Super Friends (1980 TV series)

Super Friends
Also known as 'Super Friends V (season 1)
Super Friends VI (season 2)
Genre Animation
Written by Haskell Barkin
Dick Conway
Willie Gilbert
Donald F. Glut
Mark Jones
Elana Lesser
Dick Robbins
Cliff Ruby
Directed by Oscar Dufau
George Gordon
Charles A. Nichols
Ray Patterson
Carl Urbano
Voices of Jack Angel
Michael Bell
Wally Burr
William Callaway
Danny Dark
Shannon Farnon
Buster Jones
Stan Jones
Casey Kasem
Michael Rye
Olan Soule
Frank Welker
Louise Williams
Narrated by William Woodson
Theme music composer Hoyt Curtin
Composer(s) Hoyt Curtin
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 22 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Joseph Barbera
William Hanna
Producer(s) Gerard Baldwin
Editor(s) Jeffrey Scott
Running time 60 minutes (including commercials)
Production company(s) Hanna-Barbera Productions
DC Comics
Distributor Taft Broadcasting (original)
Warner Bros. Television (current)
Original network ABC
Original release September 13, 1980 1982
Preceded by The World's Greatest Super Friends
Followed by Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show

Super Friends is an American animated television series about a team of superheroes which ran from 1980 to 1982 on ABC. It was produced by Hanna-Barbera and is based on the Justice League and associated comic book characters published by DC Comics. It was the fifth incarnation of the Super Friends series following Super Friends (1973 TV series), The All-New Super Friends Hour, Challenge of the Super Friends and The World's Greatest Super Friends.


With Super Friends, the series abandoned the production of half-hour episodes (which was the case for the previous two Super Friends series), in favor of the production of seven-minute shorts. Each hour long episode of Super Friends would feature a half-hour rerun from one of the previous six years along with three new shorts. Meanwhile, the second season from 19811982 was a shorter season due to a writers' strike.

Main characters

These new adventures featured appearances by the core group of the five classic Super Friends (Aquaman, Batman, Robin, Superman and Wonder Woman) along with Zan, Jayna & Gleek. A 1981 episode titled "Evil From Krypton" depicted the Superman's Fortress of Solitude with a somewhat crystalline exterior and without the giant key, reminiscent of its film appearances. There were also guest appearances from members previously depicted in Challenge of the Super Friends as well as the original Hanna Barbera created hero El Dorado (debuting in the second season), who was added to the show to make the Super Friends more culturally diverse.

In El Dorado's debut episode "Alien Mummy" it is revealed that he is of Mexican descent. The narrator sets the scene by describing the location as 'ancient Aztec ruins in the Mexican wilderness'. One of El Dorado's lines is "these are the mysterious ruins of my people". Black Vulcan is able to spot-weld microelectronics as demonstrated in the episode "Dive to Disaster".

Guest characters and villains

The Riddler made his only solo appearance in a short episode entitled "Around The World In 80 Riddles" again voiced by Michael Bell. Queen Hippolyta as well as Paradise Island appear in the 1980 episode "Return of Atlantis." In her first two appearances, Hippolyta was a brunette however in her last appearance, she was blonde and wore a blue toga. Gorilla Grodd appeared in the short episodes "Two Gleeks Are Deadlier Than One" and "Revenge of Doom" again voiced by Stanley Ralph Ross. In "Two Gleeks are Deadlier Than One", he and Giganta (again voiced by Joan Gerber) capture Gleek and replace him with a robot duplicate in order to infiltrate the Super Friends and learn what they are planning. In "Revenge of Doom", Gorilla Grodd was seen with the Legion of Doom when they got back together (after salvaging the Legion of Doom headquarters from the swamp). While all 13 LOD members appear in "Revenge of Doom", only Lex Luthor, Sinestro (voiced by Jeff Winkless) and Solomon Grundy (again voiced by Jimmy Weldon) speak.

The three Phantom Zone villains, who first appeared in the 1978 episode "Terror from the Phantom Zone", later return in a "lost season" episode from 1983 titled "Return of the Phantoms". In it which they hijack an alien's time-space conveyor and go back in time to Smallville and attack Superboy (voiced by Jerry Dexter) to prevent him from becoming Superman. Fortunately, the pilot of that craft went to warn the Super Friends about what the trio would be attempting and guided Superman and Green Lantern to the proper time period to help the boy. The Super Friends version of the Phantom Zone is described as, "Far beyond the boundaries of the Milky Way. In the uncharted void of deep space. An incredible 5th dimension of space and time, lies parallel to the universe that we know. This interesting interstellar warp which holds the most sinister and ruthless criminals in the galaxy is the infamous Phantom Zone." The molecular structure of any person exiled in the Zone appears white and black. Batman's devices and the Wonder Twins' Exxor Powers are useless within the Phantom Zone.



Reruns, cancellation, and lost episodes

For the 19821983 television season, ABC continued to run a half-hour of reruns from the previous seasons called The Best of the Super Friends. It also should be noted that none of the seven minute shorts were rebroadcast. By 1983, Hanna-Barbera had created a syndication package (that was distributed by LBS Communications and ran from 19831986) of the earlier Super Friends series. These episodes were picked up by various stations across the United States and were typically broadcast on weekday afternoons. Not wishing to compete with the syndicated programming, ABC dropped the series from the 19831984 Saturday morning television line-up, and for the second time in its run, Super Friends was canceled. However, during this period of time, Hanna-Barbera continued to produce new episodes of Super Friends.

In total, 8 episodes (24 cartoons) of the so-called "Lost Episodes" were animated but not aired in the United States that season. The series did appear in Australia uninterrupted. One of these episodes were aired when Super Friends returned to Saturday morning ABC television the following year. The remainder of the episodes finally aired in syndication in 1995 as part of the Superman/Batman Adventures show on the USA Network. The series also aired on Cartoon Network.

Home media releases

In April 2009, Warner Home Video announced their plans to release the lost episodes of this series in August of that year. They were released as a DVD set, titled Super Friends: The Lost Episodes, on August 11, 2009. In April 2013, Warner Home Video announced Season one episodes would be released on DVD as "Super Friends - Season 5: A Dangerous Fate", on July 23, 2013. Warner Home Video also announced that "Super Friends: Legacy of Super Powers - Season 6" would be released on DVD on October 8, 2013. With the release of Season 6 its makes the entire Super Friends series is on DVD.


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