In the fall of 1985, the final version of Hanna-Barbera's Super Friends premiered. The Justice League of America (now called the Super Powers Team, as to tie-in with the Super Powers Collection toyline then being produced by Kenner) were once again headquartered at the Hall of Justice (which had been redesigned for this series to appear more pentagon-like and seemingly larger) in Metropolis, and battled such familiar foes as Darkseid, Lex Luthor and Scarecrow.
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Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show was the first Super Friends series in a new format since 1979's The World's Greatest SuperFriends. Continuing the previous three years' policy of producing short stories, this series' format was two stories per half-hour, so all the separate stories were ten minutes long each. Firestorm, a well established teenage superhero in the DC Comics Universe, was added to the lineup of characters.
Hanna-Barbera and Warner Bros. had created a syndication package of the earlier Super Friends series; these were picked up and typically broadcast on weekday afternoons. Not wishing to compete with the syndication programming, ABC dropped the series from the 1983–1984 line-up. For the second time, Super Friends was cancelled. However, during this time Hanna-Barbera continued to produce new episodes with the Super Friends, with ABC's approval and funding. In total, 24 "lost episodes" were produced, but not aired in the United States that season.
DC Comic book legends Superman, Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and more resume the struggle for justice and protecting the world from galactic dangers, mad scientists and maniacal villians. Besides fighting evil, our super heroes rescue citizens who find themselves in harm’s way, providing some life-lessons for all of us. This incarnation of the Super Friends also includes the shape-shifting Wonder Twins, Zan and Jayna, their space monkey, Gleek and Hispanic superhero El Dorado. Helping the Super Friends battle giant mechanical cobras, alien mummies Lava Men and more, other super heroes from the DC pantheon – including Black Vulcan, Apache Chief, Hawkman and Hawkgirl pitch in to help out. Don’t miss out on all your favorite episodes and truth and justice the way you remember it!
This particular incarnation of Super Friends relied heavily on folklore and classic fairy tales for plots. One episode in particular, "The Lord of Middle Earth", was inspired by the novel The Lord of the Rings, in which the team journeys to Middle-earth to save the inhabitants from an evil wizard. The series also borrowed from (then) contemporary politics, as the main villain Kareem Azar in "Rub Three Times for Disaster" is almost a carbon copy of the late Iranian religious leader Ayatollah Ruholla Mussaui Khomenei (1900–1989). Some fans refer to this season as the "Absentee Super Friends season", as a number of the episodes have members who only appear in cameos, or not at all.
As originally aired, this season featured adventures with Superman, Batman and Robin, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and the Wonder Twins, similar to those that had aired the previous season in The All-New Super Friends Hour. These episodes were later shown using the opening credits of the All-New Super Friends Hour in syndication. The second segment of this season was Challenge of the Superfriends, a 16-episode series that came the closest to the comic books. Not only did Challenge have the Justice League of America, it was the first official Super Friends series to feature DC supervillains from the comics, and this series had 13 of them together as a group called the Legion of Doom. It included Superman foes like Lex Luthor, Brainiac, the Toyman, and Bizarro, and Batman foes like the Riddler and the Scarecrow.
The popularity of TV's Wonder Woman spurred network interest in reviving the Super Friends program, which had run in the 1973/1974 season. When it was again unveiled in 1977, more young children and teenagers than before tuned in, making The All-New Super Friends Hour a huge ratings success. In this particular incarnation of the Super Friends, the DC Comic book legends Superman, Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman and Aquaman return to fight for justice. However, this time, they get help from the shape-shifting super-teens The Wonder Twins, along with their space-monkey Gleek.
Super Friends first aired on ABC on September 8, 1973, featuring the well known DC superheroes Superman, Batman and Robin, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman. In addition to the superheroes, a trio of sidekicks was introduced, each of whom were new characters not drawn from the comic books: Wendy, Marvin and Wonder Dog. Each episode would begin with the heroes responding to an emergency detected by the massive TroubAlert computer that was situated within the Hall of Justice. Some guest stars from the broader Justice League were featured during this season including the Flash, Plastic Man, and Green Arrow.
Cast & Crew
Just Imagine! The greatest heroes of our time, banded together to stamp out the forces of evil wherever and whenever they might appear! Based on DC Comics' long-running Justice League Of America series, the show featured the Justice League (Superman, Batman & Robin, Aquaman, and Wonder Woman together with 'apprentice' super-heroes Marvin, Wendy, and Wonder Dog. Other DC luminaries such as the Flash and the Atom made periodic cameos.