Cartoons are a staple of childhood. Pretty much everyone has their favourites and, really, how many times over the years has a conversation started with “do you remember this (insert name of cartoon here)” and then ends with someone humming the theme tune?
I can name at least two conversations that I have had over the last week and, I’ll be honest, these conversations (for me anyway) led to marathon YouTube sessions of watching cartoon intros and theme songs and you know what? I am not ashamed of my awesome nerdy actions (as I am sure the phrase awesome nerdy actions gave away).
Now, being a child of the 80s, I personally got treated to the gold standard of cartoons. None of this Pokemon business of the 90s – which is not bad to be fair but really it doesn’t live up to the cartoon behemoths of the 80s like He-Man, Transformers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to name a few.
Ask not what the 80’s can do for you, but what they can do for cartoons…
The 70s introduced the UK to Manga and the 80s kicked up children’s programming a few notches and delivered show after show of action packed consumer driven content that kids were hooked on before they had even reached the first commercial break. But don’t be mistaken, as excellent as the cartoons were back then, they were just beards for rampant toy selling.
Now some people may thumb their noses at 80s cartoons for this very reason but personally it doesn’t bother me at all. Most of the cartoons had rocking theme tunes, the action ones were fairly violent and full of said action, they were cheesy in a way that begged to be watched over and over and, I am not going to lie, getting to watch a one horned demon fight a five headed dragon definitely had my attention.
So toy selling aside, the 80s didn’t suck as far as cartoons were concerned. The 90s and the 00’s didn’t suck either but that is a whole other article waiting to be written…Ren and Stimpy anyone?
One of the things that I liked about the cartoon programming was that there was a lot of choice and there really was something for everyone.
For those seeking action there was: Transformers, MASK, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Pole Position, Thundercats, Defenders of the Earth, Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors, Spiderman and his Amazing Friends, Dungeons & Dragons, BraveStarr and many more.
For humour there was The Raccoons, Rude Dog and the Dweebs, Bananaman, The Jetsons, Captain Caveman, Danger Mouse, Dogtanian and the Three Muskerhounds, Inspector Gadget and a ton more of those too.
There were even plenty of cartoons dedicated to girls looking for something other than Robots and cartoons that were not based on another planet or reality…(girls other than me).
Some of these marvels included She-Ra (which I admit I was into), Jem (also into…oh dear maybe I didn’t escape the pink awesome girl-fest they had going on in the 80s), Care Bears, Gummi Bears, My Little Pony (skinny and bony), Moon Dreamers, Rainbow Brite, Poochie and the list goes on and on.
There are tons that I have left out and lots of sub categories etc., but I am sure if you were glued to the screen way back then you can fill in the blanks.
Not only did these cartoons sell toys to children like they were crack babies fixing for the latest Battle Cat or Transformer, they also spawned movie franchises, some successful for instance Transformers (those films make bank) and some not so successful …I am talking about the likes of He-Man, which had Dolph Lundgreen prancing around in next to nothing with a giant sword…(sounds more like a porn film than it actually was) and I hate to say it but I am fairly sure that Michael (nothing is sacred) Bay’s take on Teenage Mutant Ninja (scratch the Ninja…I mean Alien) Turtles is going to be a pretty sad excuse for a movie too.
These cartoons have had a massive influence on popular culture and many catchphrases are still quoted fairly heavily today (mainly by people my age, in some kind of inebriated state).
Anyway without further ado and “By the power of Greyskull” (I’m not drunk, promise!), I bring you my top 10 80s cartoons.
9. Jayce And The Wheeled Warriors
8. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
7. Master Of The Universe
5. Mysterious Cities Of Gold
(which inconsequentially and in my opinion had the best theme tune)
3. Ulysses 31
1. Dungeons & Dragons
Now I realise that most of you reading this probably won’t agree on my top 10, so sound off below and let me know what your top toons of the 80s are.Tags: 80's cartoons, brave starr, dungeons & dragons, m.a.s.k., masters of the universe, mysterious cities of gold, teenage mutant ninja turtles, transformers, ulysses 31