The Batman Animated Series of the 1990's has been universally adored by Batman and comic book fans alike for decades. Revered as one of the most faithful adaptations of the tales of The Dark Knight, it holds a special place in the hearts of many fans of the legendary superhero, and for good reasons too.
Apart from giving audiences a broad scope of Batman's adventures through Gotham City, the show (firstly aimed at children) also took a rather a mature and respectful approach to the caped crusader.
Younger audiences might have just appreciated the spectacle of seeing Batman fight Killer Croc, swing from rooftop-to-rooftop, or blast his way around the Batmobile - the subtle jokes, Easter Eggs and adult themes would have gone right over their heads.
But an older audience with a more seasoned perspective will certainly see something different. The writers of the Batman series were telling stories you would often save for a gritty Netflix series. Way ahead of its time, the maturity and dark themes of the animated series were more prevalent and it's fascinating to look back and see how dark the series was.
While (nearly) every episode could be analysed to display the dark themes carried throughout the series, I've narrowed down ten of the shows grittiest and most unnerving episodes. Joker and Two-Face' murderous rampages might not be a plenty on this list, instead you'll see the episodes that will make you question the futility of life itself.
10. Growing Pains
Starting off this list with one of the most deeply disturbing episodes in the series - 'Growing Pains'.
When Robin encounters an amnesiac runaway, whom he calls Annie, the Boy Wonder takes it upon himself to protect her from a strange man who is chasing her down. We learn close to the end that Annie is a part of a Clayface that got detached and gained sentient independence.
Robin is smitten by Annie, but also horrified that the sweet and innocent girl he sought to protect was not a person after all, but merely an appendage to the might clay monster.
The episode ends with Annie re-absorbing into Clayface, thus 'killing' herself to save Robin. As far as poetic deaths go, it's pretty rough to watch a young girl with no concepts of right or wrong merge into a giant clay monster. While it is disturbing to watch, and Batman works his best to console Robin, we see that he has been gravely affected by it.
Whether kids (and adults!) saw Annie as an actual person is open to interpretation, but hearing Robin quietly call Clayface a murderer sinks in more than any accusation to Joker or Two Face.