Skip to main content

7 best Batman Beyond episodes, ranked

2024 is the 25th anniversary of Batman Beyond, a spinoff of Batman: The Animated Series that no one expected to take on a life of its own. After all, this was a show born out of a network demand for a much younger Batman with more kid-friendly adventures. Series creators Paul Dini, Bruce Timm, and Alan Burnett delivered on the “younger” part, but this show was not the watered-down Batman that fans feared it would be.

Will Friedle was cast as the new Batman, Terry McGinnis, while the creative team wisely invited Batman: The Animated Series star Kevin Conroy to remain in his role as an elderly Bruce Wayne. This series took place five decades after Batman’s heyday, which forced Bruce to relinquish the role. Instead, he served as Terry’s occasionally harsh mentor rather than being his Alfred.

At times, Batman Beyond resembled Spider-Man more than the Dark Knight. But the creative team behind Batman: The Animated Series made sure that this was a series to be proud of, and that’s why it remains popular almost a quarter century after its debut. To celebrate that accomplishment, we’re looking back at the seven best episodes of Batman Beyond.

7. Dead Man’s Hand (Season 1, Episode 8)

Melanie and Terry in Batman Beyond.
Warner Bros. Animation

Every Batman needs a Catwoman-like femme fatale in their lives. And in Dead Man’s Hand, Terry meets his in the form of Melanie Walker. After a temporary breakup with his girlfriend, Dana, Terry forms an instant connection with Melanie, a teenage girl who feels boxed in by her family obligations. That’s something that Terry can relate to all too well.

What Terry doesn’t initially realize is that Melanie is also Ten, a member of the Royal Flush Gang. Her supervillain family has a vendetta against Batman, which forces Melanie to choose between her loved ones and the boy she just met.

6. Rebirth (Season 1, Episodes 1 and 2)

Terry McGuiness and Bruce Wayne in Batman Beyond.
Warner Bros. Animation

Introducing a new Batman was always going to be an uphill battle because fans don’t want another Dark Knight. They want Bruce Wayne forever and always. Rebirth dealt with that head-on by showing fans something they hadn’t seen before: A Batman so old and desperate that he needed a gun to survive his final night in costume.

Two decades later, a troubled teenager named Terry McGuinness stumbles upon Bruce’s greatest secret shortly before Terry’s father dies to protect a secret of his own. When Terry links his father’s murder to corruption at Bruce’s company, the former Batman refuses to take action directly. So Terry takes matters into his own hands before he and Bruce eventually form a partnership.

5. Eyewitness (Season 2, Episode 14)

Batman and Commissioner Barbara Gordon in Batman Beyond.
Warner Bros. Animation

For most of the series, Terry doesn’t have a very good relationship with the former Batgirl, Barbara Gordon, who had taken over her father’s role as the police commissioner. Barbara had her own falling out with Bruce decades before, and she doesn’t want a new Batman running around on her streets. Barbara’s suspicions about Terry’s unsuitability for the role manifest themselves in Eyewitness when she sees him murder a criminal in front of him.

Naturally, Terry is innocent and wouldn’t kill anyone. But since Barbara already knows who he is under the mask, she puts the squeeze on Terry’s personal life like few others can. And if Terry can’t prove that he’s not a killer, he’s facing more than just the end of his time as Batman.

4. The Call: Part 1 and Part 2 (Season 3, Episodes 7 and 8)

Batman and the Justice League Beyond from Batman Beyond.
Warner Bros. Animation

Fans had been clamoring for a Justice League animated series for years when Batman Beyond finally introduced the team. However, it wasn’t the League that many were expecting. Aside from a visibly older Superman, Big Barda was the only recognizable hero alongside legacy characters Warhawk, Aquagirl, and a new Green Lantern.

After watching Terry in action for years, Superman reunites with Bruce and formally offers Terry a place in the Justice League. What Superman neglected to mention to Terry is that he didn’t consult the team about his appointment, leading them to resent the new Batman. More pressingly, there’s a traitor in the Justice League who has a terrifying agenda for the entire world.

3. Black Out (Season 1, Episode 3)

Batman and Bruce Wayne from Batman Beyond.
Warner Bros. Animation

The series was still finding its way when it introduced Inque, a shape-shifting thief and killer who gave the new Batman all he could handle in one of his early cases. Most notably, Inque smuggled herself into the Batcave and ended up battling both Terry and Bruce while the relics of Batman’s past surrounded them. There are a lot of terrific callbacks to Batman: The Animated Series here, including Bruce’s decision to disguise his face with the mask of his personal hero,  The Gray Ghost.

2. Meltdown (Season 1, Episode 5)

Mr. Freeze debuts his new look in Batman Beyond.
Warner Bros. Animation

Many of the best episodes of this series feature characters from the first Batman’s past returning in unexpected ways. Mr. Freeze was the first bad guy to do so, and this episode offers him hope for a second chance to live as a normal man. While Bruce never fully trusts that Freeze’s new leaf is genuine, Terry actually gives him the benefit of the doubt.

Unfortunately for everyone involved, Freeze’s new beginning is too good to be true, and his clone body is rapidly breaking down. When his benefactor, Dereck Powers, orders him to be killed, Mr. Freeze reemerges with an even more powerful suit to get his revenge.

1. Out of the Past (Season 3, Episode 5)

Bruce Wayne and Terry McGuiness in Batman Beyond.
Warner Bros. Animation

This episode would have made the list for the opening minute alone, which has the most pitch-perfect parody of a Batman Broadway musical that anyone has ever done. But what elevates Out of the Past is how it deals with Bruce’s and Terry’s insecurities while introducing yet another piece of unfinished business from Batman’s past: Talia al Ghul.

Since Bruce is feeling particularly vulnerable over his advanced age, Talia’s offer to rejuvenate himself using the Lazarus Pit of her father, Ra’s al Ghul, is too good to pass up. As Terry wonders what Bruce’s new lease on life means for his career as Batman, they discover that Talia is more than she appears and an old enemy’s revenge is at hand.

Watch Batman Beyond on Max.

Editors' Recommendations

Blair Marnell
Blair Marnell has been an entertainment journalist for over 15 years. His bylines have appeared in Wizard Magazine, Geek…
The 10 best movies of 2023, ranked
A superimposed header graphic for the Best Movies of 2023 article.

From atomic bombs (Oppenheimer, Asteroid City) to atomic blondes (Barbie, Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour), 2023 was a year when cinema looked ahead by going back to the past. With reliable franchises like Marvel, DC, Indiana Jones, and Transformers failing and streaming still a question mark, the movie landscape expanded, allowing for a Hayao Miyazaki film about death to be the number one movie in America and for a three-hour movie filmed partly in black and white about nuclear physics to become a summertime critical and commercial smash.

It's a weird time for movies, but it was also a great year for films of all kinds: American ones, international ones, comedies, horror, sci-fi, dramas...heck, even a Godzilla movie (Godzilla Minus One) was excellent. I saw hundreds of movies this year, and to make a 10-best list this year was incredibly hard but always enjoyable. These are the 10 best movies of 2023.
10. The Killer

Read more
Kurt Russell’s 7 best movies, ranked
The cast of Big Trouble in Little China.

Earlier this year, Kurt Russell turned 72 years old, but he's far from finished in Hollywood. Last year marked Russell's sixth decade as a movie star, and he's currently starring in the Apple TV+ Godzilla-adjacent series, Monarch: Legacy of Monsters. In recent years, Russell has been introduced to a new generation of movie lovers in the Fast and Furious films as the enigmatic Mr. Nobody. But before he became an elder statesman action hero, Russell was an icon through the '80s and '90s.

The late Walt Disney personally predicted that Russell was going to become a big star, which is why Disney locked him up with a ten-year contract that lasted into the '70s. But even Disney couldn't have foreseen that Russell would have such an impressive run decades later. Few actors ever get the chance to appear in as many films and TV shows as Russell has. And his career path is one of a kind.

Read more
The best shows on Amazon Prime Video right now (January 2024)
A man wearing a headset in a sports uniform, looking up from the sidelines in a scene from Friday Night Lights.

All the holiday shopping is done and you probably worked your way through some new shows during the holiday break. Now that the new year has begun, it's time to look at what else to watch during your spare time. The best shows on Amazon Prime Video include series that were recently introduced. But don't discount legacy series from this decade and earlier, too. Think everything from L.A. Law to Friday Night Lights. If you're looking to sink your teeth into an old show you never got around to watching, Amazon Prime Video has a wealth of them from which to choose, dating back decades.

There are new shows, too, including thrilling Amazon Originals like Gen V, Reacher, and I'm A Virgo. To help you decide, we have put together this frequently updated list of the best shows on Amazon Prime right now. As you dive into a new year, there are sure to be a few here worth adding to the watch list.

Read more