We are currently in a boom for great superhero movies with Marvel and DC releasing a plethora of movies in the next few years. What many people don't realize is that the ground work for this boom was set in a 10 year span from the mid 80s through the earl 90s. For those of us who grew up in this time period we know how wonderful it was to watch cartoons on Saturdays and after school. The anticipation of having to wait to get those precious few hours a week of our shows. Today kids a saturated with multiple networks dedicate to children programming and most of it just doesn't measure up to the great shows from 20 to 30 years ago. Why are these shows remembered so fondly by our generation? Well to start with...
They had great stories
Thundercats, Transformers, GI Joe, He-Man, etc almost every show from the 80s had great story lines. In the 70s and early 80s shows were basically a half hour long short stories with a formula to follow. When you get to the mid 80s you start to get overreaching archs that stretched for multiple episodes. Thundercats in particular starts with the cats leaving Thundera and coming to 3rd earth and making a home for themselves. How many of us remember the 5 part series The Trials of Lion-o. It had so the main story of Lion-o proving himself as a leader against the other Thundercats and minor story lines involving The Mutants and Mum-Ra. It was like nothing we had ever seen before. I mean to see a story like that you would need an....
OK raise your hand if you cried when Optimus Prime died. Wait a min I am eight years old my heroes can't die. How do I handle this? Simple I go out and drown my tears by purchasing Rodimus Prime and all is better. Every successful TV show from GI-Joe to the Care Bears had a theatrical movie release but the cream of the crop was Transformers the Movie. It had everything you need to have a successful movie. It had a tragic death, the rise of a new leader, unbelievable music, and great guest voice actors. If only we can just get Michael Bay to make something this good we would all forgive Age of Extinction.
And lastly the best Heroes and Villians.
I already mentioned Optimus and Lion-I but there were so many great heroes in the 80s. We had Duke, He-Man, The nest Batman, and the TMNT but all of them are nothing without great vilians. We were blessed with Villians that actually had the feeling they could win. Before that we had a bunch of ambiguous men in masks who would be defeated in a half an hour and replaced with a nearly identical villian the next week. When the mid 80s hit along came Megatron, Cobra Comander, Mum-Ra, and the Shredder. These Villians even had awesome underlings that seemed poised to take over like Starscream and Destro. You were never sure if this was going to be the episode that the villian would win leading to a 2 part episode or even better the week long episode where the villian would willing. Mon-Thurs only to make a fatal mistake on Fri.
All of these reasons is what made the idea of a Marvel Cinematic Universe seem possible. If not for the 80s kids would still be getting cookie cutter entertainment. You know the type we see on all of the networks today. Thank god for retro DVDs.