When it comes to cartoons, 80's kids had it good. They subsisted on what was probably the best decade for all things animated, with tons of cartoons for both boys and girls to enjoy. But while we rave about classics like He-Man, Transformers, and even BraveStarr and Care Bears, there are some cartoons that may have flown past your radar but were just as awesome.
So join me as we look at 5 awesome 80's cartoons you probably don't remember but should!
While packaged together with such luminaries like Street Frogs and Karate Kat, TigerSharks was obviously the only one worth your younger self's time. TigerSharks featured the same great animation from Rankin/Bass (who also made their better-known brothers and sisters Thundercats and Silverhawks), cool character designs (Team leader Mako's shark/human hybrid design was glorious), and memorable villains. And who didn't want their very own Fish Tank to transform in?
Check out that intro! You know your city's crime rate is bad when you've got goons with machine guns in their chests shooting out with beat cops packing laser bazookas. C.O.P.S. was like a crazy mash-up of G.I. Joe and Police Academy, filled to the brim with badass characters on both sides of the law. The stories were simple fun, but it was the cops and crooks that populate it that made it awesome. My favorite by far was the C.O.P.S. leader Baldwin P. Vess, a tough-as-nails (literally) cop fighting crime in a future time. Makes you wonder what kind of crooks you got in your city when the sight of a buff black dude in sunglasses who happens to be a bulletproof cyborg doesn't scare the crime rate way down.
The dubious practicality of moving around mountains using precariously perched wires aside, Sky Commanders was pretty exciting for a cartoon, as almost every episode could end with people horribly plunging to their deaths on the rocky canyon below. Sky Commanders had a great, diverse cast (if not a bit on the stereotype side) and big bad General Plague sounded delightfully evil (thanks to Bernard Erhard's voice work), not to mention all that cool high-wire action and suspense made you want to buy the toys (which meant the cartoon's doing its job!).
Proof positive that nobody cared for the mental health of 80's kids was Inhumanoids, that insane cartoon that took your nightmares and turned them into a cynically fun 13-episode series. It chronicled the adventures of the Earth Corps, a group of scientist heroes, as they battled the Inhumanoids, monstrosities from beneath the earth's crust that could only come from the mind of HP Lovecraft.
Inhumanoids was 2freaky4me even as a kid, as episodes featured, among other unspeakable things, innocent people being trapped in a monster's hollow ribcage and a giant demon trying to seduce the Statue of Liberty. Even the opening song, with the growling demonic voice chanting a guttural "Inhumanoids! Inhumanoids!" on cue still creep me out to this day.
Some of you may scratch your heads and go "Who?" But you'd do well to remember this French-Japanese animated series. Basically the Odyssey in space, Ulysees 31 featured Greek gods acting like assholes in a sci-fi setting. Poor Ulysees was banished to the farthest reaches of space ala Star Trek: Voyager for pissing off space Poseidon, who cursed his crew to deep slumber until he can find the realm of Hades and return home.
The cartoon was memorable for its trippy English intro and its dark themes of isolation and regret. But what I mostly remember is him rockin' the Bee Gees beard and being a bad enough dude to have an honest-to-goodness god hate his guts.
Do you have any favorite 80's cartoon that deserved mention in this list? Leave me a comment below and let's talk about it! Watch out for more 80's goodness as we celebrate 80's Week here at Behold the Geek! Thanks for reading!