Since I’ve spent most of this week talking about Superfriends why not end on it? Nowadays you can’t find the show steaming for free anywhere I can embed videos from (I used to have the Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians episode “The Fear” available but all that’s left now is something of a review of the episode. Notable about the series is that the Joker only shows up in a separate episode of Galactic Guardians that also marked the post-comics debut of the Royal Flush Gang (no pun intended…if you didn’t get it look at that line again). However, he does show up here.
As I mentioned discussing the DC Super Friends intro the pack-in video for the early release of the Imaginext figures was done in the style of the Hanna-Barbera series, with some modern techniques. It does feel like an update of classic Superfriends. This is a bit shorter than my usual Saturday Night Showcase at under 18 minutes, something I would usually use for a daily quick post. However, it just felt natural to make this tonight’s Showcase entry. “The Joker’s Playhouse” finds the Legion Of Doom interfering with the new Hall Of Justice, including the traditional “holodeck tries to kill everyone inside” trope because we have to remember these things are actually dangerous. As Superman and Batman fight for their lives in a fake world Green Lantern, Hawkman, the Flash, and Cyborg fight for their lives in a real world as other villains spring their own traps. So enjoy! Because you aren’t the one in a death trap right now. I’m assuming.
Even the episode itself has tributes. For example that moment with the alligators in the holo-swap is right out of the establishing shot of the Hall Of Doom in season one. The scene transition is right out of the show. Cyborg was first introduced outside of comics in Super Powers Team. They even went the extra mile and put that character model sheet part in the closing credits that Hanna-Barbera would do in the 70s and 80s. There are also other Easter eggs like the Booster Gold billboard. And of course we have the toy designs for the characters and the vehicles. See if you can spot other ones. These were people who not only cared about making a fun story for the kids and promoting the toyline but the source material they were working with.
To that end it’s too bad Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Robin aren’t in this one. They’re in the intro and they had figures at the time but they’re not in the episode. It would have also been neat if they had gotten the original voice actors still in the business to return. The best we get is a bad Ted Knight impersonation and he wasn’t the narrator for most of the series.
I’m not going to lie, this is on my phone. I watched it while waiting to see how I’d react to the second vaccine since it was only slightly longer than the recommended wait limit and it just made me happy. It isn’t making fun of something I love but properly updating it for a new audience, so don’t tell me it can’t be done. It was done here and it’s just what I would have wanted and still good for the real target audience who never saw the Superfriends before. All you need is people working on it who actually care.