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Episode 1743 Talkback - Top 5 Animated Series of Our Youth

Get set for Saturday-morning sentimentality, as a packed clown-car of six Geeks share fond memories of the cartoon shows they loved most in their younger days (ages 0-18). Best enjoyed with a bowl of cereal or your favorite after-school snack! (WARNING: Discussion gets a little... confessional... at times.) (2:27:32)

Listen here, folks!


  • MattMatt Posts: 4,457

    The second hardest Top 5 list I’ve had to put together.

  • luke52luke52 Posts: 1,392
    edited July 2019

    Can’t wait to listen to this. My top 5 before I start to listen, in no particular order...

    Real Ghostbusters





  • nweathingtonnweathington Posts: 6,712
    edited July 2019
    @Pants, I'm pretty sure I've mentioned this to you before, but one year in college I went to a Halloween party dressed as Underdog. We should compare notes! @ShaneKelly, I watched Clue Club as well. I didn’t love it as much as you, but I enjoyed it. @i_am_scifi Pirates of Dark Water, early Gargoyles, and MiB were all really good, but a bit after my cutoff point. Did you know Darwyn Cooke directed three episodes of MiB? @Adam_Murdough, I was a fan of Gummi Bears too. I had my doubts going into it, but it really surprised me.

    Now, I'm just a year younger than Pants, so my childhood (1970-88) ended during what I call the Dark Years of Animation, before the Disney Afternoon block led the charge for a resurgence in American cartoons. That being said, here’s my list:

    5) ALF: The Animated Series & ALF Tales
    I’m cheating a little bit here, as I’m lumping the spinoff series—which I actually liked better than the main show—in together with ALF. So much funnier than the live-action show, and filled with a lot of satire.

    4) Battle of the Planets/G-Force
    I got up earlier on Saturday morning that I did on school days just so I could watch it. I'd never seen anything like it, and wouldn’t until I went off to college. I never saw Speed Racer or Starblazers on my local channels. Re: the comic series, it wasn’t great, but I have a nice print of a G-Force painting by Alex Ross. Also, Shane, the original Gatchaman is readily available on DVD and Blu-Ray.

    3) Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures
    This is the Ralph Bakshi show, with John Kricfalusi and Bruce Timm—before they were known—as part of the team. This show paved the way for Ren & Stimpy and the like. It did things cartoons at the time just didn’t do.

    2) Jonny Quest
    In the late ’70s/early ’80s, NBC reran the original ’60s show, and it was fantastic. Probably the best animation of any show to appear originally on American TV prior to Batman: TAS.

    1) The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Show
    Thankfully, I was young enough to see the show before the cartoons were edited. Eventually they were edited to the point they were nearly unwatchable. I'd keep turning on the show each week, and I’d watch until one of the egregious edits popped up, and then I’d have to change the channel. That was painful.

    Alternates (in chronological order)
    Underdog — The first cartoon I can remember. I was maybe four when I watched it. It would be on in the mornings when I was dropped off with the lady who took care of me during the day. Stoked my love for word play.
    Scooby-Doo — Really only the original two seasons produced by CBS.
    Schoolhouse Rock — Jack Sheldon was the best.
    Thundarr the Barbarian — Demon dogs! How could this not be on my list somewhere? Even back then I recognized various comic book creators’ names in the credits, and I loved the sci-fi/fantasy mash-up aspects.
    Space Stars — Space Ghost and the Herculoids. What more do you need?
    The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show — My local station reran the original series for a couple of years in the mid-’80s. It reminded me of Underdog, only it was better.
    Thundercats — One of the last good cartoons of my childhood era.
    Star Trek — I didn’t see it when it originally aired in 1973-74, but they reran in the mid-’80s on my local station at the end of the morning block. Yeah, it was a Filmation cartoon, but most of the stories were written by the same folks who wrote the original series, and they were pretty good by and large.
  • DARDAR Posts: 1,128
    edited July 2019
    First and foremost great to hear @Pants and @Matt two voices we don’t hear as often.

    Now I’m racking my brain as what to put on my list. But I am going to leave off Looney Tunes, Flintstones, Tom and Jerry and any old Disney shorts. Those are Hall of Famers.

    Also of note there is a show that premiered a few years before I was born but I actually didn’t discover it until I was an adult. So I’m going to give it an honorable mention, Frankenstein Jr and the Impossibles. The Frankenstein Jr part was okay but I loved the Impossibles. RALLY HO!!

    Now onto my top five. And for reference I was born in 1974

    5. Jabberjaw-Like Scooby Doo only this time with a Shark who speaks and acts like Curly Howard. Look I’m not saying cocaine was being used in the halls of Hanna Barbera or any other studio making children’s programming. But it was available. However I didn’t care I loved the show

    4. The new Scooby Doo Movies-My favorite iteration of the series. Always curious to see what celebrity would help solve the mystery maybe Batman and Robin. Or maybe um Jerry Reed.

    3. Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends-I loved the original Spider-Man series but this one I always remembered watching and had a great time in doing so.

    2. Duck Tales-My favorite of all the Disney afternoon shows. Great well thought out stories

    1. Superfriends-The show that defined Saturday Morning cartoons for me. Loved every iteration of the show.
  • nweathingtonnweathington Posts: 6,712
    Nice, Brian! You definitely did better on the cape than I did, but I had better ears, I think. Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture.
  • nweathingtonnweathington Posts: 6,712
    DAR said:

    4. The new Scooby Doo Movies-My favorite iteration of the series. Always curious to see what celebrity would help solve the mystery maybe Batman and Robin. Or maybe um Jerry Reed.

    The correct answer is the Harlem Globetrotters.
  • BrackBrack Posts: 868
    edited July 2019
    5. Duck Tales - TMS outsourcing part of that subliminal anime indoctrination that filled 80s cartoons until Korean studios started undercutting the Japanese studios.
    4.Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, especially that short 3 episode origin season animated by Toei.
    3. Count Duckula - Danger Mouse spin-off that I'm not sure has aged as well as Danger Mouse, but it felt more like my show.
    2. Ulysses 31 - Studio Nue & DiC do the classics. The show responsible for creating UK anime fans in the same way Robotech did in the states.
    1. Real Ghostbusters - specifically season 1 and the syndicated episodes which had the better Japanese studios working on them. Also they hadn't been scuppered by Network Notes at that point.

    Also, I think Murd cut himself off when he was about to say Dr Snuggles aired on the BBC, so I'll just clarify that it didn't.

    It was on ITV, where IIRC it was subject to the dreaded "regional variations" so there was no guarantee it would be on when you could see it, if at all.

    This was particularly a problem for me as depending on where your aerial pointed you might have one of three different ITV stations, so discussing TV the next day at school might involve TV shows you couldn't see - Jayce & The Wheeled Warriors was my white whale in the respect.

    Snuggles (and indeed Jayce) was later repeated on Channel 4 where broadcasting schedules were more stable.
  • Mark_EngblomMark_Engblom Posts: 343
    edited July 2019
    Love those Top Five episodes!

    Here's my favorite animated series of my childhood:

    5. The Freedom Force (1978): I was a huge fan of the Filmation family of adventure cartoon series, and this multicultural combo of superheroes was definitely one of my favorites. Isis, Hercules, Merlin, Sinbad, and the gigantic Super-Samurai were the perfect team for a young mythology nut like myself. It only lasted a single season, but it certainly made a big impression.


    4. Flash Gordon(1979-82): Yet another Filmation production, this series adapted all the thrills and diverse cast of the classic Alex Raymond comic strip into a truly thrilling experience, unlike the campy live action cheese-fest that hit theaters a year later.


    3. Johnny Quest (1964-65): Saturday morning high adventure at its very best! I caught this primarily in reruns, and could never get enough of it. Cool villains, exotic locations, a fun cast, and better-than-average animation. James Bond for kids!


    2. Challenge of the Super Friends (1978): This was THE superhero experience for us Gen-X-ers. Although the original Super Friends series was fine, it was a bit sedate for my tastes, even as a young comics fan. COTSF was much closer to the comic book experience I knew. The huge cast of superheroes and supervillains not only taught me more about the DCU (still relatively new to me at the time), but also fed my appetite for large scale hero vs. villain clashes (which still exists today).


    1. The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Hour (1968-?): A huge cornerstone of my youth, I adored all the Looney Tunes cartoons, despite the truncated nature of the Saturday A.M. versions and the endless repetition. It helped spark my life-long love of cartooning and wise-ass humor, not to mention being one of those rare cartoons that even got a laugh out of my dad (parents enjoying what you enjoyed was a huge badge of pride to a kid). I've since collected all the high quality (and unedited) Looney Tunes DVDs I can get my hands on, but the intro to the old ABC series always takes me back to my original love for these classic creations.


    Honorable Mentions: Thundarr the Barbarian, Herculoids, Space Ghost, Star Trek, early Scooby Doo seasons (before they resorted to the dumb "Hey,'s Sandy Duncan!" celebrity guest star era), The Jetsons, and Filmation's Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle.

    Keep those Top Fives coming!
  • nweathingtonnweathington Posts: 6,712
    edited July 2019
    Okay, I’ll go ahead and say it. I liked SuperFriends: The Legendary Super Powers more than Challenge of the SuperFriends. I watched all the SuperFriends iterations religiously as they came out. Even as a youngster I saw the flaws in the animation, and by the time Challenge came out, I could tell the writing wasn’t very good and didn’t always make sense. “Why didn’t Superman just...?” was a common question I had. I thought Super Powers, while still not great, at least stepped up the writing game a bit. Plus, my brother and I loved imitating the voices of Darkseid and Kalibak.

    Like Mark, though, I did enjoy Filmation’s Flash Gordon, Tarzan, Lone Ranger, and Zorro cartoons. For some reason I rarely saw Freedom Force, and when I did happen to catch it, it always seemed to be one of two or three episodes out of the 13, so I never saw even half of them. All those shows made use of rotoscoping for certain action scenes, which added a sense of realism. Too bad they didn’t have a larger stock footage library to work with though. I didn’t like the sound effects either, but at least the stories were consistently solid and well told. I came close to putting these on my alternates list, particularly Flash Gordon, but they just missed the cut.
  • Mark_EngblomMark_Engblom Posts: 343

    Like Mark, though, I did enjoy Filmation’s Flash Gordon, Tarzan, Lone Ranger, and Zorro cartoons.

    Another hallmark I vividly remember from the Filmation shows (particularly from the sci-fi shows) were the scintillating and lens-flaring visual effects in many of the scenes (as seen in the low-quality screen grab of Ming below). The Filmation stuff always seemed a cut above the rest of the Saturday morning fare when it came to story, animation, and that cool "x-factor" that sticks with you for a lifetime.


    PS: Maybe the Filmation adventure visual effects were where J.J. Abrams got his love for all things lens-flare??!

  • DmanDman Posts: 163
    I haven't listened to the episode yet but 2 cartoons that immediately come to mind is Filmation's Flash Gordon and Thundarr the Barbarian. I couldn't get enough of those 2 shows when I was a kid.

    The 1980 Flash Gordon film, with that awesome score by Queen, came out around the time of the Filmation series. I was so psych because I thought the film was going to be a straight up adaptation of the series. Anyone who've seen the film know that wasn't the case. That was one of those film viewing experiences where I tried to convince myself I liked the film to deny disappointment but over time I did come to love the film for what it was. No matter what, I played that soundtrack to death. I still think someone could do a kick ass version of Flash Gordon; maybe someone like Spielberg, Abrams, or even Peter Jackson. Considering Mongo is a world unto itself, Jackson would probably be perfect.
  • LeeNovaLeeNova Posts: 14
    edited July 2019
    Thanks for another thoughtful and entertaining Top 5 episode, gentlemen. While most of the shows mentioned seemed to be a bit before my time (I was born in 1984), I thoroughly enjoyed everyone's enthusiasm for their favorites.

    My list is exclusively a product of the 90s, so only two of my all-time favorites were mentioned. I wouldn't be surprised if one or two of these show up on the next installment though.

    1. Batman: TAS (I enjoyed Batman 1989, but TAS was what cemented my love for the character and comics shortly thereafter)
    2. King of the Hill (Not all of the episodes were amazing, but when the writing-staff for this show was clicking on all-cylinders they created wonderfully observant comedy gold)
    3. Futurama (Some of the smartest and funniest episodes of TV I've ever seen)
    4. X-Men: TAS (This show came around at the exact right age for me, and it is the reason that I will always choose the X-Men over any other Marvel character or team)
    5. The Adventures of Tintin (I am a HUGE Tintin fan going way back, and this series that I originally caught on HBO was a fantastic adaptation of the original books - I could even see some saying it was faithful to a fault)
  • nweathingtonnweathington Posts: 6,712

    Another hallmark I vividly remember from the Filmation shows (particularly from the sci-fi shows) were the scintillating and lens-flaring visual effects in many of the scenes (as seen in the low-quality screen grab of Ming below). The Filmation stuff always seemed a cut above the rest of the Saturday morning fare when it came to story, animation, and that cool "x-factor" that sticks with you for a lifetime.

    Flash Gordon was originally intended to be a feature film, before it was made into a serialized cartoon. It was the first American cartoon to feature backlighting effects and moire effects (for the energy fields). It also made use of a 3-D animation technique originally developed during the making of Disney’s 101 Dalmations. Plus there was the aforementioned rotoscoping, so yeah, it was pretty advanced production-wise compared to everything else on TV.
  • But, but... no Johnny Quest??? Man, I feel old...
  • DARDAR Posts: 1,128
    I almost completely forgot that while Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends was airing, there was another Spider-Man animated series running at the same time.
  • Dan_in_WIDan_in_WI Posts: 38
    Yikes-a-hooty it's Pants!
    I don't make it to the forums very often but I can't tell you how much hearing Pant's voice warmed the cockles of my heart. Oh how I miss that wit.
  • hauberkhauberk Posts: 1,511
    edited July 2019
    What a great topic!

    I've been scratching my head on this since I saw it come up in my feed. I have some very definitive cartoon memories, though a lot of my strongest after school memories were around the Japanese series like Space Giants, Johnny Sako and His Flying Robot and stuff like that.

    18 was 1988 for me so here we go:

    5 - Johnny Quest. I remember really liking it, and, at the same time, thinking that Race Bannon must have really pissed someone off to have to constantly be following the kid around trying to keep him out of trouble.

    4 - Rocky and Bullwinkle. Especially Fractured Fairy Tales, Aesop and Son and Peabody and Sherman.

    3 - Spiral Zone. I didn't get to see many of these when they were airing, but everything I saw (with possible exception of the vehicles) was way very intriguing. Yet another series with serious repurcussions.

    2 - Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers. Another cool SciFi offering with some more some mature undertones. Like StarBlazers, people actually died. The Metamorph episode was particilarly spectacular.

    1 - StarBlazers. I loved this one. One of my best friends in grade school and I would spend indoor recess drawing huge space battles with the braided lasers and all of that cool stuff. I had the opportunity to rewatch a few episodes not that long ago. Remastered might help, but overall, I was really disappointed and should have left that sacred memory alone.

    Honorable Mention:

    Defenders of the Earth and the precursor Flash Gordon series.
    Thundarr the Barbarian
    Hong Kong Fooey
    Pink Panther
    Space Ghost.
  • i_am_scifii_am_scifi Posts: 779
    edited July 2019

    I somehow completely forgot to mention Bionic Six! They were some of my favorite toys when I was growing up, and their intro song was killer. Add to that the animation was crisp, the cast was diverse, and I still wish there had been a Fantastic Four cartoon of this quality from when I was growing up, since they line up in personality so well.

    Also, Doug! Mainly the Nickelodeon years, but there were also some great episodes of Brand Spanking New Doug on ABC, like The Beets reunion episode.

  • 5. Batman the Animated Series
    4. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe
    3. Transformers
    2. G.I Joe
  • AlpinemapsAlpinemaps Posts: 20
    Without reading any comments, or listening to more than the #5 picks of the Geeks, here's my list:

    1. Robotech
    2. G.I. Joe
    3. Voltron
    4. Superfriends
    5. Battle of the Planets

    I'm sure that list will change as I listen to the episode. I think I'm around the same age as Pants, Shane, and Chris, so we'll see how it shakes out.
  • I never post here, but I had to while listening to this amazing episode. First off, @Pants, it was so great to hear you on the show again! Your Comic Talk eps were always my favorite.

    Last year I watched the Star Blazers remake on Funimation - Space Battleship Yamato 2199 - and it was so good. Highly recommended for old school Star Blazers fans. They captured the feel of the original perfectly.

  • ChrisMurrinChrisMurrin Posts: 249
    I'm still only about 3/4 through, but enjoying the heck out of this episode. Always great to hear @Pants and @Matt, too! Here are my choices.

    Honorable mentions: Thundarr the Barbarian, Scooby-Doo, Courageous Cat and Minute Mouse, Star Blazers, Dungeons & Dragons, Transformers.

    5. GI Joe
    4. Spider-Man '67
    3. Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends / Hulk
    2. Superfriends - all of it
    1. The Bugs Bunny / Roadrunner Hour

    A few, scattered issues aside, G.I. Joe vs. Transformers was the first comic series that started me buying comics, but Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends / Hulk with all those guest stars is the cartoon that got me reading superhero comics to stay.
  • dubbat138dubbat138 Posts: 3,200
    I was born in 74 so turned 18 in the summer of 92.

    5.Scooby Doo-I prefer the New Scooby Doo movies season. But any season without Scrappy is good.
    4.Speed Racer-This was the first anime I saw. And still one of my top 3 animes.
    3.Superfriends-As a kid I loved every season. As an adult I love CHallenge of the SUperfriends and the final 2 seasons.
    2.Spiderman and his amazing friends-I would record the show each week on the Betamax VCR I had in my room. Kept these tapes for years. Once I saw that the show wasnt hitting DVD I used these betamax tapes to make my own DVDS.
    1.Dungeons and Dragons-THis show hit at the right time for me. I was starting to play D&D with friends. So I watched the show each week. When it was cancelled I was mad. Heard for years about a supposed never aired episode where you learn the kids died on the roller coaster and were in hell. Learned when BCI released the entire series to DVD that this was a load of crap.

  • davetalkscomicsdavetalkscomics Posts: 60
    edited August 2019

    Great episode

    I was born in 1970

    My top 5 (in no particular order)

    • Spider-Man 1967 - I saw this in reruns
    • Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends
    • Superfriends - my introduction to many DC heroes and villains, mainly the original edition of the show and Challenge of the Superfriends
    • Dungeons and Dragons - I haven’t watched it in over 35 years and I have my doubts about how it would hold up but I have fond memories of watching it when it first aired
    • UFO Robo Grendizer (aka Goldorak) - anime show which I saw when I lived overseas. I have started watching it again on DVD. It doesn’t quite live up to my memories of it but every once in a while there is an episode with an interesting twist.

    Honorable mentions

    • Starblazers - I’ve started watching the new version (Battleship Yamato 2199) of this show and I am very impressed by it and strongly recommend it to anyone who enjoyed the original. I am watching the subtitles version.
    • Bugs Bunny and other Warner Brothers cartoons - always lots of fun
    • Popeye
    • Woody Woodpecker
  • hauberkhauberk Posts: 1,511
    Not sure if anyone has seen this, but since there's some relation to the subject with one of the titles, I figure it's worth posting.

  • Ian, thanks for a terrific Top 5 topic!! I was shocked and thrilled by the return of Pants! My heart is filled with joy!! (As are the hearts of my co-workers, because they had a difficult time dealing with the Pants-less version of me all these months!)

    Although my Top 5 may show my age, and perhaps my affection for Hanna-Barbera, here they are:

    5) Frankenstein Jr. and The Impossibles
    4) The Herculoids
    3) The Flintstones
    2) Looney Tunes
    1) Speed Racer

    (Rest assured, Marvel Super-Heroes, Spider-Man, The Jetsons, and Magilla Gorilla are definitely numbers 5.1 thru 5.4!!!!!)

    Last, a link for Mr. Eberle. Chris, if you've never seen the composer of the 1966 Marvel Super-Heroes theme songs, Jack Urbont, perform his creations, as he wanted them to be played, then click here:
  • mphilmphil Posts: 448
    LOVED this episode. Reminded me of so many of my favorites and pushed me towards watching some that I missed.

    Also got me thinking, where do we find current action cartoons today? I know of Young Justice, Castlevania (Netflix) but can't think of others. Is Anime the only option nowadays (I've been unable to get into it in the past), or are there web series that fill the void?
  • BrackBrack Posts: 868
    mphil said:

    LOVED this episode. Reminded me of so many of my favorites and pushed me towards watching some that I missed.

    Also got me thinking, where do we find current action cartoons today? I know of Young Justice, Castlevania (Netflix) but can't think of others. Is Anime the only option nowadays (I've been unable to get into it in the past), or are there web series that fill the void?

    Star Wars Resistance
    Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
    Transformers: Cyberverse
    Steven Universe

    I'm sure there's more. But the other thing is that most other cartoons contain elements of those earlier action cartoons. For example, Teen Titans Go did a 5-part event based on Dino-Riders of all things.

    The big change though is that toys changed. Proxy Battling Toys and Games Killed The Action Figure Star.
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