Alright, here is the deal. Everybody talks about how great cartoons from the 80’s were, and I do not disagree. I love 80’s cartoons. Not just because that is the era I grew up in, but because compared to a lot of shit today, they were just plain better. They were actually animated by hand which always makes cartoons have more charm. There weren’t any shitty computer graphics. They were written for all ages not just little kids, and for the most part they had a good mix of action and plot. Some were great some were cheesy and some were down right bad, but the point is I loved them all. So while most people talk about G.I. Joe, He-Man, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Thundercats, Silverhawks, and Transformers, you won’t find any of that on this list. This list is for the cartoons most people don’t remember when they are reflecting lovingly on the 80’s. If you don’t see a particular cartoon on this list it is because it was either too popular, something I never heard of or not in production between 1980 and 1989. So sit back, relax, and enjoy. Hopefully this not only brings back some great memories but it motivates you to find some of these great shows again and watch them with a smile.
The Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers: In 2086, two peaceful aliens journey to Earth seeking help. In return for Earth’s assistance, the aliens share the plans for the planet’s first hyperdrive, allowing mankind to open the doors to the stars. With this new technology in hand, a team of unique individuals are assembled to protect Earth and its allies. These courageous pioneers – committed to the highest ideals of justice – set out to preserve law and order across the new frontier. In this series two guys are sent into space. They are pretty much cowboys exploring the solar system. One interesting bit of trivia is that this was the first Anime show produced in the U.S.
I give this show 8 out of 10 futuristic cowboy hats.
Bananaman: This is 29 Acacia Road, and this is Eric the schoolboy who leads an amazing double life. For when Eric eats a banana, an amazing transformation occurs… Bananaman is the story of this boy who eats a banana to gain super powers. Each show was only about five minutes long, but they were entertaining none the less. This show sort of has a cult following, but if I never got it on dvd I wouldn’t cry. The animation is done really well though. I give it a 3 out of 10 banana peels.
Battle of the Planets: This show takes place in the future of 2001. It has to do with 5 teens that travel around from their base under the sea and fight space monsters. This is actually a pretty decent show, I mean honestly, the animation wasn’t the best of the time, but it was still really good. Check it out some time I give it 8 out of 10 former planet Plutos
The Bionic Six: This was one of my all time favorite, never miss an episode shows. It was pretty much based on the bionic man, but in this show it is about an entire family with bionic upgrades. I love the fight scenes and story lines from this show, and even though when I watch it, it brings a big smile to my face and I don’t let anything distract me. It really surprises me that this show never did any better. I guess it did have its faults though, they all had really cheesy code names. For no apparent reason the family had a black kid and a Chinese kid, and if the dad looked anymore like Reed Richards, I am fairly certain Sue Storm would want to kick the bionic woman’s ass. Any how, this is still a great fucking show that I will love forever. Bionics…ON!!! 10 out of 10 Bionic Upgrades.
Blackstar: This show wasn’t that bad. It had a good concept. I only ever saw the first six episodes on a tape my friend gave me, so I am not going to judge it. The basic plot out line is this astronaut flies his ship into a black hole and rather than being crushed by the unimaginable gravity he ends up on the planet Sagar, which I guess is better than the planet Hagar where you can’t drive 55. At any rate, he ends up with one of two mystic swords and lives underground with some dudes in a resistance force. They fight the evil king who has the other mystic sword and try to dethrone him. Again, I am not going to rate it because I have only seen six episodes and it would be fair, but from what I saw of it I thought it was a pretty good show.
BraveStarr: BraveStarr was another of my favorite cartoons. A bit of trivia about the show is that it was made by the same people who made He-Man. BraveStarr is the story of a colony on the planet of New Texas where a rare new element is discovered. All sorts of people and aliens from all across the galaxy show up to mine. A villain called Tex Hex shows up to plunder and pillage but is thwarted by Marshal BraveStarr and his big green sidekick.
This is another Futuristic spaghetti western, which I always thought was a good idea. The main problem for braveStarr had nothing to do with the show itself. The main problem was that the action figures based on the show were rush released before the show was on the air. Crappy figure sales led to the show being doomed before it began.
I think had it been given more time it would have been even better than He-Man. It was certainly less homoerotic.
9 out of 10 Handlebar Mustaches.
C.O.P.S.: C.O.P.S. – Central Organization of Police Specialists. Fighting crime in a future time,…
protecting Empire City from Big Boss, and his gang of crooks. C.O.P.S.!” “It’s crime fighting time!” C.O.P.S.
was another show I never missed an episode of as a kid. It was about a special police force in the future that had some cybernetic enhancements. It was very much like G.I. Joe. The same toy company distributed the action figures, so I am fairly certain a lot of the same people probably worked on the show. It always had a message to teach in each episode and was written for an older audience. It still appealed to younger kids because of all the action, but the dialogue and character development was meant to keep the interest of older kids. 10 out of 10 guys with their brains in a jar on their head.
The California Raisins: This show was based on the claymation raisins that were popularized in the California Raisin Growers Assn. It was about R&B singing Raisins who sang in the style of Motown. They went out on adventures while on tour and saved the day every time. When I was a kid I absolutely loved this show, but when I went back and watched it as an adult…not so good. Image how bad a cartoon based on the Budweiser Frogs would be and you are just about in the same ball bark. For the most part cartoons based on advertising icons are never a good idea.
2 out of 10 sour grapes.
Camp Candy: Take John Candy, summer camp, a bunch of crazy kids, and put them all together and you get Camp Candy. This animated amalgamation of summer activities was not that bad of a show, but to be quite honest it was written for younger kids. It’s not that it was a bad show, it definitely had it’s moments, but the problem was it seemed like most of the comedy in the show was written by a staff of really lame writers rather than by John himself. I think my major problem with the show is that it starred John Candy and was about camping but wasn’t based on “The Great Outdoors”. I think if it were a “Great Outdoors” cartoon done by all the same people who did the movie with the idea that Chet decided to move up to the camp and open it for kids it would have been a lot better. Overall though it wasn’t a complete stinker. I give it 6 out of 10 Camp Counselor whistles.
Captain N: If you grew up in the 1980’s and you owned an NES and you don’t know what this show is you honestly deserve to have the bejesus beat out of you. Not just a regular beating either. I mean taken out, stripped down and beaten in a field until you are bloody and broken, then as you lie there struggling to gasp for air, you should be shot in the face with a gun that looks like the Zapper. Unfortunately there are a large amount of people that deserve that beating. Captain N is the story of a kid who got sucked into video land with his dog Duke. When he got there he was given a Zapper and a controller which he wore on his belt and when he activated it he had super videogame powers. He teamed up with Simon Belmont, Megaman, Kid Icarus and Gameboy to defend Princess Lana from the evil minions of Mother Brain. For as many fond memories I have of this show, it probably could have been a lot better. I mean compared to other Nintendo cartoons like the Super Mario Brothers Super Show, and The Legend of Zelda, this thing was pretty lame. It was poorly written and it always felt like Nintendo said, here are the videogame characters we want you to use, here is what we want them to look like, go nuts. Really the characters had very little to do with the games they were based on and most of them didn’t even look like the game characters. There is no reason why the characters that worked together should have been working together, yet there they were. Another thing that really chapped my ass was Princess Lana. Why the hell wasn’t Princess Toadstool or Zelda the ruler of Videoland. The whole thing pissed me off. Still as a kid I loved the cartoon, and I will still watch it over and over again now. All I am saying is had the show not been based on the wild popularity of Nintendo, it wouldn’t have gone anywhere. 4 out of 10 Nintendo controllers.
Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future: Earth 2147.
The legacy of The Metal Wars , where man fought machine – and machines won. Biodreads. Monstrous creations that hunt down human survivors and digitize them. Volcania. Center of the biodread empire. Stronghold and fortress of Lord Dread , feared ruler of this new order. But from the fires of the Metal Wars arose a new breed of warrior. Born and trained to bring down Lord Dread and his biodread empire.
They were Soldiers of the Future . Mankind’s last hope.
Well, first I would like to make it clear that Captain power wasn’t animated, it was a live action show where characters were shot against a blue screen to look like they were in a futuristic digital world. For as cheesy as it looks now, it was MIND BLOWING for a six year old kid in 1987. The show itself isn’t that bad, I once heard some one compare it to the Power Rangers and I stabbed them in the throat. This show is a definite must see if you have no idea what it is. One thing that was great about it is that the VHS tapes of it would interact with the toys via a VCR attachment and you could play along with the show.
It was a great concept and a good show. 7 out of 10 Golden Helmets of Power.
Centurions: Ace McCloud, Max Ray, and Jake Rcokwell take on Doc Terror to save the world. This toon is another on the list of never miss. I was obsessed with this show as a kid. It was about the three aforementioned gentlemen who, when summoned by their space secretary Crystal Kane onboard the Skyvault, they would teleport to the Skyvault and suit up. Ace McCloud was the Air Operations Specialist who always had things added to his suit like wings, missiles, jet packs and laser guns. Sometimes he got spaceflight equipment as well. Jake Rockwell was the land operations dude who would get tank treads and cannons and chopper blades and such, and Max Ray was just a child molester with a mustache. Actually they never got into the fact that he porked little boys, but with that mustache you know he did. They claimed he was the Sea Operations guy. He had torpedoes and fins and things like that. Two memebers added to the team later were Rex Charger and John Thunder. I never much cared for them but Charger at least got a cool gadget once in a while. One of the reasons I absolutely loved this show was because of the character design. As it turns out the characters were created by none other than comic book legend Jack Kirby. This show was seriously one of the best cartoons of the 1980’s in my opinion. 10 out of 10 Molester Mustaches.
Chuck Norris and the Karate Kommandos: This five episode series spawned one of my favorite action figure lines of the 80’s. In the show about the man who’s tears cure cancer…too bad he never cries, is a government operative who together with his team of allies defends freedom from the like s of The Claw. I always wondered if The Claw later got his medical degree and became Dr. Claw but anyway, the series though short, was really well done. The animation was pretty top notch, and the plots weren’t too bad for a cartoon based on Chuck Norris. 8 out of 10 Roundhouse kicks to the spleen.
The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley: This is the cartoon based on martin Short’s Ed Grimley Character…I must say. Although I loved Edward Grimley as a character on SNL, I thought the show was a little to slapstick for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love slapstick like Naked Gun and Hot Shots, g rated slapstick just isn’t that funny. It is kind of like the Ace Ventura cartoon that came out years later. 4 out of 10 Cowlicks.
Count Duckula: I can’t ever get enough of this cartoon. A vegetarian vampire duck. Due to a screw up in him coming back to life he no longer craves blood. He teleports all around in search of fortune and glory. The Dangermouse dudes did a great job with this cartoon. 10 out of 10 duckbills
Danger Mouse: Another great great cartoon. He was a secret agent who lived in a mailbox. This was another cartoon I only saw a few episodes of so I am not going to rate it.
David the Gnome:
David and his old lady Lisa, extremely old Gnomes who lived in a bad ass tree. They had two kids that would go on adventures with them from time to time. David was a doctor who was summoned from place to place. He got around by riding on his fox Swift who apparently could travel all over the entire world. 10 out of ten pointy hats.
Dinosaucers: The Dinosaucers were aliens who’s homeworld was either taken over or destroyed by the evil Tyrannos.
The eventually came to Earth and enlisted the help of four humans. I never really cared for this show, but I know a lot of people who loved it. I am only giving 4 out of 10 piles of dinosaur dung.
Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘N’ Wrestling: This series was only on the air for about two years, but when I go back and watch now I can’t figure out why it still isn’t on today. The show was about the adventures of Hulk Hogan, Jimmy Snuka, Tito Santana, Junkyard Dog, Hillybilly Jim, Captain Lou Albano, Andre The Giant, and Wendi Richter. The show was kind of like The Super Mario Brothers’ Super Show in the fact that there were two different cartoons in each episode with a live action segment in between. The adventures themselves usually consisted of Hulk and his crew trying to accomplish something and being hassled by Mr. Fuji, Roddy Piper, The Iron Sheik, Big John Studd, Nikolia Volkoff, and The Fabulous Moolah. The only thing I didn’t really like about the show was that most of the voices were done by voice actors and not the actual wrestlers. Just thinking about this makes me miss my Hulk Hogan backpack with the little plastic Hulk Hogan head on it. This show gets 8 out of 10 Pythons brother!
Inhumanoids: This show was brought to us by Hasbro. Think about it, greats such as Transformers and G.I. Joe came from the same people. Well, they say “they can’t all be winners.” This show is the unwatchable proof of that. 1 out 10 rusty forks to stab my eyes out with.
The Karate Kid: What can I say. If you aren’t aware of it already, when I was a kid I was obsessed with these movies. Unfortunately when I go back and watch this series now I find it to be more revolting than “The Next Karate Kid”. Seriously, this series wasn’t the greatest cartoon ever put on TV. Still, it has it’s charm. I give it 4 out of 10 Banzai Trees
Kidd Video: It took me FOREVER to remember the name of this fucking show. This was the story of a band of teenagers forom California that played some pretty shitty music who got transported by the evil Master Blaster to the Flipside. They had to try and get back home while defending themselves from Master Blaster and his pack of losers. There was a fairy that had a coke addiction too. She was always sneezing for no reason at all and I am pretty sure she was skiing on her nose. I really really dug this show as a kid and I still love the animation. 7 out of 10 keytars.
Lazer Tag Acadamy: Welcome to the year 3010. Lazer Tag is the international sport, and the champion is Jamie Jaren – the sole possessor of StarLyte power, until the resurrection of a master criminal from the past, Draxon Drear . Follow Jamie in these exciting adventures, as she travels through time to preserve the past, save the future and keep the peace. One thing the 80’s was famous for was cartoons based on toys. Basically they were infomercials with a plot. Some were good, some were crap, some shouldn’t ever be mentioned again. I am pretty sure this is the latter, but check out for yourself. I am just going to say remember, there were no lazer tag action figures or comic books or anything most of the other shows had. This was simply a cartoon based on a gun. 2 out of 10 Flock of Seagulls haircuts.
Mr. T: Yes, you are seeing that correctly, Mr. T had his own cartoon, and surprisingly it was pretty good, cheesy as all hell, but pretty good. It was about Mr. T and for some reason he had a gymnastic team that he hung out with.
If I remember right the team bus was driven by an annoying old lady. They would travel around and have adventures that usually related to some moral that the episode was trying to promote. I really can’t explain how much I like this show and yet I have no idea why I like it. It always reminded me of the episodes of Scooby Doo when the Harlem Globetrotters would show up for no good reason at all. It didn’t seem right, but it was still cool. Any how, I give it 7 out of 10 mohawks. “Take it from me, Mr.T”
Pole Position: The best way I can think to describe this show to anyone who hasn’t seen it is Johnny Quest meets Speed Racer with a dash of Knight Rider. They had talking cars and went on adventures to save the world. I barely remembered this show even existed. 3 out of 10 cars not named Kit
Police Academy: I am only mentioning this cartoon to give it a bad score. Trust me, you don’t want to see it or know about it, and if you are like me and unfortunately remember it you don’t want to think about it. 0 out of 10 police sirens.
Rambo: Generally I don’t care for cartoons based off of live action movies, but this one isn’t too bad. I really liked the animation, I loved the toys, I liked the evil organization he had to fight. All in all it really wasn’t a bad show, the only thing I didn’t like was that no one died and there was rarely any major acts of violence.
Check it out if you get the chance. 7 out of 10 little green amulets on string necklaces.
Sky Commanders: You know, for as much as I loved these toys, I never found the show to be that great. It was really kind of lame and the animation wasn’t all that good either. Honestly, had I not owned most of the toys when I was younger I probably would have never even watched this show. 4 out of 10 chunks of Phata 7
Starcom: I have to be honest, I never saw this show as a kid. The only reason I even know about it is because my friend made me a disk of G.I. Joe mpgs and he had one of these episodes on there. When I asked him about it he had never seen it either. The animation of the episode I saw really does look like G.I. Joe. It seemed kind of cool and I am sorry I can’t write more of a review. If you know anything about it, be sure to shoot me an email.
Teen Wolf: I simply can not stress this enough. For the Love of God do yourself a favor and never watch a cartoon based on a live action movie. With the exception of Rambo they are all pretty shitty. 2 out of 10 red and white letterman jackets.
Turbo Teen: Last year my friend Chuck and I were sitting around talking about old cartoons and he mentioned this gem. Not by name but just by description. “It was a show where like a teenager would turn into a car whenever he got too hot, and it always had a soundtrack of what ever song some artist was trying to promote that week.” Well, surely you can see why my interest in such a show was sparked. After a few months of searching I found TURBO TEEN. I guess it could always be worse, but for me I would just rather watch Transformers or GoBots. 5 out of 10 overheated teenagers.
Visionaries: “Far away in a distant galaxy, the people of the planet Prysmos lived in an age of great technology.
They had taken control of all of the sources of energy, and enjoyed a life of comfort and ease for 7,000 years…
but this was not to last, for the realignment of the three blazing suns of Prysmos signalled the end of the age of science and technology. When all of the electrical energy have been depleted from the world, an age of magic began.
But it would take some time before man would believe this.
Years passed, and as the old order collapsed a new more primitive order rose form the rubble. Knowing that the balance of power between Darkstorm and Leoric could easily be tipped, both frantically searched for a military advantage.” Yeah, this was another Hasbro creation meant to sell toys. Actually it wasn’t to bad though. I kind of dug the futuristic Knights of the Round Table thing it had going on. 7 out of 10 ages of magic
Well, that pretty much wraps up this one kiddies. If I missed a show you wanted to read about…write your own damn article.