As I am a child from the 80s generation, I can fondly remember many of the animated shows (cartoons) listed below. Some I watched Saturday mornings and other I watched after getting home from school. A good dose of nostalgia and be found in these top ten 80’s cartoons so take a moment and watch a few fond memories. Please comment on your favorites. As always these top ten lists aren’t perfect but the criteria was based on longevity, cultural impact and “coolness”. Hopefully everyone will find a few cartoons they agree with.
10. Inspector Gadget
It’s a case of laughter in the first degree.
Inspector Gadget is a classic cartoon. Don Adams, of Get Smart fame, is the voice of the goodhearted but bumbling Inspector. He had it all, from rocket skates to that car with an easy chair in the back seat. This show would have been better if the entire series had more of a plot arc because then maybe every episode wouldn’t have been the same. Chief Quimby gives Gadget assignments but the real detectives are Penny, his niece, and Brain, his loyal dog. Penny and Brain always solve the case, tie up the criminals and save Gadget’s life time and time again. – DragonMasterHiro
9. Dungeon & Dragons
With Ralph Mouth from Happy Days doing a voice-over how could this cartoon not entertain?
I grew up watching this back in the 80’s and since I’ve been in college I’ve had the privilege of getting the series through a collector basis. This is arguably one of the greatest animated series of the 80’s, I refuse to call it a cartoon because it is so much more than that! It had great voice actors like Willie Aames(Charles In Charge) and Don Most(Happy Days) providing life to the characters. The theme of the series was that a group of young teenagers and little Bobby go on a rollercoaster ride called Dungeons & Dragons it transforms them to another land in a different time. They try to get home with the guiding wisdom of Dungeon Master(Sidney Miller) and fight off various antagonists along the way, mainly the evil Venger! – John Barnum
8. Battle of the Planets
Should have been called Battle of the Birdmen, but not as catchy, I guess.
Battle of the Planets surely is the best cartoon series ever made. With it’s hauntingly brilliant theme tune, terrific animation and superb story lines, this cartoon had it all. Originally taken from a 70’s Japanese cartoon called Gatchaman, Battle of the Planets ran for an incredible 85 episodes. Who remembers these immortal words “Battle of the Planets, G-Force, 5 incredible young people with superpowers. And watching over them from Center Neptune, 7-Zark-7. Watching, warning against surprise attacks by alien galaxies from beyond space. G-Force, fearless young orphans, protecting Earth’s entire galaxy, always by acting as one. Dedicated, inseparable, Invincible!” – rthornsby
7. He-man and the Masters of the Universe
Not the most creative name, but you get the point of the show…to sell toys!
A world filled with fantastical creatures, buff men in underwear, talking animals, and beautiful women. This cartoon stuck with me more than any other cartoon from my childhood. Each episode was original. They consistently created new stories, and each one had a good message at the end, telling kids things that will help them in life. It lasted two seasons. The artwork was fantastic, the animation even puts many cartoons of today to shame. Most cartoons from the early 80s, when I watch them today only seem repetitive and somewhat boring, leaving me wondering why I liked them so much. But He-Man was genius, and it is just as fresh today as it was back then. – morton grimp
6. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Who knew reptiles fighting alongside a rat in the sewers would be kid-cartoon hit?
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series is one of My favorites of the 1980s animated programs. When it was on I watched it as much as I could! It has very good animation, cool characters, some humor, great music, and awesome action. The characters are really neat. All of the the Turtles are great, April is so good, Splinter is so spiritual, and Shredder is excellent. I loved how all of the characters have great personalities. In My opinion I don’t think there will be a cartoon like this again because it was one of a kind! If you like the Turtles movies but never saw the series and are able to watch it on television or buy it on tapes then do so because the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon is a classic! – Movie Nuttball
5. Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends
Classic Saturday morning cartoon, but using Iceman and Firestar seems like an odd choice.
I suppose most Spidey fans must despise this show because of it’s rather small connection to the comics, but the main reason I liked it was because Spidey got Iceman (Bobby Drake) and Firestar (Angelica Jones) from the X-Men on his side, Iceman was mostly a neglected character in the Marvel Universe although he was one of the original 5 X-Men. Firestar didn’t even exist until she was introduced into the show, but she later made her first comic appearance in Uncanny X-Men #193 . For the most part I watched the show because Iceman was my favorite superhero, Spider-Man still kicks ass though, Firestar was pretty cool..or should I say hot… I really enjoyed the show and you should check it out although by today’s standards, this show is considered 80’s trash to new fans, it is a guilty pleasure of mine and many other Spider-Man fans. – ICEMANMUTANTX
Cats & mummies, at least there was an Egyptian theme of sorts.
When I was young, there were many television shows on air that I watched and enjoyed. They certainly don’t make them like they used to. But there was one show in particular that made me excited. One show that never failed to entertain me and keep me quiet for a while. Thundercats. Even the title sounds intriguing. Thundercats was an original, inventive, dynamic series that was just impossible to dislike. The adventures of these heroic creatures, who resembled something in between a human and a feline, were enjoyable and addictive, and, most of all, great fun. – Devyalento Latchford Deschanel
3. The Smurfs
It pains me to put them this high on the top 10 list, as I loathe them. I want to “smurf” them all.
Of all the kids shows I used to watch years ago, this was an all-time heavyweight of afternoon programming. Well fleshed out characters, interactions, conflict and social re-acquaintance. If I ever end up with kids of my own, this will be amongst the paraphernalia floating around the living-room.
One of my favorite factors today however, as I often sit drinking and observing is the underlying basis of it all, oblivious in childhood, and perhaps a nerve-racking experience for caffeine-addled parents of the Cold War. After all, The Smurfs DID co-exist in a quaint, idealistic Communist utopia of equality and collective value, complete with sharp historical figures and the giant, hideous, ever-present threat emanating just beyond the woods from Gargomel’s castle (capitalism). The knowledgeable theories are fast and thick. The evidence is bloody undeniable! – artrae-2
2. GI Joe
Thankfully this cartoon helped supply our armed forces and will for generations to come.
I don’t want to sound like a sadist or cheap thrill seeker, but one would think that a show depicting two large armed forces continuously battling over the globe would suffer casualties. Planes were constantly shot down, but no one ever died. Highly unrealistic, and with Robotech showing at the same time, GI Joe lost its edge. It may have been more popular than Robotech, but couldn’t maintain interest for very long. …and then there’s the episode where Cobra has a high-powered laser, and- no, doesn’t try to destroy Joe- attempts to carve the Cobra logo onto the face of the moon. What an effective use of technology and power! Graffiti! – Robert Morgan
Not a surprise really, but robots that turn into cars and trucks seems a bit ridiculous.
Transformers (1984) is the greatest cartoon of all-time. No doubt about that. It is an A ++ in my book and #1. Besides of never getting tired of the toys, I never get tired of watching it on DVD. Other than excellent storylines, humor, and a good musical score, this cartoon had the best voice talent there is. For example, you had Peter Cullen (Optimus Prime, Ironhide), Frank Welker (Megatron, Soundwave), Casey Kasem (Bluestreak, Cliffjumper), Gregg Berger (Skyfire, Grimlock), Chris Latta (Starscream, Wheeljack), Don Messick (Gears, Ratchet), Scatman Crothers (Jazz), John Stephenson (Huffer, Thundercracker), and many more. The list goes on and on and etc.. Transformers G1 is an all-time classic done by Marvel and Sunbow. No other Transformer series, such as Armada and Robots In Disguise, will ever beat the original. – Rooblakas