Superman: The Animated Series is the unofficial title given to Warner Bros.' American animated television series of the late 1990s. The official title of the series was simply Superman, and (as the title suggests) it starred the fictional character of Superman. Warner Bros. applied the same "more modern, more serious" animated treatment to DC Comics' flagship character in the same way they had successfully produced Batman: The Animated Series. The result was a cartoon praised by comic book and animation fans, and seen by some as one of the best adaptations of Superman ever.
Airing more than ten years after the 1985 "reboot" of the Superman comic book character, the animated series paid tribute to both the classic Superman of old and the newer "modern" Superman. Elements of Superman from all eras of his history were included in the series, especially in a potrayal of the planet Krypton, the planet that Superman was born on, that fans praised as a "modernization" of Superman's origin that contrasted John Byrne's total remake, and some fans felt was superior to the "newer" comic book version. Most notable was that the evil computer Brainiac, was not only now from Krypton, but was portrayed as responsible for preventing the knowledge of Krypton's imminent destruction from reaching its people. In a lesser innovation, the ship that carried the infant Kal-El to Earth was designed to land smoothly upon reaching its destination. As a result, the ship is still in perfect working condition during Superman's adulthood and is used as his mode of long range transportation in space.
The "new" Lex Luthor featured prominently in the series as well, menacingly voiced by actor Clancy Brown. Superman himself was voiced by Tim Daly.
While the series featured fresh re-creations of much of Superman's rogues gallery, the series' writers supplemented the limited supply of enemies by paying tribute to Jack Kirby's Fourth World creations which also introduced the villain Darkseid to the series as one of Superman's greatest enemies. Darkseid had actually been portrayed as a villain in the final two seasons of the Super Friends series of the 1980s, but in the new Superman series he truly became an enormously powerful, evil cosmic emperor. The tribute event extends to the supporting character, Dan "Terrible" Turpin, who is visually modelled on Jack Kirby himself.
On August 18, 1998, Warner Brothers released "The Batman/Superman Movie" on dvd and video. This movie was formed of three episodes from season 2 of Superman: The Animated Series, World's Finest parts 1, 2 and 3. Mark Hamill again provided the voice for The Joker.
Midway through the series' run, it was combined with new, "revamped" episodes of Batman: The Animated Series to become The Batman/Superman Adventures. The characters of Superman and Batman were then spun off into a new animated series, Justice League, which also featured other popular DC characters, such as Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and The Flash.