Sunday, August 16, 2015

On DVD: Super Friends: The "Lost" Episodes (1983)

A quick history lesson first, if you please.

In 1983, the local ABC affiliate experimented with an all live-action program slate on Saturday mornings, bumping all of ABC's cartoons, but leaving in Weekend Special & American Bandstand. It was such an unpopular move that things reverted to normal in time for the Christmas holidays.

Supposedly, ABC had cut Super Friends, which would be marking its 10th anniversary, out of the lineup, but it was included when the cartoons returned during the winter of 1983-4. However, a new slate of episodes meant to air that season didn't air in this country until WB's Batman-Superman Adventures made-for-cable anthology package debuted on USA Network more than a decade later. These "lost" episodes aired in Australia and other countries, but for some reason were held out of American channels for over 10 years.

About 4 years ago, WB released the 1983-4 season of Super Friends on DVD with the sub-heading, "The Lost Episodes". It's a must for any fans who want to complete their collection. Scope out this variant intro:

Unlike the shorts produced the two previous seasons, writers were not given screen credit in the title cards. The closing credits suggest, however, that Jeffrey Scott might've been the sole writer, though I doubt that very seriously. Virtually all of the episodes from this season are off YouTube due to WB copyright enforcement. Those who want to try to post will use specific tricks, such as speeding up the audio or pushing their cameras closer to the screen, which makes their clips unusable here.

An added feature on the DVD includes a pair of comic book stories. The first comes from Super Friends (1st series) 12, the other from a tabloid-size reprint volume that featured wrap-around bumper segments by comics legend Alex Toth, who designed the characters for the TV show.

Rating: B.

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