Saturday Mornings criteria include, but are not limited to a) being a show geared toward young teens or under, b) being something that adults can possibly tolerate for one or two episodes, and c) generally feeling like something you’d watch on – you got it, Saturday mornings in your PJ’s. Occasionally these will get thrown out and a movie, or a show that makes adults grimace will get added in, but this is technically adult-tolerable TV for kids.
I’ll admit, I wasn’t a huge fan of DC up until recently. Thought it was too dark and creepy. I still think it’s dark and creepy. (Plus, they don’t have a huge movie canon like Marvel. They’re working on it though, and they’re getting live-action TV shows going too, which is totally awesome.) So I figured “Oh well, if it’s terrible and creepy and corny, I only have to watch one episode.”
I watched one episode (well, three, since cartoons seem to like their three-parter pilots) and I didn’t want to put it down. Needless to say, it was better than I expected. It was a little corny, but it is a cartoon, after all.
The pilot three-parter, “Secret Origins,” goes pretty much like this:
A couple of astronauts are on Mars, looking for signs of water. They mine what looks like an ice crystal, causing a cave-in of the surface. One escapes, the other, Carter, falls in. He lives, but finds an old temple thing with runes and stuff. He proceeds, against all reason, to open it. (I was yelling “don’t do it! This never ends well!” He opened it anyways, and is blinded by a bright light.
Cue title credits. (Which are, in my opinion, awesome.)
We then cut to a Wayne Tech building, where Batman is being… Batman. Turns out most of the staff (there are only a few,) are aliens. After a short fight, Superman shows up to help, and is promptly knocked out by a blurry set of images. The aliens blow up the building (which was part of a deep-space monitoring network,) and Batman swings both him and Superman to safety, where Superman wakes up, explains what happened, gives Bats a signal watch, and goes back to Metropolis.
Back in Metropolis, there’s a big argument going on about the warheads that the US has. Turns out that the astronaut from Mars that found the temple is still alive, and he’s a senator now.
Uh-huh. Because we all know that strange temples on other planets always let people go back home totally fine.
Superman volunteers to protect the whole world, which we all know is impossible for him to do on his own. I’m sure we’ll find a solution for that though!
A news report says Superman’s working around the clock to disarm the warheads, and we briefly meet up with the Flash (for those of you wondering, this is Wally West. We find that out at the end of season 2,) during an interview asking his opinions on Superman’s pledge to protect the whole world. (He doesn’t think Superman can do it.)
Superman gets another series of images, like the first time, and then we cut back to Batman, who is being Batman again, just at S.T.A.R Labs this time. He fights a bizarre alien dog, and activates the signal watch Superman gave him. Superman comes, and finds Batman knocked out. He flies him to safety, and then goes to check out the meteor that just crashed into downtown Metropolis.
Turns out it’s more of those aliens. And they proceed to wreck downtown, as is fairly normal for invading aliens. Superman and Batman fight them for a bit, before Superman gets another set of images and flies off without a word. More meteors land around the world, and we cut to…. wait for it… Wonder Woman!
Seems that Diana wants to go help out, and her mother doesn’t want her to go, since she believes anything past their borders isn’t their concern.
We jump back to Batman, who’s tracked Superman to a government facility, where they’re holding J’onn J’onzz, the Martian Manhunter. Turns out he’s fought these aliens before, and these aliens had him imprisoned so he couldn’t warn Earth. Cue end credits.
Part Two starts out with Diana stealing the Wonder Woman stuff and heading off to help the rest of Earth.
We cut back to Batman and Co. fighting off the aliens and trying to escape. The aliens chase the Batplane, and the rest of the main cast show up to help. Turns out J’onn was telepathically calling them too.
So finally, we have the whole gang together. Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter, Hawkgirl, Green Lantern (this one is John Stewart,) and the Flash.
J’onn J’onzz then tell the story of these aliens that are attacking. They ended up razing the Martian culture to the ground, and killing all but J’onn, who led a strike team to paralyze the aliens, sealing them in the temple that Carter opened years later. Turns out J’onn was the only survivor of the Martians, and kept an eye on the temple for hundreds of years, until Carter showed up and revived the aliens.
Good job, dude.
The group breaks up into teams to take out the factories the aliens have been building. Batman, Wonder Woman and J’onn successfully get into their factory, but Batman is supposedly killed, allowing J’onn and Wonder Woman to escape. Superman and Hawkgirl get into theirs, but get knocked out and captured. Green Lantern and Flash don’t even get into theirs.
Part Three then starts out with the group working together to rescue Superman and Hawkgirl, while the Imperium (the supreme intelligence directing the aliens) arrives on Earth. The group gets into the factory, and is promptly knocked out and captured. The Imperium, who looks like a kid’s crayola drawing, tortures J’onn, who turns out to have a will of iron. And… Batman’s alive! J’onn had mentally hidden him from the aliens. (Oh, and Senator Carter was an alien, and used Superman to weaken Earth’s defenses.) Batman disables the factory, rescuing the group, J’onn tries to destroy the Imperium, but gets knocked out. They defeat the aliens by knocking holes in the ceiling, (turns out these guys are all allergic to sunlight,) they blow up the factory, and they save the Earth. Yay!
Batman has the Watchtower (a orbiting space station) built for the group as an early-warning system, and Superman suggests that they all band together to create the Justice League.
End of three-parter.
I watched all five seasons, and enjoyed the show a lot. The first two seasons are entirely two-parters, with the occasional three-parter thrown in. Seasons 3-5 (aka JLU) went back to a single episode format focusing on three or four characters.
Justice League Unlimited also brought in nearly every superhero in the DC universe, raising the cast from 7 people to over 50 or so.
Anyone who likes superhero stuff will probably enjoy this show, at least on occasion. The superheros all fight for what’s right, and are willing to sacrifice themselves if necessary. (None do… at least not permanently. They usually come back by the end of the episode.)
Overall, this is a pretty good show. It’s rated TV-Y7 with Fantasy Violence. There’s actually a lot of violence, (this is a superhero show, after all,) but I don’t recall anything horrific. There’s a surprising amount of innuendo for a kids show – I don’t think anyone under 11 or so would get any of them, but still, the show’s probably more appropriate for preteens and up.
Netflix has both the first two seasons of Justice League, and the other three seasons from when it became JL Unlimited on instant play.
Have fun this morning!