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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Comedy > Superhero > Hero High – The Complete Series (Filmation/BCI Entertainment)

Hero High – The Complete Series (Filmation/BCI Entertainment)


Picture: C     Sound: C+     Extras: C     Episodes: C



Hero High, the two disc DVD set, collects the complete animated segments that were a part of the Saturday morning live-action/animated series "The Kid Super Power Hour With Shazam!” (Shazam being the original Captain Marvel from Fawcett Comics now in the DC Comics stable) produced by Filmation.  The show was hosted by a group of young actors dressed as the heroes-in-training they were portraying.  They were also a rock band (think "The Archies" with super powers).  The super powered students would tell jokes, play music and performed skits as they introduced the animated segments of the show.


The show had two different animated segments: Shazam! (not to be confused with the earlier live action series) features the adventures of The Marvel Family, Captain Marvel, his sister Mary Marvel and their friend and confidant, Captain Marvel Jr.  Unfortunately, these segments are not included in this set, as they (aka "The Shazam Family" as they are now known as) is owned by DC Comics, which is part of the Time-Warner Empire, and was not granted the rights to be included here, although Captain Marvel and Mary Marvel do show up in a couple of episodes like the live-action Isis set we already reviewed elsewhere on this site.


The other animated segment is Hero High, the animated adventures of the show's hosts as they learn how to use their powers in the specialized school. The students include:


      Captain California - a bare-footed super-strength type who rides an "intelligent" surfboard named "Wipeout".


      Glorious Gal - a super powered teen with the gift of flight and able to read minds.


      Weatherman - an overweight student with the ability to control all aspects of

weather.  (Wind, rain, snow. etc.)


      Misty Magic - a young African-American girl who can control magic.


      Punk Rock - a musical student with a mohawk who has a guitar that can emit powerful sonic waves.


      Rex Ruthless - a smart-aleck practical joker with no powers of his own other than his jet pack and boots that extend to great heights.  Rex is jealous of Capt. California because of his popularity and Glorious Gal's adulation of him.  He's always trying to make Cap look bad with his practical jokes, but they usually backfire on him.


      Dirty Trixie - another smart-aleck student (although not as bad as Rex) who's powers come from a bag of tricks she wears on her belt.  She is jealous of Glorious Gal because she and Captain California are a couple, so Trixie is always trying to make Cap notice her.


      A.W.O.L. - a super intelligent younger student who has the power of invisibility. His control of this power is limited, when he turns invisible, any part of his body will reappear at any given moment (to great comic effect).


      Bratman - another younger student in long red underwear (with the classic "trap door" on his behind) who can cause earthquakes when he throws one of his super tantrums.



Each student has limited control of his powers and when they try to help the Chief of Police, Misty Magic's uncle, Chief Hardy, they usually save the day by accident.  Like the aforementioned A.W.O.L., Misty's magic spells usually come out backwards than she intended.  When Weatherman uses any of his powers, people are usually blown and tossed about.  And even worse, when the portly hero-in-training's stomach starts to grumble, lighting bolts shoot out from it.  And Punk Rock's sonic guitar usually leaves all the glass in the immediate area shattered to pieces.


Each episode is a lesson for the viewer as it is for the Hero High students.  Filmation's programs are famous for this and as the super powered students learn to do the right thing, the young viewing audience does as well.  Through the classmate’s misadventures, we learn how to deal with crime, jealousy, cheating, fair play and competition, the abuse of power, and responsibility (among others).  The episodes are funny and entertaining as it plays and parodies the conventions of super-hero concepts.


The 1.33 X 1 image is a little soft with aliasing issues throughout the set, but the original film materials may have been destroyed by Hallmark Cards when they owned the company.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is a bit better, but not by much.  Extras include interviews with the writers, artists and animators that worked on the show.  The interviews also include a couple of the actors who portrayed the hero/students of the show, and of Producer Lou Scheimer.  There are also a few commentary tracks and an image gallery of model sheets and promotion material.


The best of the extras are the original live action opening credits and wrap-arounds. These include skits, telling jokes and musical numbers of the hero's band.  They even show the original bumpers that feature Captain Marvel.  (Bumpers are the few second segments that say "We'll be right back" or "Welcome back to Hero High") for commercial breaks.  These are fun to watch, but the picture quality is lousy, like someone copied them from an old VHS tape.


The animated segment's picture quality is good and the sound is standard. This is a fun show to watch and everyone should enjoy it.  Although I think it would have been better if they would have included the Captain Marvel and the Marvel Family segments, but that is how copyrights work when companies cease to exist like Filmation.  However, this is a complete set for this half of the show with plenty of supplements to keep fans happy.



-   Marc Greisinger


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