If there is one thing I can attribute to my absolute love of comics, it's definitely that of the DC Animated Universe.
The DC Animated Universe (DCAU) has been regarded by fans, including myself to be perhaps the best representation of characters that's been seen in the franchise of said characters. TV shows have included but aren't limited to Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series, Justice League, Justice League Unlimted, and Batman Beyond.
Bruce Timm and Paul Dini perhaps are most accredited people when it comes to giving responsibility to those who created the universe. Finding its origins in Batman: The Animated Series, the series got universal acclaim, which soon lead to the development of Batman Beyond, and shortly thereafter Superman: The Animated Series. Soon, more and more shows were in demand. In one such case, they've written two season finales as endings to the universe as a whole, because they weren't certain the show was going to be renewed for another season. But in both of these cases, the show was always continued.
The series had massive respect for its character's and story lines. While some might write it off as a show simply made for a younger audience, the TV series does deal with mature themes in a mature way. We see relationships, families, betrayal, torture, and death. At the end of an episode not everything goes back to normal, it's continued throughout the rest of the universe, and in several cases carrying on consequences into another series.
Fans have certain perspectives on what these iconic characters should be, Superman as the heroic hero who leads us to a better tomorrow, Wonder Woman as the strong warrior who wants to fight for peace and justice for all, and Batman as the Dark Knight who fights vengeance. Today in both the mainstream comics and even the movies we've seen versions of these characters that are moving away from their source material. We see a Batman who kills and uses guns, and Superman who fights without thinking of the people or the city in the movies. This is part of the reason why the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) is getting such a massive hate because it's not the heroes people know or want to see.
It's impossible to deny the influence the DCAU, because of we've seen new and popular character's that would be considered iconic by several today. These include Harley Quinn, Mr.Freeze, Terry McGinnis The Batman of the future, Livewire, and Mercy Graves. Two of these characters, Harley Quinn and Mercy Graves have made appearances in the DCAU in Suicide Squad and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice respectively. That's a huge achievement for a character, whether small of big to be adapted into the big screen.
The DCAU has had massive effects not only in comics but in movies and pop culture as a whole. As we move forward, people are looking forward rather than looking back at the past. Today some event in a comic book whether in Marvel or at DC could have the same effect that the DCAU has had. While I'm not saying every comic fan needs to watch the series in order to truly appreciate the comics and the franchise, but rather, I'd simply want people to know where these important characters and myths came from in the first place. If you're a fan of comics, or even if you aren't, the DCAU is definitely worth a watch if you ever get the chance. Justice League and Justice League Unlimited are on Netflix as I'm writing this, they are definitely worth a chance if you want to get into this world.