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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this classic series evolved from an almost-gentle cartoon to something much darker by the end of its run. The later incarnations kept the campy feel and quaint language of the early days, but the tone got a lot more ominous with the addition of the Legion of Doom, a cast of evil creatures bent on destroying the superheroes. Still, this show is tame by current standards and wins points for its focus on loyalty and solving problems.
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What's the story?
In the classic '70s and '80s Saturday morning cartoon SUPER FRIENDS, the Justice League heroes band together to save the world -- and themselves -- from evil. The Super Friends are, of course: Superman (voiced by Danny Dark), Batman (Olan Sule), Robin (Casey Kasem), Wonder Woman (Shannon Farnon), Aquaman (Norman Alden), and a slew of other heroes who come and go. In the original Super Friends (1973) and The All-New Super Friends Hour (1977-'78), produced by Hanna-Barbera and based on the DC Comics characters, the show is nonviolent and campy, although battles became more graphic in later episodes.
Is it any good?
In its long life on the air, Super Friends underwent several transformations. The early episodes barely resemble the later ones, and parents of younger kids should keep this in mind. In the late '70s, when the show morphed into Challenge of the SuperFriends, the mood shifted to something quite menacing. Visual and sound effects were intensified, and the Legion of Doom was introduced. These 13 villains, including Lex Luthor and The Riddler, were truly sinister and were constantly in battle with the heroes. Battle scenes took precedence, although the violence was other-worldly and limited to laser-beam punches, explosions, and kidnappings.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the nature of teamwork. What makes each hero unique, and how does that help the group? How do the characters work together to combat evil? How can you tell who the bad guys are? Is it as easy to tell who's good and who's bad in the real world? Why or why not? Parents who watched the show themselves as kids can talk about what they remember about the show and how cartoons have changed over time.
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