What is the proper viewing order of the DC Animated Universe?
The DC Animated Universe consists of many shows. Is there a "proper" viewing order? More than one possible recommended order? Chronological order? Or are there enough overlaps to make it worth worrying about?
The Chronological Order they appeared in starting with the Batman Adventures is still my recommended approach. Each series built upon and added information about DC heroes and the success of each series gave later episodes an opportunity for greater depth and expanded the Universe significantly. By the time the JLU hit the screen you really get a chance to know about two dozen DC heroes besides the well known Superfriends Era Justice League.
The DC Animated Universe continuity primarily consists of these animations. I have placed them in order with dates so you can watch them chronologically:
- Batman: The Animated Series (September 5, 1992 – 1995)
- Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)
- Superman: The Animated Series (September 6, 1996 – 2000)
- The New Batman Adventures (September 13, 1997 – 1999) – These are collected in the 4th volume of BTAS on DVD.
- Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero (1998)
- Batman Beyond (January 10, 1999 – 2001)
- Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (2000) – There are two versions of this movie, one rated and one not rated. I suggest watching the unrated edition.
- Static Shock (September 23, 2000 – 2004)
- Lobo (2000) – Web Series.
- Gotham Girls (2000–2002) – Web Series.
- The Zeta Project (January 27, 2001 – 2002) – Spin-off of Batman Beyond.
- Justice League (November 17, 2001 – 2004)
- Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman (2003)
- Chase Me (2003) – Short film based on The New Batman Adventures.
- Justice League Unlimited (July 31, 2004 – 2006)
- Batman Beyond: Batman 75th Anniversary Short (2014)
- Batman & Harley Quinn (2015)
Some interesting crossovers/team-up to look for:
- Superman: The Animated Series (November 9 & 16, 1996) "The Main Man, Parts 1 & 2" - Lobo vs Superman
- Superman: The Animated Series (October 4, 1997) "World's Finest, Parts 1-3" - Batman/Superman team-up.
- Superman: The Animated Series (October 10, 1998) "Knight Time" - Batman is missing.
- The New Batman Adventures (October 17, 1998) "Girls' Night Out" - Supergirl/Batgirl team-up.
- Superman: The Animated Series (February 6, 1999) "In Brightest Day..." - A new GL is chosen for Space Sector 2814.
- Static Shock (January 26, 2002) "The Big Leagues" - Batman & Robin team-up with Static to catch The Joker.
- Static Shock (January 25, 2003) "Hard as Nails" - Poison Ivy & Harley Quinn vs. Static in Gotham.
- Static Shock (March 1 & 8, 2003) "A League of Their Own (Parts 1 & 2)" - Justice League guest-star.
- Static Shock (May 3, 2003) "Toys in the Hood" - Superman tracks Toy Man to Dakota.
- Static Shock (January 17, 2004) "Future Shock" - Static teams-up Batman Beyond.
- Static Shock (February 7, 2004) "Fallen Hero" - Green Lantern & the League guest-star.
I would also suggest reading some of the comic tie-in's especially The Batman Adventures: Mad Love special as it provides an origin to the character Harley Quinn, even though it is eventually made into an episode, and The Batman Adventures: The Lost Year which fills in the gap between Batman: The Animated Series and The New Batman Adventures.
In fact there are a lot of DCAU Comics in-universe that are really are great, from regular Batman comics to the further adventures of Batman Beyond with stories featuring HUSH, the Justice League, Batgirl Beyond and more...
I just read Justice League Beyond: Konstriction and it was rather good stuff. The next volume in that series, Justice League Beyond: In Gods We Trust, is scheduled to come out March 18, 2014 and I'm rather excited to see what direction the DCAU goes in next =]
incredibly perfect answer! thank you so much for the effort you put into this!!
So there's no need to worry about alternating between shows that were airing simultaneously (a la Buffy/Angel or Arrow/Flash)?