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Super Friends: Season One, Volume One

Super Friends: Season One, Volume One
Release Date: January 5, 2010
Format: DVD
Studio: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

Click Here!Synopsis: Available for the first time since its debut on ABC in 1973, this highly-anticipated Two-Disc Collector's set features eight one-hour adventures starring America's favorite DC Super Heroes. Super Friends! Season 1 Volume 1 showcases some of the greatest DC Super Heroes of all time including Superman, Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman as they combine their special powers to save the world. The Fab Five along with the help of hero trainees Wendy, Marvin and Wonder Dog must focus their abilities on saving lives and stopping unthinkable disasters by the hands of evil villains. Super Friends! Season 1 Volume 1 also features memorable appearances by Plastic Man, The Flash and Green Arrow! Each exciting hour is packed with timeless adventures as these comic book heroes pave the way for a brighter future.

Disc I
-1. "The Power Pirate"
-2. "The Baffles Puzzel"
-3. "Professor Goodfellow's G.E.E.C"
-4. "The Weather Maker"

Disc II
-5. "Dr. Pelagian's War"
-6. "The Shamon 'U"
-7. "Too Hot To Handle"
-8. "The Androids"

Special Features:
-Over 20 minutes of bonus content complete with extra footage of the Super Friends! series!
-An interactive trivia game featuring everyone's favorite DC Super Heroes

"Warner Home Video is thrilled to release the latest edition in the Super Friends! collection with Super Friends! Season 1 Volume 1,'" said Amit Desai, WHV Vice President of Family, Animation & Partner Brands Marketing. "Super Friends! has remained a pop culture sensation for over 35 years and now fans have an opportunity to relive the hit series' unforgettable first season for the first time on DVD."

Super Friends: Season One, Volume One DVD Review
by James Harvey

The first season of the beloved Super Friends animated series is finally hitting home video with Super Friends: Season One, Volume One, but fans of the 1970s Hanna-Barbera series might not be too pleased with what they find within. Collecting the first eight episodes, here our super-powered pals work together to avert catastrophes and put wrong-doers back on the right path. However, even their powers combined might not be enough to overcome this seemingly low-effort DVD release.

Super Friends: Season One Volume One put Superman, Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman front and center as they team-up to save lives and help others. Each of the eight included episodes, all running roughly around 45 minutes, finds our heroes handling some type of environmental problem - like climate change, drilling or pollution - or some other societal ill or violence-free issue, and dishing out some very heavy-handed words of wisdom. Lessons are learned, laughs are had, end credits roll and that's really it. It's a very, very basic formula, but one that works well enough for what the show is, even if it quickly becomes tedious.

Joining some of DC Comics' biggest heroes on these adventures areWendy, Marvin and Wonder Dog, the three "Junior Super Friends," but who these three characters are and why they're hanging around with Batman and company is never actually explained. They're basically around to get a few giggles and cause a little Scooby-Doo-inspired shenanigans on occasion, not much else. As commonplace in 1970s cartoons, Super Friendsincluded the young sidekicks for children in the audience to identify with, but it's as though (unsurprisingly) not much thought beyond that went into these characters.

Those with a soft spot for Super Friends will find plenty to enjoy with the eight episodes included on this two-disc DVD collection. Featuring the first half of the cartoon's first season - "The Power Pirate," "The Baffles Puzzle," "Professor Goodfellow's G.E.E.C.," "The Weather Maker," "Dr. Pelagian's War," "The Shamon 'U,'" "Too Hot to Handle," and "The Androids" - each episode tends to follow the same formula, with only slight variances depending on what issue the Super Friends are facing, with some incidents clearly tailored to specific heroes (such as water-based problems giving Aquaman a chance to shine). Casual viewers or those new to Super Friends will likely find that this show gets very old very quick, but devotees of the cartoon will get nearly six hours of wholesome adventures here.

Super Friends definitely won't work for everyone, that almost goes without saying, and it's definitely a product of its time. Violence is considerably toned down here for the younger audience (it's non-existent, really) to adhere to broadcast standards governing violence in 1970s children's television. As a result, enemies early on in the series tended to be mostly just misguided mad scientists or aliens (and so on) who were usually revealed as being well-intentioned but pursuing their goals the wrong way (though the likes of The Joker and Lex Luthor eventually appear later in the show's run). This is then usually wrapped up with a quick conversation and the antagonist convinced to do better and sent on their way.

The series sticks slavishly close to that formula - established in its first episode, "The Power Pirate" - and doesn't really waver from it for the rest of the season. However, that doesn't mean this increasingly tired formula can't produce the odd gem on occasion. "Professor Goodfellow's G.E.E.C." is arguably the strongest outing in this collection, and also the most hilarious (though more inadvertently so), as it follows the creation of a computer which fulfills people's inherent desire to do as little work as possible. Naturally, things comically go south when humanity's rush to rid itself of all responsibility ends up spectacularly backfiring.

Still, Super Friends: Season One Volume One can be quite the endurance challenge as even die-hard Super Friends fans consider the iconic show's first season to be one of its roughest. Episodes run way too long, are mostly nonsensical and are barely strung together with the thinnest (and dumbest) of plots. The iconic heroes of the Justice League are as flat and one-dimensional as can be, with none of them really distinguishing themselves from the other outside of superficial special abilities. Wendy, Marvin and Wonder Dog are just there and don't contribute more than a few jokes and a couple half-hearted attempts to help out.

Click Here!Animation is pretty weak across the board, though that was common among the majority of cartoons during this time (not an excuse, still). Character movement is awkward and clearly kept to a minimum. That said, most of the character designs look pretty nice and are actually fairly solid for a cartoon squarely aimed at the little ones.

And given the quality of this DVD collection, it looks like Warner Home Video also hasn't forgotten the whole "kids" thing, either. Instead of including bonus material marking this historic nature of the featured cartoon, here we get a pretty hollow release with some middling kiddie-centric trivia. But before all that, in terms of the physical aspect, the two-disc Super Friends: Season One Volume One DVD set is packaged in a standard Amaray case with a cardboard slip. It looks nice, though the package art reflects nothing of what the actual Super Friends cartoon looks like.

In terms of audio and video, it's not special. The video is a fine 1.33:1 Full Frame transfer that looks fine but there's clearly been no restoration efforts made. It's a bit muddy and looks a little dull, but it's acceptable. The Dolby Digital Mono audio track is also adequate and not much else. Everything sounds fine and clear for the most part with no major or glaring issues.

The only special feature included here is the "Super Friends Trivia Challenge," which offers a series of multiple-choice about characters from the cartoon. The disc also includes a handful of trailers and that's it. No retrospective or featurette about this iconic (yes, this is an iconic series regardless of the perceived calbier) cartoon's first season seems to be a major oversight and a disservice to the cartoon's overall impact in pop culture.

Super Friends: Season One Volume One is definitely for the die-hard fans, but even they might be dismayed by this disappointing DVD collection. While the Super Friends show itself is definitely an acquired taste, it was still deserving of a better release. Yes, the overall quality of the cartoon is definitely debatable, but it was still an iconic and massively popular series in the 1970s that's fondly remembered to this day. And what kind of release is it given? A bare-bones DVD with an adequate presentation at best and non-existent extras.

This isn't the first Super Friends DVD collection but, with that Season One, Volume One tacked on the title, it seemed like Warner Home Video was getting on the right path with getting this unwieldy cartoon correctly collected. Unfortunately, it looks like that won't be the case with Super Friends: Season One Volume One. Perhaps a Super Friends: The Complete First Season will happen for the show's 50th anniversary in 2023. Still, fans looking to own these episodes could do worse, but what's here is far from the best and far from what's deserved. Purchase at your own Risk.

Review written in 2010, page updated in 2023

Bonus Images and Videos:

A selection of promotional imagery from "Super Friends" (Updated in 2023)
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Check out these clips from the first episode of "Super Friends!"

Plus: Check out these special videos from later seasons of "Super Friends!"


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