The Animated Series
Volume One
Region 1 Edition

Starring: Tim Daly, Dana Delany, Clancy Brown and David Kaufman
Warner Home Video
RRP: $26.99
Certificate: Not Rated
Available 25 January 2005

Beginning with his arrival on Earth, Superman finds his place in his adopted home and accepts his role as its champion - facing mortal enemy Lex Luthor and countless other criminals like the Weather Wizard and the Toyman...

Superman: The Animated Series - Volume One includes all of the episodes from season one and a few from season two. And, unlike the recent Batman: The Animated Series - Volume Two, this collection has all of the episodes in the order they were originally broadcast - with a few exceptions where the episodes have been switched around slightly.

Everyone knows the basic history to Superman, but The Animated Series adds a few twists of its own to bring the story into line for a more modern audience. Clark and Lois Lane are more rivals than friends, Jimmy Olsen is not as geekie and Lana Lang has left Smallville and is now a successful fashion designer in the city. But, more impressively, we learn that Brainiac originated from Superman's home planet of Krypton.

The cast include some familiar names. Clancy Brown (Highlander, The Shawshank Redemption) plays Lex Luthor, Malcolm McDowell (Star Trek: Generations) guests as John Corben/Metallo; Michael York (Logan's Run, Austin Powers) appears as Kanto; and Michael Ironside (Starship Troopers, Total Recall) guests as Darkseid.

Several of Superman's enemies make an appearance including Metallo, Darkseid, Brainiac, Toyman, Live Wire and Parasite. And good guy, The Flash, makes an appearance in the final episode, Speed Demons.

Like the Batman animated series, Superman is head and shoulders above your usual cartoon series. Although, I must admit to finding Batman to be slightly more entertaining. Having said that, Superman is still riveting stuff and will appeal to both young and old fans of the superhero.

The first three episodes chart Superman's origins - including his escape from Krypton and landing and growing up on Earth. This hour's worth of episodes, perfectly set everything up for the rest of the series.

Extras on this collection include commentaries on four episodes; A Little Piece of Home selectable pop-up trivia track - which flashes up on screen interesting information on the history of Superman; Superman: Learning to Fly featurette which examines the creation of the animated series; and Building the Mythology: Superman's Supporting Cast which examines the supporting players in the series. Sadly, this just looks at the characters. I had hoped it would contain interviews with the actors that played the characters.

This collection really is fantastic value for money - you get 18, 20 minute episodes and some fairly interesting features. What more could you want?

Darren Rea

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