Award, something which doesn’t happen for every ‘toon, and that pretty much tells you all you need to know.
Three Gotham City Police Officers recount a tale that involves Batman, but each officer recalls the events slightly differently. Are they all correct, or is their individual view of the Caped Crusader clouding the way they see things?
P.O.V. is an episode of Batman: The Animated Series which is about how the Dark Knight is perceived by others. Batman is effectively a secondary character in this story, yet at no point does this detract from what is a great episode.
Legends of the Dark Knight
Taking a similar approach to P.O.V, but going off in a different direction, Legends of the Dark Knight once again looks at the way in which Batman is perceived in Gotham City. But this time around the Caped Crusader becomes the focus of three tales – all of which delve into the many facets of the Batman mythology.
Christmas with the Joker
A festive episode which sees the Joker break out of Arkham Asylum just in time for the holidays. Christmas with the Joker is a whole heap of fun, perfect for the festive season.
The Cape and Cowl Conspiracy
The Cape and Cowl Conspiracy is a neat little story, which sees Batman match wits with Josiah Wormwood – a tricky villain, not too dissimilar to the Riddler. Wormwood poses riddles for the Caped Crusader to solve, all while hoping to outsmart Batman and obtain his cape and cowl.
But who is outsmarting who? That is the real question at the centre of this story, as Batman and Wormwood play a tense game of cat and mouse.
Heart of Steel 1 & 2
In Heart of Steel, all of Gotham’s leading authority figures are replaced by an artificial intelligence known as H.A.R.D.A.C. As H.A.R.D.A.C works its way through Gotham’s elite, sooner or later Bruce Wayne is going to be next on its list.
Heart of Steel is a fantastic two-part story, filled with plenty of action. The story has shades of Invasion of the Body Snatchers about it, and offers up some cool sci-fi elements.
His Silicon Soul
While Heart of Steel is pretty much a self-contained two-part story, it does leave a little wiggle room for a follow-up, which is exactly what His Silicon Soul is.
In this episode, H.A.R.D.A.C is revived as a robotic version of Batman – a robotic Batman that thinks it is the real Caped Crusader. An identity crisis follows, along with plenty more action and a climactic battle between two Dark Knights.
The Man Who Killed Batman
Batman is seemingly killed by a new villain in town, called Sid the Squid. But Sid isn’t the villain that everyone believes him to be and he soon makes some big enemies – most notably, the Joker!
With Batman gone, the Clown Prince of Crime has been robbed of his chance to kill the Caped Crusader, and that’s not something he is comfortable with. But is Batman really dead? And if he isn’t, where is he?
Mary Louise Dahl is a former child actress born with systemic hypoplasia, a rare condition which stops her from aging. Her condition was once an asset that allowed her to take a starring role in a long-running television series, but over time the work dried up and Dahl became bitter, sending her down a very dark path.
Baby-Doll is a brilliant episode of Batman: The Animated Series, with a truly memorable ending. As with Heart of Ice and Feat of Clay, the story places its focus on the tragic side of the villain, to ensure a fully-developed character sits at the heart of the episode.
Two-Face 1 & 2
Two-Face is a two-part tale which tells the origin story of one of the Caped Crusader’s most fascinating villains – Harvey ‘Two-Face’ Dent. The story looks at the psychological aspect of the character to create a fascinating account of a villain with underlying mental health issues.
Batman: The Animated Series is at its absolute best when it spends time focusing on the villains, and this is never more evident than in this two-parter.
The Laughing Fish
The Laughing Fish is a dark, comic tale in which the Joker attempts to patent his own unique brand of fish. It sounds bizarre, and it is, but it is also a superb story in which the Joker gets to shine, while terrorising Gotham City.
House & Garden
Poison Ivy wants the chance at a normal life. She wants a family, a house, and a garden – but can this be achieved?
In House & Garden, Ivy seemingly tows the line – even convincing Batman that she has left her criminal career behind her. But has she? And what is Ivy’s connection to a series of crimes taking place across Gotham City?
Dreams in Darkness
It has finally happened – Batman has been committed to Arkham Asylum. The Dark Knight is displaying signs that he is mentally unstable, but all is not quite what it seems.
Dreams in Darkness is a stellar Batman tale, which takes a peek at Batman’s psyche while presenting an intriguing mystery.
Beware the Grey Ghost
Someone is setting off bombs in Gotham and in order to solve the case, Batman enlists the help of a former TV actor called Simon Trent. On television, Trent played the role of the Grey Ghost – a hero from Bruce Wayne’s childhood – but is he the hero Batman needs now?
Batman enlists the help of Harley Quinn to save the city. This might not seem the wisest decision, but when Gotham is being terrorised by the Joker (again), it makes sense to get help from his on/off girlfriend – doesn’t it?
Harlequinade is a hoot of an episode, which serves up plenty of laughs from start to finish. Harley stands out as a brilliant Batman villain, and even manages to overshadow the Joker.
Batman is put on trial; accused of inspiring all of the villains in Gotham City. But is Batman responsible for all the criminals, or are they responsible for themselves?
It is up to a jury of his greatest foes to determine the outcome, with a little bit of help from Judge Joker.
Nothing to Fear
The Scarecrow makes his debut in a story which sees Bruce Wayne face his inner demons. It is a simple tale, but one with a kooky villain and one of the most memorable scenes in the entire run of Batman: The Animated Series.
Fear of Victory
The Scarecrow returns, and this time he is running a gambling scam. He induces fear in various sportsmen, then bets heavily against them.
As with Nothing to Fear, this is a fairly straight-forward tale, but one which works so well. The Scarecrow is a strong villain, who incidentally never appears in a duff episode!
Appointment in Crime Alley
Every year, Bruce Wayne/Batman makes a pilgrimage to Park Row – the spot in Gotham City where his parents were killed. But this year, despite his best efforts, he finds it increasingly difficult to make his appointment.
Mad as a Hatter
Mad as a Hatter is a curious story about an inventor and his worrying obsession with a girl called Alice. As the title alludes to, this is an episode featuring the Mad Hatter, and offers up some fun moments, a quirky villain, and a stand-out vocal performance from the late Roddy McDowall.
I Am the Night
When Commissioner Gordon is injured in the line of duty, Batman begins to question his role in Gotham City. For every criminal the Caped Crusader brings to justice, another one takes their place, creating a never-ending battle – so, is he making a difference?
I Am the Night is a small-scale story which doesn’t feature any major villains, but instead focuses on Batman. It puts the Dark Knight at his lowest ebb, and explains why he is so important to Gotham City.
Almost Got ‘Im
The Joker, Penguin, Two-Face, Killer Croc, and Poison Ivy gather together to share stories about how they ‘almost got’ Batman. Each has a different tale to tell, but one is perhaps a little more important than the others.
Almost Got ‘Im is hands down one of the best episodes of Batman: The Animated Series. It takes a very simple premise and injects some clever storytelling into the narrative, to deliver a brilliant piece of television.
Harley and Ivy
Who needs the Joker? Not Harley Quinn, that’s for sure!
In Harley and Ivy, Harley ditches the Joker and teams up with Poison Ivy in a humorous story about female empowerment. Harley and Ivy become a formidable force to be reckoned with, not just against Batman, but the Joker too.
Read My Lips
A new mob boss is operating in Gotham City, and he appears to be getting the upper-hand on the Dark Knight, but there is something very unusual about him – he is a ventriloquist’s dummy!
Scarface takes centre stage in another psychologically packed episode of Batman: The Animated Series, which makes for a wonderful watch. This is a story that often gets overlooked, but is truly one of the best episodes.
Unlike most iconic Batman characters, Harley Quinn did not originate in a comic book – her debut appearance came via Batman: The Animated Series. However, when Harley first appeared, she did so without an origin tale. Mad Love tells that origin tale.
Domestic violence, blind devotion, and psychology are just some of the themes explored in Mad Love – an episode which moves from comedy to tragedy and back again. It is an excellent piece of animation, and one that demonstrates why Batman: The Animated Series is so widely regarded by critics and fans alike.
Old Wounds takes a look at the relationship between Batman and Robin and explores the reasons why the Dynamic Duo ultimately go their separate ways. It features a scene-stealing appearance from the Joker, and a touching finale that restores a little bit of faith in an old friendship.
Over the Edge
And finally, when Batgirl is killed in action, Commissioner Gordon is left devastated. Placing the blame squarely on Batman’s shoulders, the Caped Crusader becomes Public Enemy No.1, and a city-wide manhunt ensues.
Over the Edge as a thrill-ride of an episode which barely lets up throughout its 20-minute runtime. It showcases amazing animation, stellar storytelling, and features two big reveals that make this a must-see episode for EVERY Bat-fan.
If you have never watched Batman: The Animated Series before, or you have simply missed some of the episodes listed above, I highly recommend you check them out. They are all superb stories, guaranteed to entertain.
And for a quick recap, here is a list of the best episodes of Batman: The Animated Series:
- On Leather Wings
- Heart of Ice
- Perchance to Dream
- Joker’s Favor
- Joker’s Millions
- Harley’s Holiday
- Feat of Clay 1 & 2
- Robin’s Reckoning 1 & 2
- Legends of the Dark Knight
- Christmas with the Joker
- The Cape and Cowl Conspiracy
- Heart of Steel 1 & 2
- His Silicon Soul
- The Man Who Killed Batman
- Two-Face 1 & 2
- The Laughing Fish
- House & Garden
- Dreams in Darkness
- Beware the Grey Ghost
- Nothing to Fear
- Fear of Victory
- Appointment in Crime Alley
- Mad as a Hatter
- I Am the Night
- Almost Got ‘Im
- Harley and Ivy
- Read My Lips
- Mad Love
- Old Wounds
- Over the Edge
I hope this information on Batman: The Animated Series has proved useful. Should you want to read more posts about Batman, please take a look through I’ll Get Drive-Thru, or alternatively check out one of the recommended reads below.