80s | Pop Culture | TV

The '80s Cartoon Intros That Defined Our Childhood

Warner Bros Television / Sunbow Productions

I don't think anyone could argue that there was a better decade for cartoons than the 1980s. Whether they had epic narrators, incredible synth theme songs, or just showed us our favorite characters, as soon as we saw any of these intros, we knew we in for an awesome time.

1. Ulysses 31

This show was basically the Greek myth of Odysseus, but in the 31st Century and in spaaaaaaaaaaaace. There was something weirdly satisfying about singing along to all those "Ulyyyyyseeeeeeeees" parts.

2. Disney's Adventures of the Gummi Bears

A show based on candy had no business being this good, but here we are. Admit it, as a kid you would have given anything to get some of that Gummiberry juice so you could bounce around too.

3. SilverHawks

Made by the same people who made Thundercats (including a lot of the same voice actors), SilverHawks follows a group of bionic, partly metal space police who protect the galaxy from Mon*Star and his gang. This intro proved that all shows should have a shredding guitar solo in their theme songs.

4. Dungeons & Dragons

Based on the tabletop role-playing game that was supposedly turning us into Satanists, the cartoon version followed a group of friends who are transported to the "Realm of Dungeons & Dragons" by riding a roller coaster.

5. Care Bears

Obviously I don't need to tell you who the Care Bears are, absolutely everyone watched it. Good luck getting this theme song out of your head for the rest of the day.

6. Galaxy High

What could be cooler than going to a high school on an asteroid?

7. M.A.S.K.

Basically M.A.S.K. was G.I. Joe meets Transformers, so what more could you really want from life in the '80s?

8. Heathcliff

Heathcliff just couldn't ever stay out of trouble, could he?

9. Star Blazers

There are two things that a lot of '80s cartoons have in common: being set in space and being Japanese productions. Star Blazers was the first one to become popular, but if you try watching it now it's hard to ignore just how....adult it was for a kids show.

10. Chip 'N Dale: Rescue Rangers

It took me way too long to realize that their outfits were modeled after Indiana Jones and Magnum P.I.

11. Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs

You can't go wrong with a good old-fashioned western, but set in space, complete with gun-slinging law men and mechanical horses.

12. Pole Position

We all remember the beloved arcade game Pole Position, but for about four months at the end of 1984 it was also a TV show. And a TV show with a killer synth theme song at that.

There are even more awesome cartoon intros on the next page!

13. Centurions

With names like "Max Ray" and "Ace McCloud" you know these guys meant business. Power Xtreme!

14. C.O.P.S.

There's just something about hearing this theme song that makes you want to yell "It's crime fighting time!"

15. Robotech

It was probably a little too complex to be for kids, but what kid wouldn't love giant robots fighting aliens?

16. Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends

What's better than a show about Spider-Man? Obviously, a show about Spider-Man, Iceman, and Firestar. And don't forget that incredible funky theme song.

17. Bionic Six

The theme song sort of sounds like it belongs to a sitcom, but I guess not every cartoon can have music as incredible as Care Bears.

18. Dinosaucers

A cool concept with a ridiculous name. It's not surprising this show only lasted a season considering it was cursed with the name "Dinosaucers." There has to be cooler names you can use to describe alien dinosaurs.

19. The New Adventures of Jonny Quest

While this "continuation" of the '60s classic was a little more kid-friendly (AKA less violent) than the original, at least they kept its intense theme music.

20. My Pet Monster

My Pet Monster was the plush toy we all wanted to have, but some of us had to just settle for watching the show and pretending we weren't jealous.

21. The Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers

The '80s were so cool that we didn't have one space western about badasses on robo-horses keeping the space frontier safe, we had two. But this one came first.

22. Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors

Like so many '80s cartoons, this one was made to help sell the toys from Mattel's Wheeled Warriors line, but the toys never took off so the show didn't last long. Kinda a shame since both the toys and the show itself were actually pretty cool.

23. My Little Pony

Just like Care Bears, you can't talk about '80s cartoons and not include My Little Pony. Just hearing that song will take you right back to your childhood.

We're not done yet! Head to the next page for even more cartoon intros that will transport you right back to your childhood!

24. The Raccoons

This show was honestly pretty weird, but it was impossible not to love it. I would always get excited as soon as I heard that piano opening.

25. Rainbow Brite

While they recently gave her a modernized makeover that we're not sure about, we know that the original '80s version is the best one. I'll be shocked if you don't still remember all the words to the theme song.

26. Defenders of the Earth

How could anyone not love a show that has Mandrake the Magician, The Phantom, Flash Gordon, and their kids facing off against Ming the Merciless?

27. DuckTales

Not only is it one of the best intros of the '80s, it's hands down one of the best intros of all time. If you ever meet someone who doesn't yell "WOO-OO" immediately after hearing the words "DuckTales" then you know they're not worth having as a friend.

28. Captain N: The Game Master

A show that had the potential to be really cool, but was mostly pretty meh. That didn't stop us from trying to watch it, though.

29. Voltron

This show had everything: the battle between good and evil, robot lions, a giant robot made of robot lions, complete with being set in spaaaaaaaaace.

30. Jem

If you were a girl growing up in the '80s at least a small part of you wanted to be like Jem. It was truly truly truly outrageous, but we loved it anyway.

31. Denver the Last Dinosaur

The late '80s were all about dinosaurs thanks to the popularity of The Land Before Time. Thanks to this show we all dreamed of having a dinosaur friend.

32. Danger Mouse

If James Bond were a mouse, he would definitely be Danger Mouse. They actually rebooted the show back in 2015, but obviously it's not as good as the original.

33. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

Just one of the greatest cartoons that the '80s gave us, no big deal.

34. Robotix

The episodes were way shorter than most other cartoons, but we were weirdly ok with it.

35. Strawberry Shortcake

Another icon of the ‘80s, I can totally remember the smell of those dolls, just from watching this intro again.

We haven't even gotten to some of the best shows yet, but they're just on the next page!

36. Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures

This revival of the classic character didn’t last long, but it had a massive influence on future cartoons and animated movies. People involved in this show would go on to create or work on shows like Batman The Animated Series, Ren and Stimpy, Powerpuff Girls, Wall-E, Futurama, Animaniacs, and more. It also (along with Who Framed Roger Rabbit) paved the way for much more zany and crazy cartoons

37. Inhumanoids

Another Hasbro show, this time about a government group that fights giant monsters underground, and was pretty much what you would get if you combined Pacific Rim with HP Lovecraft and Lord of the Rings. So no, it would never get made today.

38. Brave Starr

Possibly the most underrated cartoon of the decade (though Inhumanoids isn't far off).How could you go wrong with a space western about super-powered Native American Marshal protecting the planet of New Texas?

39. The Smurfs

We all recognize these little blue guys. And we definitely watched all of their adventures.

40. G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero

I can still hear that iconic “G.I. Jooooooe” in my head. The show got a modern boost in popularity thanks to some parodies of the '80s PSAs that got popular in the early 2000s

41. Transformers

No matter how you feel about the Michael Bay movies, you can’t deny that this show was just plain awesome. I dare you to watch this intro and not sing along.

42. She-Ra: Princess of Power

Not surprisingly, the intro of She-Ra is not that different from He-Man’s, but I would argue She-Ra has a catchier theme song.

43. The Real Ghostbusters

Considering it gets to use the iconic theme from the movie, it would be almost impossible for this show to have a bad intro.

44. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Turtle Power!

45. Muppet Babies

This show was one of the reasons it was worth getting up early on Saturdays to watch Saturday morning cartoons. They had two different intros over the years, so why not watch both?

46. Thundercats

Why yes we saved the best for last. Thundercats HO!