Challenge of the Super Friends: Season 1
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Challenge of the Super Friends: The First Season (DVD)
This exciting animated series features the adventures of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Aquaman with their teenage friends Wendy and Marvin.]]>
Challenge of the Super Friends is the ultimate animated all-star contest of good versus evil. The original Super Friends (running from 1973 to 1977--Wonder Twins and Gleek anyone??) was made up of the greatest DC Comics superheroes fighting together to uphold justice for all mankind. Overall, it was a pretty good show, but getting stale very fast. In 1978, the superhero animation bar was raised high when the first (and only) season of Challenge of the Super Friends hit the Saturday morning circuit. Immediately these 16 episodes made up the best that Super Friends had to offer for one reason alone: the creation of the Legion of Doom, banding together the 13 most sinister villains of all-time from remote galaxies. Led by the sinister genius of Lex Luthor, the Legion of Doom was dedicated to take over the universe, and only the Super Friends, led by Superman, Wonder Woman and the Dynamic Duo, dared to challenge this intergalactic threat and bring them to justice.
There is no denying that animated superhero shows have come a long way since Super Friends. The Challenge of the Super Friends is very '70s in presentation, riddled with inconsistencies and drawing mistakes, and allowing heroes to fly even if they couldn't fly in the comics. However, there is no denying the staying power of the stories, its concept, the superheroes/villains pairing and its overall charm. Included in this set are a couple of nice features, particularly the superheroes/villains biographies, each with their own mini-video. There is also a good, brief documentary of today's comic book and TV show creators reflecting on their impressions of Challenge of the Super Friends and its influence on their careers. If you want to take a trip down memory lane to the Hall of Justice or the swamps of the Hall of Doom, you will not be disappointed by this set. --Rob Bracco
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Top Customer Reviews
That's how announcer Stanley Jones (voice of Lex Luthor) opened this classic show from 1978. The opening scenes showing the Riddler caught [like a deer in headlights] in Batman's spotlight, and Black Manta tied up atop a whale "piloted" by Aquaman still look cool.
The appeal of Challenge of the Superfriends is in the fact that they waged an ongoing battle against actual villains from the comic books. Most of which were direct counterparts i.e. Green Lantern/Sinestro, Flash/Captain Cold, Batman/Scarecrow, etc. So the battles never got repetitive the writers wisely mix-matched the contenders. And don't forget the Legion's very cool Darth Vader-headed headquarters based underneath the swamp.
THE JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA: Superman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Robin, Hawkman, Flash, Green Lantern, Black Vulcan, Samurai, and Apache Chief.
THE LEGION OF DOOM: Lex Luthor, Brainiac, Solomon Grundy, the Riddler, the Scarecrow, Bizarro, Cheetah, Black Manta, Giganta, Gorilla Grodd, Sinestro, Captain Cold, and the Toyman.
This 2 disc set contains all 16 episodes from the season.
Episodes (by aired & production order):
01. 09-Sep-1978 Wanted: The Superfriends
02. 16-Sep-1978 Invasion of The Fearians
03. 23-Sep-1978 The World's Deadliest Game
04. 30-Sep-1978 The Time Trap
05. 07-Oct-1978 Trial of the Superfriends
06. 14-Oct-1978 Monolith of Evil
07. 21-Oct-1978 The Giants of Doom
08. 28-Oct-1978 Secret Origins of the Superfriends
09. 04-Nov-1978 Revenge on Gorilla City
10. 11-Nov-1978 Swamp of the Living Dead
11. 18-Nov-1978 Conquerors of the Future
12. 25-Nov-1978 The Final Challenge
13. 02-Dec-1978 Fairy Tale of Doom
14. 09-Dec-1978 Doomsday
15. 16-Dec-1978 Superfriends, Rest in Peace
16. 23-Dec-1978 The History of Doom
Commentary on selected episodes
Saturday, Sleeping Bags & Super Friends: A Retrospective
Hall of Justice - character bios
Legion of Doom - character bios
Trailers - Batman: The Animated Series, The Jetsons: Complete First Season, The Flintstones: The Complete First Season, Jonny Quest: The Complete First Season
Full Frame (1.33:1) aspect ratio
English and Spanish mono tracks
English, Spanish and French subtitles
Anybody else remember the scene where the Flash uses his super-speed to grab Captain Cold and place him in the path of his own coldgun ice-blast thereby freezing himself? "Wild!"
Well, if you've seen even one episode of "The Challenge Of The Super Friends" you know it's no Hall Of Fame animated classic - at least not as far as the continuity is concerned. There are some very grievous errors that are hilarious to spot. For instance in the episode "The Time Trap" three sets of the Super Friends get trapped in various eras of earth's past, among them Batman & Robin who are captured and held by the troops of one of the Roman emperor Caesars. In the present day Superman discovers a clue that can pinpoint the time frames each of the set of heroes is being held so off he goes to the lab to have the piece of evidence analyzed; and who should be there amongst the other Super Friends waiting for the analysis - none other than Batman himself! Maybe he was just there in spirit and only we (the fans in Saturday morning TV land) could see him? Another sparkling moment comes in the episode "The Monolith Of Evil" when suddenly Green Lantern has three arms - I can't tell if he has more than one power ring. Other blunders that happened periodically were Hawkman missing his wings; the inversion of colors and/or direction of logos on the uniforms of Batman & Robin; Green Lantern's power ring would emanate a yellow (!) glow instead of green and, best of all, the Flash would go flying off (!!) with Superman and Hawkman whenever it was convenient to the plot. The Flash had no capability of flying in any of his comic book appearances that I can remember - and you'd think the creative staff behind the show would be aware of that. But these are all forgivable mistakes to the fans of the series because it's the strong points of the show that make it the classic that is revered by fans still to this day.
The positives of this program are many beginning with the vibrant theme music; heroic and majestic sounding it is reminiscent of the theme for the classic early 60's animated cult favorite 'Johnny Quest'. It certainly wouldn't surprise anyone to discover that this quite probably was the inspiration behind it. The idea of 'The Legion Of Doom' is a great concept that is still unsurpassed. Scavenging back through the vaults and archives of DC Comics to get the right mix of villains must have been daunting at the time and not as easy to piece together as it appears when seeing the show. There were literally tons of adversaries, antagonists and nemesis's to choose from and creating a balance - that is a viable and believably powerful enough force to challenge the Super Friends - wasn't something that just jumped out at you I'm sure. Seeing such archenemies as Sinestro, Gorilla Grod and Gigantress in television animated form is a rare treat that is doubtful to happen ever again. The headquarters for 'The Legion Of Doom' is equally as impressive. They could go anywhere they pleased as a group; outer space, inner earth, backwards or forward in time, etc. The Super Friends on the other hand all have their own separate forms of transportation - and the Hall Of Justice is anchored to the ground permanently. While the stories are unquestionably juvenile in conception some of them still remain quite entertaining. My favorites are "Fairy Tales Of Doom" and especially "History Of Doom", and the episode "Secret Origins Of The Super Friends" is also memorable. There are other positives about this show I could list but they are already mentioned in other reviews here on this webpage so I encourage you to read them also.
The DVD set is nicely packaged and has an excellent 13 minute mini-documentary titled 'Saturday, Sleeping Bags & Super Friends: A Retrospective' that I think every fan will be pleased with. Also included are bios on each of the Super Friends and also the members that make up 'The Legion Of Doom' that I found indispensable. If I had one quibble at all it would be the title of the set "The Challenge Of The Super Friends: The First Season" - was there ever a second season?
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