Thundarr the Barbarian

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ABC (ended 1982)

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8.2
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Thundarr the Barbarian

Show Summary

Thundarr the Barbarian was a half-hour Saturday morning cartoon series that premiered on October 4, 1980 on ABC. It was a Ruby-Spears Enterprises Production. The show takes place 2000 years after the Earth was nearly destroyed by a runaway planet in 1994. The Earth is now populated by various new animal species, mutants and monsters, and is ruled by the 7 Citadels of Sorcery, a group of evil sorcerers who use a combination of magic and highly advanced technology to rule over the hapless populace. The series revolve around the trio of Thundarr, Ariel and Ookla, as they make their way through the world on horseback, defeating evil wherever they may find it, their motivation being that they themselves had escaped the clutches of the vile sorcerer Sabien, Ariel's evil stepfather. Ariel herself is a powerful sorceress. Thundarr, a former slave, won his freedom and was given a magic sunsword, a powerful weapon he can use to battle evil. Because it's magic, it was created to function only in his possession. He can ignite and retract the blade at will. When not in use, the hilt can be placed on his wristpack, readily available when it's needed. Ookla is a Mok, one of various new species that exist in post-apocalyptic Earth. He has great strength and is skilled with a bow and stun arrows. But he also has great heart and can be affectionate to his friends. The Earth of the future is littered with half-destroyed relics and monuments of the modern day world, and many of the episodes take place in recognizable locales such as New York City or Mount Rushmore that have been changed as a result of the great cataclysm that destroyed Old Earth in the year 1994. While this is a dramatic series, much of the show's humor revolves around Thundarr's relative lack of knowledge of our modern day Earth, as well as various antics from Ookla. Ariel, who has a great knowledge of history can usually fill in the gaps for them. But the trio devote most of their time battling wizards and other forms of evil that threaten humanity. This is the show's opening narration: Thundarr, the Barbarian! In the year 1994, from out of space comes a runaway planet, hurtling between the Earth and the Moon unleashing cosmic destruction. Man's civilization is cast in ruin. Two thousand years later, Earth is reborn... A strange new world rises from the old; a world of savagery, superscience, and sorcery. But one man bursts his bonds to fight for justice! With his companions Ookla the Mok and Princess Ariel, he pits his strength, his courage, and his fabulous Sunsword against the forces of evil. He is Thundarr, the Barbarian!moreless
Robert Ridgely

Robert Ridgely

voice of Thundarr

Nellie Bellflower

Nellie Bellflower

voice of Princess Ariel

Henry Corden

Henry Corden

voice of Ookla the Mok

Dick Tufeld

Dick Tufeld

Narrator

Nancy McKeon

Nancy McKeon

Additional Voices

Alan Oppenheimer

Alan Oppenheimer

Additional Voices

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • A cartoon based in a future of science and magic. Where a lone barbarian, a sorceress and a Mok set on a quest to free those that can't fight for themselves.moreless

    10
    Thundarr was truly ahead of its time. No cartoon since has tried to tell a story without a comicbook or toyline as a lead in. Thundarr to many may look like a rip off of star wars. And maybe it was. Wherever they go the basic idea they didn't stop there. The very event that caused this was new. Not some nuclear war or biological disaster but a comet traveling between the earth and the moon. Then there was the cast. Thundarr may have had a gruff exterior, yet his love for humankind was beyond question. He was willing to place his life on the line for total strangers. Thundarr never quested for power or a Kingdom of his own. If anything the title of Barbarian is a misnomer. Behind his ever angry scowl was a man that cared deeply for any that sought to live in peace. His hatred for wizards and mutants was based on their use of power to hurt others. Then there was Princess Ariel. If she was a a princess for real was never revealed but she had a way about her that could be called royalty. An African-American woman of great intelligence. Ariel had power enough to enslave cities and was a match for many of the wizards and sorceresses that they came across. Yet Ariel believed in Thundarr's dream of freedom and peace. and while Thundarr never really cared for Ariel's impromptu history lessons. Her knowledge of earth's history was invaluable to the success of their adventures. Ookala was the comic relief and I don't fault him for that. The tone of the show was deep and needed a little lightening up every now and then. And many times his Mok strength was needed to save the day. Their adventures were on par with the original Jonny Quest series of the 60's. With recurring characters helping to build a more believable world. This series was truly a gem between the superfriends and fat albert days of the 80's. I hope that one day it will be placed on DVD for new generations to enjoy.moreless
  • Future-Medieval before it became chic

    10
    I remember fondly getting the part of Ookla the Mok... (not the voicing, but the acting was me)... I just read the script and thought WOW! Wizards and Warriors... in the Future!?!?! What a great concept!!! And now it seems to be a reoccurring theme... From Warhammer 40K's tabletop wargames to the up-coming Neil Marshall movie "Doomsday" are using the basic concept that was shown on our little Saturday Morning cartoon... I'd like to see Space Ghost or the Herculoids say that!



    While in retrospect, the voice acting and direction were corn-ball by todays standards, we definitely raised the bar for more edgy, darker cartoons in a realm ran by cereal mascots and 30 min. toy ads...moreless
  • Set 2000 years after the destruction of civilization, Thundarr the Barbarian brought a harder, more adult edge to Staurday morning cartoons.

    9.5
    In 1994, a runaway planet hurtles between the Earth and the Moon, causing widespread damage and destroying civilization as we know it. 2000 years later, a new world filled with mutants, barbarians, wizards and all manner of beasts has been built upon the ruins of the old. It is the world of Thundarr the Barbarian, Princess Ariel and Ookla the Mok, who travel the globe battling evil doers who seek to oppress the ordinary people who struggle to survive.



    Clearly influenced by Star Wars, Conan the Barbarian and period comic books, Thundarr the Barbarian was a show that truly surpassed the usual fare of Saturday morning TV. With top notch writing, great animation, strong character design and wonderful background scenes that feature the destroyed ruins of modern civilization, the show set a very high standard.



    Thundarr has a look and feel similar to the adult oriented "Heavy Metal" which was released in theaters about time that Thundarr was in production and some modern Japanese anime. Considering the fact that this show was intended for Saturday mornings, it is a truly amazing piece of work. American TV animation did not return to this level of sophistication until Warner Brothers introduced "Batman, The Animated Series" over a decade later.



    I give this show high marks. Thundarr the Barbarian only lasted a couple of seasons when it was released but I am sure that it would have lasted much if cable TV were commonplace during that era. I'm surprised that the production company has not revisited the series because I think it could still be a hit. Highly recommended.moreless
  • The best Cartoon of the 80's

    10
    This new above all cartoon shows deserves to come back as its own new series as a anime-style series or a Live Action Movie!



    This show would be perfect!



    I mean its got all the making of Sci-Fi GOLD!!!



    It was way ahead of its time when it came out.



    God I miss this series.

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More Info About This Show

Categories

Animation, Fantasy

Themes

Classics, Saturday Morning