Today, I’ll look at my picks for favorite 1990s superhero TV show and movie openings.
Captain Planet and the Planeteers
I’ve written about this early 90s eco-conscious series in a previous minorities in cartoons entry. The series has been released to DVD.
The 1990s X-Men series that aired on Fox was a lot of people’s first non-comics exposure to the popular mutant superheroes. The series used a lot of plot elements and characters from the comics. The series has been released to DVD.
I didn’t watch much of the short-lived 1990 CBS series when it first aired, but did see it in reruns on cable. The series featured Barry Allen as the Fastest Man Alive. The reason (and what killed it, besides its then-expensive special effects) was airing opposite mega-hit series “The Simpsons” and still-somewhat-popular “The Cosby Show.” The series is now available on DVD.
Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman
Another popular Superman take, this series aired in the mid-90s on ABC, and was more focused on being a romantic comedy/adventure series (with superhero elements) than its action-oriented animated counterpart that also aired during this time (“Superman: The Animated Series”). Admit I preferred the cartoon over this series; additionally, “Lois & Clark” often aired opposite other shows I was watching, particularly “The Simpsons.” The series also ran out of steam toward the end of its run; Delta Burke starring as “The Wedding Destroyer” wasn’t a high point, nor was faking viewers out on its initial Lois-Clark wedding, which annoyed viewers and hurt the show’s popularity. Still, the show has a loyal following among many, and its theme song is quite memorable. (And no, I don’t know why they had Clark slick back his hair as Superman, but wear a spitcurl as Clark…)
The entire series is available on DVD.
The popular early 90s Disney series with the “terror that flapped in the night,” parodying various Batman (or 40s mystery-men) tropes. We even got the obligatory “World’s Finest” team-up with Duckburg’s “Superman,” Gizmoduck (from “DuckTales”). Part of the show’s run has been released to DVD.
Spider-Man (1994 TV series)
I enjoyed watching this Spidey series on Fox in the 90s. The theme song’s memorable (and very 90s). The theme even has one of the show’s tropes, seeing Spidey’s webline somehow get cut in half by the villains while he’s in mid-swing.
This one’s also available on DVD.
Another show I watched while in college oh-so-many years ago, as weird as it was…and short-lived. Kids WB’s execs in the 90s ultimately proved they wanted “Pokemon,” not this or other series of similar appeal, such as “Animaniacs.” Like “Animaniacs,” the opening theme for “Freakazoid” is fun. (“He’s here to save the nation, so stay tuned to this station…if not, we’ll be unemployed” indeed…)
The entire series is at least available on DVD.
Superman: The Animated Series
The fun 1990s Superman animated series featured Dana Delaney as Lois and Tim Daly as Superman. The show also brought various elements from the comics to TV, including Gilbert Gottfried voicing Mr. Mxyzptlk (Mxy in this series was in his Golden Age/Earth-2 purple tuxedo version). Various DC heroes also guest-starred, including the Flash (Wally West, in a “Superman/Flash” race of course) and Aquaman. The opening theme music is nice, even though for some reason the opening on-screen action is just clips from various episodes.
The New Batman/Superman Adventures
A rare example of a post-80s anthology series, this show (running from 1997-2000 on Kids WB) was just combined episodes of “Superman: The Animated Series” and “The New Batman Adventures,” the latter a followup to “Batman: The Animated Series,” but animated in a style more similar to Superman’s show. TNBSA featured its own opening title sequence that’s nicely done.
As far as I know, this opening’s never been included on any home video releases; DVDs give the Batman episodes for this series the “Batman: The Animated Series” opening.
Airing on Kids WB from 1999 to 2001, “Batman Beyond” (or “Batman of the Future” as it was called in some countries) featured the adventures of a teenaged protege of the elderly, now-retired Bruce Wayne of 40 years in the future. The opening, however, might possibly scream “the 90s” more than any other opening listed here. Not sure if teens will be getting down to the techno beat (as one part of the opening shows) come circa-2040… that’d be their parents’ (or even grandparents’) music!
The entire series is available on DVD.