James Knows…DVDs: Justice League – Season Two (2004)
I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t entirely impressed by the first season of Justice League. Each episode felt like it was cut short or I was watching the abridged version. I wish I could say that this changed in the second season, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case.
We’re treated to more adventures of the Justice League as they encounter even more villains and come across a few more heroes for an occasional team up. This season features newcomers like Dr. Fate and Amazo along with returns of some of the previous villains such as Shade, Gorilla Grodd, and Lex Luthor. The episodes get bigger in scope though. The danger is greater when evil-doers like Darkseid and the Joker are thrown into the mix. Those episodes felt more like the level that the Justice League should be on.
The second season isn’t bad. It’s just not up to the standards of the previous animated adventures of the DC super heroes. This season gets a bit more of a handle on the storytelling aspect, but it’s still just not there. The season (and series) finale “Starcrossed” is by far the best episode of the series. It’s a three-parter so that might be a big reason for it. They had more time to tell the story and there’s a notable difference in quality.
I also still had a problem with the voice acting for the series. Most of the Justice League sound OK, but just about every other character that pops up just doesn’t sound right. The voice doesn’t go with the body or the character. This becomes very distracting.
The DVD holds a handful of commentaries along with a brief featurette on the third disc taking a look at the second season. Here’s the thing. If you’re going to provide a bunch of interviews with the creators that features clips from the entire season, put it on the last disc. Don’t put it on the third disc and show clips from the episodes on the last disc. I’m not up there yet and it’s a pain in the ass to switch discs to come back and watch a 12 minute featurette. I’ll forgive you this time, but you should know better. The featurette in question is actually pretty good and the show’s creators actually admit that the first season of Justice League wasn’t nearly as good as it could have been. They “played it safe” and really tried to branch out and take a few more risks with this season.
Did they succeed? I don’t think so. Justice League isn’t a bad show by any means. It’s entertaining and it’s always fun to see some of my favorite super heroes fighting evil together. I just feel that the writers weren’t prepared for the scale of these adventures. Shows like Batman and Superman worked well with the single episode stories because they only had one hero to work with. Here you’ve got up to seven at a time and it’s tough to tell a decent story in even two episodes. As I mentioned, Starcrossed is the story that sticks out because it had the third episode to really flesh out the plot. If you’re just interested in the best of the best, that story is available on it’s own. I’m told that the sequel series Justice League Unlimited is a lot better than this one and I certainly hope so. As of right now, Justice League is on the bottom of my list of favorite “Dini-verse” cartoons.