Friday, February 24, 2017

TMP Television Edition: Superheroes/Super Powers

Look, up in the sky!

It's a bird!

It's a plane!

It's me, giddy as hell over this week's topic for Thursday Movie Picks.

Okay, I know it's Friday, but that's beside the point. Brotha gotta regular life, too, ya know.

Anyhoo, that topic is superheroes, or super powers. However, there's a twist. One of the brand new wrinkles for 2017 put in by our host, Wanderer at Wandering Through the Shelves, is that the last Thursday of each month is dedicated to television shows. The other wrinkle is that us bloggers have been given a little more leeway and are allowed to suggest between three and five shows. Five! Aw shucks!

Only five? Aw no.

I mean, I can do this all day. I grew up watching every kind of superhero show you could imagine. Let's just spring into action.

We'll start with live-action...

The Adventures of Superman
This is the show that introduced me to superheroes. It always started with the classic theme song blaring while George Reeve in full Superman regalia, striking the iconic superhero pose while standing atop Planet Earth. It's all sorts of 1950s corny, and suffers from having zero memorable villains, but I'll always have a soft-spot for it.

The Adventures of Superman introduced me to superheroes, but it was this show that got me excited about them. As a kid, the campiness worked magic as it drenched the screen in technicolor glory. And how iconic are the fight scenes with the BLAM! and POW! popping up on the screen whenever either Batman or Robin landed a punch. The show featured an amazing cast of villains and a remarkably deadpan Adam West in the lead role. The best part is that the show was filled with numerous double-entendre. I didn't get those jokes back then. Now? I laugh my ass off.

Wonder Woman
The show where an Amazonian Princess joined the US Navy and repeatedly saves the day while wearing a snazzy red, white, blue, and gold outfit and deflecting bullets with her giant bracelets. I watched it every week, but let's be honest, it wasn't for the engrossing drama. To put it another way, you call it Wonder Woman, but I call it The Reason I Fell in Love With Lynda Carter. I mean...

The Greatest American Hero
So this show isn't as well known, so I'll explain it a bit more. Ralph, played by William Katt, is a rather unassuming substitute teacher who has a chance encounter with extraterrestrial aliens. For some reason I can't remember, they decide to give him a suit that has superpowers. Of course, he decides to use these powers for good, and away we go. The first season was far better because it was really the first time that I can remember a superhero having a hard time learning his new powers.

If you were paying attention, you might remember I made a point to note that I was talking live action shows. If you know me, then you know there was a point to that. It means that I'm circumventing the rules and getting in more than five suggestions by breaking off into another category. Yup, we're about to talk animation.

Super Friends
I couldn't let the topic pass without talking about this show. It encompassed the bulk of my childhood. All the regulars were there: Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, etc. The show really got good after the Shaggy and Scooby like duo of Marvin and Wonder Dog were ditched in favor of Zan and Jayna, AKA The Wonder Twins. I can't tell you how many times a friend of mine and I actually put our fists together and said in unison, "Wonder Twin powers, ACTIVATE!" Good times.

The Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show
Imagine if Mr. Fantastic from The Fantastic Four was a bumbling idiot and everything were played for laughs. That's Plastic Man. However, this wasn't all there was to the show. There were actually several other superhero segments that filled out the hour, including one revolving around Plastic Man and his son, I think, Baby Plas. My favorite of these was Mighty Man and Yukk. Not for nothing, but Mighty Man was the rarest of creatures during the late 70s/early 80s, a black superhero. That what kept me watching, though. He was a regular dude, who shrank down to be a teeny, tiny version of superman. That didn't keep me watching, either. What kept me watching was his sidekick, Yukk. It was a rather large dog who was so ugly, he wore a dog house over his face. Whenever the duo got into a tight spot, Yukk would reveal his face to the bad guy and all hell would break loose. Yes, ugliness is a weapon.

Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends
Basically, Peter Parker is in college and roomies with Bobby and Angelica, who are actually Iceman and Firestarter, respectively. They team up to form the Spider-Friends because, why not. Yup, they saved the day every Saturday morning and I was right there watching.

Batman: The Animated Series
As great as the old Adam West Batman series was, it spawned a yearning for a darker version of the character, truer to his roots. In the 80s, Frank Miller gave it to us in print. The end of that decade, into the early 90s, saw Tim Burton take his inspiration from Miller and mix it with his own gothic sensibilities. Well before Christopher Nolan got hold of the character, and even before Joel Schumacher got his hands on it and nearly ruined it, Bruce Timm and Eric Radomski brought The Dark Knight to the small screen, in animated form, and gave us the greatest animated superhero show of all-time. Period.

This post is done, but I've found myself in a bit of a pickle. Lynda Carter has tied me up with The Lasso of Truth. I can't really say I'm trying to escape. I've just got a surprise for

Will Dell follow the rules of Wanderer's Meme?

Will actually post on Thursday?

Will any of you care enough to find out?

Come back next week!

Same Dell time!

Same Dell Channel!


  1. Aw man, I was so late to the superhero thing! I watched the Batman Brave and the Bold cartoon every Saturday morning, I wish I could say when I was a kid, but I was in my early 20's. Oops!

    1. No biggie. I was in my 20s when Batman: TAS came out and I watched it damn near every day.

  2. Holy Match-up Batman! we match 3 for 3 ! I just didn't pick Wonder Woman but I loved that show. It was campy and, yes, she was bouncy, but she was kick ass and knew how to stay in that suit! I love Superfriends and watched it a lot in the70's. I didn't watch the animated Batman or Plastic Man but that one sounds funny.

    1. Great minds.., they say. Plastic Man was lots of fun. As for Wonder Woman and the suit, I wouldn't be surprised if most of the show's budget went to Scotch Tape to keep that thing in place. Honestly, I'm convinced there's an hour long blooper reel somewhere filled with but moments when she was a little too wonderful.

  3. So glad you chose Batman The Animated Series too! All this talk of it makes me want to watch it again.

    I haven't seen a lot of your other picks, but I know my dad watched all of them because we've talked about them before.

    1. I want to watch it again, too. It's an amazing show. You're dad sounds like my kind of guy. You're comment, on the other hand, makes me feel old.

  4. I totally forgot Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends even existed.

  5. Dell, you have some outstanding superhero choices live and animated! We have a boat load of these programs today but there's something neat about the old ones. Great GIF, especially of Linda Carter morphing into Wonder Woman! I'm sure a lot of young guys fell in love with the babe in red, white, & blue! Have a good weekend!

    1. Thanks. And who wasn't in love with Lynda Carter?

  6. Great Caesar's Ghost, Dell!! Terrific post!

    I used to watch reruns of the George Reeves Superman and you're right it was corny with little actual menace, I much preferred the later Lois & Clark, but somehow still fun and goofily watchable.

    Speaking of corny, the original Batman has that quality in spades but I'll still watch an episode on occasion for a chuckle. What it does have is some of the best baddies around, I worship at Julie Newmar's Catwoman's feet! She was the ne plus ultra as far as nailing her character. The Joker & the Penguin were great but I love the more outre villains like Lola Lasagne, Egghead, Lady Penelope Peasoup and The Bookworm.

    I was never much for Wonder Woman though I do remember Debra Winger! as her sister in an episode. Well we all have to start somewhere. Not to burst your bubble but when I was working at Blockbuster in DC years ago Lynda Carter was living there married to some low level politician and while thankfully she never was a patron of any of my stores, she lived closer to Chevy Chase, MD and I was in the heart of the District, she was infamously reviled as a nightmare customer.

    We have a match!! Greatest American Hero was a cute show, well cast and because of that it never took itself too seriously.

    You know how I am about animation, though one of my picks this week is just that, so I never watched any of those choices with any regularity, I think I saw maybe half a dozen Spiderman episodes when I was a kid but never heard of Plasticman.

    As I said I preferred Lois & Clark, Teri Hatcher and Dean Cain worked so well together, but I used it before so had a bit of a struggle to come up with my trio since superheroes were never a big thing for me. But I managed to find three I watched at least on occasion.

    The Tick (1994-1996)-Ridiculously amusing animated series about a somewhat thick superhero clad in a bright blue costume along with his moth costume wearing sidekick Arthur, who has a wry, patient attitude with his often lunk-headed compatriot fights the bad guys in “The City”. They blunder about but still somehow manage to say the day. What else is there to say about a superhero whose call to arms is “SPOON!”

    The Flash (1990-1991)-When Barry Allen (John Wesley Shipp), a forensic police scientist, suffers a freak accident being struck by lightning and covered in chemicals at the same time a chain reaction occurs giving him super human powers and the ability to move at the speed of sound. While learning how to control his new found powers a calamity occurs which sets him on the path to be the protector of the good people of Central City. Short-lived series had a nice sense of humor mixed in with its action sequences.

    The Greatest American Hero (1981-1983)-After a chance encounter with aliens in the desert late at night where he is gifted with a magical red suit high school teacher Ralph Hinkley (William Katt) along with fellow witness FBI man Bill Maxwell (Robert Culp) attempt to fight crime using the suit’s powers. A couple of problems present themselves right away, Ralph and Bill are a silk and sandpaper match and even more troubling the pair have lost the instructions for the suit so they have to puzzle out how it works as they go along leading to trouble and a lot of bruises for Ralph. Engagingly played by Katt & Culp along with Connie Sellecca as Ralph’s girlfriend Pam.

    1. Thanks!

      Couldn't get into Lois & Clark. Not sure if it was Dean Cain or Teri Hatcher that put me off. He came off a bit too smug for my taste, and she just didn't do it for me. More likely it was the general rom-com vibe I got whenever I watched it. Might have to revisit because I'm curious to know it if I would have the same reaction all these years later.

      Wish I had remembered The Tick. I loved that show. I even liked the live-action version.

      Very pleased to see some love for The Greatest American Hero.

  7. Ah, Batman. Who could not love that show? Plus, Lynda Carter is and always will be Wonder Woman.

  8. Haha...I've been posting late too. But my Friday is your Thursday.

    1. I'll probably miss this week, altogether. Sucks.