CHALLENGE OF THE
THE FIRST SEASON
When I was younger, I had a voracious appetite for anything superhero
related and would watch just about any show featuring those character. As
you might expect, I would tune in to watch CHALLENGE OF THE
SUPERFRIENDS any time the show aired. Of course, over the years, my
tastes became ever so slightly more sophisticated, and have come to
recognize that CHALLENGE OF THE SUPERFRIENDS offered depictions of
superheroes that were less than ideal, especially in the wake of such
shows as the dark and complex BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES, not to
mention the infinitely superior TV update of the Super Friends concept- JUSTICE
However, with a sense of nostalgia I chose to revisit this show from my
youth and found that it offered quite a bit of goofy good natured fun,
even if it reduced the mythologies of characters like Superman, Batman,
Wonder Woman and The Green Lantern to their most simplistic levels.
Fairing somewhat worse that the superheroes, were their evil counterparts
from the Legion of Doom, whose motivations were reduced to little more
than perpetrating evil for its own sake and eliminating the members of the
Justice League of America.
Even with its weaknesses, I’m still glad that CHALLENGE OF THE
SUPERFRIENDS: THE FIRST SEASON ($30) has come to DVD. Season one
arrives on DVD in a two disc set that features the following sixteen
episodes from the show’s one and only year of production: Wanted:
The Superfriends, Invasion Of The Fearians, The
World's Deadliest Game, The Time Trap, Trial
Of The Superfriends, Monolith Of Evil, The
Giants Of Doom, Secret Orgins Of The Superfriends, Revenge
On Gorilla City, Swamp Of The Living Dead, Conquerors
Of The Future, The Final Challenge, Fairy Tale
Of Doom, Doomsday, Superfriends, Rest
In Peace and The History Of Doom.
Home Video has made the episodes from CHALLENGE OF THE SUPERFRIENDS:
THE FIRST SEASON available on DVD in a full screen format that is
representative of the original television broadcasts. Considering the
ultra-low rent animation employed for this Saturday Morning cartoon show
from 1978, the episodes look pretty darn good on DVD. This is not to say
that the visual quality of this release is going to impress anybody, but
the shows certainly look far better on disc than they did in reruns. The
2D cell animated images looks as well defined, as they are ever likely to
look under NTSC, plus the picture boasts pretty good color reproduction.
All of the hues appear reasonably vibrant and nicely stable, plus the
black and whites seem accurate and crisp. The film elements display few
blemishes and noticeable grain is held to a minimum. Digital compression
artifacts remain well camouflaged.
of the episodes that comprise CHALLENGE OF THE SUPERFRIENDS: THE FIRST
SEASON feature perfectly fine Dolby Digital monaural soundtracks.
Background hiss and other types of noise have been cleaned up in the
mastering process, which leaves the episodes with pretty stable sonic
presentation. Fidelity is limited, but for the most part, the musical
component holds up well, with only an occasional "tinny"
sounding moment. Voices have a respectable sense of presence and the
dialogue is easy to understand. A Spanish language track has also been
encoded onto the DVD, as have English, French and Spanish subtitles.
Animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus, which
allow one access to the standard episode selection and set up features, as
well as a few extras. Audio commentaries have been provided for the
episodes Wanted: The Superfriends and The History Of
Doom. Saturday, Sleeping Bags & Super Friends: A
Retrospective runs fourteen-minute and provides a fond look back
at the series. Hall Of Justice provides biographies for the
Super Friends, while Legion Of Doom does the same for the
show’s villains. Video trailers/promos for BATMAN: THE ANIMATED
SERIES VOLUME ONE, THE JETSONS: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON, THE
FLINTSTONES: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON and JONNY QUEST: THE
COMPLETE FIRST SEASON close out the extras.
OF THE SUPERFRIENDS: THE FIRST SEASON is a fun and nostalgic DVD
release for anyone who enjoyed Saturday Morning cartoons during the 1970s,
plus the DVD set offers better presentations than one is likely to get in
reruns. If you are a fan you’ll want to spend some time getting
reacquainted with the show on DVD.