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. Written by
Greg Sheets <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The characters of Wendy, Marvin, and Wonder Dog were introduced to the DC Comics Universe over 30 years later in Geoff John's 'Teen Titans' series around 2006. Marvin would be subsequently killed off (by a rabid Wonder Dog, no less) and Wendy made paraplegic by the writer who took over after Johns left the title two years later. See more »
Many enduring Saturday Morning characters grew progressively grimmer in terms of quality over their life span. Scooby-Doo degenerated from Scooby-Dum to Dynomutt,all the way to Scrappy-Doo to "The 13 Ghosts Of Scooby Doo" and ultimately to babyfication in the mid-1990's with "A Pup Named Scooby Doo". Even other Hanna-Barbera cartoon characters like Yogi Bear,Huckleberry Hound and other Hanna-Barbera cartoon funny animals went from their mildly amusing late 1950's-early 1960's shorts to the horrific antifun of "Yogi's Gang","Scooby's All-Star Laff-A-Lympics and not to mention "Yogi's Space Race",during the rest of the 1970's. Other characters too fall aprey as well,for example Looney Tunes' character of Daffy Duck descended from heights like "Duck Dodgers in the 24 and 1/2 Century" and "Duck Amuck"(which basically were two Oscar winning animated shorts)to stupidly chasing Speedy Gonazles in a desultory series of Friz Freleng-directed shorts. Even other shows follow suits as well. The Flintstones went from their own successful original show,deriative but often entertaining,to rerun disgraces and total failures like "Fred and Barney Meet The Thing", "Fred and Barney Meet The Shmoo",and "The Flintstones Mysteries".
THE SUPERFRIENDS on the other hand,got better and better in each episode of their incarnations. This was a series that was one of the top rated programs during its entire thirteen and a half year run on ABC-TV from September 8, 1973 until September 6, 1986 and was mostly seen during the earlier part of ABC's Sunshine Saturday Morning schedule. Produced in association with DC Comics and Hanna-Barbera Productions. At the time of their first appearance,the Superfriends were a sort of stripped down version of DC Comics' Justice League Of America. The characters of Superman, Batman and Robin, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman were already old hands on Saturday Morning. Wonder Woman was the only newcomer,but in comics terms she was a long established a fairly well known character. Even during the earlier seasons(between 1973 through 1975),a few other characters made brief appearances,like Green Arrow. During the show's first three seasons by the way,the heroes never got the chance to fight any villains(that wasn't until The Challenge Of The Superfriends six years later). Instead you got to see these superheroes running around like toddlers saving the world from natural disasters. The worst of this was during the years 1973-1975(seasons one through three). The cause of this fiasco was the repulsive sidekicks that had on the show basically were the characters of Wendy,Marvin and Wonderdog-who were basically teenage kids who hung around the Superfriends. Marvin was the antithesis of Shaggy while Wonderdog was the copy of Scooby Doo(and of all the Scooby clones that came around during the 1970's,Wonderdog was the worst of them all). At least Wendy was mildly competent while Marvin was one of the dumbest kids ever conceived. Wendy and Marvin were just that--the ultimate degenerate form of the kid sidekick that was repulsive and annoying to which in just about every episode Wendy and Marvin always stumbled into trouble and every time were to be rescued in one form or another by The Superfriends. The other aggravating thing and this was what the producers thought was educational during the first three seasons of The Superfriends was the profunsion of short public-service blurbs,in which Batman would help kids cross the street property or various others with Superman telling kids not to smoke cigarettes or used drugs or Aquaman telling kids not to pollute the environment or Wonder Woman telling kids not to get near or talk to strangers. All of that would change quickly in 1975.
At the start of the 1975-1976 season,Wendy,Marvin and Wonderdog were completely eliminated and were replaced by The Wonder Twins-which consisted of Jayna,Zan,and their space monkey Gleep(which was a recycled version of Hanna-Barbera's Space Ghost which consisted of Space Ghost's two sidekicks Jan and Jayce and space monkey Blip). Unlike Wendy and Marvin,they actually had superpowers. Hailing from an alien planet,they were able,whenever they touched hands,to take on the form of an animal and the shape of some kind of water. At least the Twins were not helpless idiots like Wendy and Marvin. Most importantly,the new format had more to offer too--more superheroic adventure and some reasonably interesting plots and the occasional addition of new members of the Justice League including Hawkman and Green Lantern and others that featured insulting ethnic characters too like Apache Chief, Black Vulcan,and Samurai. Zan and Jayna were given their own format adventures as well featuring them helping hopeless teens in tight situations. By the end of the 1977-1978 season Zan and Jayna were eliminated from the group. By the start of the 1978-1979 season,the Superfriends FINALLY get the fight their villains which was the next incarnation of the show which in my opinion was one of the coolest and innovative shows ever the grace Saturday Mornings in the late 1970's. "The Challenge Of The Superfriends" premiered during the 1978-1979 season and it featured the Justice League battling the Legion Of Doom(which consisted of Superman's arch nemesis Lex Luthor)and other diabolical villains not to mention once again saving the world from doom and total destruction.
The overall success prove brilliant and from there at the start of the 1979-1980 season,The Superfriends expanded to a full 90 minute format that offer more action and thrills than ever which also included repeated episodes from earlier seasons too. That lasted until 1983. The final content of this came at the height of the show's final season with "The Superpowers Team:Galactic Guardians"(premiered during the 1984-1986 seasons) which they faced a new sinister and more deadlier villain "Darkseid" and along with new heroes to join the Hall Of Justice(or the Justice League Of America) as well to battle deadlier and menacing foes. However,after the success of The Superfriends there were other shows that could do follow the same formula,but this was show that change like the colors of the rainbow in different segments.
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