Super Friends is an American animated television series about a team of superheroes, which ran from 1973 to 1986 on ABC as part of its Saturday morning cartoon lineup. It was produced by Hanna-Barbera and was based on the Justice League of America (JLA) and associated comic book characters published by DC Comics.
The name of the program (and the JLA members featured with the Super Friends) have been variously represented (as Super Friends and Challenge of the Super Friends, for example) at different points in its broadcast history. There were a total of 109 episodes and two backdoor-pilot episodes of The New Scooby-Doo Movies, with Batman and Robin appearing in "The Dynamic Scooby Doo Affair" and "The Caped Crusader Caper."
Super Friends first aired on ABC on September 8, 1973, featuring well-known DC characters Superman, Batman and Robin, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman. Superman, Batman and Robin and Aquaman had each previously appeared in their own animated series produced by Filmation, and voice talent from these prior programs was brought in to work on the new show. Shortly before the Super Friends series was developed, Superman and Wonder Woman also guest-starred in two episodes of The Brady Kids, while Batman and Robin appeared in two episodes of The New Scooby-Doo Movies.
In addition to the superheroes, a trio of sidekicks was introduced, each of whom were new characters not drawn from the comic books: Wendy and Marvin (voiced by Sherri Alberoni and Frank Welker) and Wonder Dog (also voiced by Frank Welker), none of whom had any special abilities (save the dog's unexplained ability to reason and "talk"). Inspired by the Scooby-Doo gang, the trio—or at least its human members—were depicted as detectives and/or superheroes-in-training.
Each episode began with the heroes responding to an emergency detected by the massive TroubAlert computer in the Hall of Justice, which served as the headquarters of the team. Colonel Wilcox, a U.S. Army official, was a recurring character who would act as a government liaison with the Super Friends during emergencies. Colonel Wilcox was voiced by John Stephenson. Conflicts were usually resolved with the antagonists persuaded to adapt more reasonable methods to achieve their aims (with the assistance of the heroes). Natural disasters triggered by human (or alien) activity were often shown, and environmental themes featured strongly in the program. Three other DC Comics superheroes were featured as guest stars during this season: the Flash, Plastic Man, and Green Arrow.
This first run of Super Friends, consisting of 16 one-hour episodes which were rerun several times, concluded on August 24, 1974. At this point, the series was cancelled. However, interest in superheroes among ABC's prime-time viewers (with the success of The Six Million Dollar Man and the live-action Wonder Woman series) caused the network to revive Super Friends. The original 16 episodes of the series were rebroadcast as a mid-season replacement, running from February 7, 1976, to September 3, 1977. These episodes were edited into half-hour versions. At the same time DC Comics published a Super Friends comic, which used Wendy and Marvin from issue #1 (Nov 1976) to #6 (Aug. 1977). In the meantime, Hanna-Barbera began production on a revamped version of the show
- Complete 1973 Series
- 4 DVD ISO files
- 16 Episodes
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