[[quoteright:300:http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Supes.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:300:[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYtdl9BrKUc "Nice 'S.'"]]]]
[[quoteright:250:~~WesternAnimation, {{Superhero}} ~~]]

''Superman: The Animated Series'' (or ''The New Superman Adventures'' in its second season) is an animated television series than ran from 1996 to 2000. After ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'' proved to be an enormous success, Creator/BruceTimm and Creator/PaulDini turned their attention to DC's other major hero: Franchise/{{Superman}}. The new series would use the same "back to basics" approach to storyline and art stylings, [[AdaptationDistillation giving the Superman mythos the same timeless feel that they brought to the Batman mythos.]]

Baby Kal-El, LastOfHisKind, is sent away from the dying planet Krypton and lands on Earth, where thanks to the bright yellow sun he develops [[FlyingBrick famous abilities]] far greater than a normal human. He grows up in Smallville, Kansas, where he was found and raised as a human ("Clark") by Jonathan and Martha Kent, who instill within him a powerful sense of right and wrong. As an adult he defends the city of Metropolis as an honest, virtuous hero christened "Superman" by its inhabitants. [[WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries Not like that nut in Gotham City.]]

Since Superman does not quite have the enormous A-list RoguesGallery that Batman has, the creators chose to largely dispense with the stand-alone format of the previous series, instead focusing on three [[MythArc Myth Arcs]]:

* The first arc of the series concerned LexLuthor, the most powerful man in Metropolis before Superman's arrival. The CorruptCorporateExecutive version of the character from the PostCrisis [[{{DCU}} DC Universe]], he is ever the MagnificentBastard. With heavy doses of the VillainWithGoodPublicity, he immediately sees the man flying around righting wrongs as a threat and he begins a number of plots to either destroy Superman or [[WeCanRuleTogether get him on his side]]. These attempts include utilizing an [[KryptoniteFactor unusual rock from space that seems to give Superman a hard time]], [[CloningBlues cloning]] Superman (resulting in [[CloneDegeneration a creature that could only be described as ''Bizarro'']]) and [[WeCanRebuildHim recreating a foreign mercenary as an android assassin]]... all in just in the first season.
* The second arc concerned the character of {{Brainiac}}. [[RetCanon His origin was rewritten for the series]], tying his origin far more closely with that of Superman. Here he is the [[DeusEstMachina computer system]] responsible for the upkeep of the entire planet of Krypton and he darn well knows in the pilot episode that the planet is doomed. However, he does not want the people to know because he is too busy making provisions to save himself. After the planet explodes he becomes an [[OmnicidalManiac Omnicidal]] [[PlanetLooters Planet Looter]], determined to repeat Krypton's fate ad infinitum: collect all the data in the universe, then destroy the originals to keep his collected info from becoming obsolete. His quest brings him into conflict with Superman a number of times--though, in practice, most of his schemes just involve him trying to rebuild himself after the last time Superman destroyed him. Again, and again, and again...
* The third arc brought in the characters from JackKirby's ''[[NewGods Fourth World]]''. The [[GalacticConqueror intergalactic tyrant]] {{Darkseid}} (taking the role of the BigBad for the overall series) sets his sights on Earth, and he wants Superman's help in conquering it. Darkseid is not the type to take "no" for an answer. This arc is usually regarded as the best of the series, as the drama and action were at its peak and the individual episodes collectively formed more of an ongoing story. This arc also brought in {{Supergirl}}.

All three of these arcs were later picked up (and, to some extent, [[ArcWelding merged]]) in the SequelSeries ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague''.

Standalone episodes were, of course, not unknown. Intergalactic bounty hunter Lobo showed up to collect a Kryptonian pelt. Toyman was recreated as a thoroughly creepy PsychopathicManchild. A new female villain, Livewire, was introduced, and while not as popular as ''Batman: The Animated Series''[='s=] Harley Quinn, similarly [[CanonImmigrant made the jump to the mainline DC Universe]]. An [[GreatGazoo imp from another dimension]] named Mr. Mxyzptlk showed up twice to give Superman fits. A pair of Kryptonian criminals were paroled from their [[PhantomZone extradimensional prison]], only to wreak havoc on Earth. And, of course, {{Franchise/Batman}} came to town, hot on the Joker's trail after the latter had gotten his hands on a massive chunk of Kryptonite. The more sci-fi feel of the show allowed DC characters that would have seemed out of place on ''Batman'' (like TheFlash, the {{Franchise/Green Lantern}}s, and DoctorFate) to show up.

As befitting a {{DCAU}} production, the voice work is absolutely top notch. Tim Daly plays both halves of the title character with authority and distinction. Dana Delany gives us an utterly no-nonense LoisLane who absolutely will not tolerate babysitting the newcomer from Kansas, and is skeptical about the man in the red cape flying around doing good deeds. Ultimately, Creator/ClancyBrown is the perfect LexLuthor, smooth and cruel, slimy and utterly charming at the same time.

The series would be followed by ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague'' and ''Justice League Unlimited'', which took a large amount of characters and designs from this series.

A made for DVD movie was also made based on the series' style: ''Superman: Brainiac Attacks''. It is not considered in continuity with the regular series. The series also [[TheProblemWithLicensedGames gave stillbirth]] to the N64 video game ''[[{{Superman64}} The New Superman Adventures]]''. TitusSoftware, the company that made the game, also released ''Superman'', a GameBoy game also based on the series, two years prior.

This series now has a fledgling [[Recap/SupermanTheAnimatedSeries episode guide]] (help needed) [[http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/crowner.php/BestEpisode/forum_search_titles.php?open=all#897vdsxu Best Episode crowner]].
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!!This series contains examples of:
* AbusiveParents: Darkseid is, quite simply, not a nice person, and his children get no special treatment.
* AbsoluteCleavage: Livewire's outfit is cut with a wide lightning shaped V that goes all the way down to her belly button, although with the character design there is no actual drawn cleavage.
* ActionGirl:
** Lois Lane, though traditionally a [[DistressedDamsel woman in need of rescuing]], also has basic hand-to-hand combat training and some proficiency with light firearms. She is outclassed by the supervillains of the show, but when faced with normal human opponents, or when she is pushed into a corner without Superman to save her, she does well all by herself.
** Mercy Graves does not get many opportunities to show them off, but she has an impressive array of martial skills. [[CanonImmigrant In the comics]] she's a literal Amazon.
** Let's not forget Superman's cousin Supergirl, who managed to beat the the Female Furies, Volcana and An Alien entity trying to assimilate humans. She and Batgirl also took down Livewire, Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn.
* AcquittedTooLate: When Superman and Lois Lane have found the proof to exonerate a man on death-row, they find that the governor is not at home because he decided to attend the execution personally, and Lois laments that they barely had time for him to make the phone call stopping the execution. Kenny is already in the gas chamber and the switch had already been thrown. [[spoiler: [[SubvertedTrope It is a good thing Superman]] [[BigDamnHero was able to save him anyway]].]]
* AffablyEvil:
** Lex Luthor, who hides his villainy beneath a thin veneer of courtesy and suave sophistication.
** Edward Lytener, who even when making declarations of absolute hatred and murderous intent is always so briskly, cheerfully polite. This continues after he becomes Luminus.
* AGodAmI: Darkseid has something of an ego, [[PhysicalGod completely justified]] ego, and rules over Apokolips by asserting his own godhood. Even when he is physically defeated [[DoWithHimAsYouWill and thrown down to the clutches of his oppressed slaves]], he points out, as they gently tend to his wounds and carry him away on their shoulders, he ''cannot'' be beaten since, as he says: "I am many things, Kal-El, but here, I am god."
* TheAlcatraz: Stryker's Island. There there were only three known escapes from the island, the first involved a missile strike, the second involved an attack by [[PsychoElectro Livewire]] and the third was part of a plan to ''blot out the sun''.
* AllAmazonsWantHercules: Maxima will only mate with a man who can equal her in combat.
* AllGirlsWantBadBoys: Lana Lang explains to Lex that she ''likes'' dangerous men, [[SubvertedTrope except it turns out she only likes dangerous men because she could never snag nice guy Clark Kent]].
* AlternateUniverse: The show featured a universe where Lois died, prompting Superman to team up with Luthor and take over Metropolis.
* AmbiguouslyBrown: Lex Luthor. Fan speculation often mistook him for a light-skinned African-American, but WordOfGod says he is Greek and his appearance was based on [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telly_Savalas Telly Savalas]], a Greek-American actor. He was given a lighter skin tone in ''JusticeLeague'', probably to rectify confusion like this. Clark Kent/Superman had the same skin tone, which the creators refer to as a "reddish" tone in DVD audio commentary, but no fan ever confuses his intended color.
** The misconception was also probably partially based on the fact that, in addition to a darker skin tone, Lex had noticeably fuller lips than the other white characters.
* AmnesiacDissonance: When Metallo surfaces after being lost at sea in his premier episode he has forgotten who and what he is. He is christened "Steelman" by the pair of children who find him and is (briefly) a hero, rescuing a truck driver from a flaming wreck. However, he recovers his memory at the end of the day and resumes his vendetta against Superman.
* AmusingAlien: Mr. Mxyzptlk.
* AndIMustScream: Metallo's predicament at the end of "Action Figures". He gets better.
* AndKnowingIsHalfTheBattle: Played for laughs in "Identity Crisis", when the [[CloningBlues clone Superman]] gives a speech about dares and courage to a group of kids. Their reactions are mixed.
* AnswersToTheNameOfGod: Variation; when Bruno Mannheim finds himself on Apokolips, he asks "Where in God's name are we?" to which Kanto replies "That depends. To which God are you referring?" right before introducing him to [[BigBad Darkseid]].
* ArmsDealer: Luthor apparently has numerous sources of income, since he claims to employ two-thirds of Metropolis whether they know it or not, but the only one that gets any screentime is his weapons manufacturing.
* ATeamFiring: Averted throughout most of the series (not that they would actually ''need'' to play it straight, with a bulletproof hero), except for the crossover "World's Finest," which brought Batman and the Joker to Metropolis and seemed to be trying to make up for not using the trope before. When the Joker kidnaps Lois his [[{{Mooks}} henchmen]] shoot at Bruce Wayne and, though they initially appear to be firing at his feet in a deliberate attempt to force him to fall off the roof, by the the time he actually falls they are firing dozens of shots at him from five feet away, [[KnifeOutline outlining his entire body]], without hitting him even once. When he finally does fall off the roof he lands on a scaffold and the criminals continue to shoot at him, firing so many bulets ''they knock the scaffold off the building and actually demolish the wooden floor he is standing on'', still without hitting Bruce.
* AttackOfThe50FootWhatever: Titano.
* AwLookTheyReallyDoLoveEachOther: It might not have reached the point of actual "love" just yet, but Lois's teary-eyed confession to Superman about her feelings towards his alter-ego Clark Kent (whom at the time was believed to be dead) in the episode "The Late Mr. Kent" reveals that she is starting to think about him as more than just competition from a small town in Kansas.
** WordOfGod said they wrote Lois as being attracted to Clark [[HeIsNotMyBoyfriend but in denial.]]
* BadBoss:
** Darkseid. Servants are regularly abandoned once they are no longer useful, you are sent to the slave-pits for ''talking'', and with Kalibak he combines this trope with [[AbusiveParents utter contempt for his son and his efforts to please him.]]
** Lex Luthor. He has had employees killed (offscreen of course) not only for betraying him, but occasionally because they were involved in his illegal activities and have [[YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness outlived their usefulness and are now a liability.]]
* BadHabits: The Reverend Amos Howell.
* {{Badbutt}}: Lobo.
* BaldOfEvil: [[LexLuthor Three guesses who]].
* BalefulPolymorph: Mr. Mxyzptlk has a tendency to transform people into random animals, creatures and ''paintings'' as part of his crusade against Superman. When his bosses get involved, they turn his wife into a tree.
* BatmanCanBreatheInSpace: Averted. One way of killing Superman is to make him suffocate, and he is shown to need an air supply to survive in space (Lobo, on the other hand, doesn't).
* BatmanGambit: Done to Mr. Mxyzptlk, getting him to proof read his name backwards.
* BattleButler: Mercy Graves, Lex Luthor's chauffeur and [[ActionGirl right-hand woman.]]
* BattleInTheCenterOfTheMind: In "Two's a Crowd" Rudy and Earl Garver battle in order to take control of Parasite. [[spoiler: Garver wins]].
* BattleTops: Toyman unleashes a gigantic top that generates electric fields against Superman.
* BeamOWar: Twice in "Ghost in the Machine." Mercy Graves attempts to shoot Brainiac with her pistol, but he easily overpowers her. Superman, however, activates [[{{BFG}} the Sky Sentry]] and subsequently overloads Brainiac.
* BestHerToBedHer: Maxima.
* BettyAndVeronica:
** Lois and Lana can slip into this when they are in the same episode, although it's not cut and dry which is which, since Lois has better proximity with Clark but is also no simple girl next door, while Lana ''was'' the girl next door but learned how to manipulate through sexuality as she grew up.
** Clark and Bruce Wayne are the Betty and Veronica to Lois's Archie in ''World's Finest''. Lois goes on several dates with Bruce and they share some steamy kisses, to Clark's frustration. LovesMyAlterEgo is played interestingly here; as Bruce puts it, she's fond of Bruce Wayne and Superman--it's the other two guys she doesn't like. (Although, according to [[WordOfGod Bruce Timm]], it's only Batman she ''really'' doesn't like)
* BigBad: {{Darkseid}}, whose schemes drive the ongoing plot-arc, as opposed to Brainiac and Luthor, whose schemes are more self-contained.
* BigDamnHero: When an innocent man is about to be executed, Superman breaks into the gas chamber ''after the gas has been released'' and blows it outside to let it dissipate in the atmosphere.
* BiggerOnTheInside: The Tower of Fate.
* BilingualBonus: [[spoiler: Dan Turpin]]'s funeral is accompanied by the Kaddish, the Hebrew mourning prayer. They got an actual rabbi to recite the prayer.
* BlessedWithSuck: Metallo. In exchange for super-strength, nigh-invulnerability and immortality he gives up his senses of touch, taste and smell, and slowly goes insane from the sensory deprivation.
* BloodFromTheMouth: Used several times on the Man of Steel himself to show the strength of his foe.
* BoringButPractical: When Lois Lane needs to go out in a heavy storm she dresses in an unflattering plain yellow rain poncho, [[LampshadeHanging pointing out]] that even if it is not particularly attractive or special it will keep her dry.
* {{Bouncer}}: The Metropolis Yacht Club had a bouncer outside its exclusive gala who refused to allow even people who bribed him to gain entry. Of course, [[DistractedByTheSexy Volcana got in anyway]].
-->'''Bouncer:''' "Behind the rope."\\
'''Snooty Quest:''' "But I just gave you a hundred dollars!"\\
'''Bouncer:''' "Thank you."
* {{Brainwashed}}: In the GrandFinale "Legacy"
* BrainwashedAndCrazy: Again in the GrandFinale "Legacy."
* BrawlerLock: With Metallo. He comes to regret it later once John reveals his kryptonite power source.
* BriarPatching: When Superman [[BroughtDownToNormal has lost his powers after being brought to an alien habitat that simulates Krypton's environment]], he explains to his assailants that they really do not want to throw him into the other habitat that he was trying to break into. It happens to be an ''Earth'' habitat, complete with yellow-sun projector. [[OhCrap The villains realize their mistake pretty quickly]].
* BringIt:
-->'''Superman:''' "I'm waiting."
* BrokenPedestal: The writers explained that they wanted Jimmy Olsen to be a member of the resistance in "Brave New World," and explicitly wanted it to be ''him'' who began throwing rocks at Superman, because they felt that nothing would better demonstrate Superman's fall from grace than losing the adoration of his biggest fan.
* BroughtDownToNormal: Several episodes revolve around Superman losing his powers, either through the lack of a yellow sun or [[PowersAsPrograms when they are stolen]].
* BroughtToYouByTheLetterS: [[TropeCodifier Obviously]]
* BullyingADragon: LexLuthor's favorite sport.
* BuryYourGays: {{Inverted}} (That is, if [[HideYourLesbians you managed to notice it at all]]). Maggie Sawyer is blown out of her car during an attack by Intergang and the next shot has her badly burned and motionless beneath a crushing pile of rubble, ''without'' [[EyeAwaken moving her eyes]] or [[FingerTwitchingRevival her fingers]]. Dan Turpin even calls the attackers "murderers" as he screams at them, so everything seems to be indicating that she [[KilledOffForReal is really dead]]... [[NotQuiteDead except she is alive]], and she returns later on in this and future episodes. The intent of the trope, to hide or eliminate homosexuality in a work, is then reversed, as her subsequent recovery in the hospital features the very first appearance of a woman the credits and DVD commentary identify as Toby Raines, her partner in the comics. Toby is later see comforting her [[spoiler: at Dan Turpin's funeral.]]
* CainAndAbel: Weather Wizard tries to kill his younger brother when [[NotWhatISignedOnFor he backs out of his mass-murdering plan.]]
* TheCape: The original, and most would say still the best.
* CanonForeigner: Volcana, Luminus, the Preserver, Sgt. Corey Mills, General Hardcastle, Detective Kurt Bowman, Darci Mason, Angela Chen and Unity. Mala is a somewhat complex example; see her entry under CompositeCharacter.
* CanonImmigrant: Mercy Graves, Livewire.
* CapeBusters: The Special Crimes Unit is the branch of the Metropolis Police tasked with combating criminals beyond the scope of traditional law enforcement. Over the course of the series they evolve from fighting organized crime ([[TankGoodness With tanks]]) to combating alien invasions and clones of Superman.
* CarBomb:
** The AlternateUniverse of "Brave New Metropolis" spun off from reality after Lois Lane was killed by a bomb that Intergang placed in her car.
** In "The Late Mr. Kent," Clark Kent is "killed" by a bomb placed in his car by the real murderer behind the crime he is investigating.
* CardboardPrison: Averted. There are only three prison escapes at all throughout the show's run, and they each feature equipment and abilities that would be required for such an escape.
* CarFu:
** Superman himself uses a car to knock Metallo out of their fight when the Kryptonite has made him too weak to continue the confrontation. Afterwards he actually apologizes to Lois for the damage to her vehicle.
** Cosmic Boy actually hurls cars at Brainiac when they are fighting in Smallville.
* CatUpATree: After {{Darkseid}} brainwashes {{Superman}} into attacking Earth, Supes end up being captured by the military and held prisoner in a facility built by LexLuthor. When Superman asks for a chance to prove himself, a General sarcastically asks if he intends to do it by rescuing a cat from a tree.
* TheCavalry: In "Apokolips... Now!" Earth has refused to submit to Apokoliptian rule and Darkseid is about to annihilate the entire planet, with the implication that he really is able to do it, when the forces of New Genesis arrive. Orion explains that Earth is now under Highfather's protection, and any aggression against it will lead to all-out war between the NewGods.
* CelebrityParadox:
** Jimmy's friend [[GreenLantern Kyle]] draws superhero comic books and gets a rejection letter from DCComics.
** The "Mr. Mxyzptlk" comic is written by Siegel and Schuster.
* ChekhovsGunman: Detective Bowman had a minor appearance in "Target" before his primary role in "The Late Mr. Kent."
* ChickMagnet: Clark Kent was irresistible in high school and Lana Lang even complained about his ability to attract every woman in the area.
* ClarkKenting: Lampshaded in "My Girl." Clark's friend Lana Lang does not buy his act for a second.
* CloningBlues: Luthor's attempt to create a clone army of Supermen [[GoneHorriblyWrong goes horribly wrong]] in "Identity Crisis".
* CloserToEarth: Of the two Intergang members that Jimmy asks for help in "Little Girl Lost," the boy runs off while Amy (the girl) stays behind to help. She explains that it is only right that she try to fix the problem she helped create, which is odd since she showed no concern ''while'' creating the problem, namely when she was committing robbery and attempting to kill Superman earlier in the episode.
* ClothesMakeTheManiac
* ClothingDamage:
** When John Corben becomes Metallo, Luthor explains that his new body and skin are composed of metallo, an almost indestructible new alloy. However, his clothing is normal fiber and is reduced to tatters when he is hit by a train.
** Clark Kent's clothing is burned off and ripped to shreds when Brainiac tries to ambush him as a teenager in Smallville.
** Clark's civilian clothes are frequently destroyed, revealing his (undamaged) super suit underneath. When ''Superman's'' costume is damaged, it really shows the seriousness of the attack; the outfit has been shown to withstand fire, bullets, lasers, and all sorts of attacks that destroyed everything else in their path.
* TheCollector: The Preserver in "The Main Man"
* ComicBookFantasyCasting:
** Lex Luthor was based on Greek-American actor Telly Savalas. However, [[AmbiguouslyBrown many viewers mistook his appearance for a light-skinned African-American]].
** Dan "Terrible" Turpin was based on JackKirby, creator of the NewGods. Long Live The King.
* TheCommissionerGordon:
** Superman spends most of his time working with Captain Maggie Sawyer of the Special Crimes Unit. Inspector Dan "Terrible" Turpin, Captain Sawyer's [[TheLancer right hand man]], was originally vehemently opposed to officially including Superman in police activities, but eventually accepted his assistance when it became clear that the superpowered and alien enemies were simply outside the weight class of the SCU.
** Commissioner Gordon himself appears in "World's Finest" during the initial Gotham scenes, and in a later episode he assists Superman [[ElCidPloy when Superman is impersonating Batman]].
* TheComplainerIsAlwaysWrong: This show had a particularly noticeable strain of this: pretty much everyone who didn't like Superman or was wary of him, from one-shot characters to recurrers, tended to brutally come out as either evil, highly incompetent, very misguided or just plain an unlikeable JerkAss that Superman can outdo and show up. The more vocally against the Man of Steel the characters were, the worse they were ultimately revealed to be, giving the impression that anyone who could possibly dislike Superman must naturally either be evil or a fool. This didn't quite continue into JusticeLeague, as there was more emphasis on reasons why the public might be wary of superheroes, but it still manages to be there there in small qualities.
* CompositeCharacter:
** Mala is named for an obscure ''male'' character from the 1950s, the leader of a trio of the first evil Kryptonians Superman battled in two stories. The more famous Phantom Zone idea and villains like Zod came later in the SilverAge and utterly eclipsed the original trio of Mala, U-Ban, and Kizo. However, in terms of her gender and relationship with fellow CompositeCharacter Jax-Ur, Mala is based primarily on the evil Kryptonian Ursa from the film ''SupermanII''. Interestingly enough, Ursa was probably very loosely inspired by the comics' evil Kryptonian villainess Faora Hu-Ul; unlike Ursa and Mala, who like and respect their male allies, Faora was a man-hating SerialKiller back on Krypton.
** [[GreenLantern Kyle Rayner]] is a combination of Kyle, Hal Jordan, and John Stewart from the comics (Later, in ''JusticeLeague'', John Stewart eventually becomes a main character and Hal Jordan gets a minor cameo). When Kyle Rayner appeared in ''JLU'' ("The Return") he was redesigned to look less like Hal Jordan and more like his comic book counterpart.
** TheFlash. Although it is never stated which Flash is in ''Speed Demons'', he is confirmed to be Wally West in JusticeLeague. His personality has a lot in common with Bart Allen and he has Barry Allen's day job as a forensic scientist.
** Jax-Ur is a mash-up of his comic-book incarnation and the better known General Zod. Zod is clarified to have existed much later on in ''[[ComicBook/BatmanBeyond Justice League Beyond 2.0]]'', but apparently as a historical criminal that Superman never encountered]].
* ContinuityCameo: In the pilot, the El family have a puppy, presumably named [[KryptoTheSuperdog Krypto]].
* ContinuityNod:
** In "The Last Son of Krypton, Part 3," when Clark Kent and Lex Luthor meet for the first time Luthor, irritated by Clark, remarks that he will remember the name "Kent." Throughout the series he refers to Clark only as "Kent," never by his first or both his first and last name, despite routinely varying how he addresses other characters.
** After one final strong gust of wind in "Superman's Pal", Lois comments that [[MarilynManeuver she needs to start wearing pants]]. In the next episode, "A Fish Story'", for the first time in the entire series (Except when she was undercover and in disguise) ''she wears pants''. In the same scene, Jimmy Olsen uses the signal watch he received in that same episode to call for help from Superman.
* CoverBlowingSuperpower: In "The Late Mr. Kent," Clark Kent is "killed" by a car bomb and Superman wonders how he is going to continue living his life, since if people see him fly away from the wreck they will know his secret.
* CowboyCop: Dan Turpin.
* CrazyPrepared: Creating typos that spelled Mr. Mxyzptlk's name backwards right before he re-appeared
* CreepyMonotone: Brainiac
* {{Crossover}}: The series had three crossovers with ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'', confirming the existence of the {{DCAU}}.
** The season two three-part episode "World's Finest," which featured characters from ''Batman'' traveling to Metropolis.
** The season three episode "Knight Time," in which Superman teams up with Robin (Tim Drake) to hunt down a missing Batman.
** The season four episode "The Demon Reborn" in which Batman and Superman team-up to fight Ra's Al Ghul.
* DaChief: Maggie Sawyer.
* ADayInTheLimelight: "Superman's Pal," which focused heavily on Jimmy Olsen.
* DeadpanSnarker: Lois Lane. Clark (And Superman) often matches her snark-for-snark.
* DeathByAdaptation: [[spoiler: Dan Turpin]].
* DeathBySecretIdentity: [[spoiler: Detective Bowman]] is executed mere ''seconds'' after figuring out Clark's secret.
* DeathTrap: Not quite once-an-episode, but explored. The episode "Target" featured several unique traps all focused on killing Lois Lane that were set up at an awards reception, her car, her office and finally in the lab of the man plotting her death.
* DefiantStoneThrow: Dan Turpin, which lead to the below trope.
* DefiantToTheEnd: Earth is facing complete subjugation and annihilation, but Dan Turpin [[DidYouJustFlipOffCthulhu refuses to give Darkseid an inch]], much to Darkseid's surprise and shock.
* DemonicPossession: "The Hand of Fate"
* DespairEventHorizon: As the series ends in ''Legacy'', with Darkseid finally defeated and tossed to the masses of Apokolips for judgement, the people he has long enslaved do not rebel against Darkseid, but instead carry him on their shoulders to his recovery. As he is carried off, he speaks one final line: "I am many things Kal-El, but here, I am God." Even after he has been crushed and beaten, ''Darkseid still wins''!
* DestinationDefenestration: Clark Kent was tossed through a window by Bizarro, but thankfully Superman was able to save his life.
* DidYouJustFlipOffCthulhu: Yes, Dan Turpin did. [[spoiler:And paid with his life.]]
* DirtyCop: [[spoiler:Detective Bowman]]. He made detective by framing a man for murder and "solving" the crime, got said innocent man sent to ''death row'', then attempted to kill Clark Kent when he could prove the man's innocence.
* DisneyVillainDeath: The Preserver, assuming he ''is'' dead.
* DistractedByTheSexy: Volcana gains entry to a private party, and draws the eye of on-duty photographer Jimmy Olsen, through raw sex appeal.
-->'''Rejected Party Guest:''' "Hey, what's ''she'' got that I haven't got?"\\
'''Bouncer:''' "''Everything.''"
* DistressedDamsel: Lois Lane is the traditional damsel, frequently being rescued by Superman, but the trope is discussed in the episode "Target." Despite a madman consistently attempting to murder her she remains unconcerned and defiant, continuing her own investigation against the advice of others. She points out that she remains in control of her life despite the danger she is in and, even if she needs Superman to physically save her, [[WillNotBeAVictim she will never]] ''[[WillNotBeAVictim let]]'' [[WillNotBeAVictim herself become a damsel]].
* DoesNotKnowHisOwnStrength: When his powers first began to manifest, Clark Kent had a lot of trouble adjusting to his newfound strength. When engaging in a "friendly" game of basketball, he accidentally threw his opponent across the court and through a refreshment table.
* DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything: In "Double Dose", Livewire makes it pretty clear she likes to associate her powers with her... femininity. Which adds a whole rape subtext to Parasite attempting to forcibly take them from her.
* DoWithHimAsYouWill: Superman attempts this with Darkseid. [[spoiler: It does not work.]]
* [[DoNotTauntCthulhu Do Not Taunt Darkseid]]. [[spoiler: Nobody warned Dan Turpin, but [[{{Badass}} he would do it even if he had been warned]].]]
* DownerEnding: As the series ends in ''Legacy'', Superman has finally defeated Darkseid, free of the brainwashing that forced him to lead an invasion of Earth, and he tosses Darkseid to the masses of Apokolips for judgment, freeing the planet after eons of slavery. However, instead of dethroning their oppressor the people of Apokolips raise Darkseid to their shoulders and carry him off to heal, begging for his recovery. As they leave, Darkseid speaks one final line to Superman: "[[DespairEventHorizon I am many things Kal-El, but here, I am god]]." Unable to defeat Darkseid, even after physically crushing him, Superman returns to Earth where he has lost the trust of humanity and will be feared and hated for years to come. At least he has Lois and Jimmy's support and the issue of the public's trust of him is resolved in the later ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague'' continuity.
* DropTheHammer: {{Steel}} guest-stars towards the end of the series.
* DueToTheDead: After [[spoiler: Dan Turpin]] is killed, the episode ends with Superman and others grieving at his funeral. His tombstone reads: [[HeroicSacrifice Earth's Greatest Hero.]]
* DystopiaJustifiesTheMeans: Darkseid. Apokolips is a nightmarish hellhole where he rules as a [[GodIsEvil God]], and he plans to conquer the Earth and enslave the human race purely ForTheEvulz. To say nothing of his ultimate goal of finding the Anti-Life Equation to eliminate TheEvilsOfFreeWill, so that he may remake the universe in his own twisted image.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: The early episodes flip-flopped on Superman's SkintoneSclerae and on whether to depict his heat vision as visible laser beams, or as items simply heating up as he stared at them.
* EasilyConqueredWorld: Almarec. When Maxima leaves, her maid and enemy take over by... you know, it is never revealed. They are just in charge when Maxima gets back a half hour later, with no explanation for how they executed their coup[[note]] though from what we see of the place her subjects really didn't like her much[[/note]].
* EasilyForgiven: "Legacy" plays this straight with Supergirl, Lois, and Jimmy, but averts it with everyone else.
* ElCidPloy:
** In "Knight Time"... as ''Batman!''
** In "Legacy," Kara uses the Superman Robots to make the people of Metropolis believe Superman is still around.
* EldritchAbomination:
** The Cthulhoid Karkull. He and his shoggoth minions were pretty much straight out of a [[CthulhuMythos Lovecraft story]] and compare quite blatantly to Nyarlathotep.
** Unity, sort of a mix of [[CthulhuMythos Shub-Niggurath and Yog-Sothoth]]. Not the first or the last time the DCAU would go to the Lovecraft well, but probably one of the freakiest. [[spoiler:The Preacher/Elder God assisting Unity was an even ''more'' blatant Nyarlathotep {{Expy}}.]]
* TheEndOrIsIt: Entirely too many episodes to list. The series loves to end the episode on a shot of the Toyman's discarded mask, or Metallo walking slowly through the ocean depths, or the supposedly-catatonic Parasite's eyes beginning to glow...
* EurekaMoment:
** In "Target," Lois Lane realizes the identity of her stalker when she is told to relax and watch some TV, [[SpottingTheThread which makes her recognize the lie that she had been given earlier]].
** In "The Late Mr. Kent," Clark Kent is reaching for a slice of pizza when he realizes that the man on death-row could be exonerated if somebody could verify his alibi, that he was eating pizza when the murder was being committed.
* EvenEvilHasStandards: Bruno Mannheim, otherwise highly irredeemable, doesn't allow his mooks and bodyguards to follow him into a charity event because he doesn't want them to scare the children. Though this may have been so he could uphold his already crumbling VillainWithGoodPublicity appearance.
* EverythingsBetterWithMonkeys: "Monkey Fun". Yes, the episode's name is ''actually'' "Monkey Fun".
* EvilBrit:
** Metallo, who is played by Creator/MalcolmMcDowell, the king of this trope.
** Kanto, even though [[HumanAliens he is not actually human]].
* EvilGloating: Lampshaded and averted in "In Brightest Day":
--> '''Kyle Rayner''': "Wait! Don't you want to talk first? You know, banter back and forth to show me your innate superiority?"
-->'''Sinestro''': "No."
* EvilerThanThou: When SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker goes to Metropolis, LexLuthor at first considers him beneath his notice due to his inability to destroy his "[[{{Franchise/Batman}} mere mortal in a Halloween costume]]". Eventually, they strike up a partnership and the entire time, Lex believes that he's got the Joker's strings. After the Joker fails to kill Superman (though he came close), Lex decides to betray the Joker. [[NotSoHarmlessVillain The Joker anticipates this and turns it right back on him, taking a bomber Lex was building and nearly kills Lex and nearly levels all of the buildings he built in Metropolis (half of the city).]] He's only stopped by the timely intervention of Batman and Superman.
* ExactWords: Karkull's promise to whoever frees him. He said he ''was'' "power beyond understanding", not that you would ''get'' any of that power, foolish mortal.
** In "Apokolips... Now!", Darkseid promises Bruno Manheim that in exchange for his help in weakening Earth for an invasion, he'll be made a king. When he abandons Manheim in a nuclear plant with a reactor about to explode, Darkseid crowns him a king... of fools.
* ExplodingCalendar: Used as a gag in "Mxyzpixilated"
* {{Expy}}: Jax-Ur bears little resemblance to his comic book counterpart, drawing more inspiration from General Zod.
* FamilyFriendlyFirearms: The show generally averts this trope, many characters wield normal firearms and are explicitly using advanced weaponry when lasers are shown, but ''Heavy Metal'' plays the trope straight. Intergang initially wields traditional machine guns that are shown to fire bullets and eject spent casings when they are firing into the air to intimidate their hostages, but when they actually shoot at Superman and Steel they are inexplicably firing lasers instead.
* FamilyUnfriendlyDeath: The series actually shows two scenes of a ''gas chamber'' execution. The first is of an innocent man accused of a crime, in which they show him desperately trying to keep his face away from the inrushing gas until Superman breaks in to save him, then in the very last seconds of the episode, as the corrupt cop really responsible awaits his death, he figures out how Clark Kent, who he tried to kill for finding out the truth, was able to survive. Then the scene immediately cuts to the executioner's hand pushing the switch over, and fades out
** Dan Turpin, after he frees Superman, and the timely arrival of the forces of New Genesis, Darkseid is forced to withdraw, but not without firing one final Omega Beam, which streaks toward Superman before curving around and ''instantly vaporizing'' Turpin.
** Mala and Jax-Ur go out by getting sucked into a black hole. This would perhaps be [[TogetherInDeath acceptable]], except that, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1iJXOUMJpg well]]...
* FantasticNatureReserve: Supes and Lobo were put in one by a [[TheCollector collector]] of LastOfHisKind species. Superman is forced to keep one in his Fortress of Solitude because some of the beings don't have homes.
* FantasticRacism: Most of Superman's enemies hate him for personal and direct reasons, but General Hardcastle dislikes and distrusts him solely because he is an alien, with a history and motivation that can not be trusted.
* FasterThanLightTravel: The ship which brought Superman to Earth as a child was refurbished with the help of S.T.A.R. labs, and is used occasionally during the series to transport Superman through space. In its first re-appearance, "Stolen Memories," Superman travels five and a half light-years, just past Alpha Centauri, and returns to Earth in under four hours.
* AFateWorseThanDeath: Jax-Ur claims that "death is better than the Phantom Zone".
* FauxAffablyEvil: Metallo is often friendly and grinning, but he is usually assuming the pleasant persona to mock and insult his foes.
* FieryRedhead: Volcana, [[PlayingWithFire literally]]. Also, Maxima and Orion.
* FightingForSurvival: Various times, notably with Turpin and [[TheProfessor Professor Hamilton]]
* FightingFromTheInside: In "Two's a Crowd" Rudy begns to fight back against Earl Garver after Garver has taken control of the Parasite, giving Superman the time and opportunity he needs to get rid of the bomb and save the day.
* FiveEpisodePilot: "The Last Son of Krypton"
* ForcefulKiss: During his fight with Superman after turning into Metallo, John Corben grabs Lois Lane and forces himself upon her, [[SenseLossSadness only to recoil in horror when he realizes he can not even feel a kiss]].
* {{Foreshadowing}}:
** In "World's Finest", Alfred's research shows that all previous owners of the "Laughing Dragon" statue have died young from illness. Luthor should have done the same reading; by ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague'', carrying kryptonite around for years [[RealityEnsues has given him cancer]] just like in the comics.
** In the episode "Little Girl Lost," the model of the comet breaking the globe hints at the upcoming impact of Fleischer's Comet.
** Brainiac at one point shoots Luthor in the back. A later appearance ("Knight Time") shows Brainiac probably has the ability to outright destroy a human being if he wanted to, with the only reason he failed being that it was [[ShootingSuperman Superman]] he was blasting. ''Justice League'' would later reveal [[spoiler:Brainiac put a sample of himself within Luthor, just in case he died]].
* FormFittingWardrobe: Livewire's outfit is created by ionizing the air around her, and she herself describes it as "form fitting."
* ForScience: Weather Wizard accuses his brother of being willfully blind and naive when he was building the weather control machine, as he always knew that the Wizard planned to use it for crime and did not care, only interested in the science. His brother, however, [[NotWhatISignedOnFor never believed he would really go this far]], [[SubvertedTrope and abandons the machine once its threat becomes clear]].
* ForTheEvulz: In his second appearance, Edward Lytener becomes the villain Luminus, just to get back at Superman.
* ForWantOfANail: In "Brave New World," Jimmy explains that Superman was a split-second late when Intergang put a bomb in Lois Lane's car. Because of that Lois died and Superman decided to [[KnightTemplar take a more proactive role in running the city]].
* FreeRangeChildren: "Action Figures" features two children on a volcanic island, which is suffering from frequent earthquakes, running around with no more supervision than the admonition to return to the camp ''if the volcano erupts''.
* FreezeFrameBonus: In the episode ''Mxyzpixilated'', Jimmy hands Clark a comic strip page featuring the titular Mr. Mxyzptlk. There are other comics on the page, Dini The Meany (parodying CalvinAndHobbes and ComicStrip/DennisTheMenaceUS), Gleen (parodying {{Peanuts}}), Dan Danger (parodying ComicStrip/DickTracy) and Zub Street (Parodying ''Momma''). The Mxyzptlk strip itself is by Siegel and Shuster, [[MythologyGag the creators of Superman]]. [[http://s852.photobucket.com/albums/ab85/dariaRTthread/Pan02.jpg Check out the screengrab!]] It gets better: "M'Gurk", the character Mxy is hollering for in the strip, is, presumably, the same M'Gurk he was looking for in his first comic-book appearance back in the 40's.
* FrickinLaserBeams: Most humans use traditional firearms, but as the series progresses energy weapons are gradually introduced being used by [=LexCorp=] and the Special Crimes Unit.
* FriendsRentControl: Lois lives in a large, two-story apartment on a newspaper reporter's salary.
* FromASingleCell: Brainiac
* GeneralRipper: General Hardcastle
* GenreSavvy: The Joker, bizarrely enough. When he guest stars and tosses Bruce Wayne off a Metropolis roof he instructs his men to go make sure that Bruce is really dead, since in this town it is far too likely that somebody could actually catch him in mid-air. When it turns out Bruce is alive (He landed on a scaffold) his men decide to stop trying to knock him off the building [[WhyDontYouJustShootHim and instead just try to shoot him]] ([[ATeamFiring not that that helps]]).
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar
-->'''Lois''': (While looking at a photo of Superman) Nice 's'.\\
'''Clark''': Excuse me?\\
'''Lois''': Right here. (Points at the "S" symbol on Superman's chest)
** The episode "Double Dose" is basically one long double entendre. The [[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything sexual subtext]] gets so blatant at times, you wonder how in hell they got the whole EPISODE past the radar.
** This exchange in "My Girl":
--> '''Reporter''' (to Lana Lang about a present from Lex Luthor): "Miss Lang! Are the jewels real?"
--> '''Lana''': "Everything's real, boys."
--> '''Reporters''':
** In "The Main Man," the bar Lobo is introduced in is called 'The Steaming Load.'
** In "The Way of All Flesh," Metallo tells Lois about how he has been thinking about her a lot, [[ADateWithRosiePalms especially in prison]].
* TheGlassesComeOff
* GoneHorriblyWrong: The origin of maybe a quarter of Superman's enemies.
* GoshDangItToHeck: "Frag!"
* GPSEvidence: Jimmy Olsen finds a game token dropped by Intergang in "Little Girl Lost" and believes that tracing its source will lead them to Intergang. He and Supergirl travel all over Metropolis looking for an arcade that uses that particular token, but when they find it [[SubvertedTrope it is just an average arcade than some members of Intergang happen to patronize]]. [[DoubleSubverted Including two members who are there right at that very moment.]]
* GreatGazoo: Mr. Mxyzptlk.
* GroupieBrigade: Jimmy gets chased by a mob of lovestruck teenage girls in "Superman's Pal" after Angela Chen blows his relationship with Superman out of proportion.
* HannibalLecture: Brainiac gives one to Jor-El in the pilot, in order to convince him to let him escape Krypton.
* HardHead: Averted. When Earl Garver is knocked out in "Two's a Crowd" his doctor explains that he has a serious concussion and will be unconcious for hours, if not days, and might even be comatose. The police have to bring in the mind-absorbing Parasite in order to get the required information before Garver's bomb explodes.
* HeelRealization: You can actually see Bizarro's heart break when he sees Superman saving Lois Lane and recognizes that he himself is ''not'' Superman.
* HelloAttorney: Mr. Mxyzptlk's wife appears at his trial to offer up evidence that his obsession with Superman means he is not responsible for his actions. [[BalefulPolymorph She is turned into a tree.]]
* HeroicComedicSociopath: Lobo. Since the show is intended for kids he's not allowed to do anything truly horrific, and comes across as mostly PlayedForLaughs instead.
* HideYourLesbians: Maggie Sawyer is an imported character from the ''Superman'' comics, first appearing in the 1980's, and has been an out-lesbian since 1988. However, [[AnimationAgeGhetto this could not be explicitly stated in a kids show]] and the closest they get to covering this point is in ''Apokolips... Now!'' when she is visited in the hospital by a woman who comforts her throughout both parts of the episode. The woman is unnamed in the show, but DVD commentary and the credits reveal that she is Toby Raines, Maggie's long-time girlfriend in the comics, and was included as a reference to their relationship.
* {{Homage}}: The diner scene in "New Kids in Town" is taken directly from ''Film/Terminator2JudgementDay''. Except that Brainiac wears pants (hey, it is a family show).
* HometownNickname: Lois calls Clark "Smallville".
* HomeworldEvacuation: Jor-El had a practical plan to evacuate the entire population of Krypton before it exploded: cast everyone into the PhantomZone, have someone travel to a suitable planet and release them. However, the thought of being stored with the worse criminals of Krypton and Brainiac's self-serving lies made sure it wouldn't be used.
* HowDoIShotWeb:
** Parasite figures out his ability to drain energy rather quickly, but was confused when he began to lose what he had gained after a few hours. It took him a while to recognize the time limit and need to re-drain people.
** Mala initially needs some coaching from Superman on how to use her Kryptonian powers, and falters when she first tries to fly.
* HulksCooldownHugCorollary: The episode with Lois' pet chimp, [[AttackOfThe50FootWhatever which had become gigantic]].
* HumanAliens: Kryptonians, of course, as well as the NewGods (Apart from the Parademons and a few of the ruling class).
* HumongousMecha: Superman's first battle is against the Lexo-Suit 5000, a combat machine which, at this point, is regarded as the most powerful weapon on the planet.
* IAlwaysWantedToSayThat: Chameleon Boy always wanted to say "UpUpAndAway!"
* IAmNotLeftHanded: When Volcana and Superman square off she knocks him off his feet, then comments that that was with her ''left'' hand.
* IdentityImpersonator: Superman masqueraded as Batman in the episode "Knight Time". Batman being invincible served to spook the villains of Gotham even more, enhancing Batman's legendary status.
* IfIWantedYouDead: Lex Luthor explains to Lois in "Target" that, if he were ''really'' behind the most recent attempts on her life, he would never have left such a blatant trail that would lead back to himself.
* IGaveMyWord:
** The [[{{Lobo}} Main Man's]] word is his bond.
** When Mr. Mxyzptlk is put on trial by his superiors, they list numerous charges against him, but cap it off with the most heinous of all his actions: Going back on his word.
* IgnoredExpert: Jor-El, the former TropeNamer.
* IgnoredEnamoredUnderling: Mercy to Lex, the latter uses it to his benefit.
* IgnoreTheFanservice: Mr. Mxyzptlk's wife blatantly attempts to seduce him, magically changing into a dozen revealing outfits, but he does not even look up from the killer robot he is building. Eventually, she smashes a plate on his head and walks away.
* InadvertentEntranceCue: This exchange in "My Girl:"
--> '''Clark Kent:''' [[JustFriends I know you'll find that special someone someday.]]
--> '''Lana Lang:''' So will you. [[IJustWantMyBelovedToBeHappy You deserve it.]] Someone quiet, understanding, patient...
--> '''Lois Lane:''' (yelling impatiently from across the room): Hey Smallville, get your tail in here! Perry's got an assignment for us!
* INeedToGoIronMyDog: When Clark and Lois notice a breakout from Stryker's Island, Clark runs off to turn into Superman by telling Lois that he will find a phone to call this in. [[RealityEnsues Lois pulls her cell-phone from her purse]], but Clark is already gone.
* INeverSaidItWasPoison: In "Target", Lois finds out it was her acquaintance Edward Lytener who is trying to kill her when he says he watched Lois's award on the TV while in his workshop. But he does not ''have'' a TV on his workshop.
* InSeriesNickname: In "Identity Crisis":
-->'''Clone!Superman:''' What... am... I?\\
'''Mercy Graves:''' ''Bizarro'' is what you "am".
* InSpiteOfANail: In the AlternateUniverse of "Brave New Metropolis" the city and people in it have all been transformed since Lois Lane died, except for Lex Luthor. When Lois is transported there from the primary universe, she explains that he is the one person who is ''exactly'' the same.
* IntrepidReporter: Lois Lane, whose introduction revolves around her discovery of a wide-spread gun smuggling ring, and Clark Kent himself. In fact, it kind of bothers Lois that he is [[AlwaysSomeoneBetter the only person who can out scoop her]].
* InvincibleHero: Averted. The writers were generally quite good about coming up with new ways to challenge him, ranging from kryptonite, to red sun rays, to messing with his head and/or senses, attacking him with things his powers don't cover, to villains who were simply [[PhysicalGod more powerful than him]].
* InvokedTrope: Ra's al Ghul wants to arrange a meeting with Superman and, since he does not have the personal relationship with him as he does with Batman, [[DistressedDamsel he kidnaps "Lois" and leaves her in mortal peril]], since he knows Superman always shows up to save her.
* IOwnThisTown: Luthor states it outright in the pilot.
* JustAFleshWound: Subverted. Dan "Terrible" Turpin is shot in the knee while trying to storm Garver's base in "Two's a Crowd," but he explains to Captain Swayer that it is "just a singe." However, he then limps away, assisted by another officer, and is absent from the rest of the episode.
* KangarooCourt: This was ZigZagged with Mr. Mxyzptlk's trial in his second appearance, where he was charged with [[AlienNonInterferenceClause "meddling with an underevolved species"]], violating interdimensional travel laws, [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking and breaking his word]] (which is considered a ''very'' serious crime in his dimension, apparently). The trial consisted simply of the three judges reading the accusations, scolding him, and finding him guilty (and when his wife Gsptlsnz tried to defend him by arguing "extenuating circumstances", they responded by turning her into a tree - clearly they aren't fond of lawyers). Of course, Mxyzptlk was ''obviously'' guilty of these charges, and the sentence he received could be viewed as lenient, considering all the trouble he caused. (Superman compared it to "three months of community service", although it Mxy probably didn't like it very much.)
* KarmicDeath:
** [[spoiler:Kurt Bowman]] tried to send a man to the gas chamber... and got sent there himself after Superman revealed the plot.
** Bruno Mannhiem is thrown under a bus and left to die in circumstances that are very similar to the way he had exploited and abandoned Toyman's father.
* KilledOffForReal:
** [[spoiler:Daniel "Terrible" Turpin]] Earth's Greatest Hero. [[WhatCouldHaveBeen The original plan was for it to be Ma and Pa Kent]], but DC said [[ExecutiveMeddling they would have to bring them back to life]]. Bruce Timm is very adamant about averting DeathIsCheap, so he chose someone else.
** [[spoiler: [[CorruptCop Detective Bowman]]]] was executed via lethal gas... ''[[FamilyUnfriendlyDeath on screen]]''.
** [[spoiler: Bruno Mannheim]] was killed after [[YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness Darkseid was done using him]].
* KnightTemplar: "Brave New Metropolis"
* KryptoniteFactor:
** Kryptonite will remove Superman's powers while causing great pain, and eventually death after lengthy exposure. The solar radiation of a red sun will likewise remove his powers, but without additional consequences.
** Livewire has an absolutely crippling weakness to water. A tiny touch will cause her powers to flare up painfully, and being fully drenched will cause her to go ''catatonic.''
** Parasite gains the abilities of those he copies, but also gains their weaknesses. Throughout his three appearances, he suffers the effect of both of the aforementioned {{Achilles Heel}}s, both times with enough damage to make him go catatonic and [[StatusQuoIsGod conveniently lose his memory of Superman's identity.]]
* KryptoniteProofSuit: Superman wears a lead-lined suit to protect himself from actual Kryptonite, and also has an insulated plastic suit that protects him from both Livewire and Parasite ([[FridgeLogic Although they never get around to explaining how he can breath through the plastic]]).
* TheLancer: Inspector Dan "Terrible" Turpin of the Special Crimes Unit serves as the lancer to Captain Maggie Sawyer, Superman's [[TheCommissionerGordon contact on the police force]], and occasionally to Superman himself.
* LastOfHisKind: It's revealed that Lobo is one of these, and seems at first that this would be a point that reveals why Lobo's as psychotic as he is... until he nostalgically reflects on how he destroyed his entire planet for a school science project.
--> '''Lobo:''' Gave myself an "A".
* LeftHanging: The episode "The Prometheon." It ends with Superman and Dr. Hamilton subduing the eponymous creature, a heat-absorbing android the size of a skyscraper, by freezing the entire Metropolis Reservoir. And that is it. Fade to black. What do they do with it? They do not say. How do they keep it from waking back up when the water melts? They do not say. And how do they deal with the fact that, until they do figure out a solution, they have frozen ''the entire Metropolis water supply''? Again, they do not say.
* {{Leitmotif}}: Most of the villains have their own motifs, as does Superman himself, naturally. Supes is the most prominent motif in the show, consisting of the first few notes of the show's opening. This is occasionally played with - for example, Bizarro's theme is Superman's theme played backwards or off-key.
* LesCollaborateurs: Bruno Mannheim.
* LesserOfTwoEvils: During the events of "The Main Man," both Superman and the psychotic bounty hunter Lobo are imprisoned, on account of both being the LastOfHisKind. Superman breaks out of his cell, and Lobo pleads for Superman to release him, too. Superman initially refuses, thinking that his imprisonment is a fitting punishment. Lobo, understandably enraged, vows that..
-->"It might take me a week, it might take me ''ten years'', but I'm gonna bust out, and [[GettingCrapPastTheRadar kick that big red 'S' of yours all over the galaxy,]] right after I'm done nukin' the Earth into guacamole! And that's *coughs* a promise!"
** In the short time that Lobo was on Earth, he ''built a small nuke'' when simple wanton destruction wasn't summoning Superman quickly enough. And, both from Lobo's canon and his status as a famed bounty hunter, he's a man of his word. It also helps that he's the LastOfHisKind because he created a doomsday device that wiped out his entire planet... for a high school science project. Needless to say, Superman thinks that allowing the ChaoticNeutral Lobo to roam the galaxy is a preferable alternative to the prospect of a fully ChaoticEvil Lobo gunning for Earth's destruction, and lets him go after making him swear to leave the Earth and its people in peace.
** This even gets carried over into the JusticeLeague animated series: after Superman is apparently killed, Lobo shows up at the League watchtower, and the heroes initially believe him there to wreak vengeance for Superman having defeated him. Turns out he thought Superman's departure [[TokenEvilTeammate left a job opening]] for a FlyingBrick.
* LightHeartedRematch: At the end of "Speed Demons," Superman and ComicBook/TheFlash recognize that they never did determine who was the Fastest Man Alive and close the episode starting a private race. The winner is not revealed, but signs in the Flash Museum in the sequel series ''JusticeLeagueUnlimited'' signal that the Flash was the victor.
* LightningCanDoAnything: Including turn people ''into'' lightning - though in that case it's implied that the lightning first passing through Superman had something to do with it.
* LikeBrotherAndSister: Lana Lang explains that if Clark says he loves her like a sister, she will go right back to dating Lex Luthor.
* LimitedWardrobe: Except for two scenes, one where he is undercover with Lois Lane and once when he is attending a funeral, Jimmy Olsen wears the exact same outfit for literally ''every scene in the entire series''. Lois actually has a very varied wardrobe of different styles of clothing (Shorts, skirts, dresses, gowns, etc.) and Clark mixed his wardrobe up on occasion. It is mentioned on the commentary of "The World's Finest" that the creators tried very hard at averting this trope, but were limited by budget constraints, so instead of getting different outfits they would just change the color of their regular clothes to give them several different combinations
* LivingLieDetector: Clark Kent, using his super-human senses, can gauge heart-rate and eye-level to make a fairly accurate deduction of a person's honesty.
* LoadBearingHero
* LoopholeAbuse: Darkseid tries this in "Little Girl Lost". Following the events of "Apokolips... Now!", Earth is now under the protection of New Genesis. Darkseid can't revenge himself upon Superman or humanity without breaking his truce with Highfather. But if the Earth were to be destroyed by a natural disaster, like a stray comet... well, he couldn't be held accountable.
* LockingMacGyverInTheStoreCupboard: Occurs in "World's Finest". If the Joker had just run a check around the room...he woulda killed the Batman.
* LouisCypher: Kanto.
* LoveCannotOvercome: Lois Lane breaks up with Bruce Wayne once she discovers his identity as Batman. Bruce and Clark lament together that she likes Bruce and she likes Superman, but not the other halves of their identities.
* LoveMakesYouCrazy: Luminus
* LovesMyAlterEgo: Lois Lane has an infatuation with Superman throughout the series, but in keeping with the Post-Crisis interpretation of the characters she begins to develop feelings for Clark Kent as the series progresses. This is also a facet of her BettyAndVeronica tension with Superman and Batman in ''World's Finest''--as Batman points out, Lois likes Superman but not Clark Kent, and also likes Bruce Wayne but not Batman.
* MagicSkirt:
** Lois Lane gets this all the time, as most of the time she is falling from high heights, getting caught in gusts of wind, being carried by Superman, and being attacked by bad guys, all while wearing these short skirts. She eventually gives up and starts wearing pants.
** Mercy Graves, Lex Luthor's bodyguard. She is always running around doing high kicks, being beaten up and sent flying by people, all in an outfit that looks [[http://www.comicvine.com/mercy-graves/29-9995/all-images/108-209037/pan12/105-934104/ more like a tight top than a full chauffeur's uniform]].
** Lana Lang as well when she shows up.
* MakeWrongWhatOnceWentRight: In "New Kids in Town", Brainiac travels back in time to Smallville to kill Clark Kent before he can become Superman.
* MamaBear: Martha Kent picks up a shotgun when Brainiac comes after her son and gives him both barrels.
* MarilynManeuver: Frequently, considering how often Lois is swept into the air by heroes and villains while her skirt flutters about.
* MirrorUniverse: "Brave New Metropolis"
* MonsterSobStory: The Toyman's origin. No wonder he is so screwed up.
* MotiveDecay: Metallo. His origin episode that transformed him from John Corben into Metallo ended with his vendetta focused on Superman, but also on Luthor for [[BlessedWithSuck transferring his mind into the strong-but-numb Metallo body]]. However, by his second appearance the "vengeance against Luthor" angle has been dropped entirely and in his fourth appearance he even gets a girlfriend, despite the fact that his inability to feel anything at all when kissing a woman was one of the things that originally drove him nuts. His original motive does return in the video game ''Superman: Shadow of Apokolips'', which debuted in 2002. Recruited by a disguised Luthor and told to destroy Superman, Metallo demurs and goes after Luthor himself.
* MusicSoothesTheSavageBeast: Titano in "Monkey Fun".
* MySuitIsAlsoSuper: It was never explicitly stated so but Superman's blue and red number was shown to survive things that destroy his tougher looking space-suit and metal lined KryptoniteProofSuit. Indeed the fact that Darkseid can cause damage to Superman's suit is a show of how powerful he is.
* MythologyGag: There are numerous references throughout the series to past incarnations of the Superman mythos, including the comics themselves and other media adaptations.
** In "Stolen Memories", Superman overcomes a laser fired by {{Brainiac}} by punching at it, same as how he overcame a laser in the first [[WesternAnimation/SupermanTheatricalCartoons Fleischer Superman Cartoon]].
** Superman at first mispronounces the name Mxyzptlk as "Mix-ill-plick"... exactly the way it was pronounced on ''SuperFriends''.
** In "Last Son of Krypton, Part 1", one of the guards says "Great Rao!", which Superman often says in the Silver Age comics.
** In "Last Son of Krypton, Part 3" Lois tells Bibbo to have Clark call "Commissioner Henderson" if she is not heard from soon. Inspector William Henderson was a character originally introduced in [[Radio/TheAdventuresOfSuperman the 1940's radio series]] as [[TheCommissionerGordon Superman's contact on the police force]]; he was later adapted into the television series and, eventually, the comics. His role was eventually supplanted by Daniel Turpin and Maggie Sawyer, two characters who would become important recurring characters within this series, and he is currently Metropolis's Police Commissioner. He is given a small role in ''Feeding Time'' and appears in the background in ''Apokolips... Now!''
** In "New Kids in Town", Brainiac has one to ''[[Film/{{Superman}} Superman II]]''
--->"At last, the son of Jor-El kneels before me."
** In "Target," when Lois Lane is trapped in the [[DeathTrap elevator]] Superman rescues her and says that "I believe this is your floor," the same line he spoke to Lois when rescuing her from an elevator in ''SupermanII''.
** The comet that Darkseid will use to destroy the Earth in "Little Girl Lost" is [[FleischerStudios Fleischer's Comet]].
** The Mxyzptlk comic strip in "Mxyzptlkated" (See FreezeFrameBonus above) is written by Siegel and Shuster, the original creators of Superman. Both the episode and the comic feature Mxy looking for "[=McGurk=]," a hulking strongman/{{Expy}} for Rodin's ''"Thinker,"'' that Mxy searched for in his very first comic book appearance.
** Bizarro gets a hideous alien "dog" which he calls "Krypto."
*** Krypto himself has a cameo in the pilot, and Streaky lives on the Kent's farm. At one point, Mxyzptlk makes it fly - a reference to it's Silver Age superpowers.
** At Mr. Mxyzptlk's trial, his wife appears to offer up evidence that his obsession with Superman means he is not responsible for his actions. One of the pieces of evidence she puts forth is a copy of ''ComicBook/ActionComics''.
** During Maxima's tenure with the JusticeLeagueOfAmerica, it was revealed that her heavy-handed and reckless methods of ruling Almarec caused a lot of resentment among her subjects, to the point that when the elders banished her there was a great deal of support for said banishment. In this series, as soon as she leaves the planet to court Superman her handmaiden organizes a coup to save her people from her rule.
** The episode "Monkey Fun" was apparently a remake/homage to a similar episode of the 60s Superman cartoon.
*** The toy monkey is named Beppo, which is the name of the Super Monkey.
** In "Ghost in the Machine", Superman stops two missiles, much like in the 1978 film.
* ANaziByAnyOtherName: The episode "Absolute Power" brought Superman to an alien planet that had been conquered by Jax-Ur and Mala, two Kryptonian criminals that had escaped from the PhantomZone. The parallels with Nazi Germany are present but vague in the beginning, there are stories told of economic depression and social unrest that were corrected when a new discipline-obsessed regime came to power, but it becomes patently hard to miss the symbolism when they start using the ''Hitlergru▀'' (Nazi Salute).
* NeverSayDie: Averted. The word itself pops up with stunning regularity, and this is probably one of the only American cartoons to show a criminal being ''executed''.
* NewGods: JackKirby's Fourth World becomes an integral part of the show with the introduction of the mythos in the season one episode ''Tools of the Trade''. Eventually both Apokolips and New Genesis would compete over the Earth and Darkseid would become a personal rival of Superman. This conflict would extend past the end of ''S:TAS'', the New Genesis/Apokolips rivalry would become a frequent issue in ''JusticeLeague'' and Orion, introduced here in ''Apokolips... Now!'' would eventually joined the expanded League in ''Unlimited''.
* NiceJobFixingItVillain: The trio of alien bounty hunters have the [[BroughtDownToNormal powerless]] Superman at their mercy, primed for the kill, but they decide to throw him into the animal habitat [[BriarPatching that he explained they really did not want to throw him into]]. When the Dodo bird appears and Superman explains that it is an ''Earth'' habitat, complete with yellow sun generator, [[OhCrap they realize their mistake]].
* NinjaMaid: Mercy Graves for Lex.
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: Fictional character version - [[spoiler:Dan Turpin]]'s funeral is attended by Jack Kirby characters such as the Franchise/FantasticFour in their civilian identities; sadly, later versions of the episode remove these characters to avoid lawsuits. [[WordOfGod Bruce Timm admitted]] that Dan Turpin was modeled on JackKirby himself.
* NoNonsenseNemesis: Sinestro.
* NoirEpisode: "The Late Mr. Kent".
* NosyNeighbor: A 50-year-old wife is watching Superman and Maxima fight at a construction site. Her husband, newspaper blocking his view, tells her to stop spying on the neighbors.
-->'''Wife:''' Now they're kissing!\\
'''Husband:''' Don't get any ideas!
* NotMeThisTime:
** Lois Lane and Clark Kent frequently go to Lex Luthor to learn the truth behind the current villainous scheme, but several times he explains that no, he is not the one trying to kill somebody and/or ''blot out the sun''... this week.
*** The most notable of this is "Target" where Lex says he respects Lane and currently has no reason to kill her currently. Despite Clark claiming he's just trying to keep Lois from investigating him, she believes Lex as it's not his style to try to torture a target instead of killing them quickly.
** In "The Late Mr. Kent," Kenny, who is on death row, admits that he was a thief who committed robbery plenty of times, but he never hurt anybody and ''did not'' kill the woman he was convicted of murdering.
** In "Knight Time", Superman and Robin notice that there are mind control machines on Bruce Wayne's phone in his office. They track down the Mad Hatter but, upon capturing him, he states that the technology used is beyond anything he could build, and also beyond the capabilities of everybody that he has stolen mind control technology from in the past.
* NotSoDifferent: Unusually, Superman gets this from an ''ally''. When he goes to DoctorFate for help, Fate explains that he has retired from superheroics, weary from the endless battle. He tells Superman that the two of them are similar, both masters of their own fate, and Superman should join him and likewise leave behind the petty conflicts of humanity. Superman, of course, explains that they are ''nothing'' alike.
* NotSoHarmlessVillain: In "World's Finest", when SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker arrives in Metropolis, the mob, Luthor, and Superman all assume that he must be, at best, a minor irritant, just a powerless whackjob in a weird suit. By the end of the three-part series, he has taken over the Metropolis mob, blown up half the city, and nearly killed both Luthor and Superman. When {{Franchise/Batman}} shows up, it's pretty clear that Superman and Luthor don't take him seriously either. At first.
* NotSoInnocentWhistle: Bizarro whistles, ''to himself'', before knocking a boulder down a hill so he can "rescue" the 'city-zens' of his planet.
* NotWhatISignedOnFor: Weather Wizard's little brother abandons the weather control machine because, even though he always knew his brother would use it for a criminal scheme, he never thought it would involve murder and wholesale destruction.
* ObfuscatingDisability: Clark Kent wore a sling around his "injured" arm after Superman saved him from falling to his death in "Target."
* OhCrap:
** Mr. Mxyzptlk: "Aw, nuts."
** Brainiac: "Kal-El. This development was highly improbable."
* OmnicidalManiac: Brainiac's goal is the eventual destruction of all existence after he has collected its data.
* OneWingedAngel: [[spoiler:The Preserver from "The Main Man", once he finally loses his temper, turns into a red alien Hulk and proceeds to Curb Stomp both Superman ''and'' Lobo.]]
* PapaWolf: Jonathan Kent was ready to go out and clobber Brainiac with a shovel when he thought Clark was in danger, [[MamaBear but Martha recommends a shotgun instead]].
* PetMonstrosity: Bizarro's "dog", Krypto.
* PetTheDog:
** Even though Luthor ''honestly'' had nothing to to do with [[PsychoElectro Livewire's]] attack on Superman, he still picked up her medical bills due her habit of bad mouthing Superman when she was a DJ.
** When Metallo [[AmnesiacDissonance lost his memory]], he saved a couple of children from a landslide and later rescued a truck driver from a crash.
* PhantomZone: The original zone appears numerous time throughout the series. Jor-El originally planned to use the zone to save all life on Krypton, as they would place the population of the planet into the zone and, using the ship he had built, fly to a new home and retrieve the people. Though the Kryptonian government refused this plan, Jor-El's ship still had a Phantom Zone projector which Superman would use on Earth to parole Kryptonian criminals who had served their sentence, and also to help human research progress in the area of inter-dimensional travel and observation.
* PhysicalGod: Darkseid. Superman himself is an arguable example, though he never [[AGodAmI calls himself a god or accepts worship]].
* PlanetLooters: Brainiac travels from planet to planet, collects its knowledge, and then destroys it to move on to the next.
* PlayingWithFire: Volcana
* PollutedWasteland: Apokolips.
* PowersAsPrograms: Generally averted, if a villain seeks to remove Superman's powers they need to remove their source (the sun), but villain Parasite plays the trope perfectly straight. He can drain the powers of any character and then use them himself, leaving the other person powerless while he gains fantastic abilities. Ra's al Ghul also once attempted to drain Superman's powers and take them into himself, [[AWizardDidIt but his methods were outside the ken of science]].
* PragmaticAdaptation: The producers realized that Jor-El and Lara wouldn't be good parents if they allowed the ship carrying Kal-El to simply crash on Earth. So, we see it landed smoothly on the planet and thus Supes has a spaceship in perfect working condition into adulthood.
* PreMortemOneLiner: All of Mad Harriet's dialogue.
* PrivateEyeMonologue: Superman does one in "The Late Mr. Kent".
* TheProfessor: Professor Hamilton
* PsychoElectro: Livewire
* PsychopathicManchild: Toyman
* PuppeteerParasite: "Unity".
* PureEnergy: Livewire describes herself as such and, though it makes for a very interesting character, it does not make any more scientific sense than every other "energy being" out there.
* PuttingOnTheReich: In "Brave New Metropolis", the alternate Superman wears a black costume with a new shield resembling the zigzagged S of the SS logo.
* ReadingsAreOffTheScale: The machine designed to measure the air speed of Superman's spaceship gives this as a number, which is actually pretty bad since the ship clearly wasn't moving that fast. Either the machine was broken or designed to stop at a speed under what most cars could do.
* RealityEnsues: People born after the age of payphones probably wouldn't understand, but the reason for the popular image of Clark Kent dashing to the nearest phone booth to change into his costume (and the reason it was a good excuse for Clark to disappear) was because, back in the day, any reporter witnessing a crisis would be expected to find the nearest phone ''immediately'' so their newspaper could get to work on the story before they were scooped by another news outlet. The thing is, this series aired in the '90s, so the one time Clark tries to use "gotta find the nearest phone" as an excuse to leave, Lois just pulls out a cell phone.
* RealityWarper: Mr. Mxyzptlk.
* RedemptionEqualsDeath: After Bizarro [[HeelRealization realizes that he is not Superman]], he stays behind to hold up a collapsing ceiling so Superman and Lois Lane can escape a massive explosion. [[spoiler: [[SubvertedTrope Do not worry, he reappears later.]]]]
* RedHerring: Detective Bowman is introduced in "Target" as already having a grudge against Lois Lane, and is later seen watching her in her apartment as she begins to break down from the repeated attempts on her life. However, he has no connection to the attempted murders, [[ChekhovsGunman and would return in a more prominent role in "The Late Mr. Kent"]].
* ReedRichardsIsUseless: While most of Superman's powers don't really lend themselves to a technological revolution, he never seems to think of sharing the orb containing the complete knowledge of Krypton with the rest of the world.
* RememberTheNewGuy: DrFate, whose sole appearance is treated as a return to the series.
* TheRenaissanceAgeOfAnimation
* RetCanon:
** [[CanonImmigrant Livewire and Mercy were two characters created for the show and then introduced into the comics]].
** Parasite gained the 'outfit' of his ''S:TAS'' counterpart starting in the early 2000's.
** Despite the show's version of {{Supergirl}} being a loose adaptation of Kara Zor-El, the then-current Supergirl, Linda Danvers, wore the costume of ''STAS'' Supergirl for the rest of her tenure.
** During the "[[WesternAnimation/SupermanBatmanPublicEnemies Public Enemies]]" arc of ''Superman/Batman'' comic, Metallo's disguise was reminiscent of his human form and disguise on ''S:TAS''.
* RidiculouslyHumanRobot: [[spoiler:Darcy]]
* RoadRunnerVsCoyote: The plot of "Mxyzpixilated".
* RoaringRampageOfRevenge: The final 10 minutes of "Legacy pt. II" see Superman completely storming Apokolips and taking down all its defenses in retaliation after everything Darkseid has put him through in the past several episodes.
* RobotGirl: [[spoiler:Darcy]]
* RogueAgent: The villains in "Where There's Smoke" are rogue agents of an unnamed government agency.
* {{Ruritania}}: Kaznia (which plays a larger role in ''JusticeLeague'').
* SarcasticConfession: "The Main Man" (watch it [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0QVvbhMm24&playnext=1&videos=4-hvtNwEmKA here]]):
--> '''Lois:''' I'm confused, Kent. See, I've lived in Metropolis most of my life, and I can't figure out how some yokel from Smallville is suddenly getting every hot story in town.
--> '''Clark:''' Well Lois, *lowers his glasses* the truth is I'm actually [[ClarkKenting Superman in disguise]], and I only pretend to be a journalist in order to hear about disasters as they happen and then squeeze you out of the by-line.
--> '''Lois:''' (''{{beat}}'') You're a sick man, Kent.
--> '''Clark:''' *with a sly smile* You asked.
* ScrewThisImOuttaHere: Brainiac's reaction to discovering Krypton's eventual destruction is to download himself into a satellite and jettison himself into space. In the meantime he stops the authorities from finding out and making a formal evacuation plan, as it would divert energy away from his own escape plan.
* SecondPersonAttack: Done frequently.
* SecretIdentityIdentity: Clark Kent makes it pretty apparent that he is the "real" identity, whereas Superman is the costume; when Pa Kent is unconcerned that Clark has "died," since he can just pick a new name, Clark explains that he ''is'' Clark, he could never stop being who he is.
* SelfConstructedBeing: The entity Karkull possesses a random thief, then transforms the Daily Planet building and has his mook "children" possess Daily Planet employees in one episode.
* SenseLossSadness: Metallo.
* ShiksaGoddess: [[SpaceJews Mr. Mxyzptlk]] is married to the [[StatuesqueStunner tall]], [[ShesGotLegs leggy]], [[FieryRedhead red-headed]] Gsptlsnz.
* ShipTease: Between Lois and Clark/Superman. It's very telling that any time, every ''single'' time she needs an escort or date to some function she ''always'' calls Clark.
* ShockAndAwe: Livewire gains electric powers [[LightningCanDoAnything after being struck by lightning]].
* ShootingSuperman: Obviously, and he regularly points it out.
* ShoutOut:
** In the third episode, Martha Kent tells Clark, "I don't want anyone thinking you're like [[WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries that nut in Gotham City]]."
** In "My Girl," Lex Luthor is overheard explaining to his henchman that he wants him in [[TheFlash Central City]] by that night.
** In the episode "Mxyzpxlated", the ''Daily Planet'' [[http://i852.photobucket.com/albums/ab85/dariaRTthread/Pan02.jpg comics page]] has a couple of {{Shout Out}}s. One strip is "Dini the Meany", which sounds similar to ''ComicStrip/DennisTheMenaceUS'', but with an art style similar to ''ComicStrip/CalvinAndHobbes''. It's attributed to "Bill Wemissu[[note]]Bill Watterson having retired from making ComicStrip/CalvinAndHobbes[[/note]]". Also on the page is "Gleen", with an art style directly lifted from ''ComicStrip/{{Peanuts}}''. "Dini" of course is a reference to PaulDini.
** In an example mixed with a TakeThat, another episode has {{Supergirl}} reading a comic book about a [[{{Spider-Man}} spider-themed superhero]] before disgustedly stating that the character is gross.
* SmugSuper: "New Kids in Town" reveals that, as his powers began to manifest, Clark Kent became a jerk in high school. Even Lana Lang, his girlfriend and best friend, found him arrogant and hard to be around sometimes.
* SpaceJews: If Mxy and the High Council are anything to go by, the members of the 5th Dimension are apparently all stereotypically Jewish imps. Except for Gsptlsnz, Mxy's ShiksaGoddess.
** Given the very nature of Mxy's species, it's entirely possible that they only act like that because they think it's funny. Or because they like how the chosen people of Israel act. Or because they like screwing with other people.
* SplitPersonalityTakeover: Earl Garver takes control of Parasite after Parasite tries to absorb Garver's memories. Eventually, [[BattleInTheCenterOfTheMind the two of them duke it out for control of the body]].
* SpottingTheThread: Lois Lane recognizes that Edward Lytner was lying about ''something'' when he congratulated her on winning the Excalibur Award, since he claimed to have been in his lab for twenty-four hours without any television or radio to connect him to the outside world.
* StalkerWithACrush:
** Lytner (Luminus) leaked confidential corporate secrets to Lois Lane hoping to win her affection, and when she never even noticed he was interested he began to methodically plot her death [[DeathTrap with numerous high-tech gadgets and schemes]]
** Toyman in "Obsession".
* StarfishAliens: Including Starro itself in one brief scene. Unity is one of the strangest.
* SuperEmpowering: Accidentally; when Superman gets struck by lightning the electricity passes through him and hits Leslie Willis. His being part of the circuit not only causes her to survive, but somehow [[LightningCanDoAnything gives her electric powers.]]
* SupermanStaysOutOfGotham: Averted. In one episode, Superman had to go to Gotham and fill in for Batman during a crime spree while trying to investigate his disappearance.
* SuperRugPull: Superman tries it on Darkseid.
* SuperSpeed: Superman himself, and he even has a race with the Flash in one episode to see who has the title of "Fastest Man Alive."
* SuperStrength: A classic Superman ability.
* SwissCheeseSecurity: Lampshaded by Lois after someone broke into her apartment for the second time in the same episode. "I need to get better locks."
* SympathyForTheHero: Darkseid, of all people, expresses a moment of admiration for Superman during their confrontation.
-->You're a ''magnificent'' opponent, Superman.
* TheSyndicate: Intergang.
* TailorMadePrison: Livewire's cell and the surrounding hallways.
* TakeThat: "[[Franchise/SpiderMan Spider powers?]] Ew."
* TakingTheBullet: Superman dives in front of Bizarro to take a sonic cannon shot that probably would have killed the already-weakened Bizarro. When Bizarro asks why, especially when they had been fighting only moments ago, Superman explains that it is because he is Bizarro's friend, and he knows Mr. Mxyzptlk tricked him.
* TalkingToTheDead: [[spoiler: Dan Turpin's funeral]]
-->'''Superman:''' "Goodbye, old friend. In the end, the world didn't need a super man, just a brave one"
* TankGoodness: Intergang commits its first on-screen crime by robbing a bank ''with a tank''.
* {{Tearjerker}}: The ending to "Apokolips... Now!" has Superman crying within the episode.
* TechnologyMarchesOn: Lampshaded in the incident mentioned under INeedToGoIronMyDog.
* TeleportersAndTransporters:
** Boom Tubes, the preferred method of transportation for the NewGods, appear throughout the series used by Apokolips, New Genesis and Superman himself.
** Brainiac develops his own personal teleporter after he [[TimeTravel travels back in time]] [[MakeWrongWhatOnceWentRight to kill Clark Kent in Smallville]].
* TenMinuteRetirement: DoctorFate abandoned the war against evil after he grew weary of the endless conflict that never changed anything. He tried to get Superman to likewise step back from humanity, but Superman's refusal to do so inspired Fate to return to the war.
* TerminatorTwosome: Targeting teenaged Clark in "New Kids in Town", with the Legion of Super-Heroes as the good and a Brainiac drone as the bad. The villain is even a stoic, implacable robot.
* TerroristsWithoutACause: John Corben and crew, Luthor's buyers in "My Girl", and the hijackers in "World's Finest, Part 1".
* ThatManIsDead: "[[AmnesiacDissonance Steelman]] is dead."
* ThereIsAnother: Supergirl, surviving as a HumanPopsicle
* ThereWasADoor: When Bizarro takes Lois Lane out to dinner, he enters the restaurant by smashing through the wall next to the door. When they leave, Lois asks him to use the door this time and, happy to oblige, he smashes ''through'' the door.
* ThisIsGonnaSuck: From Luminus. After his ploy to remove Superman's powers fails, Superman catches Lytner's fist during last ditch attempt to beat his adversary. Superman then spends a ''very'' long time getting back to his feet and slowly cocking his fist... during which Lytner uneasily cringes and winces back because [[MegatonPunch he knows what's coming next...]]
* ThouShaltNotKill: Superman, [[TheCape of course]], is a prime follower of this philosophy.
* ThrownFromTheZeppelin: Lex is not afraid to do this, or to make sure that there is nothing left of someone for the police to find.
* TimeTravel: In the third season, Brainiac [[ComicBook/{{Legion of Super-Heroes}} from the thirty-first century]] goes back in time to Smallville to kill Clark Kent before he can become Superman. Three Legionaires travel back as well [[TerminatorTwosome to make sure he does not succeed]].
* TooKinkyToTorture:
--> '''Lobo:''' If they drag us back into those cages, they'll probably strap our butts to the floor with razor wire. Not that it ain't a pleasurable way to perk up an otherwise ho-hum evening, but I do have me that prisoner to deliver.
* TurnInYourBadge: Inverted. Maggie Sawyer remarks that if she had a nickel for every time Dan Turpin turned in his badge of his own volition, she would be richer than Luthor.
* UglyGuyHotWife: Mr. Mxyzptlk, a man approximately three feet tall with half his height occupied by his head, is married to the [[StatuesqueStunner tall]], [[ShesGotLegs leggy]] Gsptlsnz.
* UnderestimatingBadassery: One of the primary themes of the "World's Finest" crossover is that both Superman and Luthor consider Batman to be a crazy guy with no powers and the Joker a wacko clown who aren't worth their time and energy. By the end, Batman has scared the crap out of Luthor (something even Superman never even managed) by breaking into his penthouse and saved Superman's life, and the Joker comes closer to killing Superman than just about any other villain had previously while also backstabbing Luthor and nearly destroying Metropolis.
* UndyingLoyalty: The end of the series has probably the darkest version of this trope imaginable. Darkseid is about as evil as you can get and treats his slaves horribly. Yet even after Superman beats him and throws him down to the slaves' mercy, they pick him up to treat him. Why?
--> '''Darkseid''': I am many things Kal-El, but here I am god.
* UnusualEuphemism: Shoot my monkey.
* UpUpAndAway: Superman's classic pose, and a line Chameleon boy [[IAlwaysWantedToSayThat always wanted to say]].
* VillainessesWantHeroes: Maxima to Superman. And then she met [[AllGirlsWantBadBoys Lobo]].
* VillainousBreakdown: When Superman manages to stop his machine and return the sunlight to its normal hue, the usually AffablyEvil Luminus goes into a full-on rage and tries to beat Supes to death with his bare hands before Superman's powers return. He is not fast enough.
* VillainTeamUp: Several examples.
** Livewire/Parasite, which laced their partnership with a lot of sexual innuendo and implied rape.
** Mr. Mxyzptlk/Bizarro, a team up that the creative team later came to regret, as they felt it did not quite live up to previous independent episodes with each character.
** Darkseid/Mannheim, but that was more lopsided than the human partner would have liked (though Mannheim was [[TooDumbToLive oblivious to the fact that he was just a pawn]].)
** Lex Luthor/Joker in "World's Finest," the first crossover with Batman and the official formation of the {{DCAU}}.
* VoiceChangeling: Superman could mimic voices thanks to precise muscle control and a really good ear, which creeps the hell out of Robin when he demonstrates it.
* VoicesAreMental: When Parasite drains somebody's thoughts and memories he also gains their voice, although he can chose when to use their voice and when to use his own.
* WalkDontSwim:
** Metallo, after falling into the ocean to his apparent death. He ''is'' made of metal, after all.
** The Prometheon lands in the waters of Metropolis bay and begins to walk towards land.
* WannabeLine: The annual gala of the Metropolis Yacht Club is exclusive enough to have a gaggle of tuxedo-wearing people held at bay by the rope and {{bouncer}}.
* WeCanRuleTogether: Luthor, Brainiac and Darkseid all give this speech to Superman in separate episodes.
* WeirdnessMagnet: Superman brings out all the aliens, demons, and mad scientists. Lois Lane seems to attract more than her share of freaks and killers, too, as lampshaded by Dan Turpin:
-->'''Lois Lane:''' Bizarro?
-->'''Dan Turpin:''' You know this guy? Figures. All the whackos come to you.
* WellDoneSonGuy: Kalibak's original reason for attacking Supes was that he wanted to please Darkseid.
-->'''Darkseid:''' I can't believe he's blood. (After watching his son get one-shotted by a furious Superman)
* WesternTerrorists: John Corben and crew, Luthor's buyers in "My Girl", and the hijackers in "World's Finest, Part 1".
* WhamLine:
-->'''Bizarro:''' Krypton pretty, [[spoiler: So sad now it has to blow up.]]
* WhamShot: In one episode, Superman does what he does best: saving the day. Then he saves... Clark Kent from falling to his doom! It's later revealed that this Superman is actually a [[CloneDegeneration clone]] and Clark is the real Superman.
** In "Legacy ", the episode opens with an AlienInvasion of Akopolis on an unnamed planet. The leader of the invaders take his helm off and is revealed to be Superman.
* WhatHaveIBecome: John Corben finally realizes what a monster he has become [[SenseLossSadness after he discovers he can not even feel a kiss]].
* WhatMeasureIsANonHuman: Superman's ThouShaltNotKill rule tends to become more of a guideline when dealing with StarfishAliens and [[AIIsACrapshoot artificial intelligences]].
* WhatMeasureIsANonUnique
* WhenAllYouHaveIsAHammer: Averted, despite public perception of Superman as a character who simply uses his [[NewPowersAsThePlotDemands ever-evolving powers to solve his current problems]]. Nowhere is this more apparent than in ''Mxyzpixilated'' where Superman not only continually tricks Mr. Mxyzptlk back to his own dimension, but successfully gambits him into staying there permanently. What is more, he convinces him that he was simply toying with the annoying imp the entire time (and very well might have been).
** The overall pattern in this series is that it's not difficult to catch Superman off-guard with something he hasn't seen before... but if you try the same trick on him again, he'll have figured out some way to counter it. "Fool me twice..."
* WhyWontYouDie: Livewire wonders why Superman refuses to die after she keeps shooting him with lightning.
* WillNotBeAVictim: Lois Lane is the traditional [[DamselInDistress damsel]], frequently being rescued by Superman, but she is also a competent and driven woman all on her own. In the episode "Target," despite a madman consistently attempting to murder her, she remains unconcerned and defiant. She points out that she will never ''let'' herself become a victim, and she actually beats up her assassin with her own hands before he catches her in one last DeathTrap.
* WithGreatPowerComesGreatInsanity:
** When Rudy Jones was first introduced his characterization was desperation instead of malevolence, and he stopped his partner when he tried to actually hurt people. However, after he became Parasite he became obssessed with draining anybody he could get his hands on and taking revenge on a world which hurt him.
** Sergeant Corey Milles from "Prototype," who became violent, paranoid and obsessive after prolonged exposure to the suit.
* WhoDares: Darkseid's reaction to Superman hitting him. Unlike most examples, it's quite intimidating as Darkseid really can take whatever Superman dishes out.
* TheWorfEffect: Kalibak is voiced by [[Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration Worf]] himself and always charges Superman to little effect.
* WorthIt: Mr. Mxyzptlk was stripped of his powers and sentenced to three months in our universe as punishment for breaking his word, but he proclaimed that it would all be worth it to see Superman get clobbered. [[spoiler: [[SubvertedTrope He changes his mind pretty quickly]].]]
* WorthyOpponent: Lex Luthor once explained to Lois that, as much as he disliked her for the shots she takes at him and his company, he respects her for her skills and abilities.
* WouldHitAGirl: When Superman tackled Livewire through a wall, she incredulously goes, "At least we know you hit girls!"
* XanatosGambit: [[spoiler: Darkseid brainwashes Superman and turns him against humanity in the series finale "Legacy." If Superman wins, then Darkseid can claim Earth without having ''technically'' broken his treaty with New Genesis, since it was Earth's own hero that conquered it. If Superman is defeated, then one of Darkseid's enemies is destroyed and Earth is laid to ruin in the conflict. If (as happens) Superman eventually breaks free of the brainwashing, he's still led an army against Earth under his own banner, greatly compromising Earth's faith in him as a defender]].
* [[ArtisticLicensePhysics You Fail Physics Forever]]: It is Superman, so one has to expect an elastic relationship with the laws of physics, but ''anything'' being strong enough to '''push a spaceship out of a black hole's gravity well''' is pretty hard to swallow.
* YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness:
** "Your usefulness to me has ended." -- Brainiac to his brainwashed victim, [[spoiler:Batman]], in "Knight Time."
** Darkseid does not say the actual line, but when Bruno Mannheim has served his purpose in "Apokolips... Now!" he is left to die on an island about to be destroyed by a nuclear explosion.
---> '''Mannheim:''' You said you'd make me a king!
---> '''Darkseid:''' And so you are. King of FOOLS! ''(teleports)''
*** The DVD commentary suggests "king of Hell" as an alternative.
** Dr. Vale in "The Way of All Flesh".
-->'''Superman:''' It's only a matter of time before the cops find him!\\
'''Lex:''' And what makes you think there's any of him left to find?\\
''(Superman looks startled by that)''
----