Just as great as Volume One
Jerry McDaniel | 03/30/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
Volume Two of this DVD set is just as great as Volume One, released over a year ago. In this new collection we see the remaining episodes missing from Volume One. A random sampling of what you will get when you buy this collection are 8 episodes. The episodes originally ran an hour when broadcast on TV but minus the commercials each episode is roughly 45 to 50 minutes in length. Each episode is broken into four separate segments as well, which is why it's advertised as 32 episodes. The first segment features a team-up between two Superfriends. The second segment features the Wonder Twins on adventures revolving teenage issues/peer pressure. The third segment is the main attraction, a story involving all of the Superfriends and the Wonder Twins. The final segment teams up one of the Superfriends with a guest super-hero. Batman and Robin, since they work as a team, are considered "one" hero in the team-up's.
Batman and Robin along with Superman appear together in the episode "Man-Beast of Xra" where an evil scientist, a woman named Dr Xra, unleashes man-beasts on the city with the help of her nervous accomplice. The professor is voiced by the show's narrator, William Woodson. Xra is voiced by Jean Vanderpyl, who became popular as the voice of Wilma Flintstone.
Aquaman's primary villain, Black Manta, appears in an episode entitled "Water Beast". In the episode, though, he's only referred to as Manta but the character design is clearly based on Black Manta. Aquaman gets a lot of screen time in the PSA segments where safety and health tips are dispensed. He also appears in the magic segment's as well. The rest of the Superfriends rotate with Aquaman in those PSA segments. In one safety segment, Aquaman warns a kid about attempting to roller skate with rusty skates and suggests he have a grown-up oil them. In the episode "Frozen Peril", Aquaman and Superman go on the mission of defrosting the world after an undersea villain, Sculpin, freezes the surface. John Stephenson voices a few characters in this episode including the villain.
The Wonder Twins appear in their own segments and one of them in this collection is frank by 1970's standards...Saturday morning TV standards specifically. I speak of the segment called "Prejudice" where the Wonder Twins tackle the subject when two bikers refuse to help a stranded motorist due to the color of his skin. "Pressure Point" deals with a kid named Jerry who feels insecure and sets about to show how talented he is at motorcycling by attempting to jump a canyon.
"Mummy of Nazca" is a story of an evil scientist who uses a mummy to do his dirty work. The doctor's name is Cooroff, loosely based upon Karloff, as in Boris Karloff, the actor who appeared in the Mummy horror movie 77 years ago in 1932. Henry Corden voices Professor Cooroff. In a rare moment in this series, Superman appears as Clark Kent for a period of time in this episode as he takes the Wonder Twins to the museum. Judging by the script, they didn't know Clark Kent and Superman were the same person.
"Forbidden Power" is a story about an evil scientist who sets off to find the ultimate power...and he abducts his assistant as his unwilling accomplice as they search for an elusive "power". Batman, Robin, and Wonder Woman stop him. The professor's last names are Zarkoff and Price, perhaps inspired by the names of Boris Karloff and Vincent Price? Narrator William Woodson voices Zarkoff.
"Day of the Rats" features Batman, Robin, and Black Vulcan in Gotham City attempting to clean up the rat's that have littered the city. The rats turned evil because of a mechanism in the sewers. It's one of the few episodes where a main villain wasn't featured...just a bunch of evil rats flooding the city and terrorizing businesses. It was like the film 'The Birds' but with lots and lots of rats. By episode's end, Black Vulcan destroyed the mechanism controlling the rats and they changed back to their normal behavior.
In an episode called "Tiny World of Terror" we have a greedy scientist/inventor who doesn't get co-operation from his colleagues with one of his schemes and he gets his revenge by shrinking them...he soon shrinks the Superfriends as well and they have to over-come their height disadvantage in order to stop the scientist, named Professor Strickland. His partners who he shrunk were Professor Wong and assistant Mary. In a funny scene, the tiny Superfriends encounter all sorts of animals climaxing with Superman hopping on a giant spider and riding it like a bull. In "Tibetan Raiders", Flash guest stars and joins Superman in the Himalaya's to rescue passengers from an airplane that crashed. Flash isn't voiced by Jack Angel, so it was unusual seeing the character with a different voice.
As you can see, a lot of these stories center around an evil scientist or a professor who becomes vigilante-like and sets about to "rid the world of war" or "end all suffering". William Woodson, the show's narrator, often provided the voices for the assistant's and sometimes he was the voice of the main villain. The villains were described as being mis-guided, rather than intentionally harmful.
The methods in which the villainous doctor's carry out their hopes and dreams in the episodes, of course, cross the line into illegal activity and by episode's end they're told how wonderful their wishes and dreams are but breaking the law to achieve their wishes and dreams was still a big no-no. There were rarely any villains, with a few exceptions, that were deliberately evil.
Having said that, one of the villains that was intentionally cruel was Lion-X. He was the leader of the race of lion's that appear in the episode "Lionmen". In this episode, Lion-X uses a special ray device and while taking control of the space station, he beams the ray at Earth. They want to pull the Earth apart and look to be a success pretty much throughout the episode...with Lion-X knowing Superman's weakness: kryptonite. Wonder Woman uses a special voice changer and pretends to be Lion-X...ordering the followers to switch off the ray...the plan almost works until Gleek innocently walks across a monitor and his tail clicks on the camera switch...exposing Wonder Woman's trick.
Rima, Green Lantern, and Apache Chief also make guest appearances. Atom, the small guy with the atomic energy, guest stars in the episode "Cable Car Rescue" with Wonder Woman. The two of them have to rescue a cable car dangling in the sky. The only DVD extra is about the Wonder Twins. Five stars...the DVD is of an acquired taste. Those raised on the super-hero cartoons of today with all of that over-the-top realism will perhaps not find these cartoons entertaining because the stories are fantastical and fiction, using just a shred of reality for the plot-line and going from there. These cartoons were geared at children during a time when they weren't expected to grow up too fast as the children of today are. Most kids today are 11 going on 30."
Up, up, and awaaaaaaaaaaaaay!
James Fabiano | 11/09/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"WB finishes this series of the Super Friends, it's more of what you saw in Volume One...core team adventures, Wonder Twins adventures, and team-ups between the cores and with special guest heroes (such as Green Lantern, Flash, and the Multi-Cultural Pals). Plus there are PSAs, magic tricks, and crafts. The next set of episodes include the debut (sort of) of the Black Manta and an appearance (REALLLLLLY sort of) by Zorak.
Keep them coming, Warners! We still need World's Greatest, the "Lost" shorts, and the original series (wonder if they are purposely holding back on Wendy and Marvin cause they were fan un-favorites. This IS the same company that released the first Scooby DVD with Scrappy-Doo only last year, and proceeded to avoid his name in the trailer). And the 1968 Filmation Batmans couldn't hurt either.
/Thumbs up for Plastic Man being released in the near future, apparently.
//And if they are adding Ruby-Spears series, how about their Superman too?
Super Friends Rock
C. Griffy | Indiana | 02/05/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Jumping from the pages of the hit DC comics and onto television screen, the ALL-NEW SUPERFRIENDS HOUR proved to be a colossal hit when it premiered on ABC Saturday morning line-ups in 1977. The animated series which followed the adventures of Superman, Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman and Aquaman would have an indelible impact on an entire generation of youth (myself included). In the interest of full disclosure I must reveal that I was a huge fan of the ABC Saturday morning Cartoon "ALL NEW SUPERFRIENDS HOUR" which was just released on DVD. Growing up, this was THE show to watch on Saturday mornings - perhaps rivaled only by Scooby Doo. It would be a few years before the boom of classic 80's cartoon television like He-Man, GI Joe, Transformers or Mask so Superfriends pretty much had the awesomeness market cornered.
Each episode was divided into four segments and usually ran something like this - the shows would start out with a team-up between two Super-Friends. The second segment would focus on new characters the Wonder Twins Zan and Jayne (along with their monkey Gleek) and their shape shifting capabilities. The third and 'primary' segment would feature the entire team along with the Wonder Twins and finally the fourth segment would wrap up with a special guest hero stopping by and saving the day in some manner that usually revolved around that character's unique special abilities. Also new superheroes were added to the rotating roster. Besides the main five and occasional members from the real Justice League, new superheroes `Apache Chief', `The Samurai', `Black Vulcan.
Interspersed between segments were the occasional fun mini-segment in which the Superfriends would ask riddles, teach magic and occasionally give little mini-PSAs on important stuff like First Aid. If that sounds a little campy and simple - well, it was.
To be honest, between this show and the Adam West version, it's a wonder that I even considered stepping foot in the theater to see the drastically darker 1989 Batman film. Growing up, this WAS Batman and Robin. But it's nice to see that regardless of their overwhelming success they've had with their recent 'grim and gritty' film franchises, DC is not ashamed to pull out and reflect upon the more campy aspects of their long history. Although things have changed in the ways of overall tonality to DC's lineup, this show, when put into context is the cornerstone in which all future Animated shows would be based upon. Sure, it may be easy to compare the lighter more innocent Super-Friends hour with say 'Batman: The Animated Series' and make fun - but without the success of the Super-Friends Hour it's unlikely that BtAS would have ever been greelighted for production.
That isn't to say that there aren't things worth poking fun at. For instance, upon re-watching this series, my adult mind was left wondering - just where DID Wendy, Marvin and Wonder Dog go? Replaced by Zan, Jayne and Gleek - no mention is ever given to Wendy, Marvin and Wonder Dog or their whereabouts ever again. And while the Wonder Twins and their ability to transform into nearly anything is pretty neat - they are a bit... well, creepy. They may be hip and able to relate to the kids but quite frankly they seem to be close in the kind of borderline inappropriate way that would weird just about anybody out (unless you're from Tennessee maybe).
The DVD's sole extra features focus on the ambiguous twins in a segment called " The Wonder Twins Phenomenon: Zan and Jayna's Impact on Pop Culture". Just imagine an episode of VH1's "I Love the 80's" based around the Wonder Twins and starring Paul Dini and Alan Burnett along with the hosts of `Attack of the Show.' It's a hilarious romp through pop culture history and actually gives a little insight into the creation of the Twins.
Bottom line is - it's hard to find something wrong with this series. Sure it has it's dated moments but overall I'd have to say that this set is a must have for any serious DC Animated collector. Plus it's a fun trip down memory lane for those of us who may have outgrown our Batman & Robin Underoos a long time ago. Give this one a shot - you won't be disappointed. The All New Super Friends Hour is available now at retail and online stores."
All-New Superfriends Hour
Pj Thorp | 09/24/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the second volume, completing the 1977 series.
Each episode is perfectly complete, with a team-up story of core members, a Wondertwins story, a core team story, and a team-up story involving a guest star.
As well as that, all the code solving sequences are included, as well as tips on safety and craft. Watch for a few extras too.
NOW WARNER, FOR GOODNESS SAKE, STOP IGNORING ALL YOUR FANS REQUESTS, AND RELEASE THE 1973 original THE SUPER FRIENDS series of one hour stories. It's been a ridiculously long wait for the first season of a great show, and we're still teased with a later season every year or so."