Chronarchy (chronarchy) wrote,

In which I discuss the merits of 80's cartoon intros

A recent conversation via text message with a friend, who shall remain nameless because he wouldn't want to be implicated in something so awesome. He keeps a low profile:

Friend: Transformers.

Me: More than meets the eye.

F: Autobots wage their battle to destroy the evil forces of the Decepticons.

M: Transformers.

F: Robots in disguise.


F: More than meets the eye.

M: Transformers.

It's astounding how well 80's cartoon themes work as text conversations. Heck, it's astounding how awesome the themes were in general. I mean, look at those chiseled chins!

What struck me as I was thinking about this at 3:30 AM today (as I couldn't sleep: I have a very nasty cold that's keeping me awake) is that so many of these 80's cartoons didn't actually have a pilot: even viewers who caught the very first episode received nearly all their back-story from the opening credits. Over the course of the show, origins would be revealed through flashbacks rather than through an episode that established the history or the characters.

He-Man is perhaps one of the quintessential shows that provided no pilot at all but just dropped the viewer into the midst of things, explaining Prince Adam's transformation in the credits alone. The old Dungeons & Dragons show is another (far more notorious) example of this: there, you get absolutely zero backstory except for the opening credits; even flashbacks that expanded on the credits were severely limited.

There are exceptions, of course: notably, Transformers had a two-part pilot that established most everything. After that, however, these cartoons consisted primarily of one-shot episodes that didn't contribute much (if anything) to the overall story.

More recent shows have reversed this trend: I've been watching cartoons since the early 80's (pretty much non-stop), and nearly all shows these days have a story-arc format rather than an episodic format like the early cartoons did. I'm not sure if this is better or worse, and I'm not entirely sure that the values of "better" and "worse" can really be applied to cartoons of the the 80's and this latter age with any real use. It's just something interesting in how they have changed.

And, if you couldn't get enough of the cartoon intros above, check out:

Includes He-Man and Thundercats, et al.

There are plenty more of these sorts of videos. Something like eight of them on YouTube alone.

In other news, FireFox needs an update to its dictionary: neither "Autobots" nor "Decepticons" are in the dictionary. That's just wrong.
Tags: amusement, friends, reflections, videos, writings

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