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Top 10 Cartoons from the 80s (with videos)(Hubnugget nominee)

Updated on May 12, 2011

Great Cartoons of the 1980s

For children of the 80s, Saturday mornings meant one thing:  Cartoons!  Kids who were otherwise unwilling to stir until noon on other days would be up bright and early on Saturday, eating a bowl of Captain Crunch and watching "Garfield and Friends."  There are dozens of memorable cartoons from the 1980s, but these ten stand out above the rest.

10. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987-1996)

Baby turtles infected by toxic ooze become mutants with surfer dude accents who love pizza.  They live in the sewers with their rat sensei, fighting crime and alien invaders.  The turtles, all named after Renaissance artists, are helped in their pursuits by their friend April, a news reporter.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Clip

9. Alvin and the Chipmunks (1983-1991)

A remake of the original 1961 animated series "The Alvin Show," the 80s cartoon "Alvin and the Chipmunks" brought the squeaky-voiced trio back to the forefront of pop culture. Episodes typically included at least one musical number, sang in typically shrill chipmunk fashion.

Alvin and the Chipmunks Clip

8. The Snorks (1984-1989)

Based on characters designed by a Belgian comic artist, Hanna-Barbera's Snorks were undersea creatures named for the snorkles protruding from their heads. Much like the Smurfs, the Snorks had a human-like society and technology, adapted for their watery environment.

The Snorks Opening Theme Song

7. Transformers (1984-1987)

Transformers was a cartoon about a war between two opposing factions of robots. The robots could transform into cars, other objects, and even animals. The animated series was based on a line of toys that went on to become some of the most iconic pieces of 80s nostalgia.

Transformers Clip

6. The Jetsons (1984-1985, 1987-1988)

The futuristic early-1960s cartoon "The Jetsons" came back into the spotlight in the 80s with the exploding popularity of animation on television.  This resurgence led to new episodes of the space-age family series being produced for syndication during the mid to late 80s, all with the charm and wit of the original.

The Jetsons Opening Theme Song

5. Gummi Bears (1985-1989)

One of the better moves of former Disney CEO Michael Eisner's career, this 80s cartoon was loosely based on the classic candies.  The magical Gummi Bears would drink gummi berry juice, which allowed them to bounce to incredible heights.

Gummi Bears Clip

4. The Smurfs (1981-1990)

A tribe of little blue creatures called Smurfs and their arch enemy, Gargamel, were the focus of this cartoon from Hanna-Barbera, adapted from a late-50s Belgian comic strip. Each smurf represented a different stereotype, and the word "smurf" was used as every possible part of speech.

The Smurfs Clip

3. Inspector Gadget (1982-1989)

In this internationally-loved cartoon, the clumsy and dim-witted Inspector Gadget uses quirky, crazy technology to fight his nemesis, the evil Dr. Claw. (Think Clouseau from Pink Panther meets Maxwell Smart, equipped with Batman-like toys.) Gadget is assisted by (or, in most cases, saved by) his clever neice, Penny, and her exceptionally smart dog, Brain.

Inspector Gadget Opening Theme Song

2. DuckTales (1986-1991)

"DuckTales" followed the adventures of Scrooge McDuck and his great-nephews.  The youngsters moved in with Scrooge after their other uncle who they had been living with, Donald, went off to join the Navy.  The show also spawned two spin-off cartoons, "Quack Pack" and "Darkwing Duck."

DuckTales Clip

1. ThunderCats (1985-1990)

The ThunderCats were cat-like humanoids on the planet of Thundera, animated in part by some who would go on to form Japan's legendary Studio Ghibli.  The cartoon led to an enormous wave of merchandising, with ThunderCats toys becoming absolute must-have items for 80s kids.

ThunderCats Opening Theme Song


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