Sunday, February 19, 2012

Animated World of DC Comics: Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show (1984)

If you were to ask me which incarnation of the Super Friends franchise was the worst, I would say, with some hesitation, the 1984 Legendary Super Powers Show. Let's break it down.

Pluses: Firestorm was added to the team, and Jack Kirby's galactic villain from his 1970's New Gods series, Darkseid, along with son Kalibak and chief assistant DeSaad, became the central villain.

Minuses: Despite being featured in the show open, which we'll show in a bit, Aquaman hardly appeared at all. The Wonder Twins were written off the show after 3 appearances. Despite his well-earned rep as a class-A villain, Darkseid was saddled with a questionable gimmick. He had a crush on Wonder Woman. Only 8 new shows were produced, when 13 should've been the order. We won't even discuss the new-look Brainiac, which was introduced in the comics a year earlier, but looked like something out of a cheesy B-movie.

Casting changes: After being the voice of Wonder Woman since the launch of the series in 1973, Shannon Farnon was replaced by newcomer Constance Cawlfield. Coupled with Wonder Woman being courted, if you can call it that, by Darkseid, it was not a good time for the Amazing Amazon. Adam West reprised as Batman, with Olan Soule, who had been voicing the character since 1968, moving over to be the voice of Professor Martin Stein, 1/2 of Firestorm.

Hewey1972 uploaded the open, with the intro spoken by the late Dick Tufeld.

Things would get better the next year, which would be the series' final incarnation. For Darkseid, it could've been worse. They could've done a satire of Love Connection or The Dating Game.

Rating: C.


magicdog said...

I think a lot of other heroes were underutilized during this era of SF. Most were part of a crowd scene at the Hall of Justice and did not even have a speaking part!

I didn't mind the addition of Firestorm (and later, Cyborg) since he seemed to be the replacement for The Wonder Twins.
I guess TPTB may have thought it was time to get rid of them because they didn't want the kiddie sidekick angle anymore and having an even more powerful hero trainee was a better fit for the SF team.

As a kid, I remembered when Wonder Woman started sounding different, and I had wondered why. It wasn't until recently that I had learned Shannon Farnon was replaced by Cawfield, who turned out to be the voice director's girlfriend! That was a low blow!

Having Adam West was a nice touch to voice Batman.

I do think the show improved a bit during the Galactic Guardians era.

hobbyfan said...

Firestorm was making his TV debut, but he was already well-established in the comics by then, having debuted 7 years earlier, and later joining the Justice League for a time.

Personally, I think the Twins were phased out because they weren't going to be part of the toy line (and wouldn't get action figures until 25 years later). I don't think it was as much Hanna-Barbera or ABC's call as it really was Kenner's (they were making the Super Powers line of toys). They wanted to make the show more serious, but that didn't take until the next year.