80s Cartoons Rule. Top 15 80s Cartoons We Grew Up On

The other day, we were sitting around the office discussing our favorite cartoons that we grew up on and it dawned on me – damn, I’m old! Ok, I’m not THAT old, but making this list and re-watching these episodes sure did bring back memories of me racing home from school to catch Thundercats (after Jem) or getting up extra early on Saturdays to cram in as many cartoons as I could, (in the ancient times of the dinosaurs when the internet didn’t exist), before getting kicked out of the house by my mom to go play outside.

I’ve put together a nifty list of MY favorite cartoons from the 80’s which defined a lot of us geeks, (well, me anyways), and fueled so many of today’s fandoms. Keep in mind this isn’t a complete list by far, merely the ones I personally enjoyed the most.

Sure I missed some classics like Robocop, Double Dragon, The Incredible Hulk, MASK and more, but hey let’s face it, I got kinda lazy writing this :P. Granted, this list is only the ones that came out in the 80’s. I’m dating myself now, but those of you that grew up to these will also remember how many of the cartoons from the 60’s and 70’s that were still airing too like Superfriends, Captain Caveman, Spider-man, and let’s not forget the always classic Bugs Bunny Show.

And now, those awesome 80’s cartoons that changed my life. (in no particular order)


Still among my favs, and I kick myself in the ass every time I think about how I sold almost my entire collection of G1 Transformers at a yard sale as a kid.



Ok so how many of you grabbed a cardboard tube, swung it around 3 times chanting “THUNDER, THUNDER, THUNDERCATS HOOOOOOOO!”. Yeah I didn’t either. *shifty eyes* In any case, I was ecstatic when the new cartoon came around and I must say I really loved where they were going with it and loved the character designs even more… better yet, Snarf didn’t talk! Sadly, it was canceled before they could make it better. Boo-urns.


G.I. Joe

The best part of G.I. Joe was their life lesson at the very end of each episode… the more you know right?


The Real Ghostbusters

Growing up on Ghostbusters the movies, the next logical step was the cartoon of course. Making Slimer the loveable sidekick instead of the villain totally won me over and kept me rootin’ for the little guy.


Spiderman and His Amazing Friends

Even to this day I’m a huge Spider-Man fan, to be honest, he’s my absolute favorite Marvel character. Why? I guess I always related to him being always being the smart-ass honor role student obsessed with science. What I liked most about this show was their nifty apartment that turned into a superhero secret base. God I wanted one of those.


Muppet Babies

Maybe it was because I had little sisters, or maybe because my nickname given to me by the cool kids was “Gonzo” (apparently I was weird for liking comics, C64s and the like), or maybe because I always loved the original Muppet show… I really liked Muppet Babies. I felt it captured the essence of the original Jim Henson characters quite well.



What OG Star Wars fan doesn’t remember Ewoks and Droids? I grouped them together mainly because they used to air back-to-back. Personally I always liked Droids better, but R2 always had my heart. Goddamn I love that droid.



He-Man is still to this day one of my favorites. Just how many do I like it you ask? Enough that I have a He-Man’s ruin tattoo on my leg. Yes, I know the animation was bad, but the concept/story behind the show was amazing! (well except for that Bow guy in She-ra). I was really starting to enjoy the last cartoon remake as well as they went more into the history of the characters but was sad when it was canceled.


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

The cartoon version is still the best in my opinion HOWEVER when the live action movie came out in all it’s Corey Feldman glory, I lost my shit. Granted I was but a young turtle myself and watching it now is cringe worthy (hey remember that Vanilla Ice song in part 2? Just… wow). I must say though, the last CG animated movie gave TMNT a nice dark twist that resonated more with the original comic.


Dungeons & Dragons

Who WASN’T playing D&D back in 80’s? Hell, even Elliot’s older brother in E.T. was a fan. Admittedly I was a BIT disappointed in the cartoon but that’s only because they didn’t follow the character rules from the old Dungeon Master’s guide. Aside from that, it was the best we could get.



Ok, I religiously watched Beetlejuice growing up. It was funnier than the movie! Although, no one will ever be able to top Michael Keaton in that role, the cartoon definitely did it justice and made him a lovable anti-hero… sorta.



Eyes of a hawk, ears of a wolf, strength of a bear, speed of a puma! Who DIDN’T want those powers? Brought to by the classic Filmation bunch, also responsible for He-Man and She-ra, you can definitely see similarities in not only the animation style but stories as well. Simply replace a fantasy sci-fi backdrop with a western sci-fi one and voila – Bravestarr. Nevertheless, I dug it.



What do you mean, you don’t remember Blackstar? Yet another He-man’esque fantasy/sci-fi revolving around two swords, only this villain looked a bit like a smaller Galactus. I did always want to combine the star sword and power sword and use it to demolish everything while riding my dragon. Hell, I modeled a D&D character after him!


Captain N the game master

In the early days of gaming systems, when the Nintendo came out, it was a big deal. Most of us were like “what the hell is this controller and a power glove? *mind_blown*” Then came Captain N. How many of you were freaked out by the green hex guy coming out of the tv? Nooooo thank you. Although, I absolutely loved seeing all my favorite games come to life.


Saturday Supercade (Q-bert, Donkey Kong, Frogger)

Speaking of favorite games coming to live, enter the Saturday Supercade! This one was dear to my heart especially because it featured all my Atari and Colecovision favorites whereas Captain N was Nintendo. I don’t know why but Q-bert was always my favorite in this show.

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5 Comments on 80s Cartoons Rule. Top 15 80s Cartoons We Grew Up On

  1. Honorable mentions should go to MASK, JEM and the Holograms, Voltron (both the lions and the ships, Turbo Teen, Bionic Six, Silverhawks, Tiger Sharks, COPS… and the list goes on… 🙂

  2. Mykhull

    Greg Campbell makes the 80s look soo bad-ass! I’m glad Beetljuice was was always pretty trippy.. Inspector Gadget was pimpin’ too… what I couldn’t stand, and was always on, was The Racoons

  3. Lil' Chris

    Hey! There was nothing wrong with She-Ra! I do agree, Bow was a bit of a tool and there was actually a whole episode dedicated to how much everyone depended on She-Ra to save them. She essentially told them all to go f* themselves. Classic

  4. Ahhh I should reword that, I definitely had nothing against She-ra, it was just Bow that i thought was lame. In fact, I had Hordak’s slime pit castle thing and all his minions too! I’m gonna fix that now 🙂

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