I’m hyped for Superman: Legacy — thanks to this great show on Max

Image of Superman from Superman The Animated Series
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Between the recent Superman: Legacy casting news and the impending release of the anime-inspired show My Adventures with Superman (on July 7), it’s a good time to be a fan of the Man of Steel. But, to be totally honest, I’ve always found this particular superhero a bit boring. 

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With his seemingly unbeatable set of powers and his overly-sickly boy scout attitude, I’ve always seen Kal-El as a very bland protagonist. That’s why of DC’s famed Golden Trio, Batman has always been my caped crusader of choice. Heck, I even rank Batman: The Animated Series among my favorite TV shows of all time. 

Because of this general indifference towards the character, as news about Supe's next big screen outing has trickled out, my hype levels have remained fairly low. That was until I decided to watch a couple of episodes of Superman: The Animated Series on Max and discovered that maybe I had him all wrong and there was more to Clark Kent than I realized. 

In fact, the more I watch this almost 30-year-old show, the more I’m starting to warm up to the Last Son of Krypton. And, suddenly, the wait until Superman: Legacy lands in movie theatres (on July 11, 2025) feels a whole lot longer. 

The best Superman adaptation ever 

superman the animated series

(Image credit: Cinematic Collection / Alamy Stock Photo / Warner Bros)

Debuting in 1996, Superman: The Animated Series followed in the wake of the wildly popular Batman cartoon that premiered four years prior. It ran until 2000, across four seasons comprising 54 total episodes. As noted above, I’m far from a Superman fanatic, but I’m still declaring it the best adaption of the iconic comic book hero on either the small or silver screen. 

The central character of Clark Kent/Superman is given incredible gravitas thanks to a brilliant voice performance by Tim Daly. And while I still find his do-no-wrong attitude a little dull on occasion, at least this Superman show makes him seem a little less unbearably noble than other takes on the character. 

And a few episodes even subtly hint at a darker side even if they don’t fully commit to the idea; it is a cartoon designed to be approachable for younger viewers, after all. 

Strangely, my favorite aspect of the show isn’t actually Superman himself, but rather it's the characters around him, or more specifically the villains. I’m much less familiar with Supe’s rogue gallery compared to the iconic foes tied to Batman or Spider-Man, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find the Man of Steel has more than just Lex Luxor to square off against in this show. 

Superman the animated series

(Image credit: Cinematic Collection / Alamy Stock Photo / Warner Bros.)

I’m still working my way through the final episodes of season one, but the power-sucking Parasite, Kryptonite-cyborg Metallo and the very silly intergalactic bounty hunter Lobo have been my personal favorites so far. The villain of the week structure also helps individual episodes feel unique and there’s a real charm to each storyline being neatly tied up within a brisk 21 minutes.

Some of the creative team from Batman: The Animated Series also worked on this Superman show — including Bruce Timm and Paul Dini — and it really shows. Positioned as a Saturday morning cartoon in its heyday, the show still manages to appeal to older viewers with storylines that are accessible but pack hidden depth, and episodes don’t always play out the way you’d expect even if the villains are always defeated in the end.  

Older cartoons look better 

Watching the trailer for My Adventures with Superman, the anime-inspired look is appealing, but it cannot match the stunning hand-drawn style of Superman: The Animated Series. Maybe, I’m viewing things through thick nostalgia goggles, but the look of a classic 90s cartoon is practically unrivaled in my opinion. 

Superman: The Animated Series offers up a Metropolis that is shiny, clean and vast in scale, and each character looks like they’ve just sprung straight from the pages of a comic book. I’ll admit some of the action sequences look a tad wonky, but a large degree of my enjoyment when watching the show comes purely from its visual style.  

Roll on Superman: Legacy 

Superman in art representing Superman: Legacy from the James Gunn DCU presentation

(Image credit: DC via YouTube)

All of this is to say that Superman: The Animated Series has done a marvelous job of getting me excited to see the Man of Tomorrow’s next big screen outing. And maybe I’m reaching here, but the single piece of concept art we’ve got from director James Gunn is giving me big parallels to Superman’s 90s animated series — and that’s only further adding to my interest. 

I still have a few reservations about Superman as a character, but it’s fair to say that I may have harshly judged him before. There’s more to the legendary hero than I first thought, and I can’t wait to dive into the rest of Superman: The Animated Series to see the rest of his adventures. I even hear there’s a crossover with Batman: The Animated Series in a later season, which has me very intrigued! 

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Rory Mellon
Entertainment Editor (UK)

Rory is an Entertainment Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on gaming and streaming. When he’s not reviewing the latest games, searching for hidden gems on Netflix, or writing hot takes on new gaming hardware, TV shows and movies, he can be found attending music festivals and getting far too emotionally invested in his favorite football team.