The Top 20 forgotten 80’s Baby Cartoons

My last post focused on those great cartoons that any body born in the 80’s should know about because they either grew up on it, or came across it in their continuing adult years (because you know all 80’s babies watch some kind of cartoon even in adulthood). Hence, why there were some cartoons on that list that made their debut in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. We were all still big kids then.

This time, I’d like to get more 80’s-90’s specific and give you

The Top 20 forgotten 80’s Baby cartoons

20) King Arthur & The Knights Of Justice 

All I remember is that this was about a high school football team that got turned into Super Powered Knights of Camelot. Each had their own strength. And I love a good story based off of individualized distribution of team strength. Now, what channel this came on?? Ask me if I know…

19) Gravedale High 

More high school based individualism in the realm of a diverse cast of characters. This time being all teen versions of classic ghouls and goons like mummies and Franken-kids. This was on ABC I think. I remember having kids meal toys of them from one of those fast food places.

18) Barnyard Commandos 

Believe it or not, this concept is even weirder than the one above. Dueling farm animals with high tech military gear? Crazier still, Sheeps and Rams versus Pigs and Hogs?? The toys were Dope tho. And I do remember seeing them everywhere. They were like battle ready Chia Pets.

17) Inhumanoids 

A really traumatizing cartoon with an even more traumatizing theme song, this spin-off of the Centurions probably got someone fired, but it was the most different thing out. And how cool is it that the monsters were the good guys, fighting other monsters? Yet and still, it was strange as fuck.

16) TigerSharks 

A deliberate play off the whole humans-as-animals and human-like animals craze that was popular in the 80’s, this cartoon was apart of some cheesy line-up called “The Comic Strip”. Which means I had to sit through some crap called Karate Cat and 3 other womp-worthy toons just to get to this show. It was just an underwater Thundercats, but with aquatic life instead of felines. It was pretty Ill tho.

15) Captain Bucky O’Hare 

Oh boy. A space bunny. Channel 9 in New York. Nuff said. This isn’t number 15 because it’s better than any of the above mentions, I just figure more of you may have heard of this than the others.

14) Jayce & The Wheeled Warriors 

Teenager. Far off planet. Futuristic machines with spikes. Sounds like a winning cartoon recipe for any boy. The art and animation here were greatly detailed.

13) Widget The World Watcher 

Funny looking alien with a humble purpose. Once again, I just figured you’ve heard this name before moreso than the others. Channel 9 strikes again…

12) Hammer-Man 

Ok. So this is not technically a forgotten cartoon. Just one that we’d like to forget.

11)Bots Master 

I feel like no one else in the world has ever seen this cartoon. I used to watch this before going to school every weekday morning, and it was so special that one needed 3-D glasses to really get the special effects when the action sequences kicked in. It was ahead of it’s time.


Comic book artist Jim Lee left Marvel comics to start this title which came off as an amalgamation of all the titles that he helped while he was there, complete with busty superheroines with skimpy outfits and heroes with cybernetic parts. This cartoon was cool for comic fans, but slow and lacking personality as an animated series.

9) M.A.S.K. 

I bet you’ve seen these toys around or saw the commercials for them and didn’t even realized that you knew this cartoon. An example of the merchandise outdoing the actual show. But the fact that these vehicles were cooler than those riding in them was really the selling point.

8) Kid N Play 

Yep. They had one too. Right around the time New Kids On The Block did. They actually used their real music and got through situations by rapping and dancing. Go figure.

7) Go-Bots 

This started as the Challenge of The Go-Bots, and was cable’s answer to the Transformers. Much like the fake Ghostbusters cartoon that came out around the same time, this was missing key elements that made the series which they tried to model. For starters, how can you compete to a whole arsenal of vehicles when you only boast 3 main characters – a sportscar, a fighter plane and a…scooter?

6) Captain N The Gamemaster 

This was the coolest thing since sliced bread when the preview debuted. This was back when they reserved special space on the primetime T.V. slots to premiere the new saturday morning cartoon line-up. You couldn’t tell any boy (or male in general) in the 1980’s that there was about to be a cartoon based on and featuring all of the top Nintendo game characters about a kid who got sucked into the game without them spazzing in excitement! Somehow, this was a disturbing theme in these cartoons; kids getting ripped away from their homes to live in fantasy worlds. Wonder if the runaway rates skyrocketed back then?

5) Pro-Stars 

Yes. Once upon a time, there was a cartoon about Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, and Bo Jackson being super-powered athletes who save the day. Who woulda thunk?

4) SilverHawks 

Another entry in the vein of the human-animals, animal-human concept, but the second coolest one. This actually worked. With a memorable battlecry to bat. “Tally-Ho!”

3) Reboot 

In my brief recollection, the first cartoon besides Transformers; Beast Wars that was totally animated digitally. This was a loose and uninteresting story for a kid and sometimes felt all over the place. But what it did for the genre of animation makes it  groundbreaking and important. It also was significant for introducing and foreshadowing all the computer language that we were about to begin to implement into our lexicon.

2) Toxic Crusaders 

How cool was this show?? A nerd who gets pushed into toxic waste, becomes super strong but grotesque, fights crime with a mop, hangs out with a gang of freaks like him and STILL gets the girl??!

1) Dungeons and Dragons 

The epitome of that recurring theme in 80’s and 90’s cartoons about a motley crew of teens snatched from their homes and transported into some fantasy realm. The fantasy realm in this case being the land of the uber popular board game that kept many-a-nerd entertained and dateless. This was pretty dark, but employed similar animation as the original animated Lord Of The Rings movie, if not the same animation. And of course, each kid became a character with his or her own strengths and powers. You’ve definitely seen this one at least once.

20 80’s Baby Cartoons You Should Know!

I came across IGN‘s old list of the 100 greatest cartoons of all time, and I found several fatal flaws in their construction. For one, they felt compelled to list everything that’s ever been animated all in the same forum. This means  hardcore anime and adult programming were all thrown into the same heap as stuff like The Smurfs. Also, they attempted to span all across animation history instead of choosing a specific era, yet somehow their timeline seems to have started in the 70’s up to 2008. And perhaps this is their place and they are the authority to do so. They aimed to encompass all the most important groundbreaking cartoons in media so naturally, there was a need to highlight The Flintstones and Family Guy and Rocky And Bullwinkle. However, since I gather that most of you who visit this site belong to the same age range as I, I’m more interested in showing love to the greatest period of cartoon development ever!! The 80’s and 90’s. I’m not as moved to bias as one would believe. My outlook that 80’s babies were born in the perfect slot along the time-space continuum is not a product of my being one. I’ve questioned myself and have come to the conclusion that even if I was born at some other point, I’d probably have to admit that those born in the 80’s have the best of both worlds in most things. This is no truer than in the realm of entertainment and access. We’re cusp kids. We remember typewriters, but are the consumer market for whom iPads are geared. We remember Deloreans as the original vehicles with suicide doors. We were there for the beginning of rap and made rap what it is now. And our cartoons weren’t all stiff and watered down, nor were they all outsourced and digitized to the detriment of color and variety. For the record, I know they’re hugely popular, but sorry – you won’t see any G.I. Joe, Voltron, Dragon Ball Z, Pokemon or He-Man on any of these lists. They just are really God-Awful cartoons. With that, I give you 20 cartoons you should re-acquaint yourself with

20) Jem  Although not exactly a force for the feminist movement, it was nonetheless cool to have something close to a female action title along the line-up of boy-friendly icons. The simplisitic and glam-centric storylines involving Jem and her band moonlighting as crime solvers constantly haggled by a rival girl hair band were as sappy as the intermittent song breaks that were more like short animated music videos in between. It totally was a sign of the times in the surging Mtv generation. The coolest aspect of the show was watching Jem keep up her secret identity.

19) Full Metal Alchemist  I know it’s not technically a 90’s cartoon, but we weren’t quite grown enough to not watch this kind of stuff when it came out. The storyline is super deep and not really kid-friendly although children are all the main characters. It’s a great lesson in weighty subject matter from the onset, with a heavy premise and dark scope. And it’s one of the few anime shows that don’t look completely messed up by American overdubs or emotionless because it’s emotion-based paced was the impetus of the entire show.

18) Flintstone Kids A rehashing for the 80’s kids who didn’t quite get all of the adult-friendly jokes that required a laugh-track on the original, this light-hearted version which featured diminutive versions of the beloved cast was much more relatable. A memorable moment was when the special “Just Say No” episode was so important that it aired on primetime because it featured a guest appearance by “Michael JackStone”. Classic.  17) Pirates Of Dark Water  I admit, I was not a fan, but in hindsight, the animation and detail has to be appreciated. This series seemed to go on longer than most cartoons of it’s 90’s run. Almost every other kid I knew had the toys, and it certainly predated the whole Pirates Of The Caribbean craze. Plus the chick was kinda bad. 16) Alvin & The Chipmunks Not sure how Simon and Theodore felt about being “& The Chipmunks”, let alone Dave Seville for that matter (He found, clothed and fed them for crying out loud), but I guess if you’re the one with all the ideas, you get Top Billing (wait, didn’t Simon write the songs??). The fact that this cartoon got the licensing to use all those hit 80’s songs was amazing in itself. No one could tell me anything about this cartoon when I was 5! Favorite episode, the one where they sing Billy Joel’s “For The Longest Time” to the kids in the hospital. 

15) The Tick  This was just a bunch of comedic writers having fun. It wasn’t even apart of any children’s Saturday cartoon line-up originally. It was slated more for an early evening audience because of it’s tongue-in-cheek humor and superhero cliche jibbing. Sure it gets credibility because it was a real comic book series first, but the cartoon really brought the personality out. The villains are the best part of this show, let alone his dialogue and wimpy sidekick who was a…dude named Arthur dressed up as a moth??

14) Chip N Dale: Rescue Rangers  As IGN mentioned, this show wins simply because much like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air theme songs, we still somehow know all the words to this. And everyone loves a good mystery solving show. The cast was superbly well rounded as well, with clever names – as only Disney can do – like Monterey Jack for the Australian Pilot addicted to cheese to a fault. It was a clever way to reuse some forgotten characters in the Disney Vault. Did you realize that Dale’s outfit was a nod to Magnum P.I.? And that Chip’s was a nod to Indiana Jones?

13) Centurions  Land, Air and Sea. All the basic elements of Military and 3 of the basic elements of Earth itself. Any show rooted in this concept along with some crazy ass, colorful tech and important sounding transformation is a winner. “Power Extreme!!”

12) BeetleJuice  Rarely do cartoon incarnations of popular movies work. This is the exception. With the capabilities of taking Tim Burton’s surreal and trippy world of the dead and wacky waaaay beyond what was possible in Hollywood, this show gave the title character a second uhhmmm…Life in a vibrant way. Plus how often do you see goth girls in such colorful scenarios?? This was my Cousin Limi‘s favorite. I didn’t get it then. I do now. Kinda…

11) Jackie Chan Adventures  Never has a cartoon based on a real person been executed so greatly. Jackie was definitely heavily involved in the initial formation of this show and it’s obvious. The characterization was spot-on and even the action sequences seemed to be based off of his real movements. His viewer response and commentary at the end of the episodes was a throwback to the 80’s cartoons that featured post segments with lessons. Uncle was pretty cool too.

10) Sailor Moon  Yet another anime that was not hardcore and became fully integrated into the American mainstream, this one tried to be girl-friendly, full of themes of romance and high school concerns. It was a glimpse into Japanese school culture and like most anime cartoons, the action was based on some sort of distribution of powers by color, order and esoteric materials like gems and cards. And each holder had their own distinct personality. And lets not forget the ever requisite mysterious figure who helps when most needed, only to disappear back into their own agenda, retaining a sense of cool. In this case; Tuxedo Mask. The Love interest.

9) Captain Planet  You know this song too. Frontwards and backwards. This is a fine example of positive propaganda. The same forces that got us to be the generation not doing crack also got us to be the generation not littering. Too bad they didn’t go as hard with gang-banging and weed smoking efforts. But anyway, how much did we learn from this show?? We knew it was a walking, talking, animated PSA, but we watched anyway. As a result, we became the most environment-conscious group ever (probably the most destructive at the same time ironically – with all this technology), and we learned the continents along the way. How cool that Mother Earth was Black?? Go Planet!!

8) Proud Family  Speaking of Black. It’s still a shame that we can count how many African-American animated programs or programs with African-American leads there have ever been( How come there’s never been an adaptation of the “Curtis” comic strip?), and most of them are steeped in stereotypes. This show was a clever play on just that, and what saves it from Negro purgatory is it’s focus on family. Any of the individual characters by themselves are one-note cliches, but as a cartoon cast, it worked. I could do without Tommy Davidson’s father character, but clever stuff like names (Bebe and Cece) and the jabs at Magic Johnson (Wizard Kelly) are great. Plus, isn’t this the same artist from Bebe’s Kids??

7) Eek! The Cat In the universe of cartoon cats, there have been Top Cats, Courageous Cats, even Karate Cats, but none were as effective as the cute but pitiful cat. Eek was comedy gold. A gullible neighborhood cat who caused and fell into calamity inadvertently with every step out of the house and was hopelessly in love with his bigger-than-life girlfriend, you couldn’t help but feel for Eek. Especially after hearing him utter his go-to phrase “Kumbiya!” 

6) Static Shock  Quite Possibly the most successful Cartoon to feature a Black lead, and definitely the most successful if not the first cartoon starring a Black superhero, this adaptation of D.C. comics’ answer to Spider-Man was campy, but gets so many props for putting more Black faces on saturday morning than ever. And with range. It wasn’t all jive and hip-hop slang. The characters were scholars, criminals, runaways and celebrities. And real issues relevant to the times, like cyber bullying and homelessness and drugs (post crack) were addressed head on. No punches pulled. The music was cringe-worthy, but that’s forgiveable.

5) The Critic  Before Family Guy and the Seth wave of adult-humor animation domination, the animators tried their hands at this equally witty but less abrasive vehicle for John Lovitz. It was like watching Lovitz just play himself as a pencil drawn version with a new job as a film critic. It followed a more Simpsons-like ethic, where fun was poked and jokes were subversive, but the most malicious it ever got was when Lovitz’s character did his film reviews. Just goes to show, you don’t have to insult everybody every episode to be funny.

4) DuckTales  Archaeology? A rich uncle with a Scottish accent who swims every morning in a vault of gold coins but trips over his first dime that started his fortune? A character named “Dufus”? A superhero who changes into his robo-suit by yelling “Blabbering Blatherschite!”? Dopeness. This was imagination cocaine for young impressionable minds. It changed the game for cartoons and upped Disney as a leader in tapping into what kids wanted from their animation. We all know this song too…

3) Johnny Bravo At some point, I believe women look at all men as if we’re him. The Elvis influenced muscle-head was a girl-scout helping, chick crazy, mama’s boy who loved his comb and karate, but didn’t know squat about squat. They even managed to get then-supermodel Vendela on the show. Not bad for a dude named after a Brady Bunch alter ego. 

2) Tiny Toons I dare you to name every character. Although Warner Bros. Whole Looney Toons roster has always proved to be too slapstick for my taste, I was indelibly affected by this incarnation of them. The tone of the show helped shape my idea of what middle school would be like (that, and The Wonder Years). There were genuinely funny moments and genuinely funny characters. My favorite, might be  Fowlmouth. You might remember him;  And now our song is done!

1) Transformers  Come on…An endless list of robots from another planet who are eternally beefing with each other and turn into the coolest vehicles out there – even Dinosaurs! And a Gun! This cartoon has always been the truth and spawned the best toys ever. And you all seem to like those lame movies. My favorite version might be the 3rd season tho.