Do you remember Donatello? How about Gargamel and Azrael? Optimus Prime? If any of these names sound familiar, more than likely you were a child of the 1980s. This amazing decade brought a plethora of new and original cartoons to television. These are cartoons that left such a lasting impression on children of the time that they still carry a fondness for the shows today as adults. We all had our favorite shows, the ones we could barely stand to wait an entire week to watch again. Here are some of the top cartoon TV shows of the 1980’s.
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe
He-Man and his band of unlikely heroes, defend the planet Eternia against the evil and corrupt Skeletor, who resides at the ominous Castle Grayskull. He-Man came off the heels of movies like Conan and Star Wars, emulating the same fantasy setting and good versus evil storyline. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe series became a stellar hit. The cartoon birthed its own toy line and live action movie.
Premiering in 1985, ThunderCats was an instant hit among children of all ages. The story follows a group of cat-like humanoids and their perilous adventures, after escaping their dying home world Thundera. The ThunderCats cartoon lasted four seasons and produced 120 episodes. A new ThunderCats series resurfaced in 2011.
Transformers were first a successful Japanese toy line in the early 1980s, which were transformed into a top-notch cartoon show in 1984. The premise, a war between the Autobots and the Decepticons , with earth as their new battleground. The show was a rave hit for kids of the generation and is probably one of the most recognizable franchises of that decade.
Disney’s Adventures of the Gummi Bears
Based on the gummi bear candies, this Disney cartoon debuted in the fall of 1985. Gummi Bears are magical and bouncy creatures who use their abilities to protect themselves against the evil Duke Sigmond Igthorn. Duke Igthorn has one goal on his mind, which is to find the secret of Gummiberry Juice. If Duke Igthorn could get his hands on the secret of Gummiberry Juice, it would allow him inhuman power and strength.
If any single cartoon could define the 1980s, the Smurfs would be that cartoon. It is still considered as one of the longest running cartoons on Saturday morning TV. Smurfs first came on the scene in 1958 as a comic strip and were very popular in Belgium. However, it would not be until 1981 that the Smurfs would become a pop culture sensation in North America and launch a merchandising tsunami of toys, games and even an Ice Capades act. The Smurfs cartoon centers on the adventures of the Smurfs and their continuing struggle to avoid capture by Gargamel, a wizard wanting to turn them into a potion to make gold.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles started as a comic book series and flourished into a successful children’s cartoon series. The story of four turtles, who stumble into toxic ooze that transforms them into human sized bipeds with martial arts abilities, was an instant sensation on TV. The show ran from 1987-1996 and spawned four live action films and a toy line.
These are just a few of the top cartoon TV shows of the 1980’s. Darkwing Duck, Goof Troop and many others, would fit just as well in this small compilation.