Cartoons of the 80s

by janzeteachesit | created - 30 Nov 2013 | updated - 30 Nov 2013 | Public
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1. Thundercats (1985–1989)

TV-Y7 | 30 min | Animation, Action, Adventure

7.9
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A team of humanoid cats fight evil in their adopted home world.

Stars: Bob McFadden, Larry Kenney, Earl Hammond, Lynne Lipton

Votes: 13,555

2. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983–1985)

TV-Y7 | 30 min | Animation, Action, Adventure

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

The most powerful man in the universe, He-Man, goes against the evil forces of Skeletor to save the planet Eternia and to protect the secrets of Castle Grayskull.

Stars: John Erwin, Alan Oppenheimer, Linda Gary, Lou Scheimer

Votes: 13,460

3. The New Adventures of Zorro (1981)

Animation, Action, Adventure

7.6
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The further adventures of the masked hero of Spanish California.

Stars: Henry Darrow, Julio Medina, Don Diamond, Ernesto Macias

Votes: 194

Filmation's Zorro followed Tarzan. A decent version, if somehwat repetitive. The swordplay looks good, even if it is the same sequence of moves. There is a Spanish lesson with each episode.

4. The Kid Super Power Hour with Shazam! (1981–1982)

Animation, Fantasy

7.4
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The adventures of a high school for superheroes while the Marvel Family fights evil with the power given to them by the wizard, Shazam.

Stars: Maylo McCaslin, Barry Gordon, Dawn Jeffory, Burr Middleton

Votes: 104

A mix of 2 cartoons, Hero High and Shazam. Hero High was meant to be an Archie show, but Filmation couldn't secure the rights, so they altered the characters. These are played for laughs. Shazam was an excellent adaptation of Captain Marvel, with the classic villains and the whole Marvel Family (even Freckles).

5. Thundarr the Barbarian (1980–1984)

TV-Y7 | 30 min | Animation, Adventure, Family

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Thundarr the Barbarian and his companions Ookla the Mok and Princess Ariel wander a devastated future Earth and fight evil wherever they find it.

Stars: Henry Corden, Robert Ridgely, Nellie Bellflower, Dick Tufeld

Votes: 915

Exciting series featuring a post-apocalyptic world, with wizards and barbarians. Steals a bit from Planet of the Apes but has excellent design work from Jack Kirby and Gil Kane, plus scripts from Steve Gerber.

6. Thundercats (1985–1989)

TV-Y7 | 30 min | Animation, Action, Adventure

7.9
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A team of humanoid cats fight evil in their adopted home world.

Stars: Bob McFadden, Larry Kenney, Earl Hammond, Lynne Lipton

Votes: 13,555

Excellent syndicated cartoon, featuring a band of refugees who find themselves at odds with a group of mutants. Suitably epic, with good moral lessons and stylish animation. A cut above a lot of the 80s cartoons.

7. G.I. Joe (1985–1986)

TV-Y7 | 30 min | Animation, Action, Adventure

7.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An elite special missions force fights against the terrorist forces of Cobra.

Stars: Jackson Beck, Christopher Collins, Michael Bell, Neil Ross

Votes: 3,835

I must confess that I am not a fan of this, but it was hugely popular. I always felt it was rather stiff and unrealistic and that the steps to avoid violence did more damage to kids than showing them the consequences of violence, like in Jonny Quest. With that said, it has some pretty good plots and plenty of action and the basic premise is well conceived, even if it was just a retooled SHIELD vs HYDRA (or UNCLE vs THRUSH). Some of the moral lessons at the end were really reaching.

8. The Transformers (1984–1987)

TV-Y7 | 30 min | Animation, Action, Adventure

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Two opposing factions of transforming alien robots engage in a battle that has the fate of Earth in the balance.

Stars: Frank Welker, Peter Cullen, Corey Burton, Christopher Collins

Votes: 17,777

Again, not a fan, mostly from a technical standpoint, but it was another that was hugely popular. Kids seemed to enjoy it.

9. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983–1985)

TV-Y7 | 30 min | Animation, Action, Adventure

7.5
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

The most powerful man in the universe, He-Man, goes against the evil forces of Skeletor to save the planet Eternia and to protect the secrets of Castle Grayskull.

Stars: John Erwin, Alan Oppenheimer, Linda Gary, Lou Scheimer

Votes: 13,460

Decent, if repetitive adventure series, based on the toy line. Filmation always used a lot of stock footage to hold down costs, so one episode tended to look like another. Lou Scheimer's Orko voice was beyond annoying, much like his Bat-Mite.

10. Bionic Six (1987– )

22 min | Animation, Action, Family

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A family of cyborg superheroes fights evil around the world.

Stars: Norman Bernard, Carol Bilger, Samantha Paris, Alan Oppenheimer

Votes: 500

I only saw a couple of episodes, but the animation by Tokyo Movie Shinsa and the Alex Toth designs were great.

11. Silverhawks (1986– )

TV-Y7 | 23 min | Action, Sci-Fi, Family

7.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A team of cyborgs protects Limbo from Mon Star and his gang.

Stars: Bob McFadden, Earl Hammond, Larry Kenney, Peter Newman

Votes: 2,092

It bore a passing resemblance to Thundercats but it was pretty good.

12. Robotech (1985– )

TV-Y7 | 30 min | Animation, Action, Adventure

8.6
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

An alien spaceship crash lands on Earth and the technology and secrets she bears lead Earth into three destructive interplanetary wars.

Stars: Robert Axelrod, Bill Capizzi, Frank Catalano, Richard Epcar

Votes: 2,852

Unites 3 different Japanese series into one great epic. Plenty of action and a bit of romance. One of the key components of the anime boom.

13. Voltron: Defender of the Universe (1984–1985)

TV-Y7 | 24 min | Animation, Family, Sci-Fi

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

This series focuses on five lion robots and their pilots as they fight the evil forces of King Zarkon and Prince Lotor.

Stars: Jack Angel, Michael Bell, Peter Cullen, Neil Ross

Votes: 3,315

Another adaptation of a Japanese show and the other key component of the anime boom. Paved the way for the live action Power Rangers in America.

14. The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians (1985– )

30 min | Adventure, Animation, Fantasy

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

With the additional help of Cyborg, the greatest DC Comics superheroes continue their battle against the forces of evil.

Stars: Ernie Hudson, Casey Kasem, Adam West, Danny Dark

Votes: 462

This one is a bit up and down, but makes good use of Darkseid and features an episode which tells Batman's origin quite effectively. Cyborg, from the Teen Titans, was added for diversity and seems a bit out of place. Nice episode with the Royal Flush Gang.

15. Thundarr the Barbarian (1980–1984)

TV-Y7 | 30 min | Animation, Adventure, Family

7.6
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Thundarr the Barbarian and his companions Ookla the Mok and Princess Ariel wander a devastated future Earth and fight evil wherever they find it.

Stars: Henry Corden, Robert Ridgely, Nellie Bellflower, Dick Tufeld

Votes: 915

This was 1980, but it counts in my book. Wildly imaginative show, set in a future devestated Earth. Designs came from Jack Kirby (creator of most of Marvel Comics' biggies) and stories from Steve Gerber (Howard the Duck comic). This blew away every other adventure show on Saturday morning.

16. Blackstar (1981–1982)

30 min | Animation, Adventure, Family

6.9
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

An astronaut, stranded on a primitive planet in a distant universe, fights against the tyranny of the Overlord.

Stars: George DiCenzo, Linda Gary, Patrick Pinney, Alan Oppenheimer

Votes: 540

Another early 80s cartoon, so sue me. Not quite at the level of Thundaar, but pretty good. Typical stiff Filmation animation, though. The story was hampered by not having a "destination" in mind for the plot.

17. The Smurfs (1981–1990)

TV-Y | 30 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

7.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

The Smurfs are little blue creatures that live in mushroom houses in a forest inhabited mainly by their own kind. The smurfs average daily routine is attempting to avoid Gargomel, an evil man who wants to kill our little blue friends.

Stars: Don Messick, Danny Goldman, Lucille Bliss, Frank Welker

Votes: 11,968

This debuted at the start of the 80s and at the end of my Saturday morning days. Based on the popular Belgian comic, Les Schtroumpfs, it features the adventures of the little blue guys (and girl) and their enemy Gargamel. Fine for little kids, bit it was pretty annoying if you were older. That song is the ultimate earwig. This pretty much told me it was time to sleep in on Saturdays.

18. Super Friends (1980–1983)

30 min | Animation, Adventure, Sci-Fi

7.5
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

The further adventures of the DC Universe's greatest superheroes.

Stars: Danny Dark, Olan Soule, Michael Bell, Casey Kasem

Votes: 849

So called "lost" episodes, as they were delayed in production. Also debut of El Dorado.

19. The New Adventures of Zorro (1981)

Animation, Action, Adventure

7.6
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The further adventures of the masked hero of Spanish California.

Stars: Henry Darrow, Julio Medina, Don Diamond, Ernesto Macias

Votes: 194

Another from Filmation. It featured generally good stories with some decent action, again aided by rotoscoping. Keeping with the educational nature of Filmation's shows, it had Spanish lessons at the end. Henry Darrow was the voice of Zorro and would later play an aging Zorro on ABC's Zorro and Son.

20. The Tarzan/Lone Ranger/Zorro Adventure Hour (1980–1982)

60 min | Animation, Adventure, Family

7.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An animated series following the adventures of two classic action heroes. In the jungles of Africa, Tarzan discovers strange tribes and battles evil forces with the help of his monkey, ... See full summary »

Stars: William Conrad, Henry Darrow, Robert Ridgely, Julio Medina

Votes: 77

Revamp of Tarzan and the Super 7 (and Tarzan and Batman), adding a new Lone Ranger cartoon, full of historic figures. Not quite as stylish as the 1966 cartoon, but featured William Conrad (Cannon, Jake & the Fatman, Bulwinkle narrator)as the Ranger.

21. The Kid Super Power Hour with Shazam! (1981–1982)

Animation, Fantasy

7.4
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The adventures of a high school for superheroes while the Marvel Family fights evil with the power given to them by the wizard, Shazam.

Stars: Maylo McCaslin, Barry Gordon, Dawn Jeffory, Burr Middleton

Votes: 104

Intended as an Archie superhero show, Archie Comics said no; so, Filmation just changed the names and slightly altered the designs. Featured live-action host segments between cartoons. This was typical stuff, except for the Shazam cartoon. This version, unlike the live series, made great use of the Marvel Family and the villains and supporting characters. It was successful in capturing the whimsical nature of the comics.

22. The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang (1980–1981)

Animation, Adventure, Comedy

5.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

An animated series based loosely on the TV show "Happy Days". Richie, Ralph, The Fonz and Mr. Cool (The Fonz's dog) meet a time traveler named Cupcake and accidentally get stuck in her time... See full summary »

Stars: Henry Winkler, Ron Howard, Don Most, Didi Conn

Votes: 146

Yeah, they tried to milk Happy Days on Saturday morning. Might have worked if it had been done earlier. This was pretty bad.