12 July 2012

Crisis of Infinite Episodes - The All-New Super Friends Hour

After a renewal in popularity of the trimmed and syndicated 1973 Super Friends along with the popularity of the live action Wonder Woman series, Hanna-Barbera was eager to give the Friends another shot in 1977. The second time was a charm for the heroes, ensuring that this reformatted presentation would continue to be tweaked and revised for years to come. To freshen things up, gone were Wendy, Marvin, and Wonder Dog, replaced by the alien teens Wonder Twins Zan and Jayna and their own pet, the space monkey Gleek. 

Although 15 "hours" of The All-New Super Friends were made, each hour actually consisted of four episodes ranging from 4 to 20 minutes - much more palatable than the original series' 40+ minute epic tales. Each hour of programming was made up of a specific formula. The first episode featured a two hero team-up. The second featured the Wonder Twins on their own dealing with teen-themed problems. The third featured the entire regular Super Friends roster of heroes including Batman and Robin, Wonder Woman, Superman, and Aquaman as well as the Wonder Twins. The final segment matched one regular hero with a guest star. Other PSA style segments were also thrown into the mix between segments.

Not only were traditional DC heroes including Hawkman and Hawkgirl, Green Lantern, Atom, and Flash brought in as guest stars, the lesser known Jungle Girl Rima was added for a pair of adventures. Also, the "ethnic heroes" Apache Chief, Black Vulcan, and Samurai, creations of Hanna-Barbera were added to the rotation of guests. In all, this version of the series yielded 60 episodes with a smattering of educational segments which will also get their due as we proceed.

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