There apparently was a reason for these episodes ending up being “lost,” at least as far as the U.S. was concerned.
Back in 1983, Hanna-Barbera had put more than the modicum 65 various episodes of Super Friends to sell a syndicated package. Then ABC, who aired the new episodes as they were produced, got wind of this. In a huff, they cancelled their 1983 order of eight new half-hours; even though the episodes were completed. The 24 individual episodes did air, just not in the U.S., thus becoming known as the great “lost” episodes.
The quality of these missing shorts is pretty much what you would expect from The Super Friends. The primary five DC superheroes doing the heavy lifting this season were Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Robin and Aquaman. Guest appearances included Atom, Hawkman, Green Lantern as well as the politically correct Apache Chief, Black Vulcan, Samurai and the newly created El Dorado. Round it off with the Wonder Twins (Zan and Jayna), and it’s pretty much standard fare. To keep the Super Friends busy there were the likes of Mr. Mxyzptlk, Brainiac, and the Legion of Doom.
Stories this season were under the auspices of Jeffrey Scott, who seemed to have a fundamental knowledge of DC lore, but nothing to impress a hardcore fan. Instead, Scott had an interesting knowledge of movies, often having the Friends fighting their way out of safe-for-kids versions of such films as Poltergeist, Nightmare on Elm Street and even the B-movie classic The Green Slime. Actually, one of the best inside-joke episodes has what one must assume is a parody of Scott, working at Maurer Studios (Maurer was a Scott pen name), being hit by lightning and turned into “Bulgar The Behemoth.”
Otherwise, these episodes line up the usual suspects. Danny Dark, Olan Soule, Casey Kasem, and Shannon Farnon return as the voices of Supes, the Dynamic Duo, and the Amazon Princess. The animation is as stiff and repetitive as Hanna-Barbera could be in those days. Yet they still had a certain amount of charm that gets better with age.
On the extra content front, the packaging could have been a tad better. Yes, it’s nice to have some equally “lost” issues of old DC/Super Friends comics to scan over, but where is any explanation doc on why these episodes were only seen in other countries, not here? If you look at the credits, you’ll see that the legendary Jayne Barbera and Margaret Loesch worked on these episodes. Some recollections from these great ladies would have been a nice touch.
Otherwise, this collection is great if you do happen to be a Super Friends fan. If that’s the case, be glad these episodes aren’t lost anymore.