Saturday morning cartoons were the only reason to wake up early in the ’80s. Growing up, we did not have a television so I would be at my best friend’s door (much to the disappointment of his dad) every Saturday at a bright and early 6AM to start binging.
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Saturday morning cartoons don’t exist the way we knew them anymore. These days, kids have everything on demand and don’t have to wait anxiously all week to watch the latest episode of anything. The ’80s were a golden era for Saturday morning cartoons, a time when we eagerly crawled out of bed to tune in to our favorite animated adventures. With a bowl of cereal in one hand and the TV remote in the other, Saturdays were a magical escape into the world of colorful characters, epic battles, and life lessons. In this article, we’ll take a nostalgic journey through twenty of the best Saturday morning cartoons of the ’80s that left an indelible mark on a generation.
As usual, these are in no particular order, as it would be difficult to score any of these above another. This list is also cartoons made in the ’80s, we omitted cartoons made before the ’80s but we know many of the ’70s and even ’60s cartoons were still popular then. Let us know what your favorites are!
Table of contents
- Twenty Great Saturday Morning Cartoons of the ’80s
- The Smurfs (1981-1990)
- Transformers (1984-1987)
- He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983-1985)
- G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (1983-1986):
- ThunderCats (1985-1989)
- DuckTales (1987-1990)
- Inspector Gadget (1983-1986)
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987-1996)
- Voltron: Defender of the Universe (1984-1985)
- The Real Ghostbusters (1986-1991)
- Garfield And Friends (1988-1994)
- The Chipmunks (1983-1990)
- The Snorks (1984-1989)
- Muppet Babies (1984-1991)
- Pound Puppies (1986-1989)
- Alvin and the Chipmunks (1983-1990)
- The Care Bears (1985-1988)
- Dungeons & Dragons (1983-1985)
- M.A.S.K. (1985-1986)
- She-Ra: Princess of Power (1985-1986)
- Wrap Up
Twenty Great Saturday Morning Cartoons of the ’80s
The Smurfs (1981-1990)
These tiny blue creatures, led by Papa Smurf, captured the hearts of kids everywhere with their wholesome adventures in the magical Smurf Village.
The battle between the Autobots and Decepticons was the stuff of legend, as they transformed from vehicles to robots in this epic series.
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983-1985)
“By the power of Grayskull!” He-Man and his allies fought to defend Eternia against the evil Skeletor.
G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (1983-1986):
“Knowing is half the battle!” These elite soldiers fought Cobra in thrilling action-packed episodes.
The ThunderCats, led by Lion-O, battled the forces of evil on the mysterious planet of Third Earth.
Scrooge McDuck and his nephews, Huey, Dewey, and Louie, embarked on treasure-filled adventures in this classic Disney series.
Inspector Gadget (1983-1986)
With the help of his niece Penny and her trusty dog Brain, Inspector Gadget solved crimes in a comically chaotic fashion.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987-1996)
Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael were the heroes in a half-shell, fighting villains like Shredder and Krang.
Voltron: Defender of the Universe (1984-1985)
The five lions combined to form the mighty Voltron, defending the universe against the evil King Zarkon.
The Real Ghostbusters (1986-1991)
Based on the hit movie, this cartoon followed the paranormal adventures of the Ghostbusters.
Garfield And Friends (1988-1994)
Jim Davis’s wacky, sarcastic, and fun cat brought to life in one of the best animated TV shows ever.
The Chipmunks (1983-1990)
Alvin, Simon, and Theodore sang their way into our hearts with their musical misadventures.
The Snorks (1984-1989)
These underwater creatures embarked on adventures in Snorkland, reminiscent of another famous animated series.
Muppet Babies (1984-1991)
Baby versions of the Muppets used their imaginations to go on wild adventures while under the care of Nanny.
Pound Puppies (1986-1989)
A group of lovable dogs found homes for their fellow canines in this heartwarming series.
Alvin and the Chipmunks (1983-1990)
The mischievous trio of Alvin, Simon, and Theodore entertained with their music and antics.
The Care Bears (1985-1988)
These cuddly, colorful bears spread love and positivity in their magical world.
Dungeons & Dragons (1983-1985)
A group of kids transported to the world of Dungeons & Dragons faced perilous adventures to find their way home.
The Mobile Armored Strike Kommand fought the criminal organization V.E.N.O.M. with transforming vehicles and masks.
She-Ra: Princess of Power (1985-1986)
The twin sister of He-Man, She-Ra, fought for the honor of Grayskull and the freedom of Etheria.
The ’80s produced an unforgettable lineup of Saturday morning cartoons that not only entertained but also imparted valuable life lessons. These shows continue to hold a special place in the hearts of those who grew up during that era. While Saturday morning cartoons may have evolved, the nostalgia of the ’80s remains a cherished memory for many, reminding us of simpler times filled with imagination and wonder.
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