On September 5, 1992, Fox first aired Timm, Dini and Radomski’s classic cartoon Batman the Animated Series.
Spurred on by renewed interest in the character after Tim Burton’s movies (although Returns wasn’t out yet when most of the 1st season of the cartoon was in production)
The show aired from September 1992 to November 1994 with a few more episodes in the fall of 95 before the animation and character design were re-tooled and it moved to the WB Network as “The New Batman Adventures” for 1997-8
Over the run, they had original episodes alongside ones adapting classic Batman stories like The Demon’s Head, The Laughing Fish/Sign of the Joker/Joker’s 5-Way Revenge and No Hope in Crime Alley.
The Animated Series also introduced Harley Quinn in the early episode “Joker’s Favor”. She would go on to appear in the show, the ‘Batman Adventures’ tie-in comics and eventually the main canon Bat-books in 1998.
It’s also notable for the concurrent development of the character Renee Montoya, who had first appeared several months earlier in the comics, and the tragic re-invention and redesign (By Hellboy creator Mike Mignola!) of Mister Freeze.
I don’t remember the first episode I saw, it was probably later around 1995 and was likely a rerun. I watched as many of them as I could in syndication as the show became “The New Batman Adventures” with a simplified animation style on the WB, paired with the same crew’s Superman the Animated Series. I got a few of the official VHS tapes of an episode or two, and picked up the “Art and Making Of” book. They finally released DVDs of the whole thing around 2005
DC started a “Batman Adventures” series, which ran about 36 issues and I think is the best Bat-book of the 90s, and I say that having read all of them. It was followed with a “Gotham Adventures” title in the style of The New Batman Adventures, a 3rd volume by Dan Slott and more recently a “The Adventures Continue” series.
Timm & Co. Followed Batman with a whole cohesive DC Animated Universe in Superman The Animated Series, Batman Beyond, Static Shock, Justice League & Justice League Unlimited and sort of The Zeta Project.
I love Batman the Animated Series. So many great elements like the Fleischer & Motter inspired Gothic Art Deco city, Shirley Walker’s score, the great voice cast and talent they got at every step from character design to writing (most episodes at least- there’s a few even I skip most times). I’ve been watching and collecting it for at least 27 years and as long as I’m still alive I’ll probably still be watching it in 2032.