Super Friends! - Season One, Volume One
Collectors and completists will be happy to learn season one of Super Friends is going to be released on DVD. "Volume One" includes the first eight episodes that premiered Saturday mornings on ABC in 1973. A take-off of the comic book Justice League of America, Hanna-Barbera's Super Friends features an all-star team of DC Comics heroes: Superman, Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman. Each episode runs about 45 minutes telling a single story as they deal with aliens and mad scientists. There are no sightings of villains from their rogue's galleries and there's very little violence. Guest appearances by reserve members, Plastic Man in "Professor Goodfellow's G.E.E.C." and The Flash in "Too Hot to Handle," occur when only their special powers can save the day.
Joining the heroes are original characters, teenage sidekicks Wendy and Marvin and Wonderdog, who get way more airtime then they should considering they are assisting, as narrator Ted Knight states, "the world's four greatest heroes." They are basically imitations of the Scooby Doo Gang and are surprisingly instrumental in solving the problems. Their inclusion makes sense to provide someone for kids to identify with, but seems a tad odd considering Batman is supposed to be a great detective.
The animation is crude as motion isn't fluid and the source material is slightly marred with dirt. The voices don't always match up with the character speaking, and the actors provide limited differences when performing multiple roles.
"Super Friends Trivia Challenge" is the lone Special Feature. An individual or teams can test their "Super Friends-related" knowledge in seven different categories. A player can learn his score along the way, but not at the end when the game only provides a word or phrase of the level of success.
Considering the high quality of animated superhero series since, like Marvel's X-Men and DC's Justice League, the simplistic and poorly animated Super Friends! - Season One, Volume One may not hold up to the fond and foggy memories of Gen X-ers who grew up with it, but the series still has a charm, considering it is from a time, pre-Internet and pre-cable, when kids didn’t have immediate access to cartoon adventures of their favorite superheroes. Should also be enjoyable for the 10-under crowd if they are not too sophisticated.