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Home > Top Ten Episodes of the Original ‘X-Men: The Animated Series’ 

Top Ten Episodes of the Original ‘X-Men: The Animated Series’ 

Journey back to the ‘90s and look at the ten best episodes of “X-Men: The Animated Series.” Norm Spencer as Cyclops, Alyson Court as Jubilee, Cal Dodd as Wolverine, and George Buza as Beast in X-Men: The Animated Series.

To Me, My X-Men

While the future of comic book films is currently uncertain, one area they usually do well in is television. Adapting comic book stories through an ongoing series seems like a good match, especially if it’s animated and gets away with things that live-action can’t pull off. One series that achieved this was none other than X-Men: The Animated Series (1992-1997). The show follows the titular team as they fight supervillains while also dealing with discrimination for being mutants. In honor of the sequel series, X-Men ‘97 (2024-Present), coming out next month, here are ten of the best episodes from X-Men: The Animated Series. Minor Spoilers Ahead! 

10. “Graduation Day” (Season 5, Episode 10) 

In the series finale, after Charles Xavier (Cedric Smith) gets attacked and is in critical condition, the X-Men try to do everything in their power to save him before time runs out. While this doesn’t have a ton of action, what makes them work is to see how far the X-Men are willing to go to save Charles. Throughout the show, he was always a mentor figure to the group so to see the team help him for a change was great to watch. It’s also nice to see how much the characters mean to Charles and how much he means to them, especially Magneto (David Hamblen). The only real downside of the episode is the animation. According to CBR, towards the end of the series, Saban, the studio that owned the show, decided to use a different animation studio for the final episodes due to budget issues. Because of the smaller budget, the animation looks rough. While the original animation style wasn’t perfect either, it still flowed better than this. In the end, “Graduation Day” is a solid conclusion to the original series while still leaving the door open for future stories.

Journey back to the ‘90s and look at the ten best episodes of “X-Men: The Animated Series.”
Norm Spencer as Cyclops, Catherine Disher as Jean Grey, Alison Sealy-Smith as Storm, Alyson Court as Jubilee, Cal Dodd as Wolverine, George Buza as Beast, Tony Daniels as Gambit, Lenore Zann as Rogue, Rob Rubin as Morph, and David Hamblen as Magneto in “X-Men: The Animated Series.” Image courtesy Saban Entertainment/Marvel Entertainment.

 

9. “Beauty & The Beast” (Season 2, Episode 10) 

In this episode, Beast (George Buza) tries to treat a woman with poor eyesight, but unfortunately, the woman’s father won’t allow it due to Beast being a mutant. This is one of the few times where Beast gets to be the center focus of an episode, and it’s very interesting. Beast is usually one of the more calm and level-headed members of the team, and yet here, he starts to become more upset over how he is treated as a mutant. It’s one of the earliest depictions of how Beast feels about his looks, and it’s done well. It adds another layer to his character by giving him a relatable story. The romance he has with the woman is also sweet. The action is decent, and the animation is good. When all is said and done, “Beauty & The Beast” is an emotional story that audiences can connect to. 

Journey back to the ‘90s and look at the ten best episodes of “X-Men: The Animated Series.” George Buza as Beast in "X-Men: The Animated Series."
George Buza as Beast in “X-Men: The Animated Series.” Image courtesy Saban Entertainment/Marvel Entertainment.

 

8. “Bloodlines” (Season 4, Episode 14) 

This episode follows the X-Men as they team up with Nightcrawler (Adrian Hough) to find and save his mom from certain death. One of the best parts of this episode is easily Nightcrawler. His friendly demeanor and often optimistic attitude are always a delight whenever he appears in the series, and this episode is no different. Plus, he can teleport, and that’s just awesome. It’s also excellent to see his character get explored since he wasn’t a major character on the show, but still left a memorable impression. When he does meet his mom, his relationship with her is quite intriguing. The action in this episode is entertaining and creative from beginning to end. Rogue (Lenore Zann) also gets some development, which is always pleasant to witness. One nitpick is that some of the content in this episode isn’t really followed up on in the later episodes, but maybe X-Men ‘97 will explore them. Ultimately, “Bloodlines” is a fantastic episode that doesn’t disappoint. 

Journey back to the ‘90s and look at the ten best episodes of “X-Men: The Animated Series.”
Lenore Zann as Rogue and Adrian Hough as Nightcrawler in “X-Men: The Animated Series.” Image courtesy of Saban Entertainment/Marvel Entertainment.

 

7. “Weapon X, Lies, and Videotape” (Season 4, Episode 16) 

In this episode, Wolverine (Cal Dodd) goes on a mission that leads him to the facility that gave him his metal skeleton and claws. One of the most iconic parts of X-Men in various media is Wolverine’s past. The way it is displayed here was well done. It takes elements from the comics but adapts them in a way that works within the context of the show. Another positive thing about this episode is that it shows Wolverine being vulnerable. Like with Beast generally being the level-headed one, Wolverine is always the tough member of the group so to see him here showing a different side of him was wonderful for his character development. Additionally, Sabertooth (Don Francks) appears in this episode, and any time he and Wolverine are in a situation together is always fun. The action scenes here are brilliant. The animation is stellar. All in all, “Weapon X, Lies, and Videotape” is a wonderful character-driven episode that goes further into the backstory of a beloved member of the X-Men. 

Journey back to the ‘90s and look at the ten best episodes of “X-Men: The Animated Series.” Cal Dodd as Wolverine in "X-Men: The Animated Series."
Cal Dodd as Wolverine in “X-Men: The Animated Series.” Image courtesy of Saban Entertainment/Marvel Entertainment.

 

6. “The Cure” (Season 1, Episode 9) 

This episode follows the Uncanny X-Men as they discover there might be a “cure” for their mutation. Of course, one of the biggest themes X-Men will discuss is prejudice, and having this episode discussing the ethics of whether or not a cure would be a good thing is truly fascinating. Some of the mutants in the show look like normal people, and some look noticeably different, like Beast. Some have less dangerous powers like teleportation, but some have powers that can wipe out an entire nation, like being able to control the weather. It shows that this is something that can be seen as either good or bad, depending on the character. This even got touched upon in one of the X-Men movies, The Last Stand (2006). 

The concept is explored amazingly in this episode through Rogue. With her character having the ability to absorb people’s energy, potentially leaving them seriously harmed, it is easy for the audience to understand why she maybe would want the cure. Lenore Zann gives a splendid performance. What is also great about it is that it doesn’t talk down to its audience about it. Although this is a kids’ show, it still takes itself seriously at times and isn’t afraid to talk about mature themes. Overall, “The Cure” is a magnificent story that continues to get better and better. 

Journey back to the ‘90s and look at the ten best episodes of “X-Men: The Animated Series.” Pat Fraley as Pyro and Lenore Zann as Rogue in "X-Men: The Animated Series."
Pat Fraley as Pyro and Lenore Zann as Rogue in “X-Men: The Animated Series.” Image courtesy Saban Entertainment/Marvel Entertainment.

5. “Days of Future Past Part I” (Season 1, Episode 11) 

The first episode of this two-part series follows Bishop (Phillip Akin), who is sent back in time from the future to the present day ‘90s to prevent an assassination that would lead to a post-apocalyptic world. Time travel stories can be tricky to pull off, although fortunately, this episode does it marvelously. It sets up the main plot in a gratifying way and is easy to follow. The characters continue to be pleasant, and Bishop is a welcome new character to the show. The look for the post-apocalyptic future is visually interesting. Bishop initially starts out trying to figure out who causes the assassination, and when it is revealed, it will have viewers on the edge of their seats, wanting to know more. The action is done nicely. It sets up the second part well. All in all, ‘Days of Future Past’ Part I’ is an exciting time that never loses one interest. 

Journey back to the ‘90s and look at the ten best episodes of “X-Men: The Animated Series.” Iona Morris as Storm, Catherine Disher as Jean Grey, Alyson Court as Jubilee, Cal Dodd as Wolverine, Norm Spencer as Cyclops, and Phillip Akin as Bishop in "X-Men: The Animated Series."
Iona Morris as Storm, Catherine Disher as Jean Grey, Alyson Court as Jubilee, Cal Dodd as Wolverine, Norm Spencer as Cyclops, and Phillip Akin as Bishop in “X-Men: The Animated Series.” Image courtesy of Saban/Marvel Entertainment.

 

4. “One Man’s Worth Part I” (Season 4, Episode 9) 

The first half of this two-parter follows Bishop once again as he has to go back in time to the 1950s, along with Wolverine and Storm (Alison Sealy-Smith), to prevent Charles Xavier from being killed. On the surface, this has a similar premise to “Days of Future Past,” where it involves Bishop trying to prevent something in the past to save the future. Where it diverges is that the events are not only where the events caused by another group of people traveling back in time but also at the beginning, the plan succeeds, and the viewers get to see a world without Charles. 

This episode is also similar to “Graduation Day,” where it shows how much Charles means to people, but this time, it’s on a wider scale and shows how much his ideals have impacted society and, more specifically, mutants. The alternate timeline without Charles is compelling and chaotic, showing just why the heroes need to save him. With this being a time travel story, there is a time running-out theme throughout the episode, and it works to add some tension. The ending will leave audiences shocked and excited to watch the second part. In the end, “One Man’s Worth Part I” is a thrilling experience that viewers will certainly enjoy.

Journey back to the ‘90s and look at the ten best episodes of “X-Men: The Animated Series.”
Alison Sealy-Smith as Storm and Cal Dodd as Wolverine in “X-Men: The Animated Series.” Image courtesy of Saban/Marvel Entertainment.

 

3. “The Phoenix Saga Part I: The Sacrifice” (Season 3, Episode 3) 

The first part of this five-part saga follows the X-Men as they are sent into space to save the crew inside a space shuttle. “The Phoenix Saga” and, subsequently, “The Dark Phoenix Saga” are probably two of the biggest storylines in the entire X-Men history. When it was finally adapted into the animated series, it was treated like an event. Not only was the “The Phoenix Saga” told in five parts, but the first two episodes helped set up the saga. Similarly, this episode stands out from the rest of the saga for doing an outstanding job of setting world the main storyline while also working as a standalone episode.  All the important plot beats are laid out in a way for audiences to understand, but there is still some sense of mystery to make them want to continue watching to learn more.

 Another great thing about this episode is it finally puts Jean Grey (Catherine Disher) in the forefront. She mainly served as a supportive player to the team, and when she was the main focus, it always had something to do with her relationship with Cyclops (Norm Spencer) or the love triangle between them and Wolverine. Here, she gets to be more proactive and keeps a heroic moment. Overall, “The Dark Phoenix Saga Part I: Sacrifice” lays out the foundation for a grand storyline. 

Journey back to the ‘90s and look at the ten best episodes of “X-Men: The Animated Series.”
Catherine Disher as Jean Grey in “X-Men: The Animated Series.” Image courtesy of Saban/Marvel Entertainment.

 

2. “The Dark Phoenix Saga Part IV: The Fate of the Phoenix” (Season 3, Episode 17) 

The final part of this four-part saga finds the X-Men having to enter into a battle with the Shi’ar Empire over the fate of Jean Grey for the destruction she caused as the Phoenix. The best way to describe this story is that it is an emotional rollercoaster. Everything is all over the best in the best way. It is amazing to see just how much Jean means to the team, with the group doing everything in their power to save her despite all the bad things she’s done. It is also good to see Jean acknowledging all the mistakes she’s made. Watching the beginning of this saga with her as an antagonist was unique, and Jean going back to being a hero was done in a natural way that didn’t feel rushed. The action here is incredible. Everyone gets to shine here. The animation is glorious. This episode works both as a conclusion to “The Dark Phoenix Saga” but also concludes things left over from “The Phoenix Saga” as well. Ultimately, “The Dark Phoenix Part IV: The Fate of the Phoenix” is a delightful spectacle to behold. 

Journey back to the ‘90s and look at the ten best episodes of “X-Men: The Animated Series.”
Catherine Disher as Jean Grey in “X-Men: The Animated Series.” Image courtesy of Saban/Marvel Entertainment.

 

1. “Beyond Good and Evil Part IV: End and Beginning” (Season 4, Episode 21) 

In the concluding chapter of this four-part series, the X-Men fight an ultimate battle as they face off against Apocalypse (James Blendick). Out of all the episodes on this list, this is the most intense of them all. The stakes are at their highest, with the team having to stop an armageddon. It also has them teaming up with characters from the future once again, including Bishop, who gets trapped in some sort of limbo at the beginning of the story following his appearance in “One Man’s Worth.” Anytime X-Men does a multiple-part story, it feels like an event, and this episode is no exception. It comes across like anything can happen, making it more unpredictable. The action is marvelous. The animation is at its best here. The voice acting all around is well done. The music is impeccable. What is interesting is that this was originally written to be the series finale, according to showrunner Eric Lewald in his book Previously On X-Men. Eventually, Fox, the network the show aired on, renewed X-Men for a fifth season. When seen as that, it does work as it ties all many plot threads in the show. That said, it still leaves some room to be explored later. All in all, “Beyond Good and Evil Part IV: End and Beginning” is a spectacular conclusion to the fourth season and could have worked as an end to X-Men

Stream X-Men: The Animated Series on Disney+.

Journey back to the ‘90s and look at the ten best episodes of “X-Men: The Animated Series.”
Phillip Akin as Bishop in “X-Men: The Animated Series.” Image courtesy of Saban/Marvel Entertainment.

X-Men ’97 (1997) Official Marvel Entertainment Trailer

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I am from Michigan. I am a recent graduate of Bowling Green State University majoring in Film Production with a minor in Media Production.
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Elke Simmons' writing portfolio includes contributions to The Laredo Morning Times, Walt Disney World Eyes and Ears, Extinction Rebellion (XR) News/Blog, and Dead Talk News.