Justice League (TV series)

Justice League is an American animated television series which ran from November 17, 2001, to May 29, 2004, on Cartoon Network.[1] 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. It serves as a sequel to Batman: The Animated Series and Superman: The Animated Series, as well as a prequel to Batman Beyond, and is the seventh series of the DC Animated Universe. After two seasons, the series was rebranded as Justice League Unlimited, a successor series which aired for three seasons.

Justice League
Based onJustice League
by Gardner Fox
Developed byBruce Timm
Written byRich Fogel (seasons 1-2)
Stan Berkowitz (seasons 1-2)
Dwayne McDuffie (season 2)
Directed byButch Lukic
Dan Riba
Voices of
Theme music composerLolita Ritmanis
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes52 (list of episodes)
Executive producers
EditorJoe Gall
Running time20-22 minutes
40-44 minutes (2-part episodes)
Production companiesWarner Bros. Animation
DC Comics
Original release
NetworkCartoon Network
ReleaseNovember 17, 2001 (2001-11-17) –
May 29, 2004 (2004-05-29)

It was the first show on Cartoon Network to be produced by Warner Bros. Animation, and was the last Cartoon Network show to be greenlit by Betty Cohen.

Overview edit

Bruce Timm, who co-produced Batman: The Animated Series and Superman: The Animated Series in the 1990s, became producer on an animated series focusing on the Justice League. The roster consisted of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern (John Stewart), The Flash (Wally West), Martian Manhunter (J'onn J'onzz), and Hawkgirl.[1]

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, and featured a larger roster of characters.

It is the first series in the DC Animated Universe to fully use digital ink and paint, also the first to be produced in widescreen starting in Season 2.

Production edit

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). Batman's costume was redesigned, but this time, his costume was a combination of his last three costumes. The same costume from The New Batman Adventures is retained, but with the blue highlights from the Batman: The Animated Series costume and the long-ears from the Batman Beyond costume are added to the costume. Tim Daly, who voiced Superman in Superman: The Animated Series (1996–2000), was initially involved, but he was unable to continue his role due to involvement with The Fugitive.[2] He was replaced by George Newbern.

Alongside Kevin Conroy and George Newbern as Superman, joining the rest of the main cast is Susan Eisenberg as Wonder Woman, Maria Canals-Barrera as Hawkgirl, Phil Lamarr as John Stewart, Michael Rosenbaum as Wally West / The Flash and Carl Lumbly as J'onn J'onnz / Martian Manhunter.

Several actors in previous DCAU shows also reprise their roles, including Dana Delany as Lois Lane, David Kaufman as Jimmy Olsen, Efrem Zimbalist Jr. as Alfred Pennyworth, Shelley Fabares and Mike Farrell as Jonathan and Martha Kent, Mark Hamill as The Joker, Clancy Brown as Lex Luthor, Corey Burton as Brainiac, Ron Perlman as Clayface, Arleen Sorkin as Harley Quinn, Peri Gilpin as Volcana, Diane Pershing as Poison Ivy, Mark Rolston as Firefly, Ted Levine as Sinestro, Michael Ironside as Darkseid, Michael Dorn as Kalibak, Lisa Edelstein as Mercy Graves, and Brad Garrett as Lobo. Due to budgetary reasons in the episode "Hereafter", Corey Burton served as a substitute for Bud Cort as Toyman and Malcolm McDowell as Metallo, although both Cort and McDowell would reprise their roles in Justice League Unlimited. Likewise, Maria Canals (who provides the voice for Hawkgirl) voiced Livewire in the same episode, instead of Lori Petty.

Cover art for the comic Justice League Adventures #1 (2002).
Art by Bruce Timm and Alex Ross.

Most of the characters retained their general comic book origins and continuity, with some notable changes. 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 he 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 Wally West, who provides a similar comic relief function in the JLA comics. Major changes were also made to the Hawkgirl character. She became romantically involved with the John Stewart Green Lantern as the series progressed.

Superman was initially redesigned to have a bit of a squint to his eyes as well as cheekbones that were meant to make him look older than he did in Superman The Animated Series. Fans did not like the older appearance and in the second season the squint, grey streak and cheekbones were 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". Furthermore, a common complaint in the first season of Justice League was Superman's powers being toned down even more than in Superman: The Animated Series. He was portrayed as unnaturally weak and vulnerable to harm with most episodes showing him being defeated by foes he should not have a problem with. This was changed from the second season onwards, where his strength and durability were increased.

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.

Episodes edit

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
126November 17, 2001 (2001-11-17)November 9, 2002 (2002-11-09)
226July 5, 2003 (2003-07-05)May 29, 2004 (2004-05-29)

Voice cast edit

Main cast edit

Home media edit

From 2006 to 2011, Warner Home Video (via DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Family Entertainment) released the entire series of Justice League on DVD and Blu-ray, and presented in original broadcast version and story arc continuity order.

Season releases

Name Disc Release Date Ep # Notes
Season One DVD 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.
Season One Blu-ray 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 DVD 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 Blu-ray 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 set titled Justice League: The Complete 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. This was later re-packaged and sold as a 10-disc set without the 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".
Starcrossed The Movie[3] July 13, 2004 Contains "Starcrossed" in both widescreen and fullscreen.
The Brave and the Bold October 19, 2004 Contains episodes "The Brave and the Bold" and "Injustice For All".
DVD name Release date Additional information
The Justice League Collection April 13, 2004 Contains previous "Secret Origins", "Paradise Lost", and "Justice on Trial" DVDs
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 - The Complete Series June 20, 2006 Contains Justice League seasons 1 & 2
along with Justice League Unlimited seasons 1 & 2. (Blu-ray/DVD release)
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,"
* "The Greatest Story Never Told,"
the Young Justice episodes:
* "Independence Day"
* "Fireworks,"
* "Welcome To Happy Harbor"
* "Drop Zone".

Soundtrack edit

A 4-disc soundtrack of musical highlights from both seasons of Justice League was released by La-La Land Records in July 2016. It is a limited edition of 3000 units and can be ordered at the La-La Land Records website.[4] The set includes tracks from fan-favorite episodes like A Better World, Hereafter, Wild Cards and Starcrossed.

La-La Land are hoping to release a soundtrack for Justice League Unlimited as well, provided that sales of the Justice League soundtrack improve significantly and that there is sufficient demand from fans.[5][6] A second Justice League volume may also follow if fans support the existing release.

Broadcast history edit

The series premiere on November 17, 2001, set a Cartoon Network record with over 4.114 million viewers. This made it the channel's highest rated premiere ever, a record it would keep until September 13, 2009, when the world premiere of Scooby-Doo! The Mystery Begins gathered over 6.108 million viewers.

The show was aired in the Republic of Ireland on TG4 in both Irish and English from 6 September 2002 to 2007.[7]

Reception edit

Justice League and Justice League Unlimited has received critical acclaim and is often listed as one of the best animated shows of all time, with praise for its stories, writing, character development, and voice acting. IGN named Justice League/Justice League Unlimited as the 20th best animated television series of all time.[8] Similarly Indiewire also ranked Justice League as the 20th best animated show of all time.[9]

Many fans including the creative team felt that season one of Justice League was a mixed bag, with the crew admitting it was a learning curve for them. Producer Bruce Timm had remarked "some of the first season episodes I think were really good, but we had so many challenges inherent in the show. So many balls juggling in the air, and inevitably some of them dropped." He further added "I think we were making a conscious effort to make it a little more of a family-friendly show, but unfortunately by pulling back on some of the more adult storylines, we didn't really replace it with anything. Something of a blandness set in with the show. We made steps to remedy that situation in Season Two, and to the point where I think the Season Two episodes make a much better show across the board. We're constantly calling it new improved Justice League."[10]

The second season of Justice League however, is considered to be one of the best seasons of the entire DC Animated Universe, with Oliver Sava from The A.V. Club writing "good enough isn't good enough." "That's the philosophy for Justice League season two, according to producer Bruce Timm on the DVD commentary, and this two-part season opener is the perfect example of that new attitude in action. Just as Batman: The Animated Series set a new standard for solo superhero cartoon excellence, Justice League season two is only eclipsed by Justice League Unlimited as the strongest superhero-team series. Everything is of higher quality this season: the direction, animation, music, sound effects, and most importantly, the stories."[11]

Accolades edit

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
Golden Reel Awards Best Sound Editing – Television Animated Series – Sound Robert Hargreaves, Mark Keatts, George Brooks, and
Kelly Ann Foley (for "In the Blackest Night, Part II")
Nominated [12]
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Main Title Theme Music Lolita Ritmanis Nominated [13]
Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards TV Presentation of the Year Runner-up [14]
Golden Reel Awards Best Sound Editing – Television Animated Series – Sound Robert Hargreaves, Mark Keatts, George Brooks, and
Kelly Ann Foley (for "Savage Time, Part I")
Nominated [15]
Annie Awards Outstanding Writing in an Animated Television Production Paul Dini (for "Comfort & Joy") Nominated [16]
Golden Reel Awards Best Sound Editing – Television Animated Series – Sound Robert Hargreaves, Mark Keatts, George Brooks, Mark Keefer,
Kelly Ann Foley, and Kerry Iverson (for "Twilight, Part II")
Nominated [17]
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Main Title Theme Music Michael McCuistion Nominated [18]
Writers Guild of America Awards Animation Rich Fogel, John Ridley, and Dwayne McDuffie (for "Starcrossed") Nominated [19]
Annie Awards Outstanding Directing in a Television Production Dan Riba (for "Clash") Nominated [20]
Gold Derby Awards Animated Series Nominated [21]
Cinema Audio Society Awards Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for DVD Original Programming Edwin O. Collins, Tim Borquez, Eric Freeman, and Doug Andorka Nominated [22]

Cancelled film and reboot edit

Circa 2004, Bruce Timm announced that a direct-to-video Justice League feature film was being planned. The film was intended to make a bridge between the second season of Justice League to the first season of Justice League Unlimited. The film was planned to reveal how Wonder Woman acquired her Invisible-Jet, and also planned to feature the Crime Syndicate as the main antagonists, an idea that was originally conceived for the two-part episode "A Better World", until the Syndicate was replaced by the Justice Lords.[23] Dwayne McDuffie wrote the script and Andrea Romano assembled the cast, but Warner Bros. finally scrapped the project.[24] In 2010, however, the film's plot was used for the non-DCAU film Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths with all references to the continuity of the DC Animated Universe removed. Most notably of these changes is the replacement of John Stewart with Hal Jordan as the Justice League's Green Lantern.

Adaptations edit

Justice League Adventures edit

DC Comics published a series of 34-issue numbered comics based on the television series, between 2002 and 2004.

  • #34 (2004-08-04): Guardians Against Darkness![25]

Compilations edit

  • Justice League Adventures: The Magnificent Seven (2004-01-01): Includes #3, 6, 10–12.[26]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b Erickson, Hal (2005). Television Cartoon Shows: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, 1949 Through 2003 (2nd ed.). McFarland & Co. pp. 461–463. ISBN 978-1476665993.
  2. ^ Dimino, Russ (October 2007). "The Many Faces Of... Superman". KryptonSite.com. Archived from the original on March 27, 2017. Retrieved April 11, 2012.
  3. ^ "Justice League: Star Crossed (2004)". DC. Archived from the original on 11 March 2023. Retrieved 11 March 2023.
  4. ^ "Film music | movie music| film score | JUSTICE LEAGUE - Michael McCuistion - Lolita Ritmanis - Kristopher Carter - Limited Edition". Archived from the original on 2017-06-29. Retrieved 2016-08-26.
  5. ^ "FSM Board: Save DC Comics Animated Music!". Archived from the original on 2017-02-28. Retrieved 2017-02-27.
  6. ^ "La-La- Land Records Confirms Further "Batman: The Animated Series" Soundtracks Coming - The World's Finest". 2 July 2012. Archived from the original on 20 September 2016. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  7. ^ RTÉ Guide.   31 August - 6 September 2002 edition and subsequent dates.
  8. ^ "Top 1000 Animated Series - IGN.com". Archived from the original on 2022-10-19. Retrieved 2022-10-19.
  9. ^ Nguyen, Ben Travers, Hanh; Travers, Ben; Nguyen, Hanh (4 March 2022). "The Best Animated Series of All Time". Archived from the original on 16 March 2023. Retrieved 11 March 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  10. ^ "Season One". jl.popgeeks.com. Archived from the original on 11 March 2023. Retrieved 11 March 2023.
  11. ^ "Justice League: "Twilight"". The A.V. Club. 23 July 2012. Archived from the original on 25 January 2023. Retrieved 11 March 2023.
  12. ^ "Sound editors tap noms for Golden Reel Awards". Variety. Retrieved June 27, 2019.
  13. ^ "Justice League". Emmys.com. Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Archived from the original on March 4, 2021. Retrieved June 6, 2021.
  14. ^ "2003 Rondo Awards". RondoAward.com. February 13, 2004. Archived from the original on September 22, 2022. Retrieved September 18, 2022.
  15. ^ "'Gangs,' 'Perdition' top Golden Reel nods". Variety. Retrieved June 27, 2019.
  16. ^ "31st Annual Annie Awards". Annie Awards. Archived from the original on September 3, 2017. Retrieved June 6, 2021.
  17. ^ "'Pirates' reels in most MPSE noms". Variety. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  18. ^ "Justice League Unlimited". Emmys.com. Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Archived from the original on April 22, 2022. Retrieved June 6, 2021.
  19. ^ McNary, Dave (15 December 2004). "'Wing' still has the write stuff". Variety. Archived from the original on 24 August 2021. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  20. ^ "33rd Annual Annie Awards". Annie Awards. Archived from the original on September 3, 2017. Retrieved June 6, 2021.
  21. ^ "2007 Gold Derby TV Awards". Gold Derby. Archived from the original on November 13, 2021. Retrieved March 6, 2016.
  22. ^ "THE WINNERS AND NOMINEES FOR THE CINEMA AUDIO SOCIETY AWARDS FOR OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND MIXING FOR 2008". www.cinemaaudiosociety.org. Archived from the original on 2011-07-25.
  23. ^ "A Better World". Archived from the original on 2013-02-17. Retrieved 2016-11-15.
  24. ^ "World's Collide". Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2016-11-12.
  25. ^ "JUSTICE LEAGUE ADVENTURES #34". DC. Archived from the original on 11 March 2023. Retrieved 11 March 2023.
  26. ^ "JUSTICE LEAGUE ADVENTURES VOL. 1: THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN". DC. Archived from the original on 11 March 2023. Retrieved 11 March 2023.

External links edit