In 1994, Spider-Man: The Animated Series arrived on television screens. The show boasted excellent animation and a strong voice cast and quickly became a smash hit.
In total, Spider-Man: The Animated Series ran for 65 episodes between ’94 and ‘98 – and most of them are very good. In fact, there are very few bad episodes in the show’s entire run, as the quality of the series remained consistent throughout.
But if you want to know what are the best episodes of Spider-Man: The Animated Series, then you have come to the right place. Below you will find a list of the best episodes, as well as a few additional suggestions.
Night of the Lizard
The first episode on this list is reserved for the very first episode of the series: Night of the Lizard. In this story, Peter Parker’s science teacher, Dr. Curt Connors transforms into the villainous Lizard, leaving Spider-Man with no choice but to square off against his mentor.
Night of the Lizard is a great episode, which provides the perfect entry point for the series. The Lizard is fantastic villain and this story demonstrates the high quality of the show.
Doctor Octopus: Armed and Dangerous
Doctor Octopus is arguably one of the greatest Spider-Man villains and his debut episode, Doctor Octopus: Armed and Dangerous is a standout story. Once again, Spider-Man is faced with battling a former mentor, only this time around it is Otto Octavius – a scientist with eight limbs!
Doctor Octopus: Armed and Dangerous is the fourth episode of the first season and it is yet another episode which showcases the strength of this show. It is also worth pointing out that season one is a great season in general.
Speaking of which…
Kraven the Hunter
Another story from the first season and another classic villain. The episode is Kraven the Hunter, which introduces one of Spidey’s most relentless foes.
The story is simple – Kraven hunts Spider-Man across New York – but builds to a terrific showdown between a hunter and his prey. This is 20-minutes of action and adventure with a superb super villain.
The Alien Costume – Part 1 – 3
For this entry I am grouping together three episodes as one, as they are all part of the same story. If you watch one episode, then you need to watch all three – and you will want to watch all three.
The story – The Alien Costume – introduces the symbiote – an alien entity which bonds with Peter Parker. The symbiote enhances Peter’s strength, but also influences his decisions.
In the first chapter, Spider-Man bonds with the symbiote and faces the Rhino. In the second chapter, a powerful (and arrogant) Spider-Man fights the Shocker, before he decides to remove the symbiote, fearing it is taking over his life.
In the final entry, the symbiote finds a new host – disgraced journalist, Eddie Brock. Both Brock and the symbiote share a mutual hatred of Spider-Man and together they adopt the guise of Venom to rid the world of the wall-crawler.
The Insidious Six / Battle of the Insidious Six
Another collection of episodes that are best watched together is the two-part story, The Insidious Six and Battle of the Insidious Six. This two-parter, which kick-starts the show’s second season, sees Spider-Man come face-to-face with a group of super villains.
Led by the Kingpin, the team (known as the Insidious Six) is composed of Rhino, Shocker, Doctor Octopus, Mysterio, the Scorpion, and the Chameleon. These villains prove to be more than a match for Spider-Man – especially when he starts to lose his powers!
Enter the Green Goblin
The Green Goblin is arguably Spider-Man’s most iconic villain, yet he doesn’t appear in Spider-Man: The Animated Series until the third season. However, when Gobby does finally arrive in the show, his debut is certainly worth the wait!
In this story, the Green Goblin kidnaps a collection of New York’s most prominent citizens, because he feels that they have in some way wronged Norman Osborn (the Goblin’s alter-ego). Thankfully Spider-Man is on hand to save the day, but will he be able to stop the Goblin before he delivers his own brand of justice?
Venom Returns / Carnage
Venom Returns and Carnage is a two-part story which not only brings Venom back into the series, but also introduces the villainous, Carnage. The mass-murdering super villain of the comics is severely depowered for Spider-Man: The Animated Series (sorry, no killings here), but Carnage still makes for a deadly villain.
Oh, and not only do Venom and Carnage take centre stage in these stories, but Iron Man and War Machine also put in guest appearances too!
The Green Goblin is back and he is at his most menacing. Not only does he know Spider-Man’s secret identity, but he uses that knowledge to taunt Peter Parker.
Turning Point is without doubt one of the best episodes of Spider-Man: The Animated Series and sees Spider-Man and the Green Goblin locked in battle, with Mary Jane Watson’s life hanging in the balance. The episode ends with a nail-biting cliff-hanger that creates huge ramifications for the rest of the series, making this a must-see episode.
Six Forgotten Warriors Part 1 – 5
And finally, saving the biggest story for last – and this one is a five-part tale! The story is Six Forgotten Warriors, a sprawling adventure which sees Spider-Man involved in a mystery spanning back to World War II.
Six Forgotten Warriors includes a large cast of characters, including the Insidious Six, Captain America, Red Skull, Electro and Silver Sable. It also introduces a number of long forgotten heroes from the past, including the Black Marvel and the Whizzer!
OK, to recap the best episodes of Spider-Man: The Animated Series are:
- Night of the Lizard
- Doctor Octopus: Armed and Dangerous
- Kraven the Hunter
- The Alien Costume – Part 1 – 3
- The Insidious Six / Battle of the Insidious
- Enter the Green Goblin
- Venom Returns / Carnage
- Turning Point
- Six Forgotten Warriors Part 1 – 5
And should you want more great episodes of Spider-Man: The Animated Series (and you know you do), then I also recommend you check out the following:
- The Spider Slayer / Return of the Spider Slayers
- The Wedding
- Spider-Wars Part 1 & 2
As mentioned at the top of this post, Spider-Man: The Animated Series is consistently good, with most episodes offering something of value, whether it is an interesting storyline or a great guest star. Should you have the time, I highly recommend you work your way through all 65 episodes – you won’t be disappointed and you will find it a truly enjoyable journey with Marvel’s flagship character.