The Animated Adaptation of the Legion of Super-Heroes comic book series. Ran for two seasons, 2006-2008, abruptly ending with a hook for the third season that never came.When the series opens, the 31st-century Legion is hopelessly outclassed by the famed Fatal Five. They resolve to recruit the near-mythical Superman from the past, but for undisclosed reasons, Brainiac 5 brings them to Smallville, not Metropolis. There they invite 18-year-old Clark Kent to help them in The Future, promising that with Time Travel, he can return the minute he left.At Brainy's insistence, everyone studiously avoids telling Clark who he's supposed to become in the future. Regardless, Clark finds the Superman Museum, connects the dots, and takes the costume from the display case, and the name of Superman, for his own. Together they defeat the Five, and then Adventures Happen.The show had a very Silver Age tone to it, but the most noticeable and controversial change from the source material was turning team genius Brainiac 5 from a Human Alien into an android. Word of God is that this was supposed to tie him more closely to his ancestor the original Brainiac, as well as avoiding having to explain how an an organic can be the 'descendant' of a robot, clearing away a fifty-year-old example of Writing Around Trademarks.Season Two saw everyone age about two years, even Brainy, and the show went Darker and Edgier after the very light and bouncy first season. The premiere visited a Bad Future where Superman's clone was bred to fight Galactic Conqueror Imperiex, who when cornered escapes back to the 31st century and proceeds to wreak havoc as the season's Big Bad.The series had its own comic series, Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st Century, which ran for 20 issues, some of them taking place after the end of the show.The character sheet can be found here.
Legion of Super Heroes provides examples of:
Aborted Arc: Both Drax and Alexis are forgotten about after their debut episodes.
The opening credits of season 2 were full of this. A notable example would be Sun Boy, who has an entire scene shown in the opening of every episode that season even though what was shown in the credits in pretty much all he ever did. There are also characters from season one who keep their spot in the opening despite their roles being significantly decreased that season to only appearing in a few episodes, like Saturn Girl.
Amazingly Embarrassing Parent: Phantom Girl sees her mother, President Winema Wazzo of the United Planets, as this. She knows her mother means well and the two get along better after "Champions" (although that's not to say their relationship was sour beforehand), but she can't help but feel exasperated when her mother becomes overly doting and protective or makes false assumptions about her daughter's dating habits.
Not to mention Brainy and his obsession with Superman... which, thanks to the opening of Season 2's first episode may be a whoooole lot less ambiguous (later Ship Tease with Shrinking Violet notwithstanding).
And STARFINGER!!!! The guy has a pink and lime green sign with his name on it!
Also briefly in "Message in a Bottle", where he's zapped into the bottled city of Kandor without bringing his power suit to nullify the effects of the red sun (which, due to time travel, he didn't know he had at the time). Luckily, one of his robot duplicates gives the suit to Brainy. Later, after the suit is damaged and Supes loses his powers again, Brainiac 5 uses data given to him from Brainiac 1.0 to turn Kandor's sun into a yellow sun, thus reversing this and turning Kandor into an entire city of superpowered Kryptonians.
Brainy in the finale. He's still smart but he's lost his ability to transform into his giant robot form or stretch his limbs. He essentially becomes a really smart, green human.
Card-Carrying Villain: A bit of a plot point in the episode "Phantoms". Phantom Zone escapee Drax hears the voices of his still-imprisoned parents in his head, constantly reminding him that he's evil and always will be. Supervillains really do make Abusive Parents.
In the Grand Finale, despite never having self-identified as evil before (quite the opposite, in fact), the still-alive villain says to...no one in particular, "Evil does not die. It evolves," in an ill-fated Sequel Hook.
Chekhov's Skill: Superman X's Kryptonite immunity. It was mentioned only once, when introducing himself and how his LEGO Genetics make him stronger, however, it never saw any use in the series proper until the finale, where it saves the Original Superman's life.
Civvie Spandex: A bizarre variation. The costumes the superheroes themselves wear are perfectly in keeping with superhero tradition, but the dress of the non-super characters and background characters suggest that this trope may somewhat be the case.
Combining Mecha: Hoo boy. In the Season Two finale: the towering fusion of every Coluan ever, with Brainiac's Skull Ship as the head.
Composite Character: In "Phantoms," Drax is based on a hodgepodge of Phantom Zone criminals, is implied to be the son of General Zod and Faora/Ursa, and has many design elements of the non-Kryptonian Zod from Superman: Birthright.
Superman X is one of Conner Kent and Lar Gand/Mon-El.
Among the items a bored Zyx conjures up in the background while Superboy... er... man is expositioning is a Green Lantern power battery.
In "Trials", White Witch (a Legionnaire in the mainstream comics) shows up, but as a hologram/illusion contained with an enchanted bracelet tasked with guiding Zyx through his trials to regain his magical powers.
Custom Uniform: Most of the characters' uniforms follow the pattern of a three-part division with a center band of contrast running down the middle, and all of them have the Legion emblem somewhere on their waist.
Foreshadowing: Superman X's cryptic message to Brainiac 5 at the Season 2 premiere. This will be followed by Brainiac's last words from the end of "Who Am I?": "But that would mean the potential for evil is also within... all of us." Of course, finally there's "Message in a Bottle."
Fun with Acronyms: Although it doesn't spell out a word, and it's more like a Mythology Gag: the so-called "Heroes for Hire" Light Speed Vanguard, which will later be known as the Legion of Super Villains.
I Did What I Had to Do: Brainy, often. Especially when it comes to making sure Superman doesn't learn too much about his future. Turned up to eleven when he becomes possessed by the original Brainiac, who intentionally uses this tendency to worm his way into Brainy's mind.
Kid-Appeal Character: As a contrast with the other, much darker elements that accompanied the new season, a young Chameleon Boy joins the Legion during the Time Skip.
Laser-Guided Amnesia: The reason every adaptation brings Saturn Girl to Smallville. But by Season Two, in a creepy Shoot the Dog moment to protect the timestream, Brainiac 5 uses a memory-flasher on Superman. Which, in light of the rest of the episode and combined with the self-satisfied look in his eyes is another nail in the foreshadowing coffin that the more ruthless Brainiac 1.0 had infected his mind and would turn up later.
Laughably Evil: Starfinger. Sweet fancy Moses, Starfinger. He's more dangerous indirectly than you'd expect for a man of such foppish whimsy who is deemed a "third-rate nuisance" by Brainiac, but the slapstick provided by his battles with the Legion of Substitute Heroes is good for at least a couple dozen laughs or so.
Mecha-Mooks: Imperiex's army, which he somehow still has after arriving in the past, are unfortunately named "Destructo-bots" at one point. Before that, Brainiac 5 all but served as a renewable Red Shirt, since robot injuries get a free pass from the Media Watchdog, especially one who can self-repair.
Musical Nod: A lot of the music is reminiscent of DCAU's themes, especially themes related to Superman - which are very similar to the main Leitmotif in Superman: The Animated Series. Makes sense, as this show was originally intended to be in the DCAU.
No Matter How Much I Beg: Brainiac 5 at the beginning of "Brain Drain", where he's unsure of the aftereffects of the Coluan's alignment process on his brain patterns while detached from their collective (and the balance their Hive Mind setup provides). He locks himself into a containment chamber and makes the others promise to not free him until the ten hours are up.
Noodle Incident: Alexis' experiment. "The top ten floors look as good as new, don't they?"
Obstructive Bureaucrat: The hat for Zarok, the sorcerers' world. According to the head sorcerer it's all necessary to keep its incredibly powerful citizenry from misusing their powers. However, to an outsider the red tape is strange enough to go from obstructive to totally absurd.
Oh Crap: Imperiex in "Message in a Bottle" when he realizes that he's now squaring off against millions of aliens that have the powers of Superman.
Pet the Dog: "Unnatural Alliances" for both Superman X and Imperiex. Although, the latter had no choice, seeing as his existence actually depended on it. Followed by a Kick the Dog immediately afterwards.
Phantom Zone: The Phantom Zone makes an appearance in an episode where a much younger Superman releases a Kryptonian boy born/created by some of his old enemies to, naturally, kill Superman. He should really stop messing with the Phantom Zone projector.
Pick Your Human Half: Brainy gets a weird version of this in that his more human emotions and twelfth-level intellect are usually at odds, causing conflict within the team and Brainiac 5 himself (particularly in Season 2).
When Brainiac 5 goes loopy while sealed within his containment chamber at the beginning of "Brain Drain", he's seen moonwalking.
The Smurfette Principle: The show started with female Legionnaires Saturn Girl, Phantom Girl, and Triplicate Girl. And then, in Season 2, the powers that be decided that male viewership would be put off by so many girls, so the girls were incapacitated and/or inexplicably sidelined for many episodes. Particularly irritating, as the Legion has Loads and Loads of Characters with a fairly even gender —and species— balance, and the comics have always averted this trope even all the way back to the Silver Age! The addition of Shrinking Violet in the same season was a very small counterbalance.
Status Quo Is God: At the very end of the penultimate episode of season 1, Bouncing Boy is elected the leader of the Legion. After the time skip between season 1 and 2 it seems that Cosmic Boy has been made the leader again. So from the audience's perspective Bouncing Boy was only the leader for 2 episodes before they changed it back.
Super Zeroes: As always, the Legion of Substitute Heroes, who, also as always, prove to be much more heroic and capable than you'd think.
Talkative Loon: Brainiac 5 during "Brain Drain." In spite of this, he actually gives a few crucial warnings to the team (such as "Red ants! Red ants! Superman shouldn't play with red ants" note Zuun has a red sun; under its light, Superman loses his powers and "Superman, green rocks kill the last son").
Two Guys and a Girl: As per the comics, the Legion's founding trio, Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad, and Saturn Girl. They're close enough to consider each other family, which tends to lead to a perpetual cycle of striking each other's nerves, arguing, and then making amends.
Villainous Breakdown: When Brainiac 1.0 starts needing to exert effort to fight Brainiac 5 in their Battle in the Center of the Mind, it becomes obvious that Brainiac 1.0 didn't plan on this nor is he taking it well. When defeated, he gives off an almost uncharacteristically agonized scream.
Villain Team-Up: The brief alliance between the Fatal Four and the Legion of Super Villains in Part 2 of the second season premiere.
Brainiac 5: "Do not worry. Soon this agony shall pass, as it will pass from this entire universe. Once my work is complete, there will be no more pain, no more chaos. Only a perfect order imposed by me."
What the Hell, Hero?: At least twice, between Brainiac and Superman, with the latter calling Brainy out for hiding both Supes's weakness to a red sun in "Brain Drain" and the original Brainiac's involvement in the shrinking of Kandor in "Message in a Bottle." And also when Brainiac suggested risking the Kandorians lives with Imperiex.
With the former, Brainiac 5 told Superman he apparently failed to un-shrink Kandor.