Danny Dark………Superman (voice)
Olan Soule………Batman (voice)
Casey Kasem………Robin (voice)
Shannon Farnon………Wonder Woman (voice)
Norman Alden………Aquaman (voice)
Louise Williams………Wonder Twin Jayna
Michael Bell………Wonder Twin Zan
DVD Release Date: January 8,2008 Rating: Not Rated Running Time: 323 Minutes on 2 discs
If you look at the world today in terms of popular media and the tie it has to comic books, then you’d find enormous amounts of information. There are films being made left and right about such old favorites as Spider-Man, Batman, the Hulk, Superman, Ghost Rider, the X-Men, and a host of others. Even characters that the general non-comic book reading public wouldn’t know right away like Iron Man, the Green Lantern, and Wolverine (if the X-Men films hadn’t already been released) have big screen renditions on the way in the future. Comic books have always been a popular subject though when it came to fans being able to see their favorites taken from the 2-D pages and turned into 3-D models in films and cartoons. One of the first ever attempts at this was the Super Friends.
There had been an earlier version of the show back in 1973 and it had the same idea, only it included a few more main characters and kind of got things all mushed together. In the All New Super Friends hour, the team has been whittled down to the popular Superman, Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman. They were joined in a couple episodes by others like Hawkman, Apache Chief, and Green Lantern, but those five were your core group. Of course for anyone who saw the series before, you can’t forget about the Wonder Twins. My God were they a huge waste of space.
The Wonder Twins consisted of Jayna and Zan. They were superheroes yes, but I believe it was more so in their own minds then anything else. By touching their fists together and saying, “Wonder Twin powers, ACTIVE!” they could turn themselves into different things depending on what the situation called for. Jayna could morph into any type of animal while Zan could turn into some form of water. He could be a tidal wave, or ice, or vapor, or just a small puddle. I mean come on. How much help is an Eagle (Jayna) carrying a bucket of water (Zan) going to be? If it was to put out a fire, then wouldn’t Zan just dissipate? Or better yet, where’d he get the bucket? But considering how useless they were; they were joined by the bumbling monkey Gleek. Also, just as useless.
The hour-long episodes each have four short stories that are divided up exactly the same for every one. It begins with a short segment featuring two of the superheroes, then the Wonder Twins come in and teach the kiddies a lesson, the longest feature showcasing the entire team, and then another short team-up story. The last segment is where such other characters like Green Lantern and the Atom joined up and helped fight the do-badders. Fighting against classic villains or simply trying to save the world from the horrible natural disasters that may plague it, the Super Friends made sure to find a way to make things right again.
While the series isn’t exactly on par with the action-packed Justice League animated series of the past couple years, Super Friends certainly had its own style. There were lessons to be learned, games to be played, and overall peace and happiness to be spread throughout the world. Much in the same way early day Nickelodeon was with Pinwheel, Today’s Special, and Picture Pages; the Super Friends made it a point not only to entertain its audience by simply letting them be viewers, but also to participate. Magic tricks and word games are played in each episode that shows just how long ago “viewer interaction” actually began. Don’t go into these episodes expecting thought-provoking storylines or major battles, but go in with an open mind and enjoy the early days of comic book heroics.
~ Machine / Joy Ride / Invasion Of The Earthors / The Whirlpool
~ Invasion Of The Hydronoids / Hitchhike / City In A Bottle / Space Emergency
~ The Marsh Monster / Runaways / Will The World Collide? / Time Rescue
~ Doctor Fright / Drag Race / Day Of The Plant Creatures / Fire
~ The Monster Of Dr. Droid / Vandals / Super Friends Vs. Super Friends / Energy Mass
~ The Secret Four / Tiger On The Loose / The Mysterious Time Creatures / The Antidote
~ The Enforcer / Shark / Planet Of The Neanderthals / Flood Of Diamonds
The episodes are shown in 1.33:1 Full Screen format and they look good for their age, but you can certainly tell just how old they are. Except for the spotty animation and overall bad quality of how the characters move and such, it looks like you would expect a late seventies animated series to look.
The episodes are heard in Dolby Digital Mono Sound and it also brings back the era of the seventies with the one speaker televisions. What you expect to hear is what you’re going to hear, so don’t be surprised if the explosions sound like poofs or the screeching of the Batmobile’s tires sound like someone did the noise with their mouths.
One Dimensional Goodness: The Super Friends And The Good Old Days – This is essentially a fifteen minute documentary that talks about the series itself a little bit, and then explains why it was as it was. It is almost apologetic to the fans telling why the series was cornier and lesson learning then actual action and mystery. The standards and practices of television networks had limited the creators immensely and it made the characters and stories strictly one-dimensional and barely changing.
Origins Of The Guest Stars: Spotlight On Hawkman, Hawkgirl, The Atom, Rima, And Green Lantern – Some of the writers and producers discuss the random appearances of other superheroes in the series along with the main core. They discuss how the characters originated and also how it added even more excitement to a show that already included some of the greatest characters in comic book history. This feature lasts eight and a half minutes.
Trailers – Justice League: New Frontier
The Inside Pulse
It’s not perfect and it wasn’t meant to be when it first aired, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t enjoyable. I will go on record here and say that it will be surprising if anyone who views this set and enjoys it is in the age range of twelve to eighteen. Older kids might enjoy it because they grew up with it. The younger generation may enjoy it simply because they can recognize almost all of the characters and hell, its more cartoons. But that group in high school and maybe to the early twenties just is not going to like this at all. They want the high quality animation and the thrills every second. They’ve been spoiled and don’t know exactly what it is like to enjoy the simpler things in life. Still, I urge them to give the Super Friends a try and attempt at all costs to just avoid the Wonder Twins. The special features are very few and short, but very entertaining and enlightening for what they are. If you’re a teenager and reading this, then rent this set and watch it with an open mind please. At least give it a shot. For the rest of you and a bit of nostalgia, then I recommend picking this set up because it truly brought me back at least two decades and made me remember what Saturday morning cartoons were really like.
The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for The All New Super Friends Hour: Season One – Volume One