03 January 2013

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

The All New Super Friends Hour was a massive improvement of the the first effort mostly due to the brisker pace. Rather than one drawn out episode per hour, you got four! You were guaranteed a guest hero and often a super villain rather than a faceless natural disaster. And even though the Wonder Twins were goofy they were still head and shoulders better than Wendy and Marv and Gleek was way better than Wonder Dog.

Overall, the main event episodes were the best with interesting or at least creative villains to be battled. The opening team-ups were also fun warm ups for the hour. Even the Wonder Twin segments were at least light, disposable fun, though light on replay value. Surprisingly, the guest hero segments were usually a letdown owing to the poor use of the guests or lame threats. Green Lantern was brought in to fight an elephant and a flood. Flash battled snow. We even got episodes featuring rats and bees. Another surprise was that the best of the guests were those starring the "ethic heroes" created to add diversity to the show. I think all three of Apache Chief, Samurai, and Black Vulcan were fun characters.

As for the public service announcements. The best I can say is that they were a waste of animation that could have been used to make the actual episodes better. I actually appreciate the Magic and Craft segments for having some decent ideas that even as a kid I tried out. The Safety and Health segments were really pointless, but benign. The De-Coder segments were an incredible waste. Not only were they three segments long, but they were stupid and WHAT WAS THE POINT?

Essential Five:

1. The Collector - I am willing to concede that I may be over selling this one, but frankly I loved the concept of a camera that captures its targets by trapping them in photos. A perfect idea for this series and a lot of fun. Also, the idea was presented in a few quick minutes, ending before it grew stale.

2. Planet of the Neanderthals - The main events were the highlights of the series and this quirky time travel outing was among the most memorable. Sure, it didn't make tons of sense, but it stood out triumphantly.

3. The Lionmen - Another standout. The Lionmen and their Earth shattering ray (literally) were a fun, albeit ridiculous, threat for the Friends.

4. The Ghost or The Water Beast - Both of these segments featured (dis)honest to goodness supervillains. Even though logically a villain that comes from the comics should not automatically make for a good episode, there is an added boost that name recognition gives, particularly in this series where they were fairly rare. And both adventures were fair enough even without the boost.

5. Initiation - This was not a great episode, but at least one Wonder Twins segment should be required viewing and this one pretty much captured the over the top zaniness of Zan and Jayna.

Series Stinkers:

Cable Car Rescue - I hated how they treated the Atom. He flew, glowed, and came off as a really worthless hero.

Tibetan Raiders - Flash with a shovel against evil Sherpas? Dud!

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