The best WB animated shows to watch at home

Warner Bros.’s recent decision. Discovery for purge HBO Max of dozens of beloved animated series and several in-development series is a pain in the ass. Regardless of whether it makes financial sense or not (and the judges are definitely outt), clearly a disappointment compared to the treatment Warner Bros. used to be for animated series. There was an era when the company produced an stellar lineup of TV cartoons good enough to rival any other cartoon in history.

Thirty years after debut Batman: Animated Series, perhaps the most celebrated American animated series of all time, let’s take a look back at Warner Bros.’s animated renaissance. happened in the early 90s. Fortified with faith and resources after a few decades of instability, the studio quickly turned the tide with a series of hits like…

The Adventures of Tiny Toon

Buster Bunny, Babs Bunny, Plucky Duck, and Hamon J. Pig smile brightly in Tiny Toons' Night Ghoulery.

Image: Amblin / Warner Bros. Animation

When it comes to animation in the US, the company that beats is always Disney. However, even Disney wasn’t safe in the ’60s and ’70s, the same years Warner Bros. witnessed their Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck downsizing. But in the late ’80s/early ’90s, a Disney revival began in earnest, with movies like Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast and blocks Disney Afternoon with DuckTales and TaleSpin once again granting Disney its powerhouse status. This is what Warner Bros. aimed to compete… and it had the help of Steven Spielberg.

Spielberg’s involvement with the Amblin Television division gave Warner Bros. Spielberg, along with tireless producers and executives like Tom Ruegger and Jean MacCurdy, worked to reinvent the Looney Tunes brand with The Adventures of Tiny Toon. New characters have been introduced, although they are clearly characters based on previous icons. As such, we were treated to Acme Looniversity students like Buster and Babs Bunny, Plucky Duck, and others. The idea of ​​afternoon cartoons as a way to sell cheap toys is immediately cast aside at first glance here: The animation is vibrant, the text is funny and energetic, and all both sound great, as Spielberg has successfully requested to use full orchestra to grade cartoons.

The Adventures of Tiny Toon available for viewing on Hulu.


A still of the Tasmanian Devil with its mouth wide open in Taz-Mania.

Image: Warner Bros. Animation

Frequently forgotten during this period despite being active for four years, Taz-Mania not a revision like The Adventures of Tiny Toon but rather a lead role for Taz, the whirlwind of lazy energy that first appeared in 1954. Not all of it worked and the cast of characters was created for the show, like Bushwhacker Bob and Digeri Dingo , was virtually fired into the sand of animation time. It’s important, though, because it’s the first in this new line of cartoons to appear on Fox Kids, a programming block in the early ’90s. specially created to take on The Disney Afternoon and will be home to many Warner Bros. series. Future.

Taz-Mania available for viewing on Boomerang via Prime Videoor for digital purchase on Amazon and Google Play.

Batman: Animated Series

Still Batman standing on top of a building with a streak of lightning in the background from the Batman: The Animated Series themed series.

Image: Warner Bros. Animation

No series, animated or otherwise, sums up why a particular superhero behaves the way he does. Batman: Animated Series. Lavishly animated, beautifully scored (the late Shirley Walker was one of the most underrated composers of all time), and written in a “mini-movie” style that allows each episode to play with different themes. heavy and engaging subject matter, Batman: Animated Series is the bar that every Dark Knight incarnation since then has been challenged to remove. Although it came after the game-changing success of 1989 Batman movies, it’s not simply a simple cash out game or a sloth game about Tim Burton’s hit blockbuster.

Created by Bruce Timm and Eric Radomski, it’s the first superhero cartoon in 50 years to give the protagonists and their world the majesty they deserve. Emmy win and a pair of films followed, with the first, Mask of Phantasm, generally recognized as the greatest Batman movie ever. Since 1992, Batman: Animated Series‘place in the comic book adaptation population remains unchallenged and with X MenProduced jointly by Marvel Entertainment and Saban and also premiering this fall on Fox Kids, it will usher in a new era for on-screen capes and scarves.

Batman: Animated Series available for viewing on HBO Max.


An image from the opening of Animaniacs, with Yakko, Wakko and Dot leaning over Pinky and Brain against an abstract background

Image: Warner Bros. Animation

Warner Bros. The second cartoon collaboration with Spielberg will lead to Animation. This series, created by Ruegger, will have a non-stop comedic pacing with quick sitcom delivery while unleashing a series of wink allusions and fourth wall breaks. The main trio, Yakko, Wakko, and Dot, were introduced as 1930s forerunners by Warner Bros. Animation, characters who recently escaped from the water tower on the Warner Bros. and now free to roam. wild in the world. The many musical segments and outline show format give it an unpredictable atmosphere not usually found in cartoons built on jokes, and the original series is still refreshing to this day.

One of its most popular segments will also serve as a launchpad for a successful spin-off: Pinky and The Brain. Midway through, it will switch to Kids ‘WB, Warner Bros.’ Saturday morning block / new weekday. Beginning in the fall of 1995, Kids’ WB became the primary home for these cartoons, with the completion of the exodus in 1997 as Batman: Animated Series finally done with it 5-year contract with Fox. Because Animationa self-referential series, it’s really a homecoming (and a chance to use that water tower brand for all it’s worth.)

Animation available for viewing on Hulu.

Pinky and the Brain

Brain and Pinky's main art from Pinky and the Brain, inside a building that looks like a giant mouse cage or expressionist architecture, depending on your perspective.

Image: Warner Bros. Animation

Not all the first shows on Kids’ WB are as good as Animation (The Mystery of Sylvester & Tweety like Taz-Mania: fun, but quite overwhelming.) However, one that shows that can sometimes even overshadow its predecessor is Pinky and the Brain. The story of “two lab mice, their genes paired” duplicated Animation‘so vibrating and often specific in the jokes that we should never question the ability of interested kids to keep up with their favorite cartoons again. Want to expand on parodies of ’50s actor Raymond Burr, 1996 Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole, or Three .’s company star Joyce DeWitt? If so, Pinky and the Brain is a treasure.

Its tracking, Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain? Not much. Lasting only one season, Elmyra bratty’s promotion from The Adventures of Tiny Toon supporting the co-star here is not an effective move and is reported to be earn ire of its creators. The series will also mark the end of Spielberg and Amblin Television’s involvement with Warner Bros. in 20 years.

Pinky and the Brain available for viewing on Hulu.


Freakazoid in the opening title sequence of Freakazoid!

Image: Warner Bros. Animation

The Children’s World Bank will soon be filled with superheroes, with Superman: Animated Series came in 1996 and New Batman Adventuresa follow-up series of Batman: Animated Seriesaired in 1997. However, the first film (and the only one to be executive produced by Spielberg) was Freakazoid! Continuation of madcap antics found in Animation, Freakazoid! It won’t last very long (with only two seasons and 24 episodes, it’s the shortest on this list), but it’s a cult classic thanks to its continued hilarity and self-parody. The main character’s greatest villain? The Lobe, voiced by the late David Warner, who can be found at the same time with a more outspoken face like Batman: Animated Series‘Ra’s al Ghul.

Freakazoid! available to stream for free with ads on Tubi, or for digital purchase on Amazon, Apple, and Google Play.

Superman: Animated Series

Clark Kent lifts up his shirt to reveal his Superman suit with the red and yellow 'S' from Superman: The Animated Series.

Image: Warner Bros. Animation

After redefining Batman, crashing into Superman seemed like the obvious choice for Bruce Timm and co. It won’t be as simple as slapping on BTAS sample on Man of Steel – in development Superman: Animated Series gave the crew a chance to define what would become the look for their superhero efforts in the future, with cleaner and more angular brushstrokes, simpler designs, and faster editing. . So when WB asked for more Batman, New Batman Adventures overhauled the Caped Crusader in this style and the aesthetic will be retained for future shows like Batman’s Power, Alliance justiceand others.

STAS not purely a character reveal BTAS is, but it captures what makes Superman tick. Smart, strong-willed, and lacking the limitless power for which the character is often criticized, this Superman retains a sense of humanity that is so easy to lose when you can bandage a city block. And while BTAS Primarily intended for characters that can easily adapt to its distinctive themes, Superman’s story is full of sci-fi/fantasy, with the stakes only increasing as Darkseid conquers the world. world entered the picture.

With Superman, this new golden age of animated television by Warner Bros. finished. There will be strong offers to (Histeria! styled more like a clear education Animaniacs but it’s worth a look and the foregoing Batman’s Power had an absolutely perfect first season and ended the ’90s with a bang), but the number of series that will have an impact like the ones on this list will become more segregated. Like Warner Bros.’s water tower, this era is a rare example of animation creators being given the consistent resources and support they need from a company to create.

Superman: Animated Series available for live streaming HBO Max.

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