Why DC’s Harley Quinn gets an animated show while Wonder Woman doesn’t — from popular castmates to compelling stories

There has been a Batman animated series, a Superman animated series and even a Justice League spin-off series. And while it has been several years since these shows aired, it would be safe to assume that when it was time to create a solo animated series with a female lead, DC would go with Wonder Woman.

That is not the case, however, as on November 29, the world will see the debut of the ‘Harley Quinn’ animated series. What makes the clown princess of crime more deserving of a show than the Amazonian princess of Themyscira?

The number one problem is that of relatability. The pressure to build Wonder Woman up as an empowering female icon has left her with little room for the kinds of flaws people can relate to.

Even Superman, seen by some as a boring character for his clear-cut morals and infallibility, at least has a relatable civilian identity in Clark Kent. While Wonder Woman may be the person you want saving your life, the broken, mad, morally cloudy personality of Harley Quinn can be mined for far more compelling stories. 

There’s more — Harley Quinn fits neatly into a show. She is made for a wacky comedy that does not play by the rules. The show will have the very best of adult, cartoonish humor made popular by shows like ‘Family Guy’, ‘South Park’ and ‘Bojack Horseman’, with its own superhero twist.

A show like ‘Wonder Woman’ would most likely focus on Greek mythology — and there hasn’t been a demand for that since the heyday of shows like ‘Xena: Warrior Princess’ and ‘Hercules’. 

In some ways, Harley Quinn has an unfair advantage. The cast of her show is littered with characters already made popular thanks to Batman.

Batman’s rogue gallery contains some of DC’s most fascinating characters, period, and having a show that features them gives ‘Harley Quinn’ a huge leg up over Wonder Woman’s relatively unknown supporting cast. 

Mostly, however, ‘Harley Quinn’ comes at just the right time to bring a fresh new spin to the DC universe. There have been so many heroic portrayals of DC characters that the focus on a villian is a refreshing take on the stories that DC has to offer.

Wonder Woman is very solidly a heroic character, and a show revolving around her would just be much more of the same. 

Ultimately, as the critically underwhelming ‘Wonder Woman: Bloodlines’ animated movie shows, there is not a lot of appeal for an extended TV show involving the character, and there won’t be until something drastically different is done with the way her story is told.

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