I know the prospect of rebooting the beloved shows of our youth is a touchy subject. While I love the original versions of many of these shows, I still would love to see some of them revisited, refreshed, and brought back to the small screen. Sometimes they showed so much potential, but the execution lacked; the animation was sub-par, the voice cast just sounded off, or there were too many “what the heck was that?” moments. Or maybe it was perfect, and you just wanted more. I think I covered all those cases here with my picks for cartoons from the ’80s that deserve a reboot.
Sky Commanders had a great premise – a massive energy source opens a fissure in the South Pacific Ocean, creating a brand new continent and releasing a powerful new element, Phaeta Seven. Made up of rough spires of rock that shot up into the sky, the landscape is only accessible to mountaineers using ziplines to navigate it. Mike Summit leads the Sky Commanders in keeping the energy source from General Plague’s Raiders, who want to use the Phaeta Seven to take over the world.
I’m always a sucker for cartoons that have changed the face of the world, like Thundarr the Barbarian did. While this isn’t as completely world-changing, a brand-new, inhospitable continent is a good start.
Get rid of the ziplines – they were a cool action features in the old days but are so outdated now. You could easily upgrade the characters to jetpacks. You could still even use the ziplines in the toys to approximate the flying in the cartoon. I would also increase the stakes by making the energy source and the monsters it created be a real threat to the rest of the planet, so Summit had to fight not only the Raiders (who I’d rename) but the continual spread of the radiation outside the continent’s borders.
Wildfire follows the story of Princess Sara of Dar-Shan, sent away as a baby to live on Earth with her father to protect her from her evil aunt, Lady Diabolyn. Now a young lady, she’s called to her homeland by Wildfire, a talking horse able to jump between worlds. As the rightful ruler of Dar-Shan, Sara defends the land from Diabolyn’s schemes, her Goons, and the source of her magic, the Spectres of Evil.
With the popularity of Netflix’s Spirit Riding Free, it’s obvious that the story between a girl and her horse can be a success. Beyond that, the world of Dar-Shan has plenty of potential, especially with the Great Horse Chieftains, who possess significant power in the land, and the sealed-away Spectres of Evil corrupting Lady Diabolyn.
The biggest change I would make is turning Lady Diabolyn a real threat. In the original cartoon, most of her schemes were pretty basic, like trying to become the Queen of Dar-Shan by tricking someone into marrying her. She never took advantage of the power the Spectres of Evil granted her, besides turning into a dragon in one episode. I’d also upgrade the Goons into real monstrous beings that should scare anybody they face, though I would still be okay with them providing a healthy dose of comic relief.
Inhumanoids centered on massive monsters released from the center of the earth. The Earth Force, comprised of scientists and engineers, bands together with living trees and animate rock creatures called the Mutores to fight the disgusting D’Compose, viny Tendril, and Metlar, the ruler of the volcanic land, Infernac, as they threaten the surface world.
Inhumanoids was more than just a kids cartoon, it was a horror show, showing people being corrupted into monsters, a giant walking corpse, and worst of all, a cyclops that showed everything it ate in its see-through stomach. There’s really nothing else like it anywhere. In addition to that, It was one of the rare cartoons that had a strong continuity throughout the whole series, with Previously On’s and Next Time On’s and kept changes to the groups that lasted multiple episodes.
Why even change anything? This cartoon was great as it was and only needed a chance to tell the rest of its story. However, I wouldn’t mind if the story ramped up the body horror and gore, maybe by having the show be produced by the studio that did Castlevania and Blood of Zeus.
Blackstar told the story of Astronaut John Blackstar after being pulled through a black hole and crash landing on the planet Sagar. Granted powers by his half of the PowerStar, he fought against the Overlord, a tyrant that wants to unite the two halves of the sword and rule the planet.
With She-Ra’s series being a huge success a couple of years ago and He-Man getting not one but two cartoons on Netflix, it seems like a given for Filmation’s proto-He-Man series to get a reboot (or at least get an appearance in Masters of the Universe).
If Blackstar did get a new series and not a cameo, the first thing I’d do is get rid of the Trobbits. One annoying sidekick is bad enough, but six of them? Hell no. I’d also set the show immediately after he lands on the planet and show how he gained the sword. Moreover, I’d change the powers the sword has and the powers it bestows on Blackstar and Overlord; a sword giving super-strength is a little overdone in Filmation’s library. Lastly, I’d give Klone and Mara a bigger focus and give Overlord a broader range of powers beyond what the sword gave him.
Dinosaucers was the story about aliens that were somehow related to dinosaurs (it’s not really spelled out). Upon coming to Earth, the good guys meet four humans who help them fight against the Tyrannos, while using an ability called Dinovolving, which allows the good guys to turn into full dinosaur forms.
With how popular dinosaurs are now with Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous, it’s a no-brainer that practically any dinosaur-themed cartoon would be a success.
I’d switch the Dinovolving ability from the Dinosaucers to the Tyrannos, giving the bad guys an advantage that the good guys need to work hard to overcome. Maybe it’s something they are able to steal from the bad guys and start to use themselves, but I’d also show the difficulties that come from adapting to the new power. I’d also tie the Dinosaucers origin more to prehistoric Earth and have the time in the show shift to the Jurassic age as the story progresses. I’d be tempted to dump the Secret Scouts unless they can give me a good reason to keep them.