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Thundarr The Barbarian

What if you took elements from Star Wars, He-Man, Conan, and the Road Warrior, put them in a pot and shook them up until they mixed together? You would likely end up with the amazingly fun cartoon that was Thundarr the Barbarian. This is a show that I was addicted to from the first moment I saw it. Sure it was a blatant rip-off of other franchises, but that didn't matter. It was just so cool.

The show takes place in 3994 AD. A rogue planet had passed between the Earth and its moon, causing catastrophic climate change and the destruction of civilization as we know it. The moon split in two, and the p broken chunk can often be seen in the sky. New civilizations peopled by mutants and monsters have arisen. Sorcerers use a mixture of magic and old technology to rule their domains.

The hero of the story, Thundarr, is a slave to one of these sorcerers. He has befriended Ookla, a wookie like creature that the creators didn't want to use but the network forced on them due to the popularity of Star Wars. He is rescued by Princess Ariel, the daughter of the sorcerer who is keeping him captive. She has magical powers of her own, and gifts him with the Sunsword, an energy blade similar to a lightsaber.

Together the three adventurers wander the countryside of what was once the United States, helping poor villagers and deposing would be tyrants. They run afoul of many creatures including werewolves, hawkmen, and an alien vampire. Ruins of recognizable landmarks like the Statue of Liberty can often be seen in the background. 20th century weapons and technology are sometimes revived and used against them. The occasional giant robot gets thrown in the mix. There is even a sublot of unrequited love between Ariel and Thundarr.

How could this show have been anything less than amazing when it basically took all the coolest elements of everything that was popular in geek culture at the time and slightly altered them to use in their show? There is one tiny nod to one of the many influences, when the trio fight against a wizard named Crom. You might know that name as the god worshipped by Conan, who often exclaims "By Crom!" As derivative as it is though, the show is fun and entertaining.


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