The Top 30 DC TV Shows Of All Time, Live-Action And Animated

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DC Comics has had an unparalleled impact on how people think about comic books and television. Yes, costumed good guys and intriguing villains have poured out for other content houses as well, but a lot of them owe much of their later success to the work pioneered by Time Warner and DC, who’ve been making iconic small screen adventures since the 1950s.

Weirdly enough, that first series, Adventures of Superman, doesn’t make it on this particular list, though it came close. Shuster and Siegel’s brainchild, a black-and-white serial sponsored by Kellogg’s (because again, it was the 50s) was certainly important and an essential watch for anyone interested in some historical entertainment that’s amusing enough for what it is.

But as time has marched on, the characters of DC have received a wide and diverse array of creative talent to bring their stories to life, both in live-action and animated format. Comparing Adventures of Superman with something slightly more recent like The Flash (1990) is obviously difficult and will be sure to disappoint someone, but there are clear comparisons to be made between the classics we grew up on and the more recent projects that are getting better as a result.

Criteria: The shows on this list had to be produced beyond pilot stage, so at least a full season. Though you’ll find that only a few shows on this list have one season or less for obvious reasons (don’t you dare complain about Birds of Prey not making this list).

With that, let’s begin with the least best…

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Jon Negroni

Jon Negroni

I write and I know things.

  • Maxi Iroh

    Why is Green Lantern TAS, so low?

  • theheartsleeves

    Man.. Young Justice was fun, but no way better then Batman Beyond or Superman Animated. The entire Timm, Dini, McDuffie Animation Universe is above this.

    • Dark Saiyan Knight

      I respectfully disagree superman the animated series and Batman Beyond where the shows you go to if you wanted to have fun with a great long plot. But if you want full on dc universe complexities and an absolutely fantastic story you go to young justice.

      • theheartsleeves

        full complexities of a sagging DC comic universe yes, but the stories of the Timm, Dini, McDuffie Universe are far better told. Young Justice is a nice, less sophisticated, yet more serious and slightly less soulful telling. It is fine workmanship, but not something worth watching again and again.. but the work of BTAS, STAS, BB, JL, JLU, Batman Mask of The Phantasm and Batman Beyond: Return of The Joker, is a master work that makes the DC Universe better.

        • Dark Saiyan Knight

          I guess we’re gonna have to agree to disagree because young justice is a show I haved watched over and over 8 to be exact and it’s worth every minute. And “sagging” really?

          • theheartsleeves

            Think about it this way Young Justice is the show the channels your love of DC Comics. It’s exactly the type of show that somebody who loves the books currently would love. If you gave Young Justice as someone who’d never ever heard of DC Comics they would find it convoluted serious and overly filled with plot twists rather then storytelling.

            If you gave that same person who’d never heard of DC Comics the Animated Series Classics that I’m talking about with no knowledge of DC before then, you would find they would enjoy it immensely as incredible storytelling standing on its own without any additional context.

            For me there’s an entirely different standard between these two shows. one that defines great storytelling and love of DC and another the channels for DC fans the complexity and plot that they enjoy in the booms. It’s just not comparable.

            The DC animated shows are better than DC Comics. Young Justice is a good companion to DC Comics.

          • Dark Saiyan Knight

            I see your point when you put it that way in accessibility view. Very well written

          • theheartsleeves

            Cheers!

          • SAMURAI36

            If you gave that same person who’d never heard of DC Comics the Animated Series Classics that I’m talking about with no knowledge of DC before then, you would find they would enjoy it immensely as incredible storytelling standing on its own without any additional context.

            Does my 9yo niece count? Because I bought the DVD’s for her, and she watches them over and over.

            I think you should speak mainly for yourself with this.

          • theheartsleeves

            No one with long term exposure to you counts. Not at least until vaccinated.

          • SAMURAI36

            Look, another dumbass to get blocked!! Buh-bye now.

          • theheartsleeves

            You need a hobby away from trolling and sacrificing animals to your DC shrine.. naps maybe?

          • Marquis de Sade

            Dang, Sammy…at the rate you’re goin’, you gon’ be commentin’ to yo’ self.

          • Marquis de Sade

            Hmmmm, twould appear insanity runs in your family, Sammy-rai.

  • Carl

    Green Lantern is criminally under rated here. Young Justice and Teen Titans are too high.

    • Dark Saiyan Knight

      Teen Titans yes but young justice I say it’s spot so high is earned imo

  • Taalat

    Wth Smallville 21!!! Type of disrespect…. Much better than half these corny cartoons and def stuff like arrow, legends of tomorrow, and even flash (As much as I love flash).

  • GDog

    Green Lantern TAS is the most underrated DC show ever, also Legion of Superheroes is pretty good, as well as Beware the Batman. CW fluff is for 12 year olds by the way, and the First 4 seasons of Smallville are great television

  • GDog

    Everything Bruce Timm has done should be #1

  • Matias Gagliardone

    Young Justice and Batman Beyond are better than Flash imo

    • SAMURAI36

      YJ is indeed better than Flash, but I found myself feeling bored with BB alot of the time. In fact, I can’t even recall alot of the details of the entire series.

      Flash is a way more engaging TV show than BB is, but not nearly as much as YJ was.

      • Matias Gagliardone

        I don’t remember BB perfectly so you might be right but I do remember having a lot more fun watching it than Flash but that might be because I was way younger so it might not be what I remember

        • SAMURAI36

          Yeah, I would encourage you to re-watch BB again, and see if it has the same effect on you. I tried watching some eps again over the past several months, and don’t get me wrong, there were some that were really great, but for the most part, I found myself being bored with Terry McGinnis.

          • Matias Gagliardone

            I might prefer to just leave it as I remember so not to taint the memory. It’s happening a lot to me lately, one example is a few months back I wanted to watch Saint Seiya because I had so many great memories of that from when I was little, but when I watched it again I realized that even though I still liked it just wasn’t as good as I was expecting. The main reason was that their conversations were so slow and they said so many innecesary things that it was just tiresome to watch because they spent most of the episodes talking or remembering stuff. Since then I decided to leave the great stuff of my childhood as memories instead of being disappointed

  • Joseph Chaisson

    Finally a good list.

  • D.A.V.E.

    The Batman above Beware and The Brave & the Bold?

    Other than that and Lucifer being too high, I agree with most of the list.