The Superman animated series in the 1990s uses the character of Jor-El (voiced by Christopher McDonald) as the hero of its first episode. In the first part of the three-part opener, "The Last Son of Krypton", Jor-El is a scientist examining the reasons for various temblors (earthquakes) across the planet. His findings indicate Krypton's imminent destruction. Here, the animated Jor-El diverges from the comic version. While both version feature the ruling council of Krypton dismissing Jor-El's findings, Jor-El is portrayed as a far less respected member of the scientific community, and the episode also gives a specific reason to the council's dismissal: Brainiac. Brainiac, the operating system that runs the planet and chronicles its history and information, insists that Jor-El's calculations are incorrect, and the council members trust Brainiac much more than Jor-El. (Also, Jor-El's radical plan to put Krypton's entire population in the Phantom Zone while Krypton is destroyed for later transference to another planet is greeted by the council with nothing less than hatred.)
When Jor-El investigates the difference between Brainiac's findings and his own, he discovers that Brainiac has lied to the council to save himself. Brainiac counters by sending the authorities after him, leading to a protracted action sequence of Jor-El evading the police. With mere minutes before Krypton is to be destroyed, he loads Kal-El into the rocketship which had been intended for a single Kryptonian who would restore Krypton's population from the Phantom Zone, and dies with his wife as the planet explodes. Jor-El's legacy on the show is carried on by the constant battles between Superman and Brainiac (he is as much Jor-El's enemy as he is Superman's) and the Phantom Zone criminals Jax-Ur and Mala, who were foiled by Jor-El. Jor-El also appears in the Justice League Unlimited episode "For The Man Who Has Everything". In a fantasy of Superman's where Krypton had not exploded (yet), Jor-El is portrayed as an old man whose sky-is-falling theories disgraced him, but has done well enough for himself since then to have a sense of humor about it.
Jor-El was portrayed (uncredited on-screen) by Robert Rockwell in the first episode of the 1952 The Adventures of Superman television series.
Jor-El was played by George Lazenby in the late 1980s Superboy television series.
David Warner played Jor-El in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.
In the Smallville television series, Terence Stamp (who played the evil General Zod in Christopher Reeve's first two Superman movies) provided the voice of Jor-El. In the series, Clark Kent speculates that he was sent to Earth by Jor-El not to be saved from the destruction of Krypton, but instead to conquer Earth; a great divergence from any other version of Jor-El, who is usually shown as having benevolent reasons for sending Kal-El to Earth. This was proven to be wrong at the end of the fourth season, continuing into the fifth, when Jor-El's words are revealed to actually mean that he wanted to prepare Clark for the coming meteor shower and the arrival of Brainiac, which is what Jor-El meant by "your destiny."
In the Elliot S! Maggin text novel Superman: Last Son of Krypton, Jor-El is shown as having contacted a scientist on Earth (Albert Einstein, in this story) to arrange for him to find a suitable Earth family to find Kal-El's rocket and adopt him.