The 8 best episodes in the original X-Men Animated Series, ranked

Let us relive the adventures, themes, and timeless lessons with your favorite mutants as we look at 8 awesome episodes and moments.

(L-R): Morph (voiced by JP Karliak), Storm (voiced by Alison Sealy-Smith), Gambit (voiced by AJ LoCascio), Cyclops (voiced by Ray Chase), Rogue (voiced by Lenore Zann), Wolverine (voiced by Cal Dodd), Bishop (voiced by Isaac Robinson-Smith), Beast (voiced by George Buza) in Marvel Animation's X-MEN '97. Photo courtesy of Marvel Animation. © 2024 MARVEL.
(L-R): Morph (voiced by JP Karliak), Storm (voiced by Alison Sealy-Smith), Gambit (voiced by AJ LoCascio), Cyclops (voiced by Ray Chase), Rogue (voiced by Lenore Zann), Wolverine (voiced by Cal Dodd), Bishop (voiced by Isaac Robinson-Smith), Beast (voiced by George Buza) in Marvel Animation's X-MEN '97. Photo courtesy of Marvel Animation. © 2024 MARVEL. /

Let's talk about the world of X-Men: The Animated Series, the show that zoomed onto our screens in 1992 and refused to leave our hearts (or our Saturday morning TV schedules). This wasn't just any cartoon - it was the epic saga of our favorite mutants fighting not just the bad guys, but society itself, with a side of spandex and some seriously cool powers.

Wolverine, with his bad attitude and even sharper claws, Cyclops with his laser-eyed gaze of leadership, and Storm, literally controlling the weather with a flick of her wrist. They, along with a whole team of other X-traordinary characters, dealt with everything from time-traveling shenanigans to battles in space, all while trying to live in a world that wasn't too keen on mutants.

What made this show a pop culture juggernaut wasn't just the awesome action scenes or the fact that it introduced a whole generation to the concept of spandex as a valid fashion choice. No, it was how it tackled the big issues: acceptance, diversity, and the idea that being different doesn't mean you're dangerous. It was deep, folks.

And just when we thought it was all over, along comes X-Men '97 some 27 years later, not just reviving the series but ready to zap us back to that world. It's like finding your favorite childhood action figure in the attic: pure nostalgia and joy. This revival seamlessly picks up where the original series left off, giving us more of the stories we loved and answering the age-old question: Can Wolverine's hair get any pointier? And, you know, bigger questions as well.

X-Men: The Animated Series wasn't just a show; it was a cultural moment. It taught us that it's okay to be different and that sometimes, the most heroic thing you can do is stand up for what's right. Plus, it gave us some of the catchiest theme music in the history of ever.

Let's take a look at 8 episodes that fans consider the best ones out of all 76 episodes that blessed our screens and childhoods and see which episode just can't be matched.

1. "A Deal with the Devil" (Season 2, Episode 4)

This is the episode where we slice into Wolverine's past faster than he can say bub. Jam-packed with action, think of this episode as a mutant-style, high-octane history lesson with claws out. Now, while it might not tug at your heartstrings like some of the mega-emotional rollercoasters this series is known for, it's a crucial piece of the Wolverine puzzle. We're talking mystery, intrigue, and a side of that gruff Logan charm that we just can't get enough of. It may not shake the foundation of mutantkind, but hey, who doesn't love a good ol' trip down memory lane with everyone's favorite adamantium-clawed hero?

2. "Weapon X, Lies, and Videotape" (Season 2, Episode 25)

This episode dives claws-first into the gritty details of the backstory of Wolverine, our favorite grumpy mutant, peeling back layers of mystery with the finesse of a finely sharpened adamantium blade. It zooms in on a smaller slice of the X-Men pie, but what a deliciously intense slice it is. Here, we get to see Wolverine not just as the muscle of the team but as a character with depths and dilemmas that would make Shakespeare put down his quill and take notes. It's a deep dive into what makes ol' Logan tick, and while it might not have the globe-trotting, time-twisting shenanigans of other episodes, it packs an emotional punch that's as powerful as Wolverine's right hook. For fans of the furiously fanged fighter, this episode is a must-see.

3. "Sanctuary" (Season 4, Episodes 6 & 7)

In "Sanctuary" parts 1 and 2, Magneto, the master of magnetism and dramatic entrances, has a dream that's out of this world - literally. He's on a mission to create a safe haven for mutants, away from those pesky humans who just don't appreciate the whole "mutant and proud" vibe. It's like a mutant Airbnb in space, where everyone's welcome as long as they've got an X-gene. While "Sanctuary" might not have everyone throwing their hats in the air like the end of a superhero movie, it's got its charms. It's a tale of hope, big dreams, and even bigger hairstyles (looking at you, 90s animation). These episodes might not be the crown jewels of the series, but they'll fly you to the moon and back on a wave of mutant camaraderie and space-age aspirations.

X-MEN '97
(L-R): Beast (voiced by George Buza), Wolverine (voiced by Cal Dodd), Morph (voiced by JP Karliak), Bishop (voiced by Isaac Robinson-Smith), Rogue (voiced by Lenore Zann), Gambit (voiced by AJ LoCascio), Storm (voiced by Alison Sealy-Smith), Cyclops (voiced by Ray Chase) in Marvel Animation's X-MEN '97. Photo courtesy of Marvel Animation. © 2024 MARVEL. /

4. "One Man's Worth" (Season 4, Episodes 1 & 2)

"One Man's Worth" is a rollercoaster ride through the land of "what If". Imagine a world where Professor X never formed the X-Men. Weird, but let's roll with it. Much like Marvel's What If...? series, these two episodes are like peeking into an alternate universe where everything's topsy-turvy, and it's all because of one tiny change in the past. It's like a butterfly effect with mutant powers. It's not just about the cool action scenes (though there's plenty of that) - it's a deep dive into how one person can make a huge difference. Sure, it's a little like your history teacher telling you how important individuals are in shaping the world, but way more fun because, you know, superpowers and time travel. While it might not be the most epic saga in the series, it's a mind-bending adventure that shows us just how valuable each X-Man is. Plus, it's a great reminder to appreciate the world-saving work of our spandex-clad heroes, one alternate reality at a time.

5. "Beyond Good and Evil" (Season 4, Episodes 8-11)

"Beyond Good and Evil," is the mind-bending arc saga you didn't know you needed until now (or back then if you've seen the episode before). Imagine battling the big bad Apocalypse, a villain so epic he makes your average baddie look like a lost kitten. But wait, there's more – add in some time-travel, mixing future-past-and-present like never before. This arc isn't just another superhero punch-up, it's a deep dive into the what-ifs of mutantkind, wrapped in a cosmic enigma. Sure, it might tie your brain in knots with its complexity, but who doesn't love a good temporal puzzle? These episodes are a ride through time that'll leave you questioning everything, except why you love these spandex-clad heroes so much.

6. "Days of Future Past" (Season 1, Episodes 11 & 12)

These two episodes are the whirlwind adventure in the X-Men universe you didn’t know you needed. Much like in the amazing movie that shares a name with this little arc, imagine a future so bleak, so dystopian, that the only hope is to send someone back in time to fix it. Cue our mutant heroes, leaping through time like it’s a hopscotch game to change destiny itself. It’s like "Back to the Future" but with more spandex and less DeLorean. These episodes pack a punch with their thrilling exploration of what-ifs and could-bes, proving that sometimes, the biggest battles are fought not with powers, but with the heart. The only bummer is that it's all crammed into just two episodes. We're left craving more of this time-tangled tale, proving good things don’t just come in threes but also in epic two-part sagas of mutant time-travel shenanigans.

7. "The Phoenix Saga" and "The Dark Phoenix Saga" (Season 3, Episodes 26-28 & 29-33)

"The Phoenix Saga" and "The Dark Phoenix Saga" are the rollercoaster rides of superhero drama you didn't know you needed, and are often clumped together because they both involve our favorite redhead powerhouse - Jean Grey. Jean Grey, our favorite telekinetic and telepathic X-Woman, gets an insane power-up that's like going from a smartphone to a supercomputer that can control reality. But with great power comes great... well, you know how that ends, and soon Jean's lighting up the sky as Phoenix and Dark Phoenix. It's epic, emotional, and has more twists than Wolverine's hairdo. These episodes are a masterclass in how to keep viewers glued to their screens, serving up a buffet of moral dilemmas, heartache, and, of course, those oh-so-satisfying superhero showdowns. It's not just TV - it's an emotional odyssey with spandex.

8. "Night of the Sentinels" (Season 1, Episodes 1 & 2)**

The "Night of the Sentinels" arc isn't just the start of X-Men: The Animated Series - it's its launching pad. These first two episodes aren't playing around; they throw you headfirst into a world where mutants are cool (and not just because some of them literally change the weather). Right from the get-go, we meet our spandex-clad heroes standing up against giant robots, society's fears, and even their own doubts. It's like the ultimate "Welcome to Mutanthood" brochure, but way more fun and with zero pamphlets. This isn't just about flexing mutant muscles, it's a deep dive into the big stuff: fighting prejudice, sticking together, and being heroic in a world that's giving you the side-eye. It sets the stage for everything that comes after, making us root for the X-Men before we even know all their names. Superpowers, super drama, and super lessons? Sign me up!

The X-Men didn't just save the fictional world - they made ours a little more fun, a little more accepting, and a lot more exciting. And with X-Men '97, we're strapping in for another ride - and, so far, it's been incredible. Mutants, assemble – it's time to save the world all over again, one Thursday morning at a time on Disney Plus.

X-Men '97 is hands down one of Marvel Studios' greatest achievements. dark. Next. X-Men '97 is hands down one of Marvel Studios' greatest achievements