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Western Animation: Superfriends
aka: Challenge Of The Superfriends
From left to right: Wonder Dog, Aquaman, Robin, Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Wendy, and Marvin.

"Meanwhile, at the Hall of Justice..."

The show that determined more of what you (used to) know (or think) about superheroes than even the Adam West Batman.

Superfriends is a long-running Hanna-Barbera series, which ran on ABC from 1973 to 1986, featuring superheroes from DC Comics. The core heroes were Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Batman and Robin. Originally, they were joined by "Junior Super Friends" Wendy, Marvin and Wonder Dog. The series' first season, in 1973-4, consisted of hour long stories, most of which concerned current issues such as energy conservation; the "criminal" was usually a Well-Intentioned Extremist with benign motives, who is usually easily persuaded to a more reasonable stand at the end.

Subsequent seasons could conceivably be considered separate series, not unlike Super Sentai a.k.a. Power Rangers:

  • The series was revived in 1977 as The All-New Super Friends Hour, with some reworking of the concept. Most notably, the "Junior Super Friends" were replaced with the shape-shifting Wonder Twins, Zan and Jayna, and their monkey, Gleek, who, unlike their predecessors, had actual semi-useful (if occasionally silly) superpowers. Episodes typically contained more action with the heroes having to get tough with their enemies and less Anvilicious point-making and plodding stories. This and subsequent seasons included short segments on health, safety, crafts, stage magic and a simple word puzzle related to the show's main story. The All-New Super Friends Hour was divided into two parts: one half-hour episode, and another half hour of Three Shorts, which typically followed a pattern: first, two of the original four heroes; then, a short spotlighting the new Wonder Twins; then, the main story with the entire team; and finally, an episode spotlighting one established hero and introducing another hero, who generally would later appear on the next series:
  • Challenge of the Super Friends in 1978 had the largest cast of the various series: 11 heroes and 13 villains (see Heroes Unlimited). Three of the more notable heroes not present were the Wonder Twins and Gleek. By this time, the stories began to resemble those found in the actual comic books, although some of the heroes and villains existed only in animation, including four new "Minority" heroes, Black Vulcan (Black), Apache Chief (Native American), El Dorado (Mexican), and Samurai (Asian). It also introduced the original Legion of Doom, a group of the Super Friends' greatest enemies united to conquer the world with plans none of them could complete alone. The most fondly remembered series, it evolved as it went on. Most episodes focused on a MacGuffin, and early episodes ended with a Villain Exit Stage Left, as if actually capturing the Legion would end their threat, despite the fact that's never how it works in comic books (see Failure Is the Only Option, Joker Immunity, Cardboard Prison). Once they got over that, later episodes raised the stakes and had the Legion introduce ever greater threats, with episode titles starting to take on names like "The Final Challenge" and "Doomsday." The penultimate episode involved the Super Friends being picked off one by one by a "Noxium Crystal" but ultimately being revealed as robots; the final episode begins After the End, as we follow a group of Sufficiently Advanced Aliens as they encounter the scene and wonder what happened. It turns out the Legion fired a solar flare at Earth, and with Superman out of commission, the Super Friends activated their "global force field"; the mixture of the two bathed the Earth in deadly radiation. It ultimately ends with the aliens using Time Travel to push the inevitable Reset Button, moving the moon in the path of the flare (seriously). Originally was still part of an hour-long show; the episodes they ran with, which included the core five and the Wonder Twins, are now very rare and almost entirely forgotten, and the last six were out-and-out Missing Episodes until a 2005 DVD release contained this entire group.
  • World's Greatest Super Friends, 1979: Core five members and the Wonder Twins. Only eight episodes; one Whole Plot Reference after another. The only two exceptions are a Mirror Universe and an Homage to Superman The Movie. Mostly ran with reruns originally, which helps explain it.
  • From 1980-3, new episodes came in the form of shorts, which generally followed a subtle form of A B A structure, with A teaming one or two of the Core Five with another hero, almost always one appearing on Challenge, although these shorts did introduce El Dorado, essentially a Token Minority. The second series aired in the first season not to be originally aired as an hour-long show. The third series were originally only shown abroad, as the show had been cancelled in the US, and made up another set of Missing Episodes until the 1990s.
  • The show was revived again in 1984 as the Merchandise-Driven Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show, intended to tie in with the Super Powers toy line from Kenner. The show consisted of two 15-minute shorts, except for some two-part half-hours. It introduced Firestorm, who was so heavily spotlighted as to be accused of being a Marty Stu. This was also the series that introduced Darkseid and his fellow villainous New Gods of Apokolips to animation, a decade before Superman: The Animated Series, although many aspects of his personality were toned down from the original, and he was given a bizarre fixation on making Wonder Woman his bride.
  • The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians, 1985. Hanna-Barbera gave the show a Re Tool, eliminating all but one of the characters they created themselves (including the Wonder Twins), introducing Cyborg from the comic books in his animated debut, redoing the character designs, calling the group "The Super Powers Team" instead of the Super Friends, and adding a more Heroes Unlimited feel. The main connection to the previous series was the voices and the villains, as Darkseid was still around. Some of the episodes were darker and more somber than prior ones. Especially the episode dealing with Batman's origin, which just may have the most powerful performance Adam West ever gave in the role.

And that was that, until Justice League came along. Many thanks to Will's Super Friends Episode Guide and Challenge of the Super Friends.

This show was very campy in its day, Challenge included (although the last couple of seasons began to veer away from this atmosphere), and used many of the worst Animation Tropes. Despite many of the superheroes' portrayals as rather bland, the show also had the unfortunate effect of inexplicably tainting the reputations of Aquaman and Hawkman among the general public (see This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman). Although Aquaman, especially recently, has been more of a King Arthur figure than a traditional brawler, the main problem was the show's general Media Watchdog-induced abhorrence of violence and actual fighting. While Superman could fly, lift heavy things and melt metal things, Batman had his cool gadgets, and Wonder Woman had her invisible jet and Lasso of Truth, Aquaman could basically breathe under water and talk to animals, and Hawkman could fly... and nothing else.

There was also a tie-in Super Friends Comic Book series for a while. It wasn't half-bad, once it started departing from the strict guidelines of the television show. It's best remembered now for the Canon Immigrant "Global Guardians" team that it created as a team of Captain Ethnic heroes.

Recently, there's a new "Super Friends" toy line and associated comic book, this one featuring Superman, Batman, Flash, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and the John Stewart Green Lantern. While the current comic uses an extremely cartoony art-style, it has been praised for its imaginative plots and affection for the more bizarre corners of DCU mythos.

In 2010, Warner Bros. Animation made DC Super Friends, a 17-minute short for Fisher-Price as a tie-in for their range of DC Super Friends toys, packing it as a DVD bonus with select products. They might make more segments depending of sales.

See Seanbaby's Super Friends Page for a snarky and sarcastic take on the series.

This series provides examples of:

  • Absent-Minded Professor: Maximus Mole in the 1973-74 episode "The Mysterious Moles".
  • Adaptational Villainy: For most of the series, Bizarro is depicted as a clear villain who has murderous designs on the super heroes. However, the final season depicts him faithfully from the comics as a well meaning bumbler.
  • Adaptational Wimp: Multiple characters on both sides in Challenge, in part because of the "no-punching" rule at the time. This especially hit melee characters like Hawkman and Solomon Grundy. The Scarecrow, who is usually written as considerably more of a threat in the comics in part due to his use of fear-inducing chemical weaponry, is one of the weaker Legion members. This last case was corrected to a degree in The Super Powers Team. Super Friends is also responsible in part for Aquaman's perception as useless, since it downplayed his non-aquatic powers in an attempt at Cast Speciation.
  • Aliens Speaking English: Occurs in four 1973-74 season episodes.
  • All-Natural Gem Polish: 1973/74 episode "The Mysterious Moles". The natural gems in the underground area Molesville are all faceted and shining.
  • All There in the Manual: The TV show never explained why Marvin and Wendy were there. The comics do, however: Wendy's uncle was a policeman who trained and helped young Bruce Wayne, and Marvin's mother was the woman whose name Wonder Woman took her civilian name from (Diana Prince).
  • All Your Powers Combined:
    • "The Superfriends Meet Frankenstein" had them face Dr. Frankenstein, who transfered the powers of Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman into his Monster. To fight it, the remnants of their super powers were augmented and transferred to Robin. When he confronts the Monster a second time, a lead-suited Robin exposes it to kryptonite, which weakens it enough to bring it back to Frankenstein's lab. Robin is able to reverse the transfer, though at the cost of his own newly-gained super powers, too.
    • The tie-in comic book had the World-Beater in #3, who had the combined powers of over a hundred supervillains (who were killed in the process!) Unfortunately for WB, it also had the combined weaknesses of the villains, so was tricked into emitting X-rays that triggered paralysis in itself.
  • Amphibious Automobile: 1973-74 episode "The Weather Makers". The villains have a car that can operate as a speedboat.
  • An Aesop: 1973-74 season episodes always had several, usually including: (1) Even in a good cause, don't break the law (2) Solve problems by thinking, not brute force (3) Protect the environment.
  • And Knowing Is Half the Battle: Especially in All-New Super Friends where there are safety and health tips, a two part riddle pertaining the show's main story and simple arts and crafts projects.
  • And That's Terrible: 1973-74 episode "The Weather Maker". The Super Friends' comments when the Big Bad turns his Weather Control Machine to "Irreversibly On".
  • Animated Series
  • Anti-Sneeze Finger: 1973/74 episode "The Baffles Puzzle". When Marvin and Wonder Dog are in a library, Wonder Dog starts to sneeze. Marvin holds a finger to his lip and stifles it, but a few seconds later he sneezes anyway.
  • Anti-Villain: Almost every villain in the original series had a good cause, but was just going about it the wrong way.
  • Art Evolution: The Galactic Guardians version has a significantly upgraded art style even compared to the series just one season prior.
  • Artistic License – Biology: 1973-74 series episodes
    • "The Shamon U". A miniaturized sperm whale returns to normal size on a city street. It should be crushed by its own weight and be unable to breathe, but it's just fine.
    • "The Watermen''. When the title aliens extract silicon from sea water, it causes the sea water to immediately turn into red tide. Just one problem: red tide is caused by microorganisms, not a lack of silicon. This is Lampshaded when Professor Matey notes that it should be impossible.
  • Artistic License – Physics
    • 1973/74 episode "The Shamon U"
      • A "The Wedge Principle" example when Superman picks up a full size sperm whale and carries it back to the ocean. The whale could never have survived that much force being applied to such a small point on its body.
      • Superman uses the vanes (sails) from a windmill to blow a space cloud away from Earth, despite the fact that there's no air in space for the vanes to work on.
    • 1973/74 episode "The Weather Maker".
      • A Weather Control Machine freezes the water of a pool solid without the necessary weather conditions (such as a blizzard). Also, the water in the pool completely thaws out a few minutes later, which should have taken hours.
      • An iceberg splits off a glacier, sinks completely under the water and continues descending. This is impossible, about 10% of the iceberg should stay above the surface. Made worse by the fact that when an iceberg appears later, the narrator specifically says that icebergs can have up to 90% of their bulk below the water.
  • Aside Comment: Wendy in the 1973-74 episode "Dr. Pelagian's War" and Superman in the 1973/74 episode "The Mysterious Moles".
  • Aside Glance: Marvin, Wonder Dog and other characters in the 1973-74 series.
  • As You Know: In the 1973-74 episode "Too Hot To Handle", Professor Von Knowalot explains basic solar system astronomy to the Super Friends.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever
    • Par for the course where superheros are concerned. Besides Giganta, Batman and Wonder Woman had to deal with Dr. Amy Zahn in "The Fifty Foot Woman."
    • "The Giants of Doom" had Bizarro, Sinestro, Captain Cold, and Toyman, of all people, grow themselves to 100 feet tall.
  • Auto Kitchen: "Professor Goodfellow's G.E.E.C.". Every kitchen in the world becomes one of these under control of the G.E.E.C.
  • Badass in Distress: Wonder Woman tended to be kidnapped, brainwashed etc. more frequently than the rest of the Super Friends.
    • In the 1973/74 season episodes "The Baffles Puzzle" and "The Menace of the White Dwarf" she was neutralized by the villains and Superman had to rescue her.
    • In later seasons she was subject to the Legion of Doom's machinations.
  • Big Damn Heroes: In the first episode of Super Powers Team, Cyborg and Firestorm investigate a mysterious seed that Kalibak was planting, only to have it sprouting and envelope them. Firestorm is able to send a distress call and Superman instantly arrives on the scene to pull the plant menace off of them.
  • Big Electric Switch: Superman uses one to send electricity through freon coils in the 1973-74 episode "Dr. Pelagian's War".
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Wonder Woman and Jayna in "The Mind Maidens".
  • But What About the Astronauts?: A spell sending the Earth back to the Stone Age doesn't affect Skylab in space, and the astronauts help the Super Friends save the day.
  • By the Lights of Their Eyes: 1973-74 episodes The Power Pirate", "The Planet Splitter" and "The Shamon U".
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin' : Most blatant in the original Wonder Twins solo stories where teenagers engage in some specific unacceptable activity and quickly find themselves in mortal peril because of it and the Twins have to rescue them.
  • Canon Immigrant
    • The Wonder Twins immigrated into the mainstream DC Universe as members of the Justice League International spin-off, Extreme Justice. They also appeared in Smallville. Wendy and Marvin also appeared in a 2006 issue of Teen Titans, one year after Infinite Crisis. And then, Wonder Dog kills Marvin by mauling him to death and injures Wendy so seriously that she's left paraplegic.
    • Apache Chief (and the rest of the Super Friends-exclusive heroes) also appears in Captain Ersatz form in the DCAU, although with a Darker and Edgier backstory.
    • The Wendy & Marvin in Teen Titans bore little resemblance to the the Super Friends characters. They were fraternal twins, whereas the pair in the animated series were not related to one another.
    • Wendy and Marvin later appeared in Young Justice, appearing much closer to their original designs than they did in the comics.
    • Analogues for Apache Chief/Longshadow, El Dorado and Samurai (gender-swapped in the latter's case) have also been seen in Young Justice. Static fills in for Black Vulcan.
  • Captain Ethnic: The Asian Samurai, the Black Black Vulcan, the Native American Apache Chief, the Hispanic El Dorado.
  • Captain Ersatz
    • They created Black Vulcan, an electrically powered black man, instead of using DC's existing electrically-powered black man, Black Lightning. Rumor has it that this stems from a creative rights dispute with Lightning's creator, Tony Isabella; decades later, DC refused to let Black Lightning appear as a Guest Star on Static Shock. They couldn't use Black Vulcan either, so a new character, Soul Power, was created. How often do you get a Captain Ersatz of a Captain Ersatz? The dispute has apparently been resolved, as Black Lightning, as part of the Outsiders, has appeared on Batman: The Brave and the Bold and Young Justice.
    • And in a very non-heroic example, Lex Luthor's dimwitted henchman Otis from the era's live-action Superman movies appeared in the episode "Lex Luthor Strikes Back", under the name "Orville".
  • Captain Obvious: Everybody would narrate everything that they were doing or what was happening.
  • Catchphrase
    • Batman would say, "Great Gotham!"
    • In the 1973-74 season Wendy would often say "Let's go tell the Super Friends" when the kids found out something.
  • Civilian Villain: In "Conquerers of the Future", the Legion of Doom pretended to have done a group Face-Heel Turn. The ploy turned out to be completely irrelevant to their plan.
  • Crazy-Prepared
    • Naturally, Batman, who could pull out any gadget to deal with a situation.
    • In "Wanted: The Super Friends", Lex Luthor designed his mind control device so that it couldn't be used against him.
    • In "No Honor Among Thieves", Darkseid rigged his throne to spray kryptonite dust on anybody who sits in it, anticipating that Lex Luthor, who had stolen Superman's powers, would betray him.
  • Creepy Crows: The Scarecrow uses a flock of crows to Zerg Rush Batman and Robin in "Trial of the Super Friends", and in "The Fear" he keeps one as a pet.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: The Legion of Doom invents teleportation, invisibility, Time Travel, and casually constructs an entire planet inside a black hole... and they use these marvels to rob banks and attempt to foil one or two of their enemies.
  • Darkerand Edgier: The 1985 season. Cyborg joins the Super Powers Team, and the stories get more serious in that season compared to the previous seasons.
  • The Darkness Gazes Back: Subverted in the opening title of the original (1973-74) show. When Wonder Dog looks into the darkness he sees a pair of eyes. However, they're quickly revealed to be a reflection of Wonder Dog's eyes in a mirror. Watch it here.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Jayna edged into this territory with some of her comments towards Zan.
  • Department Of Redundancy Department: 1973/74 episodes - Loco describing trespassers in "The Androids" and Marvin describing a killer whale in "The Fantastic Frerps".
  • Detective Mole: In "The Fear", one of the consultants working with the Gotham police department and the Super Powers Team to catch the Scarecrow is Professor Jonathan Crane. Of course, Jonathan Crane is the Scarecrow. Batman realizes this when he notices the Scarecrow's pet crow looking at Crane and exposes him at the end of the episode.
  • Didn't Think This Through: While Firestorm thought having Cyborg on the Super Powers Team would be cool in "The Seeds of Doom" and that Cyborg might not be hesitant if someone his own age helped him, Cyborg argues Firestorm has one thing Cyborg doesn't: a secret identity which lets people accept him as normal. It was hard enough to be accepted as he was, Cyborg argues, but as a member of the Super Powers Team...?
    • Once he helps foil Darkseid's "Seeds of Doom" plot with his sonic blaster, though, it's a moot arguement: Batman claims it's time Cyborg joined — "You can see how much we need you." Cyborg accepts, and Firestorm shows him around, while Cyborg knows some kids who'd love to meet Firestorm.
  • Do Not Adjust Your Set: 1973/74 episode "The Androids". While the Super Friends are talking to Colonel Wilcox on a viewscreen, the villain Dr. Rebos breaks into the transmission and warns that he plans to sabotage the launch of the Mars rocket.
  • Double Take: 1973/74 episodes "Dr. Pelagian's War", "The Planet Splitter", "The Power Pirate", "Too Hot To Handle" and "The Weather Maker".
  • Early Installment Weirdness: In "The Power Pirate", the first episode of the 1973-74 season.
  • Easily Conquered World: In Challenge of the Super Friends, near the end of any given episode, there's a good chance that the Legion of Doom will either have temporary control of the world or just barely be thwarted.
  • Eat The Camera: A few times.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: King Plasto has one as his headquarters in the 1973/74 episode "The Fantastic Frerps".
  • Elemental Shapeshifter: Zan could transform into various forms of water and ice.
  • Emergency Squad Scramble: The typical setup for the shorter stories is that the Super Friends receive a message on the Hall of Justice's main communications monitor from some official about an emergency and the assigned superheroes launch outside to a pounding orchestral score.
  • Everybody Laughs Ending: 1973-74 episodes "The Balloon People", "The Fantastic Frerps", "The Mysterious Moles", "The Power Pirate", "Professor Goodfellow's G.E.E.C.", "The Shamon U", "The Watermen" and "The Weather Maker".
  • Evil Laugh: In "The Menace of the White Dwarf" Raven has one, which he uses after he steals the Washington Monument and brings it to his cloud base.
  • Expo Label: Multiple examples in 1973-74 season episodes.
  • Faking the Dead
    • Professor Ansel Hillbrand fakes his death in a deep sea diving accident so he can become the title villain in the 1973-74 episode "Dr. Pelagian's War".
    • Also, the Super Friends faked their deaths to lure the Legion of Doom into a false sense of security in one Challenge episode.
  • Fictional Country: Glacia, frozen homeland of the villains in the 1973-74 episode "The Weather Maker".
  • Five-Man Band
  • For Science!: The supervillain Raven in the Back Story of the 1973-74 episode "The Menace of the White Dwarf".
  • Forgot About His Powers: Happens all the time. One particularly extreme example: in "Fairy Tale of Doom", Toyman climbs up Jack's beanstalk and Hawkman — forgetting his one and only power — climbs after him.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: 1973-74 episode "The Shamon U". One of Dr. Shamon's devices is a giant laser.
  • Fun Personified: The Wonder Twins
  • Fungus Humongous: 1973-74 episode "The Mysterious Moles". While exploring underground, Wendy, Marvin and Wonder Dog encounter a stream with giant mushrooms growing along the banks.
  • Glassy Prison: "The Menace of the White Dwarf" has a Mad Scientist called The Raven imprisoned in a glass cube. Nonetheless, The Raven is able to construct a lifelike robot duplicate of himself and escape.
  • Got Me Doing It: 1973-74 episode "The Balloon People". Twisty affects Dr. Noah Tall.
  • Great Gazoo: Mr. Mxyzptlk
  • Green Aesop: Regularly in the first series, to that point that the show was practically ''Captain Planet with more sympathetic and well-meaning villains.
  • Hand Rubbing: 1973-74 season examples: Dr. Rebos in "The Androids" and Dr. Noah Tall in "The Balloon People".
  • Heel Face Turn: This happened at the end of almost all of the 1973/74 episodes after the Super Friends explained to the villains the errors of their ways. It usually involved the villain(s) sincerely apologizing and promising to change their behavior.
  • Henpecked Husband: 1973-74 episode "The Mysterious Moles". Maximus Mole is very weak-willed and dominated by his wife Minimus Mole.
  • Hollywood Magnetism: In the 1973-74 episode "The Shamon U", a "special gold-attracting magnet" is used to draw a gold-bearing space cloud near to the Earth and also pull solid gold meteors to Earth.
  • Hostile Terraforming
    • 1973-74 episode "Too Hot to Handle". The inhabitants of the planet Solar Terrarium are moving the Earth closer to the Sun so it will become hotter and more comfortable for them. They are unconcerned that the increased heat and resulting climate change will kill most of the humans living here.
    • Also the Fearians in the Challenge season.
  • Humanity's Wake
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Wendy, Marvin and Wonder Dog often ended up doing the most to solve the core problem of the episode, with the actual superheroes stuck doing all the legwork and clean-up.
  • Impersonation Gambit: Done a few times.
    • "The Darkseid Deception" had Darkseid impersonate Steve Trevor. His Glowing Eyesof Doom, though, give him away.
    • One was in "The Wild Cards." Batman managed to use Jack's own energy sword to counter Jack's cards and send them back to entrap Jack. Thinking quickly, Batman switched their costumes to impersonate Jack and make the others think "Batman" was beaten. Batman-As-Jack managed to free his trapped colleagues, and get Firestorm to swap the costumes once more, with Batman himself, and Jack trapped in a straight-jacket style binding.
    • "Superfriends: Rest In Peace" had two. Robot doubles were used to play the Superfriends when the Noxium was used, and they played dead. Once the Legion thought the Superfriends were all dead, a protectively-suited Apache Chief found the Noxium and sent it into deep space. The real Superfriends then disguised themselves as normal folks to ambush the Legion on their base, and deliver a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown.
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes
  • Improvised Zip Line: In the 1973-74 episode "The Shamon U", Batman and Robin use their batarangs to slide down cable car cables.
  • Informed Species: 1973-74 episode "Dr. Pelagian's War". Superman and Aquaman both call a group of sharks "whales" (and Superman says "killer whales").
  • Island Base: 1973-74 episode "Too Hot To Handle". Kobar the Solar-Terrarian villain has his laboratory hidden under a volcano on an island.
  • Joker Jury: The 1973-74 episode "The Menace of the White Dwarf" and the Challenge episode "Trial of the Super Friends".
  • Juggling Freeze Guns: Marvin manages to get the Villain of the Day's freeze weapon and threatens him with it. The villain smugly tells him to fire away because he (and the audience) can clearly see he's holding the weapon backward. In order to demonstrate that he was just as stupid, Zan later did the same thing with a transformation gun.
  • Jungle Princess: Rima
  • Laser Cutter: Green Lantern can pull one out of hyperspace. No, it is not consistent with any of those shapes he normally makes with his ring.
  • Legion of Doom: The Trope Namer.
  • Leotard of Power
  • Limited Wardrobe: Applies only to Wendy and Marvin.
  • Lost World: 1973-74 episode "The Mysterious Moles". Deep under the earth is the Bottomless Cave: a gigantic cavern filled with plants, lakes and dinosaurs.
  • Luckily My Powers Will Protect Me
  • The Man Behind the Man: "Ace" for the Royal Flush Gang, four young criminals he's followed that he'd saved from Cyborg in "The Wild Cards." Darkseid himself is "Ace's" backer—and The Reveal shows Batman deduced Ace was really The Joker.
  • Meaningful Name: Many examples in the 1973-74 season.
  • Mind-Control Eyes: Medulla's victims in "The Mind Maidens". Amusingly, when she finally gets hoist on her own petard, Medulla's eyes turn from pure white to normal-looking.
  • Mind over Matter: In the 1973-74 episode "The Balloon People", the title characters have modest telekinetic power. When acting together, they can move a doghouse.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: 1973-74 episode "The Planet Splitter". The theft of diamonds weighing 100+ carats -> A plot to split Cygnus Uno, a planet in another solar system.
  • Mirrored Confrontation Shot: The Title Sequence of Challenge of the Super Friends.
  • Mock Cousteau: The leader of the diving team exploring the Titanic in "Terror on the Titanic", down to the red cap. His divers even call him "Jacques" at one point.
  • The Mole: Several in the 1973-74 series.
  • Monumental Theft: In the 1973-74 episode "The Menace of the White Dwarf" Raven uses a fragment of a white dwarf star to steal the Washington Monument.
  • Motionless Chin
  • Murderous Mannequin: In "Mxyzptlk's Flick", Mxyzptlk brings some mannequins to life with his Reality Warper powers. They actually manage to beat the crap out of Superman even before one brings out some kryptonite.
  • Murder Water
  • My Brain Is Big: 1973/74 episode "The Menace of the White Dwarf". The brilliant scientist supervillain Raven has an enlarged bald skull.
  • Mythology Gag: In Alex Ross' Justice, The Joker is furious that the other supervillains have left him out of their Legion of Doom. The Joker wasn't a part of the Legion of Doom in the animated series.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Sinestro, of course. And there there's Dr. Natas, the ex-LOD member who created the deadly Noxium Crystal. Flip his name backwards...and then cross yourself.
  • Never Found the Body: 1973-74 episode "Dr. Pelagian's War". Dr. Ansel Hillbrand died in a deep sea diving accident five years earlier but his body was never found. Guess who the Big Bad turns out to be?
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Zan and Jayna were almost certainly modeled on Donnie and Marie Osmond, who had a popular variety show that ran from 1976-1978, as evidenced by their catch-phrase, "Spacey, Zan — really spacey," copped from the Osmonds' "Cute, Marie — real cute."
  • No Honor Among Thieves: Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show had one episode titled "No Honor Among Thieves". In that episode, Lex Luthor created a device to steal powers from the heroes and asked for Darkseid's help. Luthor tried to doublecross Darkseid but Darkseid was Crazy-Prepared enough to cover Luthor in kryptonite dust since, with Superman's powers, comes his weakness. Luthor still managed to use El Dorado's powers to send the powerless heroes the means to escape death. He then got a Title Drop.
  • No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine: Raven to Wendy, Marvin and Wonder Dog in the 1973-74 episode "The Menace of the White Dwarf".
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Wonder Dog in first season, Gleek afterward.
  • Nothing Can Stop Us Now: Dr. Rebos in the episode "The Androids".
  • No Time to Explain: 1973/74 episode "The Androids". While Wendy and Marvin are held captive in Dr. Rebos' laboratory she comes up with an idea. After tricking the Wonder Dog android into leaving the room she calls Marvin over and shows him an android assembly kit. When he asks what they'll make she says there's no time to explain and they get to work (they need to hurry because they have to be finished before the Wonder Dog android returns).
  • Not Now, Kiddo: In the 1973-74 season the main heroes did this to Wendy and Marvin on a regular basis when the kids were trying to tell them something important.
  • Offscreen Karma: In the episode "The Menace of the White Dwarf", Wendy, Marvin and Wonder Dog decide to fly to Washington D.C. to warn the rest of the Super Friends personally about Raven's threat instead of calling them on the phone. As a result they get captured by Raven. At the end of the episode Marvin says that Batman gave them quite a talking to about their bad judgment.
  • Ominous Visual Glitch: The "Diamonds" Queenie hits Firestorm with in "The Wild Cards" cause him to see distorted visions of her, with colors shifting as well.
  • One-Shot Character: Plastic Man makes a guest appearance in the 1973 episode "Professor Goodfellow’s G.E.E.C." What does he do? His ability to stretch is used to free a mouse trapped inside a computer system.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: 1973-74 episode "The Androids". When Dr. Rebos puts on a small hat neither Batman nor Superman can recognize him.
  • Planet Looters: The Lion Men in their eponymous episode plan to do this to Earth.
  • Plot Tailored to the Party
  • Pun-Based Title: 1973-74 episode "The Shamon U" (i.e. "Shame on you").
  • Pungeon Master: Robin, often.
    • In one comic based off the Superfriends, four of the Wonder Twins' Earth friends were possessed. He mentioned that the next time this happened, and they couldn't get an exorcist, "—Try an Exor Sister!" he goes, putting a hand on a stunned Jayna. Batman winces with an "Ouch!" saying that was one of Robin's worst puns.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Raven in the 1973-74 episode "The Menace of the White Dwarf".
  • Regular Caller: 1974/74 episodes: an emergency signal from the TroubAlert or a call from Colonel Wilcox.
  • Reverse Polarity: 1973-74 episode "The Shamon U". Professor Shamon reverses the polarity on his giant electromagnet to repel the Batmobile.
  • Riddling Sphinx: In "Battle of the Gods", the sphinx asks Batman and Robin, "What builds up castles and tears down mountains, makes some men blind and helps others to see?" The answer: "sand". The sphinx is a Sore Loser and attacks them anyway, but they quickly defeat it.
  • Road Sign Reversal: 1973-74 episode "The Fantastic Frerps". King Plasto's diversion trick.
  • Rollercoaster Mine: There's a brief minecart pursuit in the 1973/74 episode "The Planet Splitter" when Doctor LeBon's assistant Wilbur tries to escape through subterranean coal mine tunnels.
  • Scary Scarecrows: The Scarecrow is a Legion of Doom member and a villain in the final season. In "The Super Powers Team" he's a human in a costume, but this isn't directly stated in "Challenge".
  • Security Cling: Wonder Dog jumps into Marvin's arms in the 1973-74 episodes "The Planet Splitter", "The Baffles Puzzle" and "The Power Pirate".
  • Seize Them!: 1973/74 episode "The Androids". When Batman figures out that the Superman in the Hall of Justice is actually an android double he yells "Grab him!" to the other Super Friends.
  • Shout Out: The 1973-74 episode "Dr. Pelagian's War". Dr. Pelagian's submarine the Sprite is almost identical to the U.S.S. Seaview in the film and TV series Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.
  • Shrink Ray: 1973-74 episode "Gulliver's Gigantic Goof''. The villain Dr. Hiram Gulliver uses one on the Super Friends.
  • Significant Anagram: King Plasto/Roy La Post in the 1973-74 episode "The Fantastic FRERPS".
  • Silver Age
  • Solid Clouds: 1973/74 episode "The Menace of the White Dwarf". The villain Raven has his aerial base on a solid cloud.
  • Some Kind of Force Field: Happened all the time. Superman was the usual victim.
  • Speech-Impaired Animal: Wonder Dog
  • Spies in a Van: In the 1973-74 episode "The Balloon People" Dr. Noah Tall and Twisty use one to spy on the title characters.
  • Spinning Paper: 1973-74 episode "The Balloon People". "Balloon People land on Earth."
  • Spiritual Successor: Justice League
  • Spit Take: Dr. Rebos in the 1973-74 episode "The Androids" after the Super Friends break in.
  • Spoonerism: 1973-74 episode "The Balloon People". Dr. Noah Tall's assistant Twisty.
  • Spring Coil: A villain in the 1973-74 episode "The Ultra Scam" has shoes with springs in the sole.
  • Standardized Leader: Superman
  • Straw Feminism
    • Evil genius Medulla from "Mind Maidens" created a device to Mind Control women (and of course Wondy and Jaina were among the victims) and enable them to cause men to vanish with a look.
    • Dr. Amy Zahn, who decided to show the world that women were not the weaker sex by turning herself into a Shout-Out to Attack of the 50-Foot Woman. Subverted in that she almost tested the same formula on Batman, especially since Wonder Woman was right there.
  • Stock Footage
  • Super Hero
  • Surprise Slide Staircase: 1973/74 episode "The Baffles Puzzle". Wonder Woman is walking down a staircase leading underground when the stairs fold and she slides to the bottom.
  • Talking Animal: Jayna in animal form, Gorilla Grodd.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: With gems like "I've only got a fraction of a second to avoid that car!"
  • The Tape Knew You Would Say That: Dr. Rebos in the 1973-74 season episode "The Androids".
  • The Team Normal: Batman and Robin. Wendy, Marvin and Wonder Dog in the 1973-74 season.
  • Temporal Paradox - A Grandfather Paradox in the Challenge of the Super Friends episode "Secret Origins Of The Super Friends".
  • Tempting Fate: Marvin in the 1973-74 episode "Too Hot to Handle".
  • Terraform: An inverted version in the 1973-74 episode "Too Hot to Handle" when the Solar Terrarians try to move the Earth closer to the Sun so it will get hot enough for them to move here and live comfortably.
  • That's an Order: The captain of the cruise ship Queen Victoria says it to a subordinate.
  • This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: Aquaman, naturally.
    • Somewhat surprisingly, some episodes threw this out the porthole when he had to face off with a giant octopus or squid that was either under someone else's control or just plain wouldn't respond to his telepathy.
    • ... and then there was the one where he got caught by an invisible killer whale. You'd think, given that he is always able to communicate with whales, he'd convince it to let him go. But no, he ends up needing Superman to help him instead.
  • Token Minority: Black Vulcan, Apache Chief, El Dorado, Samurai, and arguably Wonder Woman, though Jayna was also present.
  • Totally Radical: In the first episode of the 1973-74 season, "The Power Pirate", Wendy and Marvin spoke like 60's hippies, regularly using terms like "groovy", "cool", "right on" and "far out".
  • Tracking Device: 1973-74 episode "The Planet Splitter". The Super Friends put microdot homing devices on the remaining 100+ carat diamonds so they could be tracked down after they were stolen.
    • Batman uses one in "The Wild Cards" to track King after the Royal Flush Gang captured Superman, Wonder Woman and Firestorm.
  • Trail of Bread Crumbs: 1973/74 episode "The Mysterious Moles". While Wendy, Marvin and Wonder Dog are exploring underground, Marvin leaves chalk marks on the walls so they can find their way back to the surface.
  • Trainstopping: Superman in the 1973/74 season episode "The Power Pirate", and Wonder Woman.
  • Treebuchet: In "Professor Goodfellow's G.E.E.C." Wonder Woman uses one to fling herself over a force field.
  • Trick Arrow: Appearing in only one episode, Green Arrow made good use of them. Even if he and everyone else had been shrunk.
  • Underwear of Power
  • The Unpronounceable: Mxyzptlk's name is always pronounced "MIX-ul-plick" by the Super Friends.
  • Unusual Euphemism: 1973-74 episodes "The Mysterious Moles" ("Oh ding ding blathering blithers!") and "The Shamon U" ("Oh pistachios!").
  • Van in Black: 1973-74 episode "The Balloon People". Dr. Noah Tall's spy van, the "Snoop Wagon".
  • We Don't Need Roads: 1973-74 episode "Too Hot To Handle". The aliens have a fire truck that can convert into a rocket ship and fly.
  • We Have Reserves: In "The Seeds of Doom," Firestorm and Cyborg crash through a wall in Darkseid's palace, and see the room is FULL of seed pods like the other members of the Super Powers Team is trying to round up. Even if they'd gotten all of the ones on Earth, Darkseid could keep planting more. To avoid a Here We Go Again scenario, Cyborg uses his Sonic Blaster to cause the seeds to sprout and grow, forcing Darkseid to blast them while Firestorm and Cyborg escape.
  • We Only Have One Chance: Not technically the trope namer, but might as well have been.
  • Weather Control Machine: In the 1973-74 episode "The Weather Maker", an underwater nuclear powered jet engine can control the weather by changing the course of the Gulf Stream.
  • Went to the Great X in the Sky: When Lex Luthor has Superman nearly beaten, he says that Superman will soon be going 'to that great Hall of Justice in the sky'.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Aquaman became this to viewers.
    • As well as Hawkman, whose only power (flight) wasn't even provided by his own wings.
    • On the villain's side, Scarecrow and Black Manta suffered from this as well.
    • As Seanbaby put it, Black Manta's superpower is that he owns a boat. Of course, this is better than the Riddler- his power is giving away their plans.
    • And don't forget Zan of the Wonder Twins. Jayna's power is kind of cool: she can turn into any sort of animal from any planet. Zan turns into water. And ice. And unlikely ice constructions. That's it. Congratulations, Zan, you just made Aquaman look cool by comparison. Some old Cartoon Network ads lampooned this without mercy. "I could be defeated by a sponge! And it wouldn't even have to be an evil sponge!" And he's another underutilization case. Just ask Marvel's Hydro-Man what you can do with that power. In fact, he could apparently do ANYTHING he could describe with water or ice. It's been over thirty years, but this troper clearly remembers him transforming into an ice jetpack which Jayna then wore in her eagle form to fly at supersonic speeds! How does Jayna get to an emergency? She turns into an eagle. How does Zan get there? He turns into water. Then he has to flow into a pail so Gleek can carry him while Jayna carries Gleek with her talons.
      • To the point where they super-buffed him when he appeared in Justice League. He still turns into water, but he can turn into any form and volume of water. He could become a complete ocean or a mist that covered a continent.
      • For the Wonder Twins, it was more that they were written to be inexperienced (and borderline-useless comic relief) rather than any flaws in their actual powers. When faced with an army of cavemen in "Planet of the Neanderthals", they quickly and easily took out the whole group by turning into a brontosaurus and a gigantic hand made of water. But normally they turn into small, weak, and/or overly-specialized-to-the-point-of-ridiculousnesss shapes, which leads to their downfall.
  • Wheel o' Feet: Multiple examples in 1973-74 season episodes
  • Why Don't Ya Just Shoot Him?: The villains on this show love death traps and other needlessly complex schemes.
    • Averted in the episode "Super Friends: Rest in Peace" where Lex Luthor invents an amazing device: a gun... that can kill people! (Okay, so one of those people is Superman, but still.) The Legion of Doom seemingly takes out all the Super Friends with this incredible weapon — which they throw away when they're finished. But then it turns out to have all been a ruse by the heroes, to ambush the Legion and arrest them. Did we mention that the Crystal in question was created by a Dr. Natas... What's that? Flip his name? OMG!!!
    • Giganta and Grodd once created an android version of Gleek that shot disintegrating laser from its eyes to destroy the Super Friends. It had practically the same results of the "Super Friends: Rest in Peace" plot.
    • Lex Luthor actually had a good answer for this in World's Greatest Super Friends episode "Lex Luthor Strikes Back". Had Luthor just shot the heroes he caught in his traps, they'd not be able to save him from the villains that double-crossed him in that episode. In fact, it was Luthor who saved them from his own death traps.
    • Luthor would need help again in Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show episode "No Honor Among Thieves", when Darkseid double-crossed him (after Luthor tried to double-cross Darkseid, mind you)
  • Wonder Twin Powers, Name the Trope!
  • You Meddling Kids: 1973-74 Super Friends episode "The Balloon People". After Noah Tall is captured by Superman he says "I could have gotten away with it if it weren't for you, Superman."

"Meanwhile, at the Hall of Doom..."
Superman Theatrical CartoonsDC Comics AnimatedThe New Adventures of Batman
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Star Trek: The Animated SeriesThe Dark Age of AnimationThe Thief and the Cobbler
SmallvilleFranchise/SupermanJustice League
When Elders AttackImageSource/Western AnimationAdaptational Wimp

alternative title(s): Superfriends; Challenge Of The Superfriends
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