For over a decade, the way that a whole generation of fans likely first encountered the heroes of the DC Universe was through the Super Friends cartoon series. The concept of the show was a basic translation of the Justice League of America, but adopted for the TV of the 1970s. There had been a bit of a moral panic about the cartoons of the 1960s and whether they were too violent, so there was a major crackdown in the '70s, which led to shows like the Super Friends having to toe an extremely narrow line when it came to violence. This was a major problem for a show about characters who routinely fight bad guys.
With the violence quotient toned all the way down, the show made up for the lack thereof by turning the weirdness all the way up! This series being filled with episodes with some of the most outlandish ideas imaginable. Part of the issue is that, for years, episodes would have multiple stories in each one; thus, when you have to come up with a bunch of plot ideas, you end up with truly bizarre concepts. Here, then, are the 15 of the craziest Super Friends episodes of all-time!
There was a "lost" season of Super Friends in 1983. The show fell off the regular Saturday Morning schedule, but episodes were still produced. The show got back on to the schedule by revamping it into the Super Powers set-up. These episodes didn't air until the show's hit syndication. These ended up being some of the weirdest episodes of the whole run!
In "Warpland," Superman and Batman are trying to destroy a meteor headed for Earth when they ended up getting "warped" to another galaxy where there is a planet led by "Zoons," including Super-Frog.
He then transforms Batman into an actual bat and Superman into an eagle. The heroes get back to the warp and return home, where the effects wore off. Batman notes that Superman would have been a great eagle.
14 ROCK AND ROLL SPACE BANDITS
In the world of the Super Friends, you don't get much more epic than a group of rock and roll space bandits arriving on Earth in a flying spaceship that is shaped like a giant guitar. The alien bandits arrive on Earth and quickly take control of the situation by using their hypnotic rock music to bend everyone's will to their own.
They were in the process of taking over the entire world when Batman cleverly figured out a way to activate one of his wacky Bat-gadgets. This time, it was a Bat Sound Absorber, which, oddly enough, absorbed only the sounds of the alien rock music and not anything else (maybe Batman has settings for specific sounds he wants to erase, like "loving conversations between living parents and their kids," "Kiss From a Rose" and "alien rock music."
13 TERROR ON THE TITANIC
Another "lost" season episode, "Terror on the Titanic" likely demonstrated precisely when enough time had passed for people to no longer be offended at stuff that took a bit of a disturbing approach to the Titanic tragedy. Incidentally, this would be about roughly the 70th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. Some divers discover the Titanic, but it has been taken over by some strange algae.
The Super Friends look into things and after Black Vulcan blasts the algae, it actually brings the Titanic itself to life.
The giant ship then fights against the Super Friends; this is before it was discovered that the ship had broken into two pieces. It then was defeated when it ran into an iceberg. That's quite the take on an awful American tragedy.
12 LORD OF MIDDLE EARTH
Once we learn what Gleek dreams about, it makes us a lot more concerned about him. Gleek, a space monkey, is on a camping trip with Jayna and Zan in Greece when they run afoul of some trolls. Gleek escapes to get help from the Super Friends. This is when you would expect to see the Super Friends show up and save the day, right?
Not this time. The villainous troll known as Mal Havok instead transforms the Super Friends into trolls, as well! Now powerless, they are forced to work in the mines as slave trolls. Luckily, this all turns out to be a disturbing dream that Gleek had on the camping trip. "Luckily," except that it shows a rather demented mind to come up with a twisted scenario like this.
11 GULLIVER'S GIGANTIC GOOF
In general, the Super Friends cartoons were notable in just how tame the content was, due to the aforementioned network interference. They were really worried about how superheroes would go over on screen. It's a similar concern that popped up again in the 1990s after standards relaxed in the '80s. However, whatever you think of as "tame" with the Super Friends is nothing compared to how tame the first season was.
In the first season, the villains were all well-meaning scientists who just got lost along the way. For instance, there was Dr. Hiram Gulliver, who is just trying to help with over-crowding by coming up with a shrink ray and shrinking all adults on Earth. In the end, Wendy and Marvin get him to see reason and he agrees to not do crazy stuff like this anymore. This was also a hallmark of Season 1: the scientists always repent.
10 THE HISTORY OF DOOM
"The History of Doom" was the final episode of The Challenge of the Super Friends, the season of the Super Friends that saw them battle against the Legion of Doom in every episode. In the final episode, the Legion of Doom actually, well, won!
Not only that, but the Super Friends inadvertently helped destroy the Earth!
The episode opens in the future when some powerful beings visit Earth and study its past and discover that the Legion of Doom tried to destroy the Hall of Justice with a solar flare (a red solar flare, to incapacitate Superman). In trying to stop them, the Super Friends accidentally made their scheme deadlier, by putting up a force field that dispersed the flare all over the Earth, creating a deadly radioactive energy belt! The future aliens just turned back time and fixed things.
9 UNIVERSE OF EVIL
In the world of popular culture, one of the most interesting things is seeing how different shows or movies or books will decide to depict evil alternate universes. You know that you're always going to run into an evil alternate universe at some point, after all! In the case of the Super Friends, as you might expect, they handle it extremely bizarrely.
When Superman accidentally trades places with the evil Superman of the Universe of Evil, he must take on the evil Super Friends, including an orange-suited Batman, a sort of wrinkled faced Wonder Woman, an eye-patch clad Aquaman and a... thin mustached Robin? For serious? Meanwhile, his friends back home take down the evil Superman. There is just something so delightful about the evil version of Robin just being the same exact guy... plus a thin mustache.
8 ONE SMALL STEP FOR MARS
In the 1980 season of the Super Friends, the set-up would be that each story within a given episode would team-up one of the main Super Friends from the first season with a secondary superhero. In "One Small Step For Mars," three Martian criminals come back to Earth on a returning space probe to Mars and they start messing things up big time as soon as they arrive.
The episode shows Martians eating an aircraft carrier and then flying around in F-18s
Superman and Green Lantern are two of the most powerful members of the team, but they end up resorting to trickery to get the Martians out of here. The episode has some truly trippy sights like the Martians eating an aircraft carrier and then flying around in F-18s. It is just too funny to see how little regard the Martians pay towards Superman and Green Lantern.
7 THE PLANET OF OZ
Mister Mxyzptlk is always good for a nice, bizarre episode every once in a while. This one was definitely a doozy, as the Hall of Justice was picked up by a tornado and sent to the planet of Oz. There, Superman, Wonder Woman and Aquaman encounter the Wicked Witch of the Worst, who uses her powers to transform Superman into a Tin Man, Wonder Woman into a Cowardly Lion and Aquaman into a Scarecrow.
The Witch forces them to find ingredients to cure their problems, but they figure out that Witch is really Mxy and he is looking for a way to avoid being sent back to the 5th Dimension. They trick him after seemingly proving him with the necessary ingredients and everything goes back to normal.
6 THE SUPER FRIENDS MEET FRANKENSTEIN
In this delightfully bizarre adventure, the Super Friends run afoul of Doctor Frankenstein and his famous monster. The Monster slowly but surely takes down Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman and transfers half of their abilities into the creature, creating, in effect, a Super-Frankenstein.
This then leads to a fascinating fight between the remaining Super Friend, Robin, who first rescues his friends and then cleverly manages to use the same process to transfer his friends' powers into himself, so that he is powered up enough to take down Super Frankenstein, at which point everyone gets their powers back. Super-Frankenstein has a really cool visual. It was also nice to see Robin step up and take the lead on an episode like this (it helps that Casey Kasem was one of the better voice actors on the show).
5 MAN IN THE MOON
Even in the land of Super Friends, where logic was not exactly the most important part of most episodes, the plot of "Man in the Moon" is particularly nonsensical. Some cosmonauts are on the moon when it shockingly tears into two pieces. Yes, you see, the moon is actually an egg and giant space creature has now hatched from it and is causing all sorts of havoc!
Eventually, Superman and Apache Chief manage to corral the giant beast, but there's the catch!
So they capture the beast, tie him up, blindfold him and then they just throw him back into the now-apparently hollow moon (you know, the place he just broke out of earlier in the day). Superman then re-seals the moon with his heat vision and that is apparently enough for them to call it a day!
4 JOURNEY THROUGH INNER SPACE
Amusingly enough, years before the hit film, Innerspace, came out, the Super Friends had their own "Journey Through Inner Space" (obviously, they were both simply adapting the same movie: 1966's Fantastic Voyage). In any event, Aquaman is exposed to a mysterious substances that transforms him into this giant sort of shark like being. He then goes on a rampage.
Superman and Wonder Woman know of a way that they can possibly cure him, but to to give the cure to Aquaman, they have to shrink down and fly into his body in the Supermobile to send even more radiation into his veins in the hopes that it would reverse the effects of the transformation. While they are doing that, the rest of the team is trying to keep the rampaging creature that Aquaman has become from causing too much damage.
Among the many villains that the Super Friends have encountered, few were quite as matter-of-fact as the space giant known as Colossus. This guy shows up in the episode just casually tearing through galaxies on the way to the Milky Way.
When there, he starts laughing and literally just shoved the Earth into his beard.
He just stands there for a little bit until he then picks the Earth up and tries to hit another planet with it like a marble. Superman stops him but then the giant puts Earth into a jar (bad guys were always putting people into jars on Super Friends). Then Apache Chief used a shrink ray on the giant and, well, that was pretty much the whole resolution. The former giant is still super strong, so they do have to fight him, but it's a bit of a foregone conclusion once you got him to normal size.
2 DOCTOR FRIGHT
When Super Friends returned for a second season years after Season 1 came out (they seriously just replayed Season 1 over and over for three years), the show was trying to evolve from its first season set-up. No longer was the show all about well-meaning scientists who accidentally become menaces. This time, it was slightly less well-meaning scientists who accidentally become menaces!
Take, for example, Doctor Fright, who releases a fear gas on the world. His plan is that if everyone in the world is constantly terrified, they will be too scared to commit crime or go to war. Yes, we know that that makes no sense, but it's also a super fun workaround. Superman and Wonder Woman catch him and Superman is exposed to the gas. His reaction to the fear gas is hilariously bizarre -- like being scared of the cat above. A scientist comes up with an antidote and that, really, is all that.
1 GIANTS OF DOOM
Giants of Doom perfectly encapsulated the awesome bonkers aspect of The Challenge of the Super Friends. The Legion of Doom would come up with these absurd plans, which would then still somehow bring them to the point of almost taking over the Earth. Then the Super Friends would stop them and the Legion of Doom would simply abandon their earlier plans for good, despite the fact that they could have easily just adapted their earlier plans for the future.
Here, Bizarro turns himself, Sinestro, Toyman and Captain Cold into giants and that is somehow enough for them to conquer the Earth.
He left his growth ray behind, though, so Superman, Flash, Green Lantern and Batman use it on themselves and they defeat the giant Legion.