Cartoons Of The 80's: 1986

 

The epic cartoons of the 80's were awe inspiring. So much so that I really feel sorry for kids of today. They really don't know what they missed. Sure, you could argue that it was just subliminal advertising to sell toys, but that didn't stop the stories from being entertaining, the characters to be memorable, and the shows to become nostalgically icons to many adults. These were the things that helped shape me into the person I am now, and I cherish them as happy memories.

Title: Adventures Of The Galaxy Rangers
Air Date: September - December 1986
Seasons: One
Episodes: Sixty-Five
DVD Release: Yes

Part sci-fi, part western, all action. Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers. Though it was an American made television show, the animation was sourced to a Japanese company. This added a very unique, but popular style of animation for older kids, while also appealing to a younger audience.

Though it has been released on DVD across two volumes, both are long out of print, making this an expensive series to track down. The first volume will definitely set you back more than the first, but you're still going to pay about $200.00 in total to get them both. Here's to hoping this series gets a re-release. 

Title: Centurions: Power Xtreme
Air Date: April - December 1986
Seasons: Two
Episodes: Sixty-Five
DVD Release: Yes

I would catch an episode of the Centurions here and there as a kid, but never really made it a habit to watch the whole thing. Truthfully, I couldn't quote to you what it was about beyond what the intro states about the group trying to stop Doc Terror by fusing man and machine. However, I'll get around to watching this soon.

The series has been released in full as part of Warner Bros. manufacture on demand series. However, you'll have to purchase three different sets to get the entire sixty-five episode run. Still, they're budget friendly.

Title: Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos
Air Date: September 1986
Seasons: One
Episodes: Five
DVD Release:
Yes

Take all the cheese of your average Chuck Norris movie and apply it to a cartoon series. The end result is Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos. With cliche names which also describe the characters themselves, it has all the goodness of a B movie housed in animated form. Not only do you get an animated Chuck, but a live action one who introduces you to each episode, and then closes it out. Just take in the awe inspiring look of his 80's fitness room with massive box television mounted to the wall. Seriously, it's a sight to behold.

Yes, you can indeed get this entire set on DVD as part of Warner's manufacture on demand, and at $10.00, I highly recommend you do! If for nothing else, the cheese factor. Oh, the cheese.

Title: Defends Of The Earth
Air Date: September 1986 - May 1987
Seasons: One
Episodes: Sixty-Five
DVD Release:
Yes

I missed this one as a kid. I mean, completely. I didn't even know it existed until I was an adult. I think what caught my attention was the cast lineup of Flash Gordon, The Phantom, and Mandrake The Magician. What an unlikely mash up, but so iconic.

I've only seen a couple episodes, and while it's not sucking me in, I'm still interested in sitting down and watching this one. I'll eventually get around to it.

It's been released on DVD in both a two part collection, as well as a full series in one box, and for now is readily available. You definitely want to grab this one before it goes out of print!

Title: Dennis The Menace
Air Date: September 1986 - March 1988
Seasons: Two
Episodes: Seventy-Eight
DVD Release:
Yes

I enjoyed this show as a kid. I think I used to catch it on Nickelodeon, but I honestly don't remember. There wasn't really much too it. It was just an animated format of Dennis the Menace, and that worked well. The show added new characters to the mix to flush it out, and they worked well as counterparts to Dennis constantly getting into shenanigans.

This one is available on DVD as a complete series, and I'm going to kick myself if I don't get it sooner than later, and end up missing out on it. It's so stinking cheap right now that there's really no excuse other than I've been buying other cartoons instead. I need to just bite the bullet, drop a couple hundred dollars and get everything I've been kicking down the road. 

Title: The Flintstone Kids
Air Date: September 1986 - May 1988
Seasons: Two
Episodes: Thirty-Six
DVD Release:
No

This re-visioning of the Flintstones was an attempt to make the series more kids friendly from its prime time syndicate predecessors. I suppose it worked. It also paved the way for future "kids" themed re-toolings, such as A Pup Named Scooby-Doo.

The series has never been released on DVD. However, there was a 2-disc set entitled, "Rockin' In Bedrock," released in 2014 which features ten episodes from season one. It's still readily available.

Title: Foofur
Air Date: September 1986 - February 1988
Seasons: Two
Episodes: Twenty-Six
DVD Release:
No

Did I watch Foofur? Yeah, here and there. Do I remember what it was about? No. Not a clue. Reading the synopsis on its Wiki page, I honestly don't recall it at all.

If it were released on DVD, I would probably pick it up. Sadly, it hasn't been. There are, however, a handful of VHS tapes which contain a few selected episodes. Here's to hoping it sees a full release for us cartoon enthusieists.

Title: G Force
Air Date: 1986
Seasons: Unknown
Episodes: Eighty-Five
DVD Release:
No

G Force, AKA G Force: Guardians of Space, was definitely a show conceived to capture the more mature audience of cartoon watchers. It was an adaptation of the Japanese anime, Science Ninja Team Gatchaman. However, unlike many Japanese source materials brought over to the USA, the developers of the show had a keen interest in staying true to the source material. As such, it remains one of the more popular Westernized Japanese based shows.

You won't find G Force on DVD, and unfortunately the rights have transferred to Sentai Filmworks. While they have released the entire series of its counterpart, Battle Of The Planets, on DVD, they have no plans to release G Force. 

Title: Galaxy High
Air Date: September - December 1986
Seasons: One
Episodes: Thirteen
DVD Release: Yes

Galaxy High was one of those animated shows I missed as a kid, wanted to see as an adult, but as of yet, haven't. It's notable for having several well known names attached to it, such Sue Blu (Arcee of Transformers: The Movie)l, Neil Ross (Buzzer, Dusty, Heavy Metal, Monkey Wrench, Shipwreck and Thunder of G.I. Joe), Nancy Cartwright (Bart Simpson of The Simpsons), Pat Fraley (Kraang and Casey Jones of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), David Lander (Squiggy of Lavern And Shirley), and quite a few others.

The series has been released on DVD across two volumes, but is currently out of print. It's not a common set, but can be found here and there. Volume two appears to be a little more scarce than volume one, and it's going to easily set you back forty to fifty dollars for both.

Title: Ghostbusters
Air Date: September - December 1986
Seasons: One
Episodes: Sixty-Five
DVD Release:
Yes

Though many fans of the eighties didn't know it, Ghostbusters didn't begin with the 1984 film, this didn't stop them from calling Filmation's animated series a rip off of the blockbuster film. Oh how we learn as we grow older. I won't reiterate the history here because I'm sure all of you already know it.

I personally could never get into this show. It just never seemed to interest me as a kid, and this wasn't because I more so loved the film franchise busters. I just didn't really enjoy it.

The series was released on DVD, but has been out of print for a while. The second volume is much more difficult to obtain than the first, and can cost upwards of $200.00 for the entire series.

Title: Inhumanoids
Air Date: June - December 1986
Seasons: One
Episodes: Thirteen
DVD Release:
Sort Of

Inhumanoids got its start during the 1985 Super Sunday alongside the likes of Jem and the Holograms, and Bigfoot. It was the second of two shorts to get its own series, with Jem being the first. However, unlike Jem, which included an entire sixty-five episode season, Inhumanoids was only thirteen episodes.

Though there have been DVD releases of the series, you won't find the entire show in the USA. The two volumes released, which are VHS transfers from prior releases, only contain nine of the episodes. In order to get all thirteen, you'd have to get the PAL version. However, regardless of which one you look for, they're all out of print, and all extremely pricey.

Title: Kideo TV
Air Date: April 1986 - April 1987
Seasons: Unknown
Episodes: Unknown
DVD Release: No

Kideo TV was a ninety minute segment show, which featured three half hour blocks of varying shows, such as The Get Along Gang, Lady Lovelylocks And The Pixietails, Popples, Rainbow Brite and Ulysses 31.

Only Rainbow Brite and Ulysses 31 have been been released on region one DVD's. While other shows have also been released on DVD, they are other regions, and Kideo TV itself has never been released, and probably won't be. 

Title: Kissyfur
Air Date: September 1986 - December 1988
Seasons: Two
Episodes: Twenty-Six
DVD Release: No

Come along this father son boating tour with once circus bears Kissyfur, and Gus. It's a lighthearted, family friendly series for all ages, and one time seems to have forgotten, something many critics in retrospect don't seem to mind. In 2014, Rob Bricken of io9 included Kissyfur in his list of a "dozen '80s cartoons that don't deserve to be remembered at all, let alone fondly.

The series has never been released on DVD, and considering the above, is no surprise. Personally, I'm all for preserving any and all 80's cartoons, and I wouldn't mind having this one in my collection, if for nothing else, to have it.

Title: LazerTag Academy
Air Date: September - December 1986
Seasons: One
Episodes: Thirteen
DVD Release: No

Time travel? Laser guns? What's not to love?

LazerTag Academy is of course based on the Worlds Of Wonder light gun peripherals of the 80's, but also served to prove that not all toys translate well to cartoons.

While a handful of VHS tapes were released between 1989 and 1991, the show has never come to DVD. This could be an issue with the rights to the name, as when the series returned in syndication, the name was changed to Laser Patrol.

Title: Madballs
Air Date: N/A
Seasons: N/A
Episodes: Two
DVD Release:
No

Madballs gets an honorable mention. It was never a television series, but rather two direct to VHS tapes which each consisted of a single twenty-two minute episode.

The first cassette, Escape From Orb, was released in 1986, and was followed up in 1987 with Gross Jokes. Sadly, neither episode has been transferred to DVD, but you can still watch plenty of (low quality) VHS transfers on Youtube.

Title: My Little Pony 'N' Friends
Air Date: September 1986 - September 1987
Seasons: Two
Episodes: Sixty-Five
DVD Release:
Yes

 It was the ultimate pony lover's show, and with it came a slew of toys featuring various colored miniature equus ferus caballus. Since its inception, it seems to be one of the few cartoons which have only gotten more and more popular with time, spawning several new series, and an army of loyal followers, both boys and girls.

The original series has been released on DVD, but is currently out of print. While it's not too incredibly pricey now, the price seems to be gradually creeping up and up with each passing month.

Title: The New Adventures Of Johnny Quest
Air Date: September 1986 - March 1987
Seasons: One
Episodes: Thirteen
DVD Release:
Yes

Though it's called The New Adventures Of Johnny Quest, the title card of the series refers to it simply as Johnny Quest. As does the manufacturer on demand Warner Bros. DVD set.

Personally, I have never been able to get in to Johnny Quest. It just always seemed so boring. I've seen a handful of episodes featuring the characters over the course of my life. However, I wouldn't be able to tell you if they were the 80's series or the original.

Title: Popples
Air Date: September 1986 - July 1987
Seasons: Two
Episodes: Forty-Four
DVD Release: No

Whether they're pulling things from their pouches, or transforming from a ball to their animal form, it's all done with a "pop". This is all topped off with each character stuttering on the letter "p" in any word they say.

Popples has never been released on DVD. However, it's one of the few series you can catch on Pluto TV. It's worth checking out if you want to catch a unique 80's cartoon.

Title: Pound Puppies
Air Date: September 1986 - December 1987
Seasons: Two
Episodes: Twenty-Six
DVD Release: No

I would catch an episode here and there back in the day, but I never made it a priority to catch every single one. Truth be told, I couldn't even tell you what the show was about, and the Wiki provides no aid in this matter. Suffice to say, it's about a group of puppies who live in a pound, but never seem to get adopted.

While a handful of the episodes have been released on VHS, the entire series has never come to DVD, which is kind of disappointing. Pound Puppies are pretty iconic from the 80's, what with all the stuffed toys that came out.

Title: Rambo: The Force Of Freedom
Air Date: September - December 1986
Seasons: One
Episodes: Sixty-Five
DVD Release: Yes
 

I never gave it a second thought as a kid, but in hindsight, it's a bit odd that a rated "R" film was turned into a kids cartoon. Mind you, I never watched this as a kid. Not because I wasn't allowed to, but rather, because I really didn't even know about it.

Unfortunately, this isn't something that's going to get rectified soon. While it has been released on DVD across six volumes, all of them are out of print, and incredibly rare. This not only makes them difficult to find, but incredibly expensive.

Title: The Real Ghostbusters
Air Date: September 1986 - October 1991
Seasons: Seven
Episodes: One Hundred Seventy-Three
DVD Release: Yes

For a show that ran for seven season, I somehow missed every single episode across the six years it aired. It's odd because while I'm not a mega fan by any means, I do enjoy the two original films quite a bit.

While the entire series has been released on DVD, it's long out of print, and ridiculously expensive. The set can sell anywhere from $400.00 all the way up to $1,000.00! Mind you even, when it was still on store shelves, it came with a hefty $200.00 price tag. What's odd is that you can easily get a DVD set which is still in print that contains all but twenty-nine segments, and all thirty-three Slimer stand alone shorts. 

Title: SilverHawks
Air Date: September - December 1986
Seasons: One
Episodes: Sixty-Five
DVD Release: Yes

Tally ho! SilverHawks is a series I've been getting into in my adult years, and I'm really digging it. This could be because it was made by the same team behind Thundercats, and was intended to be somewhat of an extension of that series. It definitely has the same vibe, and this is only all the more impactful as a result of the returning cast and familiar voices.

All sixty-five episodes were released over two DVD sets, and both are still available. I definitely recommend grabbing this one while you can!

Title: Teen Wolf
Air Date: September 1986 - November 1987
Seasons: Two
Episodes: Twenty-One
DVD Release:
No

Between the original 1985 film starring Michael J. Fox, and the 1987 sequel starring Jason Batemen, there was the 1986 animated series. The cartoon follows Scott Howard, the protagonist from the first film in continuing adventures as a teenage werewolf. It's become somewhat of a cult classic in latter years.

Sadly, despite its rekindle popularity, you won't find this one in the USA on DVD. It was initially planned to be released, but then cancelled without notice. Unfortunately, if you want to track this one down, you're going to have to look to the foreign release, which is long out of print and difficult to find.

Title: Wildfire
Air Date: September - December 1986
Seasons: One
Episodes: Thirteen
DVD Release: No

Wildfire was knocked hard when it first aired by critics who scoffed at the animation, and laughed at the hackneyed writing. However, even then, they admitted that little girls who loved horses would probably still enjoy the series. As for me, I had never heard of this one until putting this post together.

The series appears to have been forgotten to the past, and has never been released on DVD. It's part of the Hanna-Barbera library, so it's possible that it may make an appearance one day as part of their manufacture on demand series.

That puts an exclamation point on 1986, and brings us closed to wrapping up not only 2021, but our look at the cartoons of the 80's. See you in 1987 next week!

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6 comments:

  1. Never caught G Force but I did watch Battle religiously in the late 70s and snagged the Gatchaman box set awhile back. Quite different from the Americanized version!

    I've heard of most the others but aside from Real GB, wasn't watching any of them. Not that I'll ever be too old for cartoons but Saturday morning fare was mostly aimed at a younger crowd

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    1. I was never, and am still not, a big fan of Japanese style animation, or the shows that accompany them. I was more so into the action adventure series and lighthearted stuff.

      I do agree that Saturday morning cartoons were more so geared to the youngest of the kids, being very family friendly. However, I do like a lot of that stuff (in moderation). Weekdays were where the action adventure shows usually hung out.

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  2. Battle of the Planets was one of my favorites. To this day, still love the characters. One day I may get the figures although Jason is on the pricey side. How was G-Force different than Battle of the Planets?

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    Replies
    1. To answer this, you have to go a step backwards. Battle of the Planets was created by cutting and editing the series Gatchaman. The biggest change between these two shows was the removal of political issues and violence to make the show more kid friendly.

      Due to its success, it was then reworked into G-Force, which added back in a lot of the originally edited content from Gatchaman.

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    2. All the Center Neptune/7-Zark-7 stuff was added into Battle of the Planets and wasn't in the original show, not sure if it was in G-Force.

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