The Super Friends continued to mete out justice for the 1978-79 television season in the hour-long series, Challenge of the Super Friends, on ABC. As in previous series, the heroes teamed up under the banner of the Justice League of America, operating out of a stylish headquarters called the Hall of Justice. They performed their feats of heroic justice in two, half-hour segments.
The first segment was simply called Super Friends, and in format was a holdover from the main segment of the previous series, The All-New Super Friends Hour. In it, the team of Superman, Batman & Robin, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, the Wonder Twins and Gleek kept the Earth safe from both terrestrial and intergalactic threats. Because this segment had no opening sequence of its own, the opening sequence from The All-New Super Friends Hour was later used for these stories when they were shown separately in syndication.
The show’s second segment, titled Challenge of the Super Friends, dispensed with junior sidekicks altogether and pitted an expanded cast of superheroes against the Legion of Doom: a syndicate of super villains bent on conquering the universe. This alliance of super-powered baddies consisted of thirteen of the most sinister villains (according to the introduction) of all time. Members included Lex Luthor, Cheetah, Riddler, Captain Cold, Bizarro, Brainiac, Toyman, Scarecrow, Giganta, Black Manta, Solomon Grundy, Sinestro, and Grodd the Super-Gorilla. The Legion of Doom devised and carried out its plots from a dome-shaped headquarters they kept hidden in the depths of a swamp. Ominously referred to as the Hall of Doom, this structure had the added capabilities of being able to drill through the Earth and to fly.
As usual, it was up to the Justice League of America to keep the world safe from evil threats. The eleven heroes forming this team were Superman, Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Black Vulcan, Apache Chief, and Samurai.
Challenge of the Super Friends ran for sixteen original episodes. At the beginning of the season each episode contained one Super Friends segment and one Challenge of the Super Friends segment. By mid-season the show’s success led to an expanded 90-minute format, with reruns of earlier episodes filling out the last half-hour.
Despite the popularity of the Challenge stories, Hanna-Barbera used this format for only one season. The studio continued to experiment with format and title changes in subsequent series, which included 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).
Wanted: The Super Friends
Invasion of the Fearians
The World’s Deadliest Game
The Time Trap
Trial of the Super Friends
Monolith of Evil
The Giants of Doom
Secret Origins of the Super Friends
Revenge on Gorilla City
Swamp of the Living Dead
Conquerors of the Future
The Final Challenge
Fairy Tale of Doom
Super Friends: Rest in Peace
History of Doom