With the animated Justice League: The New Frontier hitting stores today, you may find yourself hankering for more Justice League action, but not knowing quite where to get it. Now that production of the live action movie (now rumored to be called Justice League: Mortal) has hit another snag, you could find yourself lacking for Justice. So here's a guide to the other Justice League productions you can already watch.
Super Friends: Worried about potential accusations of jingoism, ABC didn't think Justice League of America had the right ring as the title for its 1973 Saturday morning JLA cartoon. But judging by the seven name changes that the series went through in its 13-year run, obviously Super Friends wasn't the right choice either.
Despite character designs by animation giant Alex Toth, this Hanna-Barbera series was limited by some shitty animation and even shittier storylines, even when Jack Kirby's Darth Vader-prototype Darkseid came in to mess with the heroes in later seasons. The show's main drawback, however, may have been the kid sidekicks forced upon the heroes by worried TV executives; Wonder Twins Zan and Jayna may have been annoying, but they were nothing compared to the non-powered Marvin and Wendy. And don't get me started on Wonderdog.
Legends Of The Superheroes: Oh, Adam West, must everything you touch turn to camp? Apparently, if this 1979 two-part live-action special (also starring Burt Ward as a somewhat older than usual Robin, as well as Ed McMahon as himself) is anything to go by. If the laugh track on both shows wasn't enough to let you know that things weren't being taken too seriously, the fact that the second episode of the series was a roast in honor of Batman where brain-dead undead villain Solomon Grundy kept punching Ed McMahon every time he said the word "swamp" might clue you in to the abuse the Justice League endured in their prime-time debut.
Justice League of America: Things, of course, could get worse. This 1997 live-action pilot for a show that thankfully never got produced focused around the successful late-80s version of the comic devoid of big names - that's how we got M*A*S*H's David Ogden Stiers as green-skinned leader J'Onn J'Onzz, fighting Miguel Ferrer's villainous meteorologist, The Weatherman. Not so much camp as just plain bad, this show was unaired in the States, but ended up getting released to unlucky viewers overseas as a TV movie.
Justice League/Justice League Unlimited: Leave it to the animators to finally get it right. The five year run of Justice League — which changed format twice, and name once, during that time — was brought to the Cartoon Network in 2001 by the people who'd created the groundbreaking Batman cartoon in the 1990s, and used stories by animation and comics veterans (including Warren Ellis and Wonder Woman's Gail Simone) to create with a show that was as respectful to the fans as it was friendly to a regular audience. It also featured classic scifi actors (including Mark Hamill, Michael Ironside, Rob Zombie and almost everyone who had ever appeared in a Joss Whedon show. Also, Ed Asner played Granny Goodness, which always amuses me.)
With some of that show's staff behind New Frontier — as well as working on more direct-to-DVD animated features for DC — it's good to know that, even if George Miller does go ahead with casting Seth Cohen as Wally West in the live action movie, there's still potential for some good Justice League movies in our future.