DC Comics Super Heroes: The Filmation Adventures VOL 1 (DVD Review)

DC Filmation Vol 1In the late 1960s, DC Comics took to Saturday morning cartoon-style animation with their Justice League heroes.  In what is referred to as the “Filmation Adventures”, the likes of Batman, Superman, Aquaman, The Flash and others were displayed for kids in a one hour format of a television program sporting many different adventures with a variety of their favorite superheroes.  While the program remained relatively the same in content, its title changed seemingly almost every year when it was broadcast.  Sometimes it was known as The New Adventures Of Superman and then the following year it would be The Superman/Aquaman Hour Of Adventure.  If you’re of my generation, while you may have seen these before, their familiarity may come from that of a different source, which I will get into a little later.

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This release of the Filmation Adventures features nine adventures total, separated into three each for The Atom, The Flash and Green Lantern.  Each episode runs right around seven minutes.  This isn’t these episodes first rodeo either.  They’ve been released a couple times already before.  As a matter of fact, this “Volume 1” release is actually the first disc of a previous two-disc release from 2008 simply called DC Super Heroes: The Filmation Adventures.  I’m sure we’re in for a Volume 2 containing the second disc in that release sometime in the very new future (May 6th to be exact!).  Warner Bros sure does love repackaging their stuff over and over and over again.

These shorts are a fun bit of a nostalgia when checking out one or two of them, but keep in mind these were very much made for kids.  And at that, made for kids in the 1960s.  Television and super heroes on televisions at that were a very different cup of tea from where they are at now.  When reviewing these, my son did seem to enjoy them.  He took a bit of a liking to The Flash (and he’s 2, so of course I’ve seen The Flash portions of these a couple times in the past few days now).  While we have three different heroes here, it all really doesn’t matter as these things run very similar.  You could pretty much interchange them in these adventures and get the same result.  The most interesting aspect of anything is getting to see the rarely used character of The Atom in a form of motion action.

People of my generation may find these very familiar, but for different reasons.  These are indeed the source inspiration for the Saturday Night Live cartoon short that was very popular in the late 90s/early 2000s, the “Ambiguously Gay Duo”.  From the animation, to some characters, the voice acting and inflections, all the way to the narration, that sketch is up and down a complete parody of these Filmation Adventures.  So, having that bit of meta knowledge will make going back to these a little bit funnier than they might have once been.

Ultimately, the Filmation Adventures is a quick bit of nostalgia and piece of history on your favorite DC superheroes and not much more.  But, don’t discount that, I would say it is a collector’s item.  And if you have very young children, then may indeed enjoy it and it’s a bit of introduction and sharing of superheroes you could do for them with DC characters as their movies tend to want to skew to more adult fair.  No, this is not even in the league of Batman: The Animated Series, but for very young kids with a short attention spans, this isn’t too bad.  For us adults though, you may check out one or two adventures and easily had your fill.

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Encoding: MPEG-2

Resolution: 480i

Aspect Ratio: 1:33:1

Clarity/Detail: There are some times where this looks pretty refined and good, but ultimately these are just some nice broadcast rips that do look dated, sometimes rough and at a few times blurry.

Depth: This is a pretty flat image, as its 1960s level 2D, hand drawn animation.

Black Levels:  This is a simple limited palette animation.  So black is just black.  There’s no real difference in shading and its also not heavily used aside from a hair color or an outline.

Color Reproduction: As I said above, this is a limited palette.  The colors are pretty bold and distinct, but sometimes a little runny.

Flesh Tones: N/A

Noise/Artifacts: There is plenty of grain, dirt and scratches.  Also this thing has plenty of instances of noise.  But, reminder, this is a DVD and not a blu-ray.

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Audio Format(s): English Mono, Portuguese Mono

Subtitles: English SDH, Portuguese

Dynamics: Due to the nature of the recordings, volume levels can vary episode to episode.  It’s a very compressed and analogue sounding mono track that really does the trick for this type of thing.  It is what you’re expecting it to sound like, no more no less.

Low Frequency Extension: N/A

Surround Sound Presentation: N/A

Dialogue Reproduction: The dialogue is clear and always audible.  It sounds very analogue and of its time though.

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There are no extras on this release.

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DC Comics Super Heroes: The Filmation Adventures VOL 1 is ultimately a bit of a nostalgia release for us adults.  It’s a catalog release for big time collectors to have, but considering that this is a repackaged disc, I’m guessing they would already have it.  If you can find it super duper cheap, its something that may interest your very young children.  It’s something that can introduce them to non-Batman or Superman characters from the DC universe.  Ultimately this was something I thought was gonna wring me in more, but my nostalgia ran out on it in a pretty short time and this was not a very long release.  What may have been able to enhance this DVD were some extras about this era of the superheroes and the era of the animation, but nothing was to be found on the disc.

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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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