The Super Friends animated cartoon was an adaptation of the Justice League of America comic book title published by DC Comics. Like the comic book series, Super Friends teamed up some of DC Comics’ most recognizable superheroes to better combat threats no one superhero could face alone. Membership included Superman, Batman & Robin, Wonder Woman and Aquaman. In addition, the show introduced three brand new superheroes-in-training to the roster named Wendy, Marvin, and their pet Wonder Dog.
The team was based out of a stylish headquarters called the Hall of Justice. They were notified of disaster or criminal activity via their supercomputer TroubAlert, which came complete with a giant TV and video conferencing screen. Many of their debriefings came directly from U.S. Army official Colonel Wilcox.
Unlike future versions of the Super Friends, in the show’s initial season costumed criminals weren’t the order of the day. Stories dealt mainly with scientists who created advanced technology to take over the world or commit crimes, or technology that was supposed to be beneficial but inadvertently went awry. The show’s hour-long format afforded plenty of time to showcase each of the superheroes, but they rarely fought as a group. Normally, either one of the heroes was sent to deal with an emergency call, or several members responded then split up before they went into action.
Much screen time was devoted to Marvin, Wendy and Wonder Dog, who had no real superpowers of their own. Marvin was eager to prove his worth, but his abilities as a superhero were never on par with his enthusiasm and he spent much of his time filling the role of comic relief. Wendy was more useful, having a knack for deciphering clues and coming up with the answers to unsolved questions. Wonder Dog acted more like a human who couldn’t speak than a dog, often attempting to communicate by gesturing and uttering unintelligible, half-formed words.
The show initially lasted for one season, with a short hiatus before episodes aired as reruns in 1976. In the years following, the show underwent many changes using different titles, formats and rosters. Ensuing incarnations included The All-New Super Friends Hour (1977), Challenge of the Super Friends (1978), The World’s Greatest Super Friends (1979), The Super Friends Hour (1980), Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show (1984) and The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians (1985).