04 January 2013

Crisis of Infinite Episodes - Challenge of the Super Friends

The 1977 All New Super Friends revival was a success but the creative team was not done tweaking the show's format. The following year, they struck gold with Challenge of the Super Friends. As in the All New Super Friends Hour, the '78 season ran as an hour long block, but rather than several segments packaged together with public service announcements in between, the new approach just smushed two half hour stand-alone segments together. Syndication would confuse later generations into thinking the two segments were independent series, but they were in fact both originally flown under the Challenge of the Super Friends banner.

The first segment was pretty much the same as the main event from the All New Super Friends Series, featuring the core League of Superman, Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman along with the Wonder Twins.

[Early Concept for the "League of Evil" from "Battle of the Superheroes”]

The second and more fondly remembered segment pitted the Super Friends against the nefarious Legion of Doom. Each of the heroes had at least one nemesis in the Legion, though Batman's expected counter, The Joker, was off limits due to the Filmation Batman series which ran the year prior. Plans for including Captain Marvel in the League were kiboshed over similar rights issues. Flash, Green Lantern, and Hawkman, former Leaguers in the '60 animated series were brought into the league along with the new creations Apache Chief, Samurai, and Black Vulcan -although the Wonder Twins were benched for these segments.

The Legion of Doom included Lex Luthor, Solomon Grundy, Sinestro, Black Manta, Cheetah, Giganta, Scarecrow, Toyman, Riddler, Bizarro, Brainiac, Captain Cold, and Gorilla Grodd. Even though the Legion is introduced as villains banded from remote galaxies, only Brainiac and Sinestro were extra-terrestrials.

In a few short months of 1978, 16 episodes were produced containing 32 total segments.

1 comment:

  1. Would love to see this amazing vintage cartoon. Totally takes me back to that very special time and place in my life. come on Hanna Barbara spin that shit!