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Category:    Home > Reviews > Superhero > Action > Animation > TV > The All New Super Friends Hour: Season One - Volume Two (DC Comics/Warner DVD)

The All New Super Friends Hour: Season One - Volume Two (DC Comics/Warner DVD)


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



Over the years many of our superhero favorites have seen many incarnations and DC’s All New Super Friends Hour continues to be one of this reviewers least favorite.  The animated series does have its merits, but overall the simplistic animation and campy atmosphere are all too distracting to hold my interest for long. This new set contains the last eight episodes of Season One (the first Volume contained the first seven) and even though the cover of the set promotes “32 cartoons on 2-Discs,” it is really only 8 episodes.  Not much has changed since the last set and in all honesty the episodes indistinguishably blend together into one mass of uninspiring superhero cheesy, randomness.  The best thing about this set is the nostalgia factor and that’s about it.  If this same series premiered today, fans would most likely be readying their kryptonite pitch forks and human torches.  It is nice to see how our superhero pals have evolved over the years; but it is more noticeable now than ever that fans want substance and depth in their fabricated super universe and The All New Super Friends Hour has none.


The original Super Friends series hit the airwaves in 1973, but quickly got axed as fans did not seem to connect with the campy romp with superheroes.  In 1977 Hanna-Barbera “reinvented” the series as The All New Super Friends Hour and for the most part seemed to be much of the same old material.  The big difference for this new adventure was the addition of Zan and Jayna (the Wonder Twins), whose powers were so ridiculous and misconceived they were laughable.  The Wonder “why we’re here” Twins had powers that after a long winded incantation allowed Jayna to turn into any animal of her choice and Zan into any form of water of his choice…wait what?  Yea, that’s right.  Zan got to turn into a fear invoking puddle of water!  We see who got the shallow end of the cosmic gene pool on this one.  If the Wonder Twins’ somewhat questionable powers weren’t enough to perplex fans, Hanna-Barbera decided to include the duos’ clumsy furry companion Gleek “the space monkey.”  Apparently his tail had many forms as it could turn into springs and such, but overall he was another useless, “poo flinging” monkey.  I suppose the Wonder Twins were meant to be the voice of a new, cool generation, while Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman did all the work; but really they characters fell flat on their useless faces.  It is scary to think that the writers had to sit around and come up with a way to include an animal, a puddle of water, and a “Space Monkey” in each episode with some degree of relevance.  The episodes that included the rest of the superheroes were not so bad, but when it was a Zan and Jayna centric episode all bets were off.  The insanely bad segments that came from the Wonder Twins are memorable because they are just that bad and should have never seen the light of day.


The other superhero segments aren’t so great either and only hold the viewers’ interest as they feature some of the best heroes the comic book world has to offer.  This is not to say they are anywhere near as bad as Zan and Jayna, but they are just not showcased in the manner such legendary characters deserve.  Fans of the series should continue indulging their childhood fantasies with this set, but newcomers will get a rude awakening if they think The All New Super Friends Hour: Season One- Volume Two is anything like newer DC installments like Justice League or straight to Blu-ray films.


The technical features on this 2 disc set are much like the last volume; with a solid presentation, but are simple at best.  Like the last volume this reviewer is still not certain if the episodes are in their original airing order, but imagines they are, judging from the segmental breakdown of each episode.  The picture once again is presented in an adequate but not crystal clear 1.33 X 1 Full Screen that can be seen as disappointing, but this newest release seems to have gotten a similar minimalist restoration effort as the previous volume and the rest of the Hanna-Barbera DC titles (which is little at best).  The sound is again presented in its original Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono that has depth issues and often times sounds soft, but once again a problem with older super hero cartoons and most Hanna-Barbera DVD features.  The extras are sparse and more annoying this time around; the extras include a single featurette on the infamous Wonder Twins entitled “The Wonder Twins Phenomenon: Zan and Jayna’s Impact on Pop Culture.”  The featurette is nicely done and more than anything pokes fun at the Wonder Twins lack of contribution to the superhero universe and their overwhelming contribution to how pop-culture has learned to mock the ill conceived duo’s existence.


An ok set for long time superhero fans, but overall there are better adventures out there.



-   Michael P. Dougherty II


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