Greatest Eighties Saturday Morning Cartoons, From Transformers to ThunderCats

The Massive Image

  • Saturday morning cartoons from the Eighties carry again sentimental recollections and are looked for on streaming platforms.
  • Well-liked cartoons like He-Man, Jem, and ThunderCats had a long-lasting affect and have been revived in numerous varieties through the years.
  • The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sequence, with its distinctive premise, well-written characters, and funky toys, stays a major a part of in style tradition even after 35 years.

For these of us of a sure age, nothing from childhood was higher than Saturday mornings. The weekend was right here, which meant no faculty for the following two days. To have a good time, we’d get up early on Saturdays, clad in our Care Bears or He-Man pajamas, pour ourselves an overflowing bowl of sugary cereal, and flop down in entrance of the TV for hours to look at our favourite cartoons. It’s a vastly sentimental reminiscence for a lot of adults now of their 40s, with a variety of us looking for our previous loves on streaming platforms, so we will relive the tales yet one more time. Whereas everybody has their favourite, right here’s a pattern of a number of the greatest Saturday morning cartoons from the Eighties.

garfield and friends poster

Garfield and Buddies

Tales about Garfield the cat, Odie the canine, their proprietor Jon and the difficulty they get into, and Orson the Pig and his adventures on a farm with fellow cattle.

Jim Davis



Launch Date
September 17, 1988

Lorenzo Music , gregg berger , Howard Morris

Most important Style


He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983-1985)

He-man with his sword on 'He-man and the Masters of the Universe'
Picture by way of Filmation Associates

Each boy 4 a long time in the past (and doubtless some ladies, too) had He-Man toys. He was our favourite superhero. Prince Adam, along with his Sword of Energy, and his Battle Cat sidekick, had us in awe. We needed to be similar to him. Whereas the sequence about his adventures solely lasted two seasons, every of these seasons consisted of a whopping 65 episodes. That meant numerous reruns the place children might rewatch the likes of He-Man, Okro, Man at Arms, Teela, and The Sorceress battle the scary skull-faced Skeletor. It could be a bit dated and tacky to look again on now, however there’s no doubting its lasting affect. There could be spinoffs, She-Ra: Princess of Energy (1985), a Dolph Lundgren-led Masters of Universe live-action movie, and most just lately, two Netflix sequence, proving that the facility of Grayskull will dwell endlessly.

Jem (1985-1988)

Also referred to as Jem and the Holograms, this cartoon put ladies within the highlight. Jem is the alter ego of Jerrica Benton, who runs her personal report firm known as Starlight Music. With the assistance of a pc that creates holograms, Jerrica turns into Jem, the lead singer of an all-girl rock band. We get the flashy garments and massive, vivid hair of the ’80s, however this isn’t only a glorified animated music video. Jem is at all times on some harmful journey whereas combating to cover her id. The favored sequence confirmed little ladies that they might be simply as cool because the boys. It was one of many highest-rated Saturday morning cartoons of the late ’80s, resulting in a 2015 live-action movie starring Aubrey Peeples. The reimagining was a field workplace dud, however all through the 2000s, reruns of the unique present aired, with new comics and dolls nonetheless being produced.

Garfield and Buddies (1988-1994)

Picture by way of CBS

The Jim Davis-created cartoon Garfield, first revealed in 1976, has turn into essentially the most extensively syndicated on the planet. Within the Eighties, you couldn’t go wherever with out seeing plushies of the lazy, lasagna-loving grumpy cat clinging to the again of a automotive window. Earlier than it grew to become a Saturday morning hit, Garfield appeared in a number of Emmy-nominated and successful primetime specials such because the annual rankings hits, Garfield’s Halloween Journey and Garfield’s Thanksgiving. The seven-season sequence introduced again Lorenzo Music because the voice of Garfield. Each weekend, kids watched not simply the same old adventures of Garfield along with his proprietor Jon Arbuckle and clueless canine Odie, but in addition of varied cattle that Garfield knew. There could be a number of spinoffs all through the years and some Invoice Murray-starring live-action movies that we’d all wish to expunge from our recollections.

The Smurfs (1981-1989)

Tailored from a Belgian comedian that began within the Fifties earlier than changing into an animated sequence first within the ’60s, this was one of many weirder Saturday morning cartoons. It’s attention-grabbing premise of a bunch of quick, blue creatures residing within the woods in mushroom homes was one thing that children hadn’t seen earlier than. There was a singular forged of characters, every with a particular persona. There was Papa Smurf, Brainy Smurf, and Lazy Smurf…you get the concept. They even had a language, with many English phrases changed by the phrase “smurf.” Every episode noticed the hidden-away Smurfs thwarting the likes of Gargamel, the evil wizard, and his dangerous kitty, Azrael. Simply as with so many ’80s cartoons, the sequence’ recognition would result in it changing into a nostalgia-fueled live-action movie franchise a long time later, with a brand new entry coming in 2025.

Transformers (1984-1987)

Picture by way of Sunbow Productions

Not all movie diversifications of in style kids’s cartoons are duds. That’s actually the case with the Michael Bay-directed movie sequence that chewed up the field workplace within the 2000s. Earlier than it was a film franchise that made Shia LeBeouf and Megan Fox family names, it was a Hasbro toy. To market it, the toys have been proven off in its personal Saturday morning cartoon. Although it had a singular jumping-off level, telling the story about automobiles that may remodel into robots (what child wouldn’t need a type of?!), it adopted a easy but efficient system of fine guys, The Autobots, versus dangerous guys, The Decepticons. An incredible voice forged, led by the likes of Peter Cullen because the heroic Optimus Prime (he would reprise the position for the Michael Bay movies), helped to show what might have been flat nonhuman characters into lifelike creations that jumped by the display screen. Its success led to a profitable animated movie, The Transformers: The Film, which was launched between Seasons 2 and three.

ThunderCats (1985-1989)

Nothing sums up the wild creativity of ’80s cartoons like this one, which tells the story of a bunch of speaking humanoid catlike creatures that have been the epitome of what a child thought was cool. There was the wonderful brand, the superior swords, one heck of an enormous hangout referred to as The Cat’s Lair, and a catchy theme music. Whereas there are various similarities to be discovered between He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, this cartoon survived on its inventiveness, due to characters like chief Lion-O and feminine ThunderCat Cheeatra. Even the cringe-worthy comedic presence of Snarf couldn’t maintain this one again from being one of many extra in style animated sequence of the last decade. The Cartoon Community would attempt to relaunch the model a number of occasions for one season apiece in 2011 and 2020, however neither might recapture the magic of the unique. ThunderCats-Ho!


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G.I. Joe: A Actual American Hero (1983-1986)

G.I. Joe A Real American Hero
Picture by way of Sunbow Productions

As with Transformers, that is one other Saturday morning basic that was used to advertise a Hasbro toy. It began as a bunch of animated commercials for the comedian guide tie-in, however its immense recognition led to a brand new sequence. Once you consider the last word ’80s cartoon, that is the one which involves thoughts for a lot of. Immediately’s demand for the superhero style finds its roots within the ongoing recognition of this American icon. It really works by being extra grounded than the likes of others on this record. It additionally performs as an ensemble, with no hero being immensely extra vital than the opposite. Although they’ve rankings, it’s how Hawk, Duke, Flint, and so on. work as a crew towards the evil Cobra that issues. The sequence was so in style that even wrestler Sgt. Slaughter would turn into a personality. Like different cartoons, G.I. Joe led to a live-action movie franchise as effectively.

Alvin and the Chipmunks (1983-1990)

Alvin and the Chipmunks

For eight seasons, children sang together with this rock band made up of chipmunk brothers Alvin, Simon, and Theodore. Everybody had their favourite chipmunk. Alvin, the chief, was a little bit of a troublemaker. The bespectacled Simon was the nerd of the group. After which there was harmless Theodore. The brothers dwell with their supervisor, a human named Dave. In every episode, the Chipmunks discover themselves in bother, hijinks ensue, and Dave will get aggravated along with his signature yell of “Alllvviinn!” however half-hour later the weird household unit is complete once more as a result of they love one another. Whereas Hollywood diluted the trio by quite a few subpar laptop animations mixed with live-action movies, their voices will endlessly dwell on in our youthful recollections. They have been the right cartoon for each baby, a pleasure for toddlers who beloved the squeaky voices, and massive children who beloved the music and Alvin’s rebelliousness.

Muppet Infants (1984-1991)

Muppet Babies
Picture by way of Henson Associates

Nothing dominated the TV airwaves and cinemas within the Eighties like Jim Henson’s Muppets. There was the extremely transformative The Muppet Present, and an array of characteristic movies like The Nice Muppet Caper and The Muppets Take Manhattan. It was solely pure that they might progress to changing into a cartoon as effectively. This sequence takes The Muppets we all know in a distinct path, nonetheless, by displaying them as toddlers. Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzy, and the remainder of the gang are proven collectively in a nursery, run by a nanny that we solely see from the shoulders down. The theme of the sequence is the facility of creativeness. Every episode finds The Muppet Infants enjoying a sport, utilizing their creativeness to rework the scene round them. It’s the life each baby dreamed of enjoying out earlier than them. Its success led to different well-known animated applications creating spinoffs with youthful characters, such because the ’90s hit Tiny Toon Adventures.


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Aaahh!!! Actual monsters!

The Actual Ghostbusters (1986-1991)

1984’s Ghostbusters was a field workplace earthquake, whose aftershocks are nonetheless being felt at present with Ghostbusters: Afterlife, and the upcoming Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire. Performing as a sequel to the occasions of the unique movie, the cartoon sequence retains its give attention to the identical 4 characters Peter Venkman, Egon Spengler, Ray Stantz, and Winston Zeddemore. The unique forged of Invoice Muray and firm wouldn’t reprise their roles, which might have spelled doom, doubtlessly making the cartoon too totally different from what followers had come to like. Arguably, it’s the brand new voice actors who make it work by taking the present in a distinct path as a substitute of attempting to recreate the previous. Voice performing legend Lorenzo Music, who additionally performed the voice of Garfield, helped to make this sequence stand on its footing. Nonetheless, the characters themselves are just about those we already beloved, and every week was a brand new loopy journey. The sequence can be noteworthy for turning the scene-stealing ghost Slimer right into a hilarious sidekick character.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987-1996)

This sequence finds itself on the prime of the record for combining every part profitable about different sequence on this record. It had a premise that bought your consideration, by having 4 turtles remodeled into humanoid ninjas. It had robust, unbiased, and well-written characters who got here collectively as a household. And it had cool toys to go together with it. Adults nonetheless debate at present on who the most effective Ninja Turtle was. Every one’s coloured headband and selection of weapon appeared to talk to their persona. The sequence’ creators knew learn how to make them distinguishable after they appeared the identical on the floor. As with every nice 80s motion cartoon, TMNT had an ideal villain within the masked Shredder. What ought to have been absurd, with speaking turtles led by a way speaking rat, grew to become plausible by the voices behind the drawings and the robust writing of the tales. Although the sequence held on too lengthy and the standard dipped within the latter levels of the 90s, the early years have held their place for 35 years as a large a part of in style tradition.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles episodes can be found to stream on Paramount+ within the U.S.

Watch on Paramount+

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