I am a child of the ’80s.
I remember when MTV actually showed music videos. I wore day-glo shirts, banana clips and jelly bracelets. I wanted to be an astronaut… until I saw the “Challenger” explode. I carried my lunch in a Smurf lunchbox. But most of all, I remember voluntarily getting up early on Saturday morning to watch cartoons.
With all this talk about rebooting certain franchises these days, I started thinking back to all the cartoons I used to watch as a kid, wondering how they would be if some of them got a fresh, modern look. Would they crash and burn like some of the big screen reboots (I’m looking at you GI Joe)? Or would new animation techniques give an old show new life?
The following are some of my favorite ’80s cartoons which might make pretty decent remakes… if done correctly of course. I’m not really going into why I think they deserve a second chance, because most of my argument would consist of “because I liked it.”
1. Dungeons & Dragons
Long before I was introduced to the RPG of the same name, I fell in love with this little gem. It lasted only three short seasons, from 1983-1986, with just 27 episodes before it was shelved. I did not know it then, but it was apparently named the most violent show on television network at one point. I don’t remember the violence. I just remember being captivated by the idea of getting sucked into a magical world and given nifty magical objects to help you on your journey home (which, come to think of it, sounds a lot like the Chronicles of Narnia, which I also loved). I adored Sheila. I wanted her invisi-cloak so bad. And how could a girl not love Uni, the baby unicorn?
The illegitimate love child of GI Joe (which I hated) and Transformers (which I adored), M.A.S.K. was one of those cartoons created specifically to sell a toy line. Though I did not include Transformers on my list (because, hey… once live-action Transformers hit the screen, a cartoon remake would seem pale by comparison), M.A.S.K. I think would do well if remade today. I enjoyed it. I mean, let’s face it. Transforming ordinary vehicles into super-powered weapons to fight evil is a lot more believable than transforming ordinary vehicles into robots from outer space. My brother had some of the toys, which were fun. OK. Fine. I admit it. I wanted my own T-Bob.
3. Jem and the Holograms
I did not watch this one when it first aired. I didn’t really care much for the concept, and I was far too into Barbie to want the Jem dolls. I don’t remember why I started watching it in the first place, but when I did, it caught my fancy. Here was a young woman, Jerrica, the owner of a music company, who was also secretly a superstar singer who changes her appearance with the help of a holographic computer. Jem was the original Hannah Montana, only, you know… cool. I never did get any of the dolls, but the cartoon was a lot of fun. And the love “triangle” between Rio and Jerrica/Jem? I lived for the day he would find out the truth. I’m sad to say I don’t remember if he ever did.
4. Lazer Tag Academy
I loved this stupid show. I don’t know why. I never owned or played the game it was based off. It was very short, only 13 episodes. Maybe it was the whole “girl power” thing it had going for it… a girl travels back in time to save her female ancestor from being killed because she’d one day invent the nifty little “gun” that made time travel possible. Maybe I just have better memories of the show than it actually was in real life.
Come on. You know you’d love to see ThunderCats done Avatar-style. HO!
Another short-lived, 13-episode show. And yet, I can still sing the entire theme song. An exiled princess, a magical talking horse, a mystical kingdom. I was a 10-year-old girl. How could I not love this show?
7. Pole Position
I have suddenly realized I must have had a thing for talking cars back in the day. Knight Rider, Transformers, Pole Position …. OK, maybe not TurboTeen. Fancy talking cars that are used to fight crime. Hell yeah. I can imagine an update version looking a little like the Speed Racer movie, but hopefully not as cheesy. Or maybe cheesy could work to its advantage.
Talking dinosaurs from outer space. Four human kids are in on the secret and have special rings that give them magic powers. It came on after school and I can remember daydreaming in class, wondering what the next episode would be, making up my own Dinosaucers stories in my head. I have absolutely no idea why I liked this show, but I can credit it for my first forays into fanfiction.
9. The Littles
Little creatures, big world. And they had tails! Come to think of it, this might actually work as a live-action show too.
10. Galaxy High
A jock and a nerdy girl become outer-space exchange students and find their roles weirdly reversed. Yet another one season-wonder, but I can still sing the theme song to this one too.
Saturday morning and after school cartoons are a thing of the past, sadly. I blame cable. I think I have nine channels devoted exclusively to kids content, and from what I’ve seen… *yawn*. Kids programs these days have to have morals and lessons. Cartoons in the ’80s had these too, but they also had action. Or perhaps I’ve just grown up too much. Thank God for anime/Adult Swim. Now I can have my cartoons and adult content too. Er, wait… that sounded wrong.
If you could pick, which ’80s cartoon would you bring back?