Although DC Comics’ Justice League of America appeared briefly as one of several segments in the 1967 Filmation series The Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure, the JLA first came to television as a regular series in 1973 as The Super Friends. The series was cancelled after sixteen episodes without much fanfare, but the success of reruns in 1976 (shown in a reduced, half-hour format) encouraged ABC to renew the series. Thus, in 1977 the Hanna-Barbera studio released a revamped, more action-oriented version of the show as The All-New Super Friends Hour.
The core group of heroes, consisting of Superman, Batman & Robin, Wonder Woman and Aquaman, remained the same. Having possibly graduated, the teenage superheroes-in-training from the original series, Marvin, Wendy, and Wonder Dog, found themselves replaced by a brand new trio of junior members. Twins Zan and Jayna (better known as the Wonder Twins) from the planet Exxor joined the team, along with their space-monkey Gleek. Unlike their predecessors, Zan and Jayna had actual super powers in the form of shape shifting abilities. To use their powers, the siblings touched rings and declared “Wonder Twin powers, activate!” Jayna always took the “shape of” some type of animal, while Zan assumed the “form of” water (sometimes as an object made of ice, or as vapor).
In addition to the change in cast, Hanna-Barbera altered the format of the show itself. Rather than showing one story per episode, they divided each episode into four regular segments and a random assortment of short interstitials, hosted by one of the heroes. These interstitials were generally informative and taught a lesson or a skill, under the headings Safety, Craft, De-coder, Magic and Health. The first of the regular segments featured a team-up between two of the core group members. The second segment involved the Wonder Twins and Gleek, normally rescuing teenagers behaving recklessly from their own foolish actions, and in the process teaching a lesson. The third segment was the longest, involving the entire team working together in a half-hour adventure. The fourth segment was similar to the first, with a hero from the primary lineup joined by a special guest star, such as Apache Chief, Black Vulcan, Samurai, or Hawkman and Hawkgirl.
In 1978 the name and format of the show changed again, becoming Challenge of the Super Friends. This trend continued for another seven seasons, as various incarnations continued to grace the airwaves as 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).
The Brain Machine / Joy Ride / Invasion of the Earthors / The Whirlpool
The Secret Four / Tiger on the Loose / The Mysterious Time Creatures / The Antidote
Invasion of the Hydronoids / Hitchhike / City in a Bottle / Space Emergency
Doctor Fright / Drag Race / Day of the Plant Creatures / Fire
The Monster of Dr. Droid / Vandals / Super Friends vs. Super Friends / Energy Mass
The Enforcer / The Shark / Planet of the Neanderthals / Flood of Diamonds
The Invisible Menace / Initiation / Coming of the Arthropods / River of Doom
Attack of the Giant Squid / Game of Chicken / The Water Beast / Volcano
The Collector / Handicap / The Mind Maidens / Alaska Peril
The Fifty Foot Woman / Cheating / Exploration: Earth / Attack of the Killer Bees
Forbidden Power / Pressure Point / The Lionmen / The Day of the Rats
The Man Beasts of Xra / Prejudice / Tiny World of Terror / Tibetan Raiders
Frozen Peril / Dangerous Prank / The Mummy of Nazca / Cable Car Rescue
The Marsh Monster / The Runaways / Will the World Collide? / Time Rescue
The Protector / Stowaways / The Ghost / Rampage