BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES: This Is the Greatest Episode of All

As picked by YOU, the readers, in BATMADNESS: The Animated Tournament…

After weeks of voting through a Sweet 16 of Batman: The Animated Series episodes — selected by writer Fred Van Lente and artist Ryan Dunlavey — you, the readers, have made your choice known, loud and clear, through hundreds of ballots:

Heart of Ice — the story that redefined Mr. Freeze for the last generation — is the greatest of all BTAS episodes.

The ep, which debuted Sept. 7, 1992, was actually a second-seed selection by Fred, who had this to say about the classic: “Another great tragic, villain-based episode and debut script from BTAS co-MVP Paul Dini. It’s a particularly brilliant little detail that Batman catches a cold from Mr. Freeze, so Alfred gives him a Thermos of hot chicken soup that later becomes an important plot device. Listen for Mark Hamill in a pre-Joker performance as a scumbag executive.”

The installment, written by Paul Dini and directed by Bruce Timm, bested Two-Face in the BATMADNESS final earlier this week. (If you want to check out the whole slate of 16 and how the tournament went down, click here.)

Meanwhile, don’t forget to pick up Fred (who is also a 13th Dimension contributor) and Ryan’s The Comic Book History of Animation, out now from IDW. Issue #3 is due Jan. 27.

MORE

— The Complete BATMADNESS: The Animated Tournament: Click here.

— How BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES Changed Cartoons. Click here.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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8 Comments

  1. I’d love to see the numbers behind the scenes. What was the response? How did it break done? What method of voting was preferred?

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    • Broad scope: About 1,500 ballots cast across 13th Dimension and Twitter during the tourney. I decided to count Facebook groups too. For the most part, the match-ups were not close. Not a scientific process by any stretch. Just a fun exercise that a lot of people seemed to dig.

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  2. Love this episode – totally a worthy winner! The best BTAS episodes were always the ones that focused on the villains instead of Batman himself. I remember seeing it debut LIVE at Steve Ellis’ house when we were in college (remember live tv?) and we couldn’t believe how good it was.
    BTAS is now available on HBO MAX in the states – if you have a subscription go check out the whole 16 episode bracket when you can – at least 10 out of them are stone-cold CLASSICS, but all the episodes Fred and I picked are worth watching!
    (Also Dan would kill me if I didn’t mention that the R’as Al Ghul episodes – especially The Demon’s Quest – are all very cool too. We only had one of them – Showdown – in the bracket).
    THANK YOU DAN and 13th Dimension for letting us do this! Fred and I had a blast picking the episodes, revisiting them, writing up the blurbs, following the outcome of the match-ups and reading everyone’s comments. BTAS (and series co-creator Bruce Timm!) will be featured prominently in issue #5 of THE COMIC BOOK HISTORY OF ANIMATION – which goes on sale in March 2021!
    Hey, let’s do this again for the SECOND best DC superhero animated series: TEEN TITANS (2003)!!!

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  3. This tournament was a lot of fun, but I’m honestly not surprised to see this one at the top. It’s often cited as the best of the best, and I can’t really argue with it. There are episodes I prefer on a personal level, but this episode is kind of the best example to show anyone who isn’t familiar with the show. It is equal parts pathos and action, and is the best example of the show creators doing the comics and other media one better, delivering without a doubt the best version of Mr. Freeze.

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  4. Worthiest episode by far. This is hands down one of THE GREATEST television episodes of ANY series! R.I.P. Michael Ansara

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  5. My two favorite episodes are The Grey Ghost for its nostalgic feel plus the voiced participation of the real Batman Adam West! The second The Demon Within since I’ve always loved Etrigan and the special nod to the King himself Jack Kirby Easter egg.

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    • I love “The Demon Within”! That episode is SO under-rated (the color design alone makes it a winner) but unfortunately didn’t qualify for the tournament as it was one of the “New Adventures”. If we had included those, “Over The Edge” would have been my #1 pick for sure.

      I love Adam West and grew up watching Batman ’66 re-runs. The concept and sentiment of “Beware The Grey Ghost” are solid, but when I revisited it for this tournament I found it to be one of the more boring episodes, and far and away the most depressing. Great idea, but I think it missed the mark.

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  6. just from memory there are a lot i loved. the episode when joker harassed a guy on the freeway, the Maximilian blimp episode, the clock king episode, rahs al ghul, etc

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