Challenge of the Super Friends: Season 1
DVD | Box Set
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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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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!"
Glad it worked out. Now I can move the stars from a 3 to at least a 4.
Hope this helps.
Now, let's state a few obvious caveats. The video quality is almost 40 years old, so it's clearly not as good as today's standards. The stories may not be very intricate, but again, we've come a long way. Also, the stories may not reflect the full details of the histories of the Superfriends and the Legion of Doom, but a lot of fictional history has been written since them.
But are these reasons good enough NOT to buy this? No. If you saw this show as a child and loved it (like I did), then this set is for you. The episodes are short (~20 minutes) and the stories are fun to watch.
Perhaps one of the greatest parts of this set is that it makes one want to go explore the origins of the Superfriends and the Legion of Doom. By searching the internet, you will learn that the histories of these characters is a lot more intricate than that which is portrayed in this DVD set. But that's OK, because these stories were not meant to give exhaustive details about the characters. They were just meant to be plain fun, and that's what they are.
For all of those 1970s children (like me) who can fondly remember their Saturday mornings, this set is for you. For all of those younger people who want to see how we got where we are today, then this is worth watching, as long as you don't watch it with too critical of an eye. Let's face it...these were not the best made shows, but for their time, they were state of the art. And now they are back again for all of us to enjoy.
So go ahead and enjoy them....you will have hours of fun!