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Category:    Home > Reviews > Superhero > Action > Animation > TV > Super Friends! – Season One, Volume One (1973 aka Superfriends!/Warner DVD)

Super Friends! – Season One, Volume One (1973 aka Superfriends!/Warner DVD)


Picture: C+     Sound: C     Extras: C-     Episodes: B-



After a backlash on violence in the late 1960s, some series (like Wild Wild West) were cancelled outright, while others were altered and with the additional wave of making TV more educational (thanks in part to PBS), the networks responded by changing the kind of programs they were putting on.  Superhero shows also suffered to the point that Batman and Robin landed up on Scooby Doo.  However, that was a huge surprise pairing and the first time the Dynamic Duo showed up since the Adam West show ended and Filmation’s contract with DC Comics folded.  It was the beginning of DC at Hanna Barbera and that success produced an unexpectedly huge hit in Super Friends! in 1973.


Originally intended as a Justice League series, the new show was reformulated to be more child-friendly, more pro-ecology, more educational, more scientific and more comical to the point that teen friend Wendy and Marvin were created and Wonder Dog (a brief, early Scooby Doo-inspired comic dog) added as the mascot.  Derided for years by fans of the serious version of the DC heroes, the show is a howler and is also very smart, more so than its later seasons would offer in their behest to have as much fighting as possible with less thinking.


This Season One, Volume One set is half of the hour-long shows (rare for Saturday Morning TV or any other animated TV of the time) was also responsible for relaunching a new wave of interest in the whole DC Comics cannon, The Hall Of Justice became a classic locale, a comic book series (one of the first for younger children to be launched) was made for the show and also of great significance, the Mego Toy Company did 8” action figures of the four male heroes (Batman, Robin, Superman, Aquaman) and changed toys forever making action figures and these characters permanent fixtures in franchising and toy history.  The initial success established Mego as the #1 toy company of the 1970s and even after they folded in the early 1980s, the influence is still with us as the early toys continue to jump in value.


The episodes here include:


The Power Pirate

The Baffles Puzzle

Professor Goodfellow’s G.E.E.C. (yes, pronounced “geek”)

The Weather Maker
Dr. Pelagian’s War

The Shaman “U”

Too Hot To Handle (with guest superhero The Flash)

The Androids



No regular DC villains surfaced in these early shows, but the ones created are amusing and the narratives are better than I had remembered, if not greatly memorable.  This is a great show for young children as intended and holds up very well.  The only thing is some technology is dated, while other examples still make their point.  The TroubAlert computer seems larger now than ever.


The 1.33 X 1 image is a little soft throughout, but this is the best color I have ever seen on these shows in the over 35 years they have been available on and off.  The prints have cel dust and sometimes, you can see the outline of actual cels used.  Still, the color is superior to later seasons as Hanna Barbera started to ship their shows overseas to be finished, quality and color noticeably suffered.  The Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono is a little compressed and the sound is down a generation at least, but it is never too bad that you cannot hear the dialogue or Ted Knight’s hilarious delivery of the narration.  Extras include trailers for other Warner animated releases and a quiz that is tougher than you’d think.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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