It’s amazing how with one DVD collection my mind can flashback to all the forgotten memories of 80’s cartoons that I had long since forgotten. Everyone remembers Thundercats, Transformers, GIJOE, and He-Man; but how many of you remember that Chuck Norris had a cartoon or Mr. T or that there was a whole Flintstone spin-off about Fred and Barney as kids? I had completely blocked all these gloriously goofy episodes of obscure cartoon nostalgia from my brain, until I popped this DVD collection in. Some of the cartoons still hold up after all these years, while others are a bit painful to watch as an adult. Which ones? Guess you’ll have to read more…
What cartoons are in this collection? Let’s get into that first. This set includes: Goldie Gold and Action Jack, Chuck Norris: Karate Commandos, The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley, The Flintstone Kids, Mister T, Kwicky Koala, Dragon’s Lair, Thundarr the Barbarian, The Biskitts, Galtar and the Golden Lance, and Monchhichis.
Goldie Gold is one that I had never heard of. It’s about the world’s richest woman and an action news reporter that search the world for adventure and intrigue. It’s like Richie Rich combined with Johnny Quest and Josie and the Pussycats. I couldn’t get into this show as much, since the real reason to re-watch these shows is for the nostalgia, so if you watched this show as a kid you’ll love it, but for me it just felt like another generic 80’s cartoon.
Chuck Norris: Karate Commando is one of the most hilariously bad cartoons I’ve ever seen. It starts off with an awkward home video looking shot of Chuck Norris in his dojo practicing a roundhouse kick and then looking directly into camera (intermittently, while clearly reading a cue card) and setting up this week’s episode. Just for fun, while watching the title sequence, I dare you to play a drinking game for every time the voice over says “Chuck Norris,” you’ll be hammered in 15 seconds. Then the “adventure” plays out with Chuck Norris revealing himself to be terrible at voice acting, all his deliveries seem bored and monotone, which just adds to how awesomely bad this show is!! This is worth watching just because you will crack up the whole 22 minutes.
The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley is awesome!!! Based on Martin Short’s SNL character and combining completely mental and hilarious non-linear adventures where Ed Grimley gets into all sorts of ridiculousness and a science lesson or two. The show takes a break on a “cliffhanger” to explain via “The Amazing Gustav Brothers” how gravity works. It’s done in a humorous and very kid-friendly way, reminding me of the days of School House Rock. Count Floyd makes an appearance every episode for the “scary story” segment, where he plays the world’s worst Vampire storyteller to an audience of bored kids. The show has a great smart sense of humor about itself and doesn’t talk down to kids, like a lot of cartoons back then and now still do. I was really impressed with how much I laughed at this little gem from the 80’s, 20-some years later.
The Flintstone Kids are adorable and like a Flintstone version of the Muppet Babies. My favorite of the 4 episodes on this disc was The Bad New Brontos, where the show mirrors the plot of a movie you may have heard of with a similar name. The show has aged quite a bit, but it was fun to watch and I remember getting a kick out of it as a kid.
Kwicky Koala is a great little show with several animated shorts that reminded me of Garfield, Heathcliffe, and cartoons in that vein. With Kwicky being the main star and other cartoon shorts featuring The Bungle Brothers- a vaudeville doggy duo, Crazy Claws- a cat whose wit is as sharp as his claws, and a hobo canine staying out of trouble from Officer Bullhorn in Dirty Dawg. The best part about this show is that each segment is super quick and so the nostalgia is given in just the right dose, as opposed to some of the other shows on this disc where you check out ten minutes in. A really fun addition to the collection.
Dragon’s Lair and Thundarr The Barbarian are the ones that seem to stand the test of time the best. It has all the best elements of 80’s cartoons we remember, action, adventure, cheesy humor, and most important pacing. The episodes kept my full attention, which could just be because I actually remember both these shows really well. But it was awesome to revisit them.
Mr. T has to be seen to be believed. It is that hilarious. The opening is Mr. T saying how his show is the best show on TV and you better watch it, then ends with him punching a shark in the face. What could be better than that? Mr. T starts each episode with a live action intro, just like Chuck Norris, and sets up each episode, only Mr. T pitties the fool who needs to use a cue card!! Mr. T and his team (not the one beginning with an A) have to find out who stole the Olympic gold medals and along the way learn to accept the new kid on their team. Mr. T also has a hilarious little red haired white kid named Spike that wants to be Mr. T and dresses and talks like him. This show is so absurd you really have to just watch it. Easily my favorite show of the set.
Rounding out the rest of the disc are: The Biskitts: a Robin Hood type cartoon with cute fluffy dogs instead, Monchhichis: a very bizarre Japanese import about these adorable little monkeys that live with a wizard up in the trees (kind of like the smurfs, but even more bizarre), and Galtar and the Golden Lance which feels like another He-Man clone.
After watching all these back to back, I realize that all the 80’s “action” cartoons follow pretty much the same formula with just interchangeable characters. There’s our main hero, that has a goofy sidekick and each episode some dastardly villain has figured out a new nefarious plot to take over the world or steal something and our hero figures out a way to defeat them and teach a life lesson along the way, like teamwork saves the day for example or accept the new kid in school. What this collection does that’s smart is combine a bunch of random cartoons in one set. I could re-watch any single episode from a cartoon of the 80’s and love it. If you love 80’s nostalgia, this is like a buffet of cartoons we remember and just enough to make us sit back and reflect on those early Saturday mornings where we rushed to the TV to watch the latest silly adventure, but not the burden or price of bringing out the entire series on DVD. I am perfectly happy only revisiting one episode of Mr. T, I don’t need the whole deluxe box set. So kudos to Warner Bros. for bringing out a fun set with such a random collection. I recommend this for the 80’s kid in all of us.
Lords of Light! Thundarr The Barbarian- a featurette that goes into how Thundarr came about and why it’s still popular now.