We rewatched our top 10 fave 80s cartoons featured in the previous post The 10 Best 80s Cartoons we published 7 years ago. After 30+ years have they stood the test of time?
Some of these awesome animated series have been long forgotten about with the help of Cartoon Network who think that all kids today want their ‘zany’ offerings of the last few decades. The landscape of animated kids shows has changed. They don’t seem to make many action and fantasy cartoons series any more. It takes forever for the classic 80s cartoons to get revived or reshown on any platform while shows like Scooby-Doo seem to get a new series every year, but why?
Scooby-Doo is the same show every single episode. The members of Mystery Inc. after case number 1043 should have clicked on by now that there is no such things as ghosts or ghouls. They should have realised it is always somebody with way too much money and time on their hands causing all the creepy goings on in that old abandoned fairground!
Sorry, we didn’t come here to bad mouth Scoob, I am ranting and as the 80s action cartoon shows are something I hold on to with a nostalgic tear in my eye. Yes, we realise these shows were made to primarily shift toys. Although some of these TV shows have also been rebooted but they are something we remember with great fondness.
So, we decided to once again revisit them and see if the magic is still there…
Straight from the intro I’m excited. It almost brings a tear to my eye. It’s 35 years old and what an amazing start to a Saturday morning cartoon. The animation and the music It gets you hooked and totally buzzing for the show. So much better than anything today.
The Japanese animation still looks superb and definitely doesn’t look dated like some of the cartoons on this list. Some of the animators who worked on this show went to work for Studio Ghibli and it shows. I noticed that in one of the scenes when we first are introduced to Mumm-Ra there is a stone pillow close up but slightly out of focus and a lizard runs up it. It’s just those brilliant little details that you get with decent anime animation.
The voice cast is great although I would probably change them if made today. Music and sound is relevant to the show. The story line is also good and there is a continuation for every episode. The characters good and evil are great although Snarf is annoying and so are the Berbels but they are easily tolerated.
So, yeah Thundercats is a thumbs up. Very excited to hear that a new CGI movie is in the works.
He-Man and the Master of the Universe
The animated series of He-Man was rushed out to tie in with the release of the Masters of the Universe toy line and it shows. He-Man is the biggest disappoint of the list. The animation isn’t as polished as you remember and looks almost like Hanna-Barbera-esque and is nowhere as good as the Japanese animation that features in other classics in this list.
The whole secret double identity of He-Man and Adam is just ridiculous when they look exactly the same and that Adam and He-Man are never present at the same time.
Skeletor is definitely the best thing about the whole show. He isn’t the best criminal mastermind and He-Man has many chances to catch him or defeat him for good but let’s him go. Word of advice He-Man. If Skeletor is hanging off a cliff, don’t save him he has no remorse. Just stamp on his hand and let him drop to his death!
That’s a big problem with the show because none of the episodes continue and the show gets reset every episode and there is also a naff public safety message at the end. “Kids, when a crazy blue dude with a skull head turns up outside your school offering a path to evil, just say no!”
The title sequence is awesome and totally unforgettable I can’t argue with that. The animation is at times a bit ropey and the voice cast seems very dated. He-Man’s voice makes him sound much older than he supposed to be and some of the sound effects are just cheesy as hell.
Overall opinion is it looks dated and sometimes you think it doesn’t stand up to all the hype. Don’t get me wrong I love He-Man like a childhood friend but it’s not as watchable as it once was….
Ohhhh…., I can’t stay mad at He-Man. He was one of the first cartoon characters and childhood heroes I remember. I take back everything. Can you ever forgive me?
Dare I say it, I do enjoy the 2002 reboot series as it follows a continuos storyline and tackles the identity problem much better…
Dungeons and Dragons
What bugs me most about Dungeons and Dragons is not Uni or Eric, but it’s never explained why that God damn theme park ride transports them into the realm of D &D in the first place. Does this happen to everyone that goes on the ride? Are there thousands of kids stuck in the realm with Dungeon Master testing them? Are there kids turned adults still stuck there today?
In the first episode “The night of no tomorrow” you would think it would start off in the modern world and show all the main characters at the theme park. Then they get on that ride and something happens like Venger escapes the realm and causes some kind of magical malfunction to the ride. The kids then get transported into this fantasy world where Dungeon Master turns up and saves them. He then explains what the f**k has happened and gives them their new clothes and weapons. No, none of this happens in the first episode. We have to get this all from the short intro instead.
But anyway, It is a great concept. The characters are varied and the bad guys are fantastic. Venger, Tiamat and Shadow Demon especially. Sadly the last episode “Requiem” was never aired due to the shows cancellation although there is a fan made version on the Internet you can watch.
Anyway… Does it still stand today? Yes and no. The animation is okay if not a bit cheap at times but it’s okay. The stories are always interesting but can get a bit repetitive with them finding a way home and then it all goes tits up nearly every episode. Just tell them how to get home Dungeon Master. Stop taunting them, they are just kids for Gods sake! The voice cast is good especially with Peter Cullen as Venger. It is a thumbs up on this.
To be honest Transformers has never gone away since it first hit our screens in 1984. It just evolved into Beast Wars in the 90s and then re-spawned back as Transformers in the early 00s and is still going today in animation and live-action movies.
I’m just going to start off with saying this is still good today and G1 is actually better than all of the series that have come after it.
Once again the Japanese animation is great but not as refined as Thundercats. The story is good although the whole idea that the transformers crash landed on Earth over a million years ago is a bit crazy.
The main problem with transformers is that for saying they are on Earth in the 1980s there doesn’t seem to be many human beings on the planet. Spike, Carly and Sparkplug Witwicky, Chip Chase, Augie Canay and Dr Arkeville and that’s about it.
Also the Dinobots are stupid and they should not exist as they make no sense in a modern world where dinosaurs are extinct.
Yes, it does stand the test of time. The show has a truly stellar voice cast and the animated movie is still better than any live-action Transformers movie that has been made. I could probably still say that for a very long time to come!
Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors
It’s got a storyline it follows unlike some other shows on this list like He-Man and Inspector Gadget who do a hard reset each episode.
The monsters mines don’t seem as menacing as I remember and seem really clumsy and bumble-some.
Sadly like D & D there is no final episode as the show was cancelled because it didn’t sell enough toys. Damn you finance executives! To be honest I don’t even remember seeing a Jayce toy line in the 80s.
Very original concept well worth a watch if you can catch it anywhere that isn’t YouTube so go watch if you get the chance.
The Real Ghostbusters
Ghostbusters is different because it was based on an actual live-action movie so you are always comparing it to the original film and not the other way around.
Yes, the main characters are slightly different to their movie counterparts and Slimer is now ‘one of the gang’. Animation is good and the voice cast is great. We can’t really criticize the ‘Real Ghostbusters’ because we love 80s Ghostbusters.
It’s fun and it doesn’t need to take itself seriously, sometimes Slimer can be a bit annoying but we will let it slide because who doesn’t love the Ghosbusters? Paul Feig maybe!
To be honest when I just rewatched this the other day I was really disappointed. It is not the amazing show I remember as a young kid. For a start there is no back story to Matt Trakker and how it all got started. The first episode we are straight in and it’s what the hell is going on? Here we are going after Miles Mayhem and V.E.N.O.M. How did we get here? Who is funding M.A.S.K?
The episodes always start with V.E.N.O.M stealing something. Just catch these guys already and lock away the key. Problem solved!
The voices seem a bit dull and emotionless at times. But on the other hand it’s cool vehicles transforming into other cool vehicles and silly action scenes and that’s what I wanted when I was six years old! Anyway, fast forward to 2021 and masks are the thing to wear and they’d be even better if they could fire lasers or make me invisible!
You’ve got to love that catchy theme tune. We can’t help but notice Gadget is a blundering idiot. If he wasn’t a cyborg he’d be long dead. Why is he a cyborg in the first place? It is never explained. Why was he brought back or did he volunteer? He just causes more trouble than he sets out to stop in the first place. Why does his niece Penny live with him? Why is Brains the dog so clever? So many questions. There is probably some dark back story to all this so we will have to make our own conclusions on it all.
Sometimes the episodes are a bit repetitive but that is it’s simple charm. Easy script writing I suppose! Like we said earlier we wished there was a back story as to why Gadget is a cyborg and how he has the jurisdiction to investigate worldwide like James Bond.
Animation is good quality and the voices cast is good especially Frank Welker as Dr. Claw is really excellent. We get the typical safety message to not be assholes at the end of each episode.
Gadget is still a great little cartoon. It totally trashes the reboots and movies that came after it.
Obviously the whole look and feel of Jem was going to date as music trends and fashion are changing all the time. Considering that though a lot of 80s fashion and music influences have crept back in over the decades.
Jem works brilliantly as an 80s cartoon and would work today if they remade it. Animation is typical 80s style and the soundtracks to each episode are just great and lots of effort was made to create these original songs for the show. Lots of effort was made back in those days on animated musical scores.
Wow, what a soundtrack! That ending score is great. It sounds like pure 80s pop but it’s what we want. That environmental message is still strong today and I’m sure they could reboot this series today with the same themes.
Raccoons is a sweet cartoon with not much peril, and we give this a thumbs up.
So there we have it. Some these classics are still great. They should be in a museum of nostalgia.
What can we expect from these franchises? Thundercats was rebooted in 2011 although it only got one series but it is getting a new feature length CGI movie soon. He-Man is getting a live-action movie and a new animated series. M.A.S.K is supposed to be getting a live-action movie as is Dungeons and Dragons. Of course Transformers is still going in animated series’s and more live-action movies are on the way. The Raccoons is also getting an animated reboot too. Ghostbusters is still going in the movies, but I’m sure they’ll probably make some kind of animation if the new 2021 Ghostbusters if any good.
Some times when things are good they stick around for generations. Now if you will excuse me. I’m trying to get my business plan together to launch my 1980s and 90s themed TV channel.