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Dec 25, 2016
37
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#1
I've been watching a whole bunch of 80s cartoons recently and have been enjoying myself, though I couldn't grow as fond of some shows like The Transformers, Voltron, G.I. Joe, He-Man, and Thundercats. While I thought they were decently animated and amusing, what I wasn't a fan of was the voice acting and how they constantly used "outside voices," in that the voices always have to sound loud or dramatic, and that is probably due to how I'm used to the more casual sounding cartoons of recent years. In fact, out of the various 80s cartoons I watched, these are probably the ones that stuck out to me the most for how much they were willing to be more casual-sounding, and how they entertained me enough for me to say that they've held up over time:

DuckTales

Dungeons & Dragons

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

The Real Ghostbusters

Chip 'n' Dale Rescue Rangers

Danger Mouse

Count Duckula

Beetlejuice

Garfield and Friends

MASK
 

Red Arrow

Proud Beneluxer
Oct 22, 2012
12,711
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Belgium
#2
Alfred Jodocus Kwak. Really nice ongoing story. Enjoyable characters. Lovely music. (Nice 80s Dutch!)

The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Uhmn. I don't know. It still has its charm but it is SO boring now. Everything is so predictable. This is painful to admit, but it feels like a cashgrab. "We can't do anything wrong with Pooh now, can we?"

Chip n Dale: Rescue Rangers. Even more painful to admit. At one point this was my favorite cartoon. But now it is just poorly written.

DuckTales: I can't judge it properly. I used to love it as a child, but now it's rather boring I think? I haven't seen enough in recent years to judge. Kirben said only the first season is worth your time. The 2017 reboot is miles ahead though!

The Smurfs. I'm Belgian so of course I love this. Lalalalalala lalalalala. Just kidding! This cartoon does nothing but repeat itself. At least the original comic is a parody on Belgian politics. (don't know if "parody" is the right word though)

The Snorks. Yuck, what a Smurfs rip-off.
 
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Dantheman

Active Member
Dec 1, 2005
1,569
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49
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Michigan USA
#4
The episode of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends with the Red Skull where they go to South America to find lost Nazi treasure (and has been pretty much banned from being shown on Disney XD for having swastikas), has a really effective part, talking about how totalitarian governments like Nazi Germany control what their citizens read, see and hear in order to keep them in line, and it's done in a way children can grasp that doesn't talk down to them.
 
Dec 25, 2016
37
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45
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#6
Transformers the Movie is still one of the best action-cartoon movies ever made.

Dungeons and Dragons is really good, probably the best action cartoon of the era.
What stuck out to me from Dungeons & Dragons is that while the protagonists fought against evil, they didn't set out to fight it to protect a planet like with He-Man or anything like that. They were basically just a bunch of kids that were trying to get home.
 

Fone Bone

Matt Zimmer
Jan 19, 2004
23,828
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#7
Gummi Bears, Ed Grimley, Garfield and Friends and Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures are the best examples I could think of, although the Winnie the Pooh cartoon might hold up too, but I haven't seen it in awhile.

I'd also be inclined to count TaleSpin but that was made in 1990.

I think the Transformers movie is one of the worst animated films I have ever seen, and was appalled watching it years later. It was practically animated torture porn. About the only animated films that have disgusted me more are Bakshi's Heavy Traffic, Coonskin, and Hey Good Lookin'.
 

wonderfly

Shaking things up a bit
Staff member
Administrator
Mar 22, 2002
18,515
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Springfield, MO
#8
Thundercats. I don't care what anyone says, I think Thundercats holds up well. It aired fairly extensively on Toonami from 1997 to 2001 for a reason.


EDIT:...started to add several more, but I'm too much of an 80's fan. I think they ALL hold up well. I mean, I watched 1983 "He-Man" a couple years back, expected to find it silly or just plain dumb, but I love just how noble He-Man is. Even willing to save Skeletor when the villain gets attacked by a lava monster, or something like that.

There's a virtue (a sense of honor/nobility) in a lot of the 80's cartoons that is seriously missing in the protagonists of today's cartoons (well, action cartoons are missing in general these days).

I think the "Public Service Announcements" that came at the end of several cartoons (He-Man, She-Ra, GI Joe, etc), THOSE are what don't hold up well. Many are just plain laughable.
 
Jul 16, 2015
800
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#9
80s cartoons do very little for me. I have little interest in trying too many 80s cartoons. He-Man's been on Netflix and I've thought about it, but I always convince myself not to watch it.

With that being said there is one I truly love. The Real Ghostbusters. I adore this cartoon. It's almost perfect. I was amazed at how good it really was. It almost feels too good for the 80s, from an animated series perspective.

There are others I enjoy, but not as much as the 90s and 2000s and 2010s. Those three decades are far superior to the 80s IMO based off of what I've seen.
 
May 17, 2006
115
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17
18
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New Jersey
#10
Thundercats definitely holds up. I like it as much when I first saw it as a little kid on Toonami as I do today, about to be 28 in two days. Voice acting like that was commonplace before the circa mid 2000s honestly, and I just love it for the action.

Now Voltron, possibly my favorite childhood cartoon, does not hold up, but I still remember why I was captivated by it as a kid, but yeah if you watch that as an adult, I can see why you think it sucks.

Other 80s cartoons that hold up, well obviously Robotech because it's a great show, Transformers, G.I. Joe similar to Thundercats in replay value imo, but honestly I think you can't undervalue things like The Smurfs and Alvin and the Chipmunks. You show those two to most 5-8 year old kids and I can guarantee you they'll love them. What else? Hmmm... I'll get back to you, my mind's a little funky right now.
 
Dec 25, 2016
37
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45
8
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#11
Now Voltron, possibly my favorite childhood cartoon, does not hold up, but I still remember why I was captivated by it as a kid, but yeah if you watch that as an adult, I can see why you think it sucks..
I didn't think it sucked. As I said, I thought it was amusing, but I suppose it has to take more rewatches for something like this to stick with me more.
 

Fone Bone

Matt Zimmer
Jan 19, 2004
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#12
Thundercats. I don't care what anyone says, I think Thundercats holds up well. It aired fairly extensively on Toonami from 1997 to 2001 for a reason.
.
Okay, lemme stop you right there. I don't agree ThunderCats holds up. But that is merely because I didn't think it held up THEN either. So while you and I can disagree over whether or not the show is actually good, I can affirm that it is no worse in hindsight than it was when it aired. I felt appalled rewatching Transformers a few years ago. That was not the case with ThunderCats. My tastes have changed, so I don't like the show the way that I did as a kid, but it's the exact same show I remember, which is not true for all cartoons of that era.
 
May 17, 2006
115
Ratings
17
18
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New Jersey
#13
I didn't think it sucked. As I said, I thought it was amusing, but I suppose it has to take more rewatches for something like this to stick with me more.
See, what made me addicted to Voltron was that I thought it was this medieval fantasy story (think Vision of Escaflowne), so I loved watching it because of that medieval setting, it looked pretty cool (though now it looks dated), and I actually liked the characters, I mean Hunk was really cool to me, I wanted him to get with Princess Allura haha. But if you watch it for the first time as an adult, you'll probably think it's repetitive drivel, each episode is the same, there'll never be a resolution, and the dialogue is really weird. I dunno, I still love it for nostalgic reasons, even though I admit it's not a masterpiece.
 
May 17, 2006
115
Ratings
17
18
28
New Jersey
#14
Okay, lemme stop you right there. I don't agree ThunderCats holds up. But that is merely because I didn't think it held up THEN either. So while you and I can disagree over whether or not the show is actually good, I can affirm that it is no worse in hindsight than it was when it aired. I felt appalled rewatching Transformers a few years ago. That was not the case with ThunderCats. My tastes have changed, so I don't like the show the way that I did as a kid, but it's the exact same show I remember, which is not true for all cartoons of that era.
Snarf and Lion-O alone make Thundercats great. Those guys say awesome things. :murphy:
 
Feb 19, 2017
37
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#16
If we are talking only about American cartoons, my humble opinión is this:

I think Disney stuff of the 80s holds very well animation and writing wise in my opinion (I stand that Rescue Rangers is very well written, most of the time, for example, that episode about the soda cult is a highlight of animation writing, Gummi Bears is great, I would even say that Wuzzles is charming).

Then, there's Dic:
Real Ghostbusters is great in all bases.
Inspector Gadget had good animation, at times, the plots would be better but are well-told, if sometimes frustating, it hasn't been reworked very well, not at all, so the reboots don't hold a candle to the old one, even with all of its inherent flaws.
Heathcliff and Dennis the Menace original cartoon are top notch, animation wise (But Heathcliff would had benefited by better, more natural poses), the plots are nothing to write home about, but it just doesn´t get better than that for both franchises (except for Dennis movie but that's other story altogether).
TMNT had some good stuff in the first 5 episodes, and some scattered around the show duration, but its mostly a poor show that happens to be funny.
In all honestly the rest of DIC stuff from the 80s (and most of the stuff of the nineties) is very hard to defend, even if the original Super Mario Super Show is a nostalgic favorite of mine, (even if the animation is better than the other two Mario shows and the live actions skits are hilarious in a cheesy way) is kind of a poor show still.

Muppet Babies is good but I'm doubtful to mention it because it had the advantage of the Muppets legacy at its side.

Cogsgrove Hall stuff its amazing, Nelvana stuff is very good, Galaxy High, Galaxy Rangers and the like I have never watched but I´m told are wonderful.

For the others:
Mighty Mouse 80s show was great, but the creators were kind of unfocused.
I didn't watched much of Dungeons and Dragons but what I saw was really good.
Garfield is great in plots, gags and jokes, but the animation is serviceable (except in the specials, at times)
Smurfs is good, taking into account the times and circunstances around it.
Snorks had some creativity for such a derivative show.
The Jetsons 80s episodes are funny at some times when the animation become deranged.
Thundercats and SilverHawks had well told storytelling and good visuals from time to time.
Transformers looked clunky, but what do you expect for a series about rectangular robots, it does have some great, thought-provoking plots.
I didn't know Ed Grimley was an 80s show, but it was really funny.
I´m not gonna lie, never liked Alvin much, except for some episodes and the Movie where they travel around the world.
Flintstone kids is... cute, sometimes funny.

And that's it, to me at least.

A tougher question would be... What 70s cartoons that you like and think have held up over time?
 
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Zorak Masaki

Well-Known Member
May 6, 2002
7,841
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Visit site
#17
Bravestarr deserves a mention too. Yeah, it did recycle animation and scuzz could be annoying at times, but I liked the New Texas setting, 30-30 was a cool character (too bad they didnt give him a feature episode AFAIK), the character designs were well done, and they had some above-average stories. Not to mention they did an episode about drugs and didnt sugarcoat it, they actually had a child die from an overdose. I dont know how they got away with that. The Bravestarr: The Legend movie is good too, and the animation is better than the tv show.
 

Red Arrow

Proud Beneluxer
Oct 22, 2012
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#18
I stand that Rescue Rangers is very well written, most of the time, for example, that episode about the soda cult is a highlight of animation writing
Okay, so I decided to watch that episode hoping you would be right, and while it is indeed better than the other episodes I rewatched, it is nothing more than a simple, predictable story. Enjoyable for once, but definitely not a gem. "Highlight in animation writing"? Maybe if you're 5 years old.
 

Fone Bone

Matt Zimmer
Jan 19, 2004
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#19
Okay, so I decided to watch that episode hoping you would be right, and while it is indeed better than the other episodes I rewatched, it is nothing more than a simple, predictable story. Enjoyable for once, but definitely not a gem. "Highlight in animation writing"? Maybe if you're 5 years old.
The Cola Cult song is awesome though. Silversher and Silversher were the absolute highlights of The Disney Afternoon. Even when the shows were sucking, the occasional musical number did not.
 

JoeMabbon

Turtle Mage
Aug 8, 2014
6,682
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3,311 2
113
Valley of Bowser
#20
I think the Transformers movie is one of the worst animated films I have ever seen, and was appalled watching it years later. It was practically animated torture porn. About the only animated films that have disgusted me more are Bakshi's Heavy Traffic, Coonskin, and Hey Good Lookin'.
I’ve that movie called many things:
  • “A crass toy commercial.”
  • “An imaginationless, Star Wars rip-off”
  • “Whitewashed, bastardized anime.”
I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone call it torture porn. If Transformers: The Movie is your threshold for violence, make sure you never watch an action film made after 1980.