Many fans might have missed the news that there’s a Batman: The Animated Series audio drama in the works, and he’ll see all the voice actors of the original series reprise their roles. The voice acting is part of what makes the unique series so special, and one that remains iconic is Mark Hamill’s portrayal of the Joker.
The Animated Series’ Joker’s episodes were always the most entertaining, as he’d conjure up the most outrageous schemes simply to mess with the Batman and ruin his day. And there are other Joker-centric episodes that are surprisingly dramatic too. While there are other highly rated Joker-featuring episodes on IMDb like “Almost Got ‘Im” and “Trial,” they star other villains, and these episodes are predominantly led by the clown prince of crime.
10 “The Last Laugh” – 7.8
The Joker is one of the most powerful villains in the series, losing out only to Bane. But what Joker lacks in brown he more than makes up for in brains. One thing The Animated Series Does so well that a few other Batman shows or films have captured is how much of a depraved sense of humor the Joker has, and the show perfectly combines that with ridiculous but inventive schemes.
In “The Last Laugh,” the Joker sprays the whole city with laughing gas on April Fool’s day. It’s a fun episode, but it follows too much of a familiar formula where Batman continuously captures the Joker only for him to repeatedly escape. And it ends with the clown hanging upside down over a fire pit, which is exactly what happened in the previous episode, “Christmas With the Joker.”
9 “Beware The Creeper” – 7.9
It comes as a surprise that “Beware the Creeper” is rated so highly, as it’s one of the goofier episodes and more in line with what would generally be found on morning TV in the ’90s. The episode sees a Gotham News Reporter fall into a vat of acid, who then immediately turns into the Creeper, a wacky supervillain.
The acid gives the reporter a Joker-like smug grin and super strength and agility, which doesn’t make much sense given that Joker doesn’t have those powers. However, there are still some classic moments in “Beware the Creeper.” The episode starts with the reporter doing a special on the Joker and Batman’s history, and the Joker shows up to the scene knowing that Batman is so narcissistic and obsessive that he’ll be watching.
8 “Christmas With The Joker” – 7.9
It’s hardly the noir-influenced narratives about insurance fraud that would appear in later episodes. However, “Christmas With the Joker” is still funny and charming, as all Dick wants to do is get home to show Bruce the timeless It’s A Wonderful Life.
7 “Joker’s Millions” – 8.1
Some think The Animated Series features the best version of the Joker and based on “Joker’s Millions,” it’s easy to see why. Though the episode is in season 3, which has been heavily criticized for the change in animation, the season fantastically focuses on the breakdown in Harley Quinn and Joker’s relationship. And like many relationships, it’s financial problems that force a wedge between them.
The duo no longer has enough money to fund their theatrical schemes… until Joker mysteriously inherits millions of dollars. “Joker’s Millions,” has one of the funniest one-liners that the series’ target wouldn’t get, and it reveals Joker’s true audience fear. The villain exclaims, “I’m crazy enough to take on Batman, but the IRS? No, thank you!”
6 “Joker’s Wild” – 8.2
While The Animated Series is thousands of ’90s kids’ favorite iteration of Batman because they grew up with it, the cartoon was just as appealing to adults, if not more so. A lot of the catalysts for Joker’s schemes would have gone over children’s heads, not to mention all the references to gangster movies, and “Joker’s Wild” is the best example of that.
The episode sees Cameron Kaiser open a Joker-themed casino, and it’s a result of bankruptcy and an attempt at insurance fraud. The episode is also a great depiction of Batman as the world’s greatest detective, and it seems like such a risky decision to have a Batman cartoon following the caped crusader as he roots through old construction bills, but it paid off.
5 “Joker’s Favor” – 8.5
The beginning of “Joker’s Favor” is genius screenwriting, as it features the clown prince of crime toying with and harassing a random Gotham civilian, Charlie Collins, on the highway. The sequence lasts for six whole minutes and ends with Joker telling the family man that he’ll call upon him for a favor at some point in the future. It’s so well written, as it shows how Joker will prey on anyone if they look at him wrong, and it’s so engrossing even though there’s barely any action or dialogue.
The episode then flashes forward two years, Joker is in the middle of a huge scheme to murder Commissioner Gordon, and he calls upon the terrified Charlie for his favor. That favor is… to hold open a door. The whole episode is just a perfect display of how erratic, unpredictable, and devilishly hilarious the Joker is.
4 “The Laughing Fish” – 8.5
The clown prince of crime is the big appeal of The Animated Series, as the Joker appears in 27 episodes, and out of all of them, “The Laughing Fish” follows him on one of his most ridiculous outings. In the episode, the character mutates all of Gotham’s fish into ones that resemble his grin and pale white skin.
Joker mutates the fish with the intention of trying to copyright them because they share his likeness and muscle fishermen out of their profits. The scheme ultimately fails and results in an epic chase scene between the caped crusader and his arch-nemesis.
3 “The Man Who Killed Batman” – 8.7
Joker plays a key role in “The Man Who Killed Batman,” but surprisingly, he isn’t actually the titular character. The episode follows Sid the Squid, a low-ranking, dim-witted gangster who everyone believes pushed Batman off a ledge and to his death. It’s a fascinating 20 minutes, as Sid goes from one stroke of luck to the next, but it’s Joker that elevates it from a clever episode to a classic.
Joker is genuinely upset that Batman is dead, so much so that he even gives a hilarious but touching eulogy, and he sets out to get revenge on Sid. The episode is also another great example of how dark Batman: The Animated Series Is compared to other cartoons, as Joker literally locks Sid in a coffin and slowly lowers it into a vat of acid.
2 “Old Wounds” – 8.8
“Old Wounds” is one of the most layered episodes of Batman: The Animated Seriesand it just goes to show how great the storytelling is that it overshadows the criticized animation of season 3. The episode sees the Joker attempting to steal military equipment with his thugs, but the story quickly evolves into what forced Robin to go rogue and become Nightwing.
“Old Wounds” is one of the best Robin episodes and almost as personal and epic as “Robin’s Reckoning.” The series hadn’t been this dramatic, serious, or engaging since season 1, and it’s a testament to The Animated Series that it’s the only on-screen Batman that has actually gotten Robin right.
1 “Mad Love” – 9.4
“Mad Love” is the very last episode of the series, and it could only have ended in one way, with a final, epic face-off between Joker and Batman. However, it isn’t as epic as fans would expect, and is instead an introspective exploration of what makes both Batman and Joker tick. The episode focuses on Harley Quinn just as much as Joker too, as it tells her origin story and how she fell in love with Joker.
Season 3 did such a great job of setting up the finale with episodes like “Harleyquinade,” as it depicts how much of a toxic relationship Joker and Harley have, and how Joker endlessly manipulates her. And that’s what makes Batman and Joker’s final altercation that much better, as Batman reveals to the Joker how much cleverer she is than him, and not listening to Harley was Joker’s ultimate downfall.
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