For more than 30 years, Batman: The Animated Series remains most people’s definitive version of The Dark Knight. With a dark setting, iconic music, and talented writers and actors, it took a more nuanced approach to storytelling that paved the way for a new era of children’s television. One of his greatest successes has been his approach to the iconic Batman villain.

Unlike previous superhero shows, the villains are as humanized and given depth as Batman himself. Some of them have episodes dedicated to exploring their humanity and showing that, deep down, there might be hope for them to thrive.



10 “Crazy as a Hatter”

The Mad Hatter from Batman: The Animated Series

Jervis Tetch (Roddy McDowall) is a Wayne Enterprises employee working on a device that can control other people’s minds. Because of his love for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderlandhe has a crush on his secretary, Alice (Kimmy Robertson). She tries to seduce him when he breaks up with his girlfriend, but they get back together, which prompts Tetch to use his technology for sinister purposes.

The first half of the episode shows Tetch as a sympathetic eccentric yearning for unrequited love. It’s a very human emotion and something that almost everyone experiences, and McDowall’s performance is spot on in capturing the range of emotions it evokes. That was wrong for Tetch because she succumbed to her jealousy and decided it was better to make Alice a doll than a human.

9 “additional show”

Watch the Batman Animated Series

Killer Crocodile (Aron Kincaid) unties him while being transferred to a maximum-security prison outside Gotham. He was hit with sedatives and chased by Batman (Kevin Conroy) before collapsing into the river. He is rescued by a community of circus performers and hides among them while forming a bond with a seal pup named Billy (Whithertford).

Related: ‘Batman: The Animated Series’ 10 Best Episodes That Aren’t About Batman

This episode takes much of its inspiration from Aesop’s fable, “The Farmer and the Viper”. Croc is given a chance to start a new life with people who understand his plight, but can’t help but revert to his criminal ways. He even regrets this at the end of the episode when he tells Billy that he was just, “being himself”.

8 “Home & Garden”

Poison Ivy raises her human-plant hybrid offspring

Strange plant-like creatures have robbed wealthy bachelors and left them poisoned. Batman suspects Poison Ivy (Diane Pershing), but she has reformed and is married to her doctor, Steven Carlyle (Peter Strauss). Batman assigns Robin to learn more about Carlyle, but he is taken by one of the plant creatures for ransom.

During his interrogation, Batman learns that Ivy is unable to bear children, so hopes to establish one with Carlyle and his two sons. It is later revealed that her family is a fabrication created by mutating plants with the unwilling Carlyle’s DNA. While her terms for a family are wrong, Ivy’s wishes are understandable, and in the end, she’s forced to leave her bliss behind as Batman comes closer to the truth.

7 Her “Silicon Soul”

Batman robot drawing sword

Two thugs break into Cybertron’s warehouse and awaken HARDAC’s latest creation: a robotic duplicate of Batman. The robot believes that it is the real Batman and tries to find answers from Karl Rossum (William Sanderson), which creates HARDAC. Refusing to accept that it is a robot, the duplicate ends up tracking down HARDAC’s remains and is imbued with the desire for machines to replace humans with robotic duplicates.

Reference: The 12 Best Movie Robots, Ranked

His “Silicone Soul”, raises the age-old question of whether a machine can have a soul. This last robot turns out to be so similar to Batman that it develops a moral conscience. After fearfully killing Batman in their final struggle, he sacrificed himself to destroy the HARDAC for good.

6 “Harleys Holiday”

Batman The Animated Series Harley's Holiday

Harleen Quinzel (Arleen Sorkin) is released from Arkham Asylum and tries to live life as an ordinary citizen. Unfortunately, a misunderstanding about the dress made her turn back into Harley Quinn. Kidnap nearby Veronica Vreeland (Marilu Hener), Harley becomes involved in a high-stakes car chase with Batman, the police, mobsters, and tank commander Veronica’s father.

“Harley’s Holiday,” is a wild ride from start to finish, but never forgets the theme. The Harley situation is one everyone can relate to: one bad day that spiraled out of control. Even Batman sympathizes with him and tries to encourage Harley to calm down before all his hard work is undone.

5 “Feathered Bird”

The penguins ask Veronica Vreeland out on a date

Penguin (Paul Williams) has always distinguished himself as one of Gotham’s more civilized villains. When he was released from Blakegate Prison, he decided to try turning over a new leaf and mingle with high society instead of robbing them. He befriends Veronica Vreeland, who seeks to exploit Oswald at his next public meeting.

Penguin’s struggle to move on is tragic because of how real it is. She makes a lot of effort to fit into high society, but whatever she does, her imperfections make her a source of ridicule. Veronica manages to grow as a character and accept his friendship, but it is too late as Penguin relapses after learning the truth.

4 “Two Faces Part 1 & 2”

The Two Faces of Batman: The Animated Series

When he was running for re-election as Gotham District Attorney, Harvey Dent (Richard Mol) experience sudden moments of violence against friends, loved ones, and the press. This is due to a split personality, named Big Bad Harv, which was created out of a lifetime of suppressed anger and negative emotions. Dent tries to keep this a secret, but crime boss Rupert Thorn (John Vernon) learns and intends to use his knowledge to blackmail Dent.

Dent is an established character from the first episode, meaning viewers can see him both at work and hanging out as a friend of Bruce Wayne. This makes the revelations from his demons, as well as the accident that turned him Two-Face, all the more shocking and tragic. It was heartbreaking to see Dent lose himself to his other personality, despite the hope that, deep down, he might be able to reappear.

3 “The Clay Feat Part 1 & 2”

Matt Hagan's face when not using Renuyu skin products.

Prolific actor Matt Hagen (Ron Perlman) disabled in a car accident. While recovering, he is approached by Roland Daggett (Ed Asner), which gave Hagen access to an experimental product called Renuyu. It allows Hagan to restore his face but is highly addictive, which Daggett uses to force Hagen to impersonate people for him.

Related: How To Watch ‘Batman: The Animated Series’

These two parts don’t shy away from the heavy themes of addiction, abuse, and body dysphoria. Hagen’s self-destruction is handled very realistically, especially in how his need for more Renuyu is what ultimately turns him into the shapeshifter, Clayface. There is also a tragic relationship between Hagen and his friend Teddy (Dick Gautier), who tries to be his beacon of light in a dark storm.

2 “Baby doll”

Batman stands with a grieving Baby Doll

When a number of actors go missing, Batman and Robin find out that they were all working on the sitcom “Love That Baby”. The culprit was the star of the show, Mary Louise Dahl (Alison Laplaca), who was born with a condition that hindered his physical development. Driven by her inability to make it through the show, she has completely retreated into her character, Baby Doll, and intends to rebuild her fake family.

“Baby-Doll”, could be the show’s most ridiculous episode, but the creative team turned it into one of the most dramatic. Dahl’s sympathy stems from how he is driven not by malice but by grief. He is desperate to return to a time in his life when he was happy, but in the end, is forced to admit that it was all built on a lie.

1 “Ice Heart”

Mr. Freeze stares at a snowball sadly in Batman The Animated Series
Image via Fox

Victor Fries (Michael Ansar) worked as a scientist at GothCorp until he embezzled money to put his terminally ill wife, Nora, in suspended animation. When his boss finds out, he shuts down the project, and in the struggle, Fries is thrown into several chemicals that alter his body. Now he is unable to survive outside the sub-zero temperatures and seeks revenge as Mister Freeze.

Related: 10 Shockingly Dark Episodes in Children’s Cartoons

Ansara’s performance pulls you into Freeze’s misery with every word, especially when she laments the loss of basic pleasures like walking in the summer heat or holding someone’s hand. His suffering is Shakespearean and is the show’s best example of someone doing wrong with good intentions. His background with Nora proved so effective that it became canon in DC Comics, video games, and courtesy of Joel SchumacherBatman & Robin.

Next: The 10 Best Episodes of ‘Batman: The Animated Series’, Ranking

By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.