Justice League (TV series)
||This article may contain original research. (June 2009)|
|Created by||Bruce Timm
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||52 (List of episodes)|
|Running time||20-23 minutes|
|Original channel||Cartoon Network|
|Original run||November 17, 2001– May 29, 2004|
|Preceded by||The New Batman/Superman Adventures and (Static Shock, took place within episodes)|
|Followed by||Justice League Unlimited|
|Related shows||Super Friends|
Justice League is an American animated television series which ran from 2001 to 2004 on Cartoon Network. The show was produced by Warner Bros. Animation. It is based on the Justice League of America and associated comic book characters published by DC Comics. After its second season, it became Justice League Unlimited, and ran an additional three seasons.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (June 2009)|
Animator Bruce Timm, who helped make Batman and Superman into animated television programs in the 1990s, took on the challenge of adapting the Justice League comic book and turning it into an animated sequel to his two former animated series. This new animated TV series brought all sorts of new characters. Ignoring the sidekicks, pets, and other elements of the earlier Super Friends show, the line-up of this new JLA adaptation was created with two things in mind: to pay tribute to the original line-up of the Justice League of America while also reflecting racial and cultural diversity. Significantly, the well-known superhero Aquaman was left out of the lineup (although he would become a member of the team on Justice League Unlimited), and was replaced by Hawkgirl, the team's second female (along with Wonder Woman). Additionally, John Stewart -- an African American Green Lantern who had previously worked with the League in the comics -- was used rather than one of the better-known modern-era Green Lanterns: Hal Jordan, Guy Gardner or Kyle Rayner (even though Rayner had appeared as Green Lantern in the Superman animated series). In addition to his African-American heritage, the producer felt Stewart's original abrasive personality would have more dramatic potential. In the second season, Rayner is described as a Lantern in training under Stewart's old mentor, explaining his absence. Both Rayner and Jordan make brief appearances in Justice League Unlimited (Gardner was never seen in either series).
The show met with significant success, partially due to loyal fans already familiar with these incarnations of the characters, and partially from a new generation of viewers. The two-part nature of most episodes led Cartoon Network to choose to air the episodes back-to-back.
According to audio commentary on the DVD release of Season 2, the second season finale "Starcrossed" was expected to be the final episode of the series. However, in February 2004, Cartoon Network announced a follow-up series, Justice League Unlimited, which premiered on July 31, 2004. Justice League Unlimited features a greatly expanded roster of heroes, usually with only a few appearing in any given episode, although there are a few featuring just about the entire roster fighting against one giant enemy.
Casting and character changes
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (September 2008)|
Kevin Conroy reprised his voice role as Batman from Batman: The Animated Series (1992–1995), The New Batman Adventures (1997–1999), and Batman Beyond (1999–2001). Conroy pitched his voice to a range in between the voices he'd used in the previous shows; it was deeper than the voices he used in the first two series, but still higher-pitched than the voice he used in Batman Beyond. In addition, Batman's uniform was also redesigned, given a mixture of his previous animated costumes. It was basically the same Batsuit from The New Batman Adventures, but had the blue highlights from the original series' costume as well as longer ears from Batman Beyond on his cowl, and his body now is thinner instead of bulkier, unlike his appearance from The New Batman Adventures. Batman was also left-handed in this series.
Tim Daly, who voiced Superman in Superman: The Animated Series (1996–2000), did some early recordings, but was ultimately unable to reprise his role due to his involvement with The Fugitive (a short-lived remake of the original 1963 TV series), and was replaced by George Newbern. Superman was initially redesigned to have a bit of a squint to his eyes and slight wrinkles that was also meant to make him look older, in addition to having a noticeable shining streak to his hair; he was redesigned to appear larger in physical girth than in the previous series. Fans did not like the older appearance and in the second season the streak was toned down to the point of almost disappearing and the squint was removed, in essence reverting Superman to his earlier animated look. As an in-joke, Superman's season one facial designs are used for an older Jor-El in the Justice League Unlimited episode For the Man Who Has Everything.
Most of the characters retained their general comic book origins and continuity, with Wonder Woman being the notable exception. In the Justice League series continuity, the premiere story arc "Secret Origins" revises the plot of Diana's competition against her fellow Amazons to be the ambassador of peace to man's world, and she is referred to as a "rookie" superhero during her first encounter with the League. (Subsequent episodes touched on her attempts to adjust to her new world). In an interview segment on the Season One DVD, Bruce Timm stated that he initially ran into some legal issues in using the Wonder Woman character, but was adamant that she be used in the series. Additionally, the character of The Flash was portrayed as somewhat younger and significantly more brash than his comic book counterpart, taking on a number of personality traits of Plastic Man, who provides a similar comic relief function in the JLA comics. Major changes were also made to the Hawkgirl character. The character of Hawkgirl became romantically involved with the John Stewart Green Lantern as the series progressed. A romantic relationship between Batman and Wonder Woman was also "showed" (hinted at but never "official" unlike Hawkgirl/Green Lantern) by the show's creators, who disliked pairing Wonder Woman with Superman.
In the comic books, the Martian Manhunter / J'onn J'onzz has a power called "Martian Vision" which has been shown both as a beam of pure force (an extension of the telekinesis that allows him to fly), and essentially the same as Superman's heat vision. Neither power was ever shown in the series, except in the ending of the episode "The Savage Time", dropped presumably in favor of his phasing power, shapeshifting and telepathy. Despite this, Martian Manhunter has this ability in the "Justice League: Chronicles" video game based on the show. The Martian Manhunter was only referred to by that name in one episode and otherwise called simply J'onn.
Although the series itself is animated in traditional 2-dimensional style, the opening credits are rendered in 3D with toon shading. The intro is a "stock" intro used throughout the series until Justice League Unlimited premieres.
The show has been well received by fans and critics, many comparing it to Batman: The Animated Series because of its darker tones, complex writing and storyboarding, and in-depth characterization. The show holds an 8.5/10 on the Internet Movie Database the second best DCAU ranking second only to Batman: The Animated Series.
There was some initial controversy over the inclusion of John Stewart as Green Lantern instead of Kyle Rayner, who had previously been established as Earth's lantern in Superman: The Animated Series. It was felt that this substitution, which was later explained as Kyle being sent to OA for training (despite the rule at the time having been established as one lantern from each sector), was done to have John serve as the League's Green Lantern.
- Kevin Conroy – Batman (Bruce Wayne)
- George Newbern – Superman (Clark Kent / Kal-El)
- Michael Rosenbaum – Flash (Wally West)
- Susan Eisenberg – Wonder Woman (Diana of Themyscira / Princess Diana)
- Carl Lumbly – Martian Manhunter (J'onn J'onzz / John Jones)
- Phil LaMarr – Green Lantern (John Stewart)
- Maria Canals – Hawkgirl (Shayera Hol)
- Alfred Pennyworth – Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.
- Amazo – Robert Picardo
- Aquaman – Scott Rummell
- Brainiac – Corey Burton
- Clayface – Ron Perlman
- Copperhead – Efrain Figueroa – Jose Yenque
- Darkseid – Michael Ironside
- Deadshot – Michael Rosenbaum
- Despero - Keith David
- Dr. Fate – Oded Fehr
- Etrigan the Demon - Michael T. Weiss
- Felix Faust – Robert Englund
- Forager – Corey Burton
- Galius Zed – Rene Auberjonois
- Giganta – Jennifer Hale
- Gorilla Grodd – Powers Boothe
- Harley Quinn – Arleen Sorkin
- The Joker – Mark Hamill
- Katma Tui – Kim Mai Guest
- Killer Frost – Jennifer Hale
- Kilowog – Dennis Haysbert
- Lex Luthor – Clancy Brown
- Lobo – Brad Garrett
- Metallo – Corey Burton
- Metamorpho – Tom Sizemore
- Mongul – Eric Roberts
- Morgaine Le Fay – Olivia d'Abo
- Orion – Ron Perlman
- Parasite – Brian George
- Queen Hippolyta – Susan Sullivan
- Lucas "Snapper" Carr / Snapper Carr – Jason Marsden
- The Shade – Stephen McHattie
- Sinestro – Ted Levine
- Solomon Grundy – Mark Hamill
- Star Sapphire – Olivia d'Abo
- Toyman – Corey Burton
- Ultra-Humanite – Ian Buchanan
- Vandal Savage – Phil Morris
- Weather Wizard – Corey Burton
- Season releases
|DVD/BD name||Release date||Ep #||Additional information|
|Season One||March 21, 2006||26||Contains a set of 4 DVDs with all of the episodes from the first season as well as audio commentaries, interviews, and other special features. In the 3 part "The Savage Time", the Nazi Swastika was replaced with an "S", most likely for Savage for the DVD release.|
|Season One||August 19, 2008||26||Season One has been re-mastered and re-issued as a set of 3 Blu-ray Discs (in full 1080p and with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound) with everything included on the prior release.|
|Season Two||June 20, 2006||26||Contains a set of 4 DVDs with all of the episodes from the second season as well as audio commentaries and a panel discussion involving the production team of the series (although the set packaging indicates a featurette hosted by voice actor Phil LaMarr, it is misprinted, the featurette is on Disc One instead of Disc Four). Despite the show having been produced in a widescreen format this release lacks anamorphic encoding.|
|Season Two||July 26, 2011||26||Warner Home Video released Season Two on a two-disc (50GB each) Blu-ray set.|
Warner Home Video also released another DVD title Justice League The Complete Animated Series. It contained all 91 episodes of Justice League and Justice League Unlimited on a 15 disc set with the 15th disc containing a bonus documentary.
- Individual releases
|DVD name||Release date||Additional information|
|Justice League||April 23, 2002||Contains all three parts of "Secret Origins". A mini-DVD version of this disc has also been released.|
|Justice on Trial||April 22, 2003||Contains "In Blackest Night" and "The Enemy Below".|
|Paradise Lost||July 22, 2003||Contains "Paradise Lost" and "War World".|
|The Justice League Collection||April 13, 2004||Contains previous "Secret Origins," "Paradise Lost," and "Justice on Trial" DVDs in a three-pack with a slipcase.|
|Starcrossed The Movie||July 13, 2004||Contains "Starcrossed" in both widescreen and fullscreen. A mini-DVD version of this disc has also been released with only fullscreen.|
|The Brave and the Bold||October 19, 2004||Contains episodes "The Brave and the Bold" and "Injustice For All".|
|Challenge of the Super Friends to Justice League:||April 13, 2004||Contains the previously released "Justice League" (Secret Origins) DVD along with two Super Friends discs in a slip-case.|
|Justice League: 3-Pack Fun||July 19, 2011||Contains "The Brave and the Bold" and "Injustice For All", as well as the Justice League Unlimited episodes "For The Man Who Has Everything," "The Return," and "The Greatest Story Never Told," and the Young Justice episodes "Independence Day," "Fireworks," "Welcome To Happy Harbor," and "Drop Zone".|
- Justice League at the Big Cartoon DataBase
- Justice League at the Internet Movie Database
- Justice League at TV.com
- Justice League on the DC Animated Universe Wiki, an external wiki
- League Night a podcast reviewing every episode of the series.