Hero High – The Complete Series (Filmation/BCI
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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