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Season 3, Introduction a

Season 3, Introduction

The third season of Hanna-Barbera's Super Friends was entitled, Challenge of the SuperFriends. This season incorporated several of DC's finest villains. It has proved to be the most popular series of the show.

Series Summary

Episode Length of the new SUPER FRIENDS: 30 minutes

Episode Length of THE CHALLENGE OF THE SUPER FRIENDS: 30 minutes

The year 1978 was a great year for the Super Friends if not the best year. SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE was a smash hit at the box office and the live action WONDER WOMAN TV show with Lynda Carter was airing its third and final season on CBS Friday nights. And there were toys and merchandise galore of not only Superman and Wonder Woman, but also Batman, Robin, Aquaman and Shazam. That year, Hanna-Barbera animated what is considered among fans to be the all time best version of the SuperFriends ever.[1]

The complete series was produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions for Warner Bros. Television and is based on the Justice League and associated comic book characters published by DC Comics.

It was the third series of Super Friends cartoons, following the original Super Friends in 1973 and The All-New Super Friends Hour in 1977.

In January 1979, Hanna-Barbera briefly ran a live-action series entitled Legends of the Superheroes which was loosely based on this incarnation of the Super Friends.


This time around viewers were treated to two separate incarnations / segments of the Super Friends the new SuperFriends (which include the Wonder Twins) and the Challenge of the Super Friends:

  • 9:00 am – new SuperFriends
  • 9:30 am – Challenge of the Super Friends

new SuperFriends

  • 1st Incarnation / Segment
In addition to making the 16 episode Challenge of the Super Friends series, Hanna-Barbera also animated 16 episodes featuring the established core group of the Super Friends to run alongside the Challenge episodes. The core group of this new SuperFriends series were the original five heroes who made up the team and their Exxorian trainees, Zan and Jayna and their monkey Gleek. These episodes actually aired first before the Challenge episodes to serve as a warm up to the headliner. This new SuperFriends series is unlike the episodes from the previous series in 1977. It is less interested in delivering a moral message like the 2 previous series. It is more cosmic and sci-fi minded, journeying into space to battle villains on other worlds as well as on Earth. Plus, there are plenty of mutations and mind control for our heroes to endure and deal with in this season. It would appear that some of these episodes may have taken cues from Star Wars and SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE.
In Syndication,[2] these episodes were shown using the opening credits of The All-New Super Friends Hour along with the close from the Challenge series. Therefore, it is often mistakenly believed that it was not part of this season.

Challenge of the Super Friends

  • 2nd Incarnation / Segment
Challenge of the Super Friends was a 16 episode series that came the closest to the comic books. Not only did Challenge have the Justice League of America, it was the first official Super Friends series to feature DC Super Villains from the comics. And this series had 13 of them together as an alliance called the Legion of Doom. Superman foes like Lex Luthor, Brainiac, Toyman, and Bizarro, and Batman foes like the Riddler and Scarecrow. The Legion of Doom dwelled in a murky swamp and launched their attacks for global conquest from a sinister looking, swamp-based, mechanical, flying headquarters, called the Hall of Doom (which resembled Darth Vader’s helmet) as a suitable contrast with the Super Friends' gleaming Hall of Justice. Every week, the Legion schemed to either get rid of or destroy the Super Friends so they can conquer the world. The Super Friends themselves consisted of 11 Justice League heroes. No teen tag-alongs or pet comic reliefs actually appeared in this show though when Luthor introduces the Riddler he fans out a set of cards with the pictures of Gleek, Zan, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Robin, Batman, and Superman on them which he then burns.[3]
This hour became so popular, that an extra 30 minutes of reruns from The All-New Super Friends Hour was added in 1979 extending the show to 90 minutes.


Super Friends Cast

Legion of Doom Cast

Episode List

The first segment during this season, the story focus was not on the Legion of Doom, it was on the main five members of the SuperFriends and the Wonder Twins.

The second segment focused on the SuperFriends and 13 DC Super Villains from the comics.

    Ep #         The New SuperFriends Segments      The Challenge Episodes        Air Date    
01     Rokan: Enemy from Space         Wanted: The Superfriends         September 9, 1978    
02     The Demons of Exxor         Invasion of the Fearians         September 16, 1978    
03     Battle at the Earth's Core         The World's Deadliest Game         September 23, 1978    
04     Sinbad and the Space Pirates         The Time Trap         September 30, 1978    
05     The Pied Piper from Space         Trial of the Superfriends         October 7, 1978    
06     Attack of the Vampire         Monolith of Evil         October 14, 1978    
07     The Beasts are Coming         The Giants of Doom         October 21, 1978    
08     Terror from the Phantom Zone         Secret Origins of the Superfriends         October 28, 1978    
09     The Anti-Matter Monster         Revenge on Gorilla City         November 4, 1978    
10     World Beneath the Ice         Swamp of the Living Dead         November 11, 1978    
11     Invasion of the Brain Creatures         Conquerors of the Future         November 18, 1978    
12     The Incredible Space Circus         The Final Challenge         November 25, 1978    
13     Batman: Dead or Alive         Fairy Tale of Doom         December 2 , 1978    
14     Battle of the Gods         Doomsday         December 9, 1978    
15     Journey Through Inner Space         Superfriends: Rest in Peace         December 16, 1978    
16     The Rise and Fall of the Superfriends         History of Doom         December 23, 1978    


DVD / Media info

Warner Home Video (via DC Comics Entertainment and Warner Bros. Family Entertainment) released this season of Super Friends on two DVD box sets.

Title Type Ep # Release Date
    Challenge of the Super Friends         The First Season         16         July 6, 2004    
    Super Friends         Volume 2         16         May 24, 2005    

For More DVD Info See:

Official DVD releases from

  • Volume One are episodes from The Challenge of the SuperFriends
  • Volume Two are episodes from the new Superfriends'


Cartoon Network produced a couple of commercials spoofing Challenge of the Super Friends.

  • One dealt with the idiosyncratic nature of the Legion of Doom and Brainiac’s odd manner of dress (Brainiac: “Look, I just want some pants...a decent pair of pants!” Solomon Grundy: “Solomon Grundy want pants, too!”).
  • The second, co-starring The Powerpuff Girls, dealt with Aquaman’s powers (Aquaman: “My ability to talk to fish is of no use to us, Wonder Woman!”) as well as the level of violence compared to today’s cartoons, as Wonder Woman and Aquaman look away while the Powerpuff Girls beat up the Legion of Doom, going so far as to set the Scarecrow on fire. Most notably was Bubbles' double-entendre reply to Wonder Woman's compliment on how they were developing as superheroes. "Someday we'll be as developed as you." Lex Luthor, as a villain with a dirty mind, began laughing. His underlings understood the joke and laughed as well. When a piece of the Hall of Doom's ceiling fell on Luthor's head, everyone laughed.

In 2003, Cartoon Network Latin America aired the spoof series The Aquaman & Friends Action Hour that starred Aquaman as a children's television show host and the Legion of Doom as his bankrupt villains.

See Also

External Links


  1. "Hanna-Barbera Superfriends Chronology"]. Retrieved 2011-01-02.
  2. by LBS Communications
  3. This is the only reference to the Wonder Twins by the Legion of Doom.
  4. This quote is from an interview by Marc Tyler Nobleman with assistant animator, Darrell McNeil. The blog article is entitled, Super ‘70s and ‘80s: “Super Friends” — Darrell McNeil, animator. This blog article is from a larger series entitled, “Super Friends” — Introduction.
  5. Background information from an interview by Marc Tyler Nobleman with animator, Darrell McNeil. The blog article is entitled, Super ‘70s and ‘80s: "Super Friends" – Darrell McNeil, animator. This blog article is from a larger series entitled, “Super Friends” — Introduction .
  6. The series: Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle ran on CBS from 1976-1984