Animated tv series (1979-1980). Filmation Associates for CBS-TV. Produced by Don Christensen. Directors unknown. Writers include Gerry Bordreau and Buzz Dixon. Based on characters created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Bob Kane, Dixon, Michael Weaver and others. Cast includes Melendy Britt, Kim Hamilton, Ty Henderson, Robert Ridgley, Joe Stern, Joan van Ark, Burt Ward and Adam West. 33 episodes overall, whose individual segments vary in length. Colour.
This revamping of the The Batman/Tarzan Adventure Hour (1977-1978) featured five new segments besides Tarzan (Ridgley) and the Batman/Robin duo (West, Ward).
The Freedom Force is a Superhero team resembling the Justice League of America led by Isis, who previously starred in the live-action series Isis (1975-1976; vt The Secrets of Isis). The others were Super-Samurai, Sinbad, Merlin the Magician and Hercules. They generally opposed enemies similar to those of other superheroes, but also dealt with some Aliens and threats to the environment.
Jason of Star Command (1978-1981) [which see], an outer-space adventure series, was the only live-action segment.
Manta and Moray: Manta, an amphibious human survivor of the lost continent of Mu, spent thousands of years in Suspended Animation until found and awakened by the human woman Moray. Manta has the ability to communicate with both sea and land creatures via ESP. Moray, as a child, survived a plane crash in the sea which killed her parents; raised by dolphins, she is at home in the ocean (see under the sea). The two are soon married; they fight threats to the sea including Pollution and occasional super-Villains.
Superstretch and Microwoman: another husband-and-wife team, Chris and Christy Cross are among the earliest African-American superheroes see on US television. Chris possesses Shapeshifting powers to an almost unlimited degree, for example perfectly duplicating a person or becoming an aeroplane. Christy can shrink to microscopic-size like the DC Comics hero the Atom.
Web Woman: Kelly Webster saved the life of an insectoid Alien who in gratitude gave her a ring allowing her to become Web Woman, able to duplicate the abilities of any insect. She can also produce spiderwebs from the ring, including a version acting as a Force Field. Her benefactor proves to be an agent for the alien Scarab, operating from a Space Station called Citadel 7, who presumably supplied Webster with her other advanced Technology – including a spider-shaped vehicle with eight landing legs in which she travels. Her sidekick, providing supposed comic relief, is a small, annoying alien insectoid called Spinner.
The programme has never been released to the home video market as originally presented, although The Freedom Force and Jason of Star Command have seen separate releases. The series moved to NBC-TV for the 1980-1981 season as Batman and the Super 7, dropping Jason of Star Command and Tarzan. Both continued on CBS-TV, Tarzan as part of The Tarzan/Lone Ranger Adventure Hour. DC Comics successfully sued Filmation Associates for trademark infringement on the Superstretch and Manta characters, claiming that they plagiarized Plastic Man and Aquaman respectively. [GSt/DRL]
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