Various readers have been commenting on their favorite cartoons, so I felt that I needed to do this. For all my fellow children of the 80s, here’s a little trip down memory lane as I delve down to the bottom of the proverbial Saturday morning barrel of our childhood.

Children of the 80s all remember Saturday morning (and weekday afternoon) cartoons back in their glory days. Certain big names come to mind, of course: Transformers, GI Joe, Thundercats. Well, today I’m not talking about those guys. I’m talking about the other guys – those Saturday morning cartoons that are well nigh forgotten. They exist merely as shadowy memories locked away in dark corners of our minds. Let me resurrect some of those vapors and breathe life into them once more.

I’m going to list off and (thanks to the marvels of the internet) provide you with video links for a number of reasonably obscure 80s cartoons. Many of these shows had toy tie-ins; some only lasted a few episodes. If you weren’t born between roughly 1970 and 1985, you won’t remember ANY of these titles, but if you did indeed grow up in the 80s, then I want you to play along in a little game.

For each title, give yourself…

1 point for every show you vaguely remember seeing or watching
2 points for every show you definitely remember watching or watched religiously
3 points for having owned one or two of the toys from the show
5 points for having owned almost all of the toys in the show’s toy line OR a copy of the show on VHS or Betamax (and yes, episodes taped off TV most definitely count)

Without further ado, let’s dig into this delicious bucket of trash.

1 – BlackstarCLICK HERE TO WATCH!!!

A precursor to He-Man, Blackstar was an earlier creation of Filmation (the same dudes that later made our blond friend so popular). The show ran for only 13 episodes in 1981, with a toy line by Galoob.

Blackstar was basically He-Man … with black hair. He, too, was a human on an alien planet who owned half of a power sword and fought an evil, ugly guy who possessed the other half of said power sword, etc. According to legend, Filmation originally wanted to make Blackstar actually black, but the network said no. In the show, he nevertheless remains notably swarthier than his fair-haired successor, He-Man.

In a weird twist of fate, Blackstar’s toy line remained on the shelves many years after the show ended. Galoob was desperate to ride the successful He-Man wave and sell a few toys to confused grandmas.

2 – Jayce and the Wheeled WarriorsCLICK HERE TO WATCH!!!

Oh boy. I vaguely remembered this one from my childhood – a fuzzy image of Saw Boss burned itself permanently in my neo cortex – but I forgot the name of the series until recently. This was one of the many shows produced by DiC in 1985, based on a rather crummy toy line from Mattel. The show was much better than the toy, and actually lasted for 65 whole episodes. (Though 65 episodes was just one season in cartoon land back then. Wild, huh?)


This was another 1985 show based on a rather crummy, overly generic toy line (this time from Hasbro). Robotix never even had its own show; it only ran as six-minute shorts during the Super Sunday show. And even then, it didn’t last long.

4- InhumanoidsCLICK HERE TO WATCH!!!

Another six-minute job from Super Sunday, this time dating to 1986. Inhumanoids was also based on a Hasbro toy line. The toys kicked. If the ghostly cry of “DECOMPOOOOOOOOOSE!!!” means anything to you, you know you’re a child of the 80s. Note the theme song, which is an obvious rip-off of the Transformers intro.

5 – Kidd VideoCLICK HERE TO WATCH!!!

What can I say? This one was just awful. No toy line. No decency. Just pure rot, dating back to ‘84. And yet there are fond memories here for me. The intro is just too painfully dated to watch now. I have to avert my eyes. Still, those white suspenders ARE strangely appealing. What’s the concept? A terrible 80s band is sucked into a cartoon universe and befriends a fairy who dresses like Jennifer Beals from Flashdance. So I guess it’s not all bad.


This one is about the most popular show on my list, which isn’t saying much. M.A.S.K. was cool: sort of Transformery, sort of A-Teamy, sort of lots of things. The series was also made by DiC from ’85 – ’86, based on a toy line by Kenner. They hit 75 episodes. That’s 63 episodes more than Fawlty Towers, and if you think that’s proof there is no God, then you’re right.

Speaking of M.A.S.K., my brother and I used to love a similar series of toys by Namco called Mantech . They were blatant rip-offs of the M.A.S.K. concept. Then again, M.A.S.K. was just a blatant rip-off of many other things. Mantech never even managed to get a show of its own. We’re talking INSANELY obscure here. For what it’s worth, the Mantech toys were really fun. You could replace a dude’s arms with heads. Hours of entertainment.

7 – The Wuzzles CLICK HERE TO WATCH!!!

A show produced by a little company named Disney, the Wuzzles was their first foray into the world of high-budget Saturday morning cartoons. (Ducktales was their second.) This one wasn’t very popular, and lasted only 13 epsiodes. They had some stuffed animal toy tie-ins, if I recall.

8 – Sectaurs CLICK HERE TO WATCH!!!

Sectaurs ran only as a miniseries in 1985, but it was based on an awesome, awesome toy line by Coleco. My brother and I were huge Sectaurs fans. He owned all the good guys. I owned all the bad guys. Together, we found a kind of balance. I wish I still had some of those toys kicking around, but I unfortunately sold some of them at a garage sale and lit fire to Skito, my last Sectaur, when I was seventeen with my friend Nick’s help. We’re still ashamed to admit this.

9 – Visionaries CLICK HERE TO WATCH!!!

Based on a toy line by Hasbro, Visionaries ran for a whopping 13 episodes in 1987. I never owned any Visionaries. My brother and I were followers of the Supernaturals , an even LESS popular hologram toy line by Tonka. Holograms were so quintessentially 80s in nature, weren’t they?

10 – Bravestarr CLICK HERE TO WATCH!!!

This one was Filmation’s swan song. The studio closed down shortly after Bravestarr was created in 1987. The series actually reached some level of popularity, though it only ran for one season of 65 episodes. The toys were physically huge – almost Barbie-scaled – and quite hefty. Thirty/Thirty (the horse) looked rather dweebish in toy form, but man did he kick butt in the show.

I still remember this kid in grade six gym who used to yell “Speed of the puma!” whenever he had to run anywhere. Fond, fond memories.

11 – Dinoriders CLICK HERE TO WATCH!!!

When this show ran in the heady days of 1988 (for all of 14 episodes), I desperately wanted the Tyrannosaurus Rex toy. He was huge. He cost 80 bucks. I ended up getting the Triceratops for my birthday. That didn’t really cut it, but what was I going to do? I was some snot-nosed ten year-old with no money.

The T-Rex was so cool. How cool, you may ask? Well, apparently the Smithsonian (yes, THAT Smithsonian) was so impressed with the dinosaur molds that they partnered up with Tyco, the makers of Dinoriders, to re-release the toys as Smithsonian-endorsed dinosaur action figures. The Smithsonian ones didn’t have motorized walking ability, though. The Dinoriders ones did. And it was awesome.

Mind-blowing fact: the T-Rex from Toy Story is based on the Smithsonian-altered T-Rex toy from Dinoriders! Seriously!

12 – Denver the Last Dinosaur CLICK HERE TO WATCH!!!

Continuing with the post-‘Land Before Time’ dinosaur boom of ’88, we have Denver, the Last Dinosaur. Just listen to that theme song. That theme song didn’t mess around. Best. Theme song. Ever. You’ll be singing it weeks from now. The show (all 52 epiodes of it) sucked dino droppings, but the song still echoes in the hollow chamber of my skull. No toy line here. Just a bad show with a killer theme song.

13 – Bionic Six CLICK HERE TO WATCH!!!

Hey, you want another good theme song? Here you go. Just take a look at the opening intro animation here: it kicks ass. Now watch the episode. Notice the meteoric drop in quality? That’s a hallmark of 80s cartoon shows.

Anyway, Bionic Six ran from ’87-’89 for 65 episodes of bionic family goofiness. This show was great. I like how the hot blonde daughter and the hot brunette mom look like they’re the same age – about twenty-five by my reckoning. Bionic indeed.

The toy line from LJN (yes, that LJN) featured die-cast metal action figures. They had some real weight to them, and were really good for throwing at other kids during recess.

(Man, I’m STILL humming that tune. Now that’s music!)

14 – SilverHawks CLICK HERE TO WATCH!!!

Okay, no one remembers these guys, but they were WAY better than the Thundercats. Just watch the intro, man. WATCH THAT INTRO. Thundercats had NOTHING on this. These guys date from 1986. Yes, they were clones of the Thundercats, but they were cool clones, and I loved them. I watched this show like it was the second coming of Christ in neon lights.

They lasted for the usual slate of 65 episodes, and had a toy line by Kenner.


Let it be said that Buttons McBoomBoom is the coolest concept for a bad guy ever. A gangster? In a pinstripe suit? With machine guns inside his chest? Check, check and triple check. Too bad the parent groups objected to his high-calibre presence and reduced him to a bit player in the series.

The show ran from ’88 to ’89 for a grand total of 66 episodes by DiC. The toys were fantastically cool, and came with guns that fired caps. Ah, the whiff of gunpowder.

And that wraps it up. We’ve gone from ’81 to ’89, so it’s time to add up those scores:

10 or under: you’re simply not a true child of the 80s
11 – 20: I’d say average.
21 – 25: Did you do anything OTHER than watch Saturday morning TV?
26 – 30: Official Saturday Morning TV Zombie
31 – 35: Sergeant of Cheese
36 – 39: 80s Pop Culture Warlock
40 or higher: Let me just say that I’m duly impressed. In a sad sort of way.

And for the record, I scored 45. Let me know if you top that.

Oh, and as a bonus link, be sure to check out the greatest 80s cartoon that never actually existed: SPACE STALLIONS!!! Seriously, though, watch this one. It’ll change your life.