"Super Friends: The Lost Episodes" Two-Disc DVD Review
September 01, 2009 by James Harvey
It goes without saying that Super Friends is a classic cartoon. We all remember it, in one form or another from our childhood. Whether we caught it first hand or watched reruns on Cartoon Network, Boomerang, or on VHS, Superfriends we've all been exposed to Super Friends in one form or another. So, when Warner Home Video started releasing the show onto DVD, it's no surprise these Super Friends releases have been big sellers. And now with the latest release from Warner Home Video, Super Friends: The Lost Episodes is poised to once again bring us back to one of the seminal cartoons from our youth.
Powerful super heroes Batman, Robin, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Wonder Twins Zan and Jayna and their rascally blue space monkey Gleek battle evil, protect humanity and save the world from unthinkable dangers in these 24 action-packed Super Friends adventures. These cool cartoon actionfests showcase a gallery of DC Comics heroes and fan-favorite villains like Brainiac and Mr. Mxyzptlk, plus the Hanna-Barbera-originated hero El Dorado. Produced after the Super Friends show ended its run, these treasures were “lost” for more than a decade until they were shown as part of The Superman/Batman Adventures series. It’s a Deluxe 2-Disc Collector’s Set with Bonus Downloadables – your own pieces of super hero comic book history!
I'm not sure what else I (or anyone else, for that matter) can say about Super Friends. While this show is a classic, one that has predictably shown its charming age over time. In fact, part of the charm to Super Friends is how dated it is, and just how different it is from anything we've seen today. The plots are bare bones, incredibly repetitive, with each character's personality interchangable to the next. Save for each character looking different, that's the only way they really differ from each other. And while that does add to the somewhat blandness of each character, it also doesn't really hinder the show. There's no real character development or complex storyline to be found here, but that doesn't really matter, to be honest. We get episode after episode of basically the same story with interchangeable characters and, to be honest, there is an enjoyment factor to it all.
As for the included episodes, the first disc includes "Mxyzptlk’s Revenge," "Roller Coaster," "Once Upon a Poltergeist," "The Krypton Syndrome," "Invasion of the Space Dolls," "Terror on the Titanic," "The Revenge of Doom," "A Pint of Life," "Day of the Dinosaurs," "Playground of Doom," "Space Racers," and "The Recruiter." The second disc features "Warpland," "Two Gleeks Are Deadlier Than One," "Bulgor the Behemoth," "Prisoners of Sleep," "An Unexpected Treasure," "The Malusian Blob," "Return of the Phantoms," "Bully for You," "Super Clones," "Attack of the Cats," "One Small Step for Superman," and "Video Victims."
I can completely understand why I enjoyed this show as a child. It's good versus evil, no grey areas to speak of, with colorful characters and fun dialogue. It's simple, straight-forward, and pretends to be nothing more than what it actually is. However, as an adult, this all now feels stale and repetitive, with my common sense overpowering whatever feelings of nostalgia this show is stirring up. It's a great trip down memory lane, but not one I could find myself doing over and over. As I said, it's charming, don't get me wrong, but only so for so long.
Since what we get here is essentially the same as every previous Super Friends release, fans will definitely want to grab on to these episodes! Not only fans get a thrill out of seeing these rarely-seen adventures, but I believe this series is a great way to introduce young kids to the DC Comics lore. It's a great stepping stone toward other DC cartoons. It's harmless, toothless fun with a charm to it that most should fine enjoyable. For fans of the series and those looking to introduce a new young crowd to DC Comics, Super Friends: The Lost Episodes is a great place to start, and it comes Recommended.
Warner Home Video has taken a cue from the packaging to of The Zeta Project: Season One and has placed a regular hinged-flap Amaray case inside a durable cardboard slipcase. It's great, attractive packaging that really pops out on the shelf. The Amaray case is, of course, the new Eco-friendly cases that have become the dominant DVD packaging in recent months.
Peering inside, the release seems to be the utter definition of "standard" in terms of audio/video quality and special features. The quality of the full-frame video is clean, but given the age of the show, expectedly far from perfect. Audio is the standard Dolby Digital Mono for this release. It's easily on par with previous Super Friends DVD release, so those purchasing this collection should be pleased with the overall quality. Extras are sparse, with a couple downloadable Super Friends comic book PDFs and some trailers.
Super Friends fans will no doubt get a kick out of this release. 24 more adventure from the famed classic series on DVD? Fans will definitely want to jump on this! Not only will this release be a great purchase for fans, but, as I said above, this series is a great way to introduce young kids to the DC Comics lore. And true, the extras may be slim, which is likely a letdown for most fans, but hopefully Warner Home Video will rectify that in future releases. For fans of the series and those looking to introduce a new young crowd to DC Comics, Super Friends: The Complete Series is a great place to start, and it comes Recommended, but older collectors checking out the show for the first time may want to rent this release before purchasing it.
Super Friends: The Lost Episodes is now available on DVD.