Top 18 80s Kids’ Cartoons

Remember when your parents used to tell that your childhood are the best days of your life?

First of all, why did they do that? Were they just jealous? What did they think you would do with that information? What are you supposed to say to that?

Secondly, as much as it hurts to admit it, they were right.

Sure, being an adult has its advantages, right? You couldn’t drive a car, get drunk (legally) or have sex (again legally) when you were a kid.

In fact, you had put up with quite a lot of crap as a youngster, like the whole ‘no you are too young to go the pub’ thing and those tortuous Saturday afternoons spent being dragged around the shops by your mum looking for new fucking shoes for school. (OK, there are a lot worse things about growing up, but these are the only two that are springing to mind at the moment).

The point is, despite all the growing pains, we all cherish our childhoods. Why? Because the world seemed a more exciting place, we guess.

Now, we’ve seen it all before; got the T-shirt. Then, you just couldn’t wait for the next non-school day. You only need to look at the fun we have had compiling these cartoons to tell how important they are to us.We all remember the days spent waiting for the next instalment of He-Man or Transformers.

We chose the eighties (i.e. cartoons which mainly ran during that decade), mainly because most of us grew up then, but also because it seems to be a golden era of cartoons. Or maybe we are getting too excited again. Bloody kids! Anyway, enjoy!

18. Bananaman

Ok, he wasn’t the sharpest tool in the box, but luckily he had the strength of 20 men and a slew of banana-based super powers at his disposal. Great theme tune too.

17. Visionaries

Was it just us, or did the bad knights come off worse in the animals they transform into? What chance does a snail or beetle have against a bear or a lion?

16. Dungeons and Dragons

Did they ever manage to get home?

15. Jem and The Holograms

The girls in the office convinced us to put this in.

14. The Mysterious Cities of Gold

Are these the ugliest cartoon characters ever?

13. Ulysees 31

Question: How do you make Greek mythology even more interesting? Set it in space. Dodgy beard though.

12. MASK

That’s Mobile Armored Strike Kommand to you. Really cool show in which the characters would gain special powers by putting on masks. Cue more merchandising opportunities.

11. Voltron: Defender of the Universe

The best thing about this cartoon series were the toys. Connecting a bunch of cool lion robots together to form a super robot (with questionable resemblance to Transformers) – how good is that? Parents liked it too, as they could stretch out the presents over many occasions. There was actually a couple of series of this show, when they decided to replace the five lions with a ridiculous army of cars, trucks, planes and helicopters.

10. Thundercats

Admit it, you are singing the theme tune right now. It’s surprising how many of the words you remember.

9. He-man and the Masters of the Universe

OK, so it’s just a little camp, but Skeletor has to be one of the most entertaining cartoon baddies. Can’t say the same about He-man, though. Was his voice always that odd? I guess too many steroids.

8. Dangermouse

We’re guessing there are a lot of British readers screaming for this to be number one. It was a sensational show, but we had to make some tough choices.

7. Inspector Gadget

Makes you wonder what other gadgets he has up his sleeves. We’ll let you think of the jokes.

6. GI Joe

Cartoon was almost has cool as the toys. Almost!

5. Spiderman and his Amazing Friends; and Spiderman (1981 animated series)

Who doesn’t love Spiderman?

4. Battle of the Planets

G-Force!! All we have to say is thank God for that R2D2 robot, otherwise we would not have had a clue what was going on. Mind you, with loads of action and cool spaceships, who cares? Didn’t the small one have tourettes?

3. The Smurfs

Quick question: Was Smurfette the only lady smurf? You know where we are going with this.

2. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Whoever came up with the idea to have four mutant turtles being taught how to be ninjas by a giant rat was either on something very good or a certified genius. They just don’t make shows like that anymore.

1. Transformers

OK, so the whole idea was essentially to sell toys, but who cares?

Honorable mention: Astro Boy
Some of you may be screaming ‘WHERE IS ASTRO BOY’. We didn’t forget – this is an 80s cartoons countdown, and Astro Boy was broadcast first in 1963!

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Comments

  1. Beth says

    80s cartoons were terrible.

    I have the Thundercats logo on my car and name “Starscream” whenever friends/relatives ask if I’m dating anyone.

  2. gir says

    Dangermouse ruled. Penfold ruled. This entire list should have been Dangermouse episodes.

  3. says

    how about…
    GhostBusters
    SilverHawks
    TigerSharks
    CareBears
    RainbowBrite
    MyLittlePony
    GoBots
    GummiBears
    etc…

  4. CrazyDiamond says

    We in America didn’t get Danger Mouse, or Banaman. I’m 33, and when I was a kid, it was all about GIJoe and Transformers. Like when the new set of GIJoe toys came out, we’d all wait impatiently for the new season or the show to see the characters of the toys we just bought. I like your list, good job!

  5. KSchroe says

    Does anyone else remember Bravestarr, a cartoon about a space Texas Ranger with a talking horse deputy? I loved that cartoon.

  6. shootinsmack4fun says

    Need to add immediately for this to be valid:

    Great Space Coaster
    Fraggle Rock
    Mogilla Gorilla
    Captain Caveman
    Rocky and Bullwinkle

    Banannaman, Visionairies, Gem and the Holograms, Dungeons and Dragons?!?? How many times did you get beat up as a kid?!?? Apparently not as much as commenter John who listed every girls cartoon ever made!!!!

  7. josh says

    Yes, BraveStarr ruled. But where are some of the other classics, like My Pet Monster? That show was awesome.

  8. name says

    some of the people complaining about ommissions dont seem to get this is an 80′s list. check your dates. fraggle rock wasnt a cartoon but it was an awesome show. we in america did have dangermouse and it was awesome. i dont remember shows like ulyesses 13 though and it looks like something i would have watched. i do recall really liking the real ghostbusters (not that other ghostbusters cartoon what was going on there?) and silverhawks. shows someone else mentioned. also batman the animated series came around the end of the 80′s didnt it? that show was great.

  9. Bill says

    What about Robotech. That show kicked butt over half of these shows, some of which I never heard of.

  10. Svenner says

    OK how do these lists always forget Dino Riders? That show was badass, seriously what could possibly be more awesome than a T. Rex with freakin laser beams attached to his freakin head.

  11. gir says

    WHAT ABOUT MILTON FROM OFFICE SPACE ARGH I CANT BELIEVE YOU LEFT MILTON OFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Scatman John says

    Dino Riders was awesome.

    Robotech was great too… I watched The Sentinels until my eyeballs bled.

    Glad to see Ulyesses 31 there too. It’s the sort of thing we’d get broadcast on UK television in the early hours of the morning; I’d just watch it for the sake of being something to watch and got sort of drawn in.

    The Greek Mythology hook was the best thing about it. I was really interested in that sort of thing at the time.

  13. christian says

    Svenner! Damnit I thought I would be the first Dino Riders post. Some dude (I’m presuming it was a dude cause girls aren’t as stupid as us) made a DVD containing all of the DR episodes. Check out eBay! Amazing.

    The Dino Riders toys were right up there with the TMNT figures. Dinosaurs with lasers and guns strapped…sold!

  14. Johnny Rapeface says

    Actually, this list is pretty decent. There are plenty of 80′s Cartoons that could have made the list, but then again, it’s this guys opinion. I would have mentioned shows like Dinoriders, Silverhawks, M.A.S.K., Cops, and some others, but then again, it’s this guys opinion, and a pretty solid list. And to say the 80′s cartoons sucked, that’s almost a criminal offense. Someone like that should get sucker punched. Look at todays cartoons and how fucking sucky they are. Luckily I’ve burned and bought plenty of seasons of 80′s cartoons for my children when I have them.

  15. euclid says

    Johnny Rapeface is planning for his children.

    The problem with Surrealism is that it understates reality.

  16. Darth Kill says

    I think there are a few omissions that deserve mentioning:

    Galaxy High
    Inhumanoids
    Centurions

    I don’t know about the rest of you jerks but I really loved Galaxy High

    I love it, I love it <— (you would appriciate this comment if you acctualy watched the show.

  17. Darth Kill says

    I just remembered. What about:

    The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse (from the creator of Ren and Stimpy before Ren and Stimpy)

    Count Duckulka (Dangermouse spinoff)

  18. Jax says

    Robotech

    Robotech

    Robotech

    EAsily destroys all those shows, any kid who wasnt born with FAS will agree with me

  19. Mike Oxbig says

    Was Reboot an 80′s show?
    That was a fxcking amazing show, when i was a kid, and i hardly remember it.

  20. Chris says

    Some good shows in there.
    There were some other rippers that are glaring ommissions though:
    Dinosaucers – dinosaurs from space, come on people.
    Biker Mice From Mars – this may have been a 90′s show (that period of my life is a blur of sugar highs and scraped knees).
    Darkwing Duck – See BMFM

    Count Duckula – In heart of Transylvania, in the vampire hall of fame yeah. A vegetarian vampire duck! Who comes up with this sh*t?

    It really saddens me to see what has been done to shows like Transformers. I was a huge fan as a kid, and own all the DVD’s now, and I cringe every time I see a rehash come out.

    Oh, does anyone remember Samurai Pizza Cats?

  21. Rasa says

    what about MY PET MONSTER!!!
    And Care Bears definitely should have been on this list, as should Scooby Doo, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Berenstein Bears, FLINTSTONES (hellloo!!), and Tom and Jerry.
    This list is totally biased.

  22. Rob says

    Robotech has got to be on there. That cartoon still has a cult following considering they are making CG movies that follow the story after the new generation (season 3)

  23. Rob says

    How about Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers, it ended in 1990 but still started the show in 1989

  24. Matty says

    Where the hell is Count Duckula? I loved that show!!! But loving that Bananaman and Dangermouse are on the list! Woooo UK cartoons! MCOG and Thundercats should have been higher TMNT should be number one and why no ghostbusters??? Dont think we ever got GI JOE over the pond but The Smurfs sucked balls… it was completely pointless!

  25. holydivr says

    Most glaring omissions:

    Dino Riders,
    DinoSaucers (i thought i was the only one who remembered)
    Inhumanoids (again i thought)
    and Beetlejuice.
    Born 1980 – my childhood was 2 things
    Dinosaurs and TMNT

  26. alik180 says

    What about the classics like
    The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Rainbow Brite, Jabber Jaw… Um… Carebears…. etc.

  27. kirin says

    i love jem and the holograms… they were the spice girls and pussycat dolls of the ’80s!!!!!

  28. J Bollocks says

    What a load of crap comments…

    If you don’t LIVE “Rocko’s Modern Life” you’re some sort of pathetic, sub-species of human being.

  29. Chris says

    How can Pole Position not be on this list!?!?! What about Saturday Supercade? What about WWF Superstars!?!?!

    Dangermouse and Inspector Gadget were awful and should be off the list.

    And if you are going to include The Smurfs, you might as well throw Muppet Babies on there too!

  30. Jana says

    @CrazyDiamond

    I am an American and I very much remember Dangermouse and Bananaman. You could watch them on Nickelodeon.

  31. Carrie says

    Makes me wonder if Transformers would still be number one on the list if it wasn’t just a big hit movie too hmm.. Not that I am saying it was a bad cartoon. Just a thought.
    I pretty much watched smurfs, my brother loved he-man. never cared for inspector gadget.

  32. Kelsie says

    This list is COMPLETELY male-biased. hardly any female targeted cartoons were listed. the three biggest being rainbow brite, strawberry shortcake, and lady lovelylocks. come on now

  33. Steve says

    Did anyone notice that that narrator on Voltron was Peter Cullen the voice of Optimus Prime in Transformers?

  34. Da Raven says

    Okay by some of complaints I’ve read I assume you should just list every 80′s cartoon you can think of to keep everyone happy. By the way Robotech is the greatest cartoon to come out of the 80′s. However transformers still deserves #1 since they have tried over and over again to recreate it only to fail each time.
    here are some more 80′s cartoon most of which DON’T belong on any best list. pound puppies, cabbage patch kids, pacman, sports stars, super friends (aka justice league), new kids on the block( yes they had a cartoon), hammertime( more trash), I think captain marvel had a cartoon but I can’t be sure, and I think there was a cartoon called blackstar.

  35. Mitch says

    All of those cartoons you guys have listed from Samurai Pizza Cats to Transformers are classics they are what made the 80s and early 90s so good. Today’s cartoons are embrassing to watch and most kids dont even bother with them. I recently got my kids and his mates to watch modern day stuff power gayjers and then got them to watch Thunder Cats they were gluded to thunder cats(camp i know) they stayed. The only thing that comes close is the modern day Spiderman, Batman and Justice league cartoons.

  36. Gail says

    Some one please help me.. i am trying to find the name of this cartoon. It was kinda like sailor moon but they rode on poneys, lived in there own lil world……. i have looked everywhere for this please someone help me write me back on my e mail gailnessiscool@aol.com

  37. chad says

    what about the Chip and Dale Rescue Ranger lol. Duck Tales. I think I seen the Thunder Cats

  38. Corey says

    Although i was born in 1989 i still love these shows. As of right now i own every TMNT, Transformers, Thundercats, and G.I. Joe episodes. about to start on He-Man… i have only seen every TMNT episode(working on the others). The Cartoons of the 80s are, in my opinion, the greatest ever made. Personally I think that TMNT was a better show than Transformers.

  39. Dan says

    I’ve been trying to find out the name of a cartoon I used to watch when I was a kid, but nobody seems to know what it is or remember anything about it. I think I saw it around 1986-7.
    The main charactor was a dog and there was often a wizard that lived in a shed. In one the wizard made a ladder that could reach the moon. Would love to know what the name of this cartoon is called. Anyone know??

  40. wtf says

    I have been trying to find a show i watched in the late 80′s – early 90′s. I remember a kid and a robot? I want to say it took place in a garage or a basement? I think bud bundy did a guest appereance in one episode. Maybe someone can help me out.

  41. Knicole says

    does anybody know what the name of the 80s cartoon movie that featured Greek mythology stories. It was told through children that looked like precious moment characters. No dialog, just instrumental music

  42. davenb says

    I never watched any of these. What age group is this. I guess I’m too old. They stopped making good cartoons in the 60′s. The Bugs Bunny and that era are thew only real cartoons.

  43. Starscream says

    In my opinion, the 80′s were the greatest era for kid’s cartoons. I think the line up is a little questionable. Transformers should be number one, along with the Thundercats, BOTP, and many others. But were are the Saturday morning cartoons like Alvin and the Chipmunks, Mighty Orbots (I know they were similar to the transformers, but still…), Galaxy Rangers (weekday), and Mr.T(No, but seriously).

    I am just tired of the movie industry trying to recreate all of the 80′s cartoons into movies. Also, parents in the 80′s (Boomers), began to complain about the violence in cartoons, that’s why around 1990 or so, the cartoons began to suck!!!!! As a result, that ended the golden era of tv cartoons and the beginning japanese vhs, and dvd stardom !!!!!

  44. Flu-Bird says

    MIGHTY ORBOTS five robots TOR,BORT,CRUNCH,BO and BOO who could join to make a giant robot and little ONO who was their sort of boss and their nerdy inventor ROB SIMMONS

  45. pohckrop says

    I have also been trying to find this show, if it’s the one I’m thinking of. The robot looked kind of like Wall-E or the robot from Short Circuit, and the show was set in like a garage or a room full of junk or something. I’m thinking the robot had yellow parts, and a reel-to-reel tape machine built into him. I’ve been trying to remember more about it for years.

  46. Jocelyn says

    I too am looking for this . It took place in the basement. I remember the boy had to go one time because his mom was calling him up for dinner. I want to say it was also his bedroom . For some reason I remember a bed. Its been way over 15 yrs since I’ve seen this so I could be wrong. I cant seem to remember anything more than that. If anyone knows of it , please reach me via email at jocelyndiogo@hotmail.com. thanks a bunch.

  47. Flu-Bird says

    BATTLE OF THE PLANETS the robot 7 ZARK 7 and his dog 1 ROVER 1 and 7 ZARK 7 was voiced by ALAN YOUNG from MR ED and G-FORCE had their ship the PHOENIX THAT COULD CHANGE INTO A GIANT FLAMMING BIRD

  48. ki says

    i think the kids name was sam for some reason and i dont remember the robots name…ive been trying to remember this one for a while now

  49. Isileil says

    I think that you’re looking for Wake, Rattle, and Roll, it was an early 90′s show which could be why it was so hard to find.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wake,_Rattle,_and_Roll

    … but was there ever a creature that lived in the plumbing, maybe made of hair and some radio-active chemicals of some sort? I think this is the one that I’ve been looking for, but I can’t be sure.

  50. alex west says

    Thundarr the Barbarian – THE best cartoon ever. Painful that you didn’t include this and shows that you were born late 70′s at the earliest and so too young to remember and so not the best judge

    star blazers (one of the fist japanime corssovers (other than astroboy of course, but this was the NEW japanime and so was mind blowing when it came out))

    galaxy rangers

    macross/robotech

    kidd video

    Fist of the North Star

  51. switchy says

    Nice page – love the comments too.
    Danger Mouse all the way

    Oh, Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds – and Vicky the Viking.
    Yes I used to watch a load of dross.

  52. Fink says

    I remember the show too, and I think it was called “Jumpbox” or something like that. I cant find it anywhere on IMDB but i could swear that was the name of it. and in the opening song, the kid even goes “Jump up-a!”

  53. Pohckrop says

    It was totally Wake, Rattle & Roll, and was retitled to Jump, Rattle & Roll when it was aired on Disney Channel in 1991, which is when I’d have seen it. The curious thing is that I remember a show that was on when I was 1. Anyway, thanks for clearing that up.

  54. Vince says

    Along the lines with Thundercats, He-man, and so forth.
    I also remember the Silverhawks.
    Anybody else remember the Silverhawks!?

  55. dell says

    i agree dangermouse shouldnt be there heel i didnt know they had more than one episode and what happend to tranzor z ,jem, and u gotta love the mupphet babies, and does any one remember ,kissyfur,fantastic max,and i apologize jem is on the list.

  56. J says

    With cartoons lacking in individual storylines these days, for the most part, and being run 24/7 on dedicated channels, there’s nothing special about them any more. The idea of getting out of bed at 7am on a Saturday to get a few precious hours of cartoons or running home after school to catch the last cartoons airing before dinnertime and the news is alien to kids now…..they have their programming pumped into their TVs all day long, and if they don’t see what they want they can slip a DVD in and have it within seconds. The plus side? They stay quiet and entertained. The downside? It’s all become commodity…and “Saturday morning” means little to nothing to kids anymore. (And based on what I’ve seen airing on Saturday mornings now on the networks, I can understand why.)

    Oh, and Thundarr really needs to be on this list. That show ROCKED! A barbarian with a lightsaber….what’s cooler than that!?

  57. NSR says

    Around the time when the TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES came out they started early in the morning just after G. I. JOE some mornings they play THE TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA RATS or DOGS does anybody Remember this?

  58. Daniel says

    Ty so much i have been racking my mind for 5 yrs trying to find this show my wife says it never ran and she cant recall it but here it is HA i win

  59. Christi says

    Maybe someone on here can help me, I’ve been trying to remember a cartoon movie/show that played on TV a few times when I was young. All I remember is this group of animals/dogs(?) trying to escape these cages in a basement, and a boy helped them, and they transformed into something else. They were different colors like blue, green, etc. It’s not Care-Bears, nor do I think it’s the Wuzzles. Does anyone else remember this?

  60. Alex says

    !!!!
    You just answered a question I’ve been trying to answer for years!! Thank you, it’s been bugging me lol. And to think the answer was sitting here for over two years.

  61. Tessa says

    There is this cartoon which was either in late ’80s or early ’90s where there were sheep, a superhero who I cannot recall any description except it was a male; the bad guys were these curtains-wherever they went, anything they floated over was destroyed; I remember one episode where one of these curtains was captured, then someone entered to discover nothing inside…not much to go on, yet it has been driving me nuts; plus there was this live early 90s kids game show where the floor could fall out beneath them if they misstep…not sure what else. Wish we could recall memories as if they were fresh!

  62. domyhedin says

    can anyone help, i’ve been trying to remember an early morning saturday cartoon it was on around the same time as jace and the wheel warriors and uylesses but aired earlier it was set inside a couple of kids bodies and the different cells had faces, and it was slightly educational and it was clearly a dubbed japanese cartoon

  63. Roger says

    Mysterious Cities of Gold rapes the rest of the list lol. It’s better than all 17 others combined, never mind singularly.

    Unlike childish dross such as Battle of the Planets, it stands up very easily to adult viewing. In that respect, only Ulysses 31, Dangermouse and Dungeons and Dragons share that out of the choices, but MCoG is a class apart.

    RE the first comment: Dogtanian better than the rest of the list? It’s a childish show for children that’s aged badly.

  64. Lina B. Umpierre says

    Hey, anyone remember the Centurions, with all and their Man and Machine PowerXtreme? And what about Captain Planet and his Planeteer Fab-Five?

  65. Lina B. Umpierre says

    I wonder where are the rescue adventure cartoon show such as Emergency +4 and Rescue Heroes.