Did Marvin and Wendy have their parents sign an insurance waiver to let them hang out with Batman, Robin, Superman, Wonder Woman and Aquaman? What permission slips were necessary to make them Junior Super Friends? It’s cool to think of hanging out with superheroes. The practical reality is that when the bullet ricochets off the “S” on Superman’s chest, there’s a high risk it will stick in the “M” on Marvin’s sweater. If Wonderdog died from a mad scientist’s laser, Robin could just dump him off on the side of the road. But how could they explain why Wendy and Marvin didn’t return from a planet outside the solar system? Where is the government official demanding to know why minors are allowed to work in such dangerous conditions? Maybe this explains the reason the teenagers were replaced by the Wonder Twins? Super Friends! Season One, Volume Two gives us the last eight times Wendy, Marvin and Wonderdog were allowed inside the Hall of Justice.
The episodes of the Marvin, Wendy and Wonderdog era are dominated by mad scientists and aliens. The archvillains from the comic books are nowhere to be found in the 1973 version of the series. Since this was the era of non-violence on Saturday mornings, the Super Friends must battle their enemies with wits instead of fire power. It’s a shame since the mad scientists could use a knock to the head to get them set straight. The “violence” level is about the same as an episode of Scooby-Doo.
“The Balloon People” combines the alien and mad scientist plots. The Krims are inflatable aliens that land their spaceship in Marvin’s backyard. They’ve fled their planet because of intense air pollution. The family and their balloon dog get along well with the Super Friends. An evil scientist who wants to kidnap them to tap their superpowers. “Fantastic FRERPs” unveils a new form of plastic that can be turned into anything instantly. The misguided King Plasto has evil plans involving this scientific break through. He’s assisted by his jester Styro and Princess Polly Lean. “The Ultra Beam” shines a light on the destruction of precious metals. Two scientists fly around the world zapping gold with a laser beam. They think gold is the root of all evil. If they eliminate gold, the world will have peace. This doesn’t explain why people will battle for diamonds or Black Friday specials. Wendy and Marvin do the heavy work of convincing the scientists that they are so wrong. “Menace of the White Dwarf” twists it up with an alien mad scientist. He uses as white dwarf and kryptonite for revenge against Superman. He even puts the Man of Steel on trial.
“The Mysterious Moles” features a nasty looking couple using trees and rocks to steal industrial air conditioners from government buildings. They have a special “walk water” to animate nature. It’s hard to call it dumb since this series wasn’t made for Mensa youth. “Gulliver’s Gigantic Goofs” lets a mad scientist and his cat shrink people to two inches tall. He sees this as a way to end overcrowding on the Earth. All of the Super Friends end up shrunk and trapped in jars. Their only hope of escape is Marvin, Wendy and Wonderdog. The junior trio get major help from the Green Arrow. He should have been the fourth Super Friend instead of Aquaman. Trick arrows are cooler than talking to fish. “The Planet Splitter” has a mad scientist stealing major jewels to power his spaceship that can split planets. His evil device is supposed to help the Earth. Marvin persuades the guy to stop his stupid plan with the story of Superman’s origin. “The Watermen” has aquatic aliens that make Aquaman look useful. The aliens are getting silicon from the ocean to power their ship. Turns out this is causing other natural disasters. Can they learn the short sighted nature of their plan before they destroy the eco-system?
Super Friends! Season One, Volume Two is a Saturday morning treat with Marvin, Wendy and Wonderdog. Their service would be eclipsed by the alien Wonder Twins with their secret powers. But Marvin and Wendy proved that normal kids could hang out with Batman and Superman without any severe consequences. All you needed was a sweater, a cape and a dream to hang out at the Hall of Justice.
The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The transfers bring out the limited nature of the animation. There’s dirt and odd color shifts. The audio is Dolby Digital Mono. The sound is so clear you’ll recognize how most to the mad scientists are voiced by the same actors mouthing the Super Friends. The episodes have English subtitles.
Super Friends interactive Trivia Challenge Quiz has plenty of questions about the episodes. You can play against a friend.
Super Friends! Season One, Volume Two brings a viewer back to those wonderful Saturday mornings of sitting around in your Underoos eager to fight evil after a bowl full of Cocoa Puffs. These last eight adventures with Marvin, Wendy and Wonderdog makes them to be more than dead weight. These kids did more than Aquaman to save the Earth.
Warner Home Video presents Super Friends! Season One, Volume Two. Starring: Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Wendy Marvin and Wonderdog. Boxset Contents: 8 episodes on 2 DVDs. Released on DVD: July 20, 2010.
Joe Corey is the writer and director of "Danger! Health Films" currently streaming on Night Flight and Amazon Prime. He's the author of "The Seven Secrets of Great Walmart People Greeters." This is the last how to get a job book you'll ever need. He was Associate Producer of the documentary "Moving Midway." He's worked as local crew on several reality shows including Candid Camera, American's Most Wanted, Extreme Makeover Home Edition and ESPN's Gaters. He's been featured on The Today Show and CBS's 48 Hours. Dom DeLuise once said, "Joe, you look like an axe murderer." He was in charge of research and programming at the Moving Image Archive.
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