A number of times during our childhood we became massive fans of a particularly good cartoon series, only to see the series disappear without a trace for no good reason whatsoever. We have often wondered what became of some of our favourite retro animated shows, and today is the day that we’ve finally decided to find out the truth.
Below are the real reasons that eight of the very best 1980s cartoons were cancelled, and we really hope that your favourite made the list!
8. Dungeons & Dragons
Originally on our TV screens from 1983 until 1985 for a total of 27 episodes, the brilliant (but really scary) Dungeons & Dragons was sadly cancelled before its makers were able to give it a fitting conclusion. In 2012 Mark Evanier, one of the show’s creators and writer of the first episode, revealed that its cancellation was simply down to falling ratings, saying that “the show simply began losing its audience, as all shows eventually do.”
A final Dungeons & Dragons episode called Requiem had already been written, but sadly the show’s cancellation meant that it was never made. Requiem was later produced as an audio drama for the show’s DVD collection, and it revealed that the evil Venger is in fact Dungeon Master’s son!
7. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe
It advertised one of the most popular toy lines of all time, so why on earth was He-Man and the Masters of the Universe cancelled after just two seasons – even if they were packed with 65 episodes each?
Simply put, toymakers Mattel believed that reruns of the show would be enough to continue shifting He-Man figures from toy-shop shelves. This meant that they instead decided to focus on the spin-off show She-Ra: Princess of Power, in which He-Man occasionally makes a guest appearance.
6. Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors
Like many of our favourite 1980s cartoons, Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors was created primarily to entice us into buying toys, in this case Mattel’s Wheeled Warriors toy-line.
Unfortunately, sales of the Wheeled Warriors toys fell far below expectation, meaning that the show was cancelled after 65 episodes without any fitting resolution to its storyline.
5. G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero
G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero originally ran from 1983 until 1986, but had to be cancelled after a bidding war meant that toymakers Hasbro ditched Sunbow Productions and instead let DIC Entertainment take the show’s reins.
This did mean that there was a second run of the cartoon, from 1989 to 1992, but we’ve definitely not forgotten the torturous three-year gap we had to endure in between.
4. The Real Ghostbusters
Anyone who watched Ghostbusters spin-off cartoon The Real Ghostbusters will remember that it was really rather scary, and that was one of the big reasons the show eventually had to be cancelled.
After three seasons, it was renamed to Slimer! and the Real Ghostbusters in an attempt to appeal to a younger audience, but the plug eventually got pulled in 1991 after the seventh season.
3. Garbage Pail Kids
Many of you will remember the brilliantly disgusting Garbage Pail Kids cards that were often traded during breaks at school, but did you know that the controversy surrounding them led to their spin-off cartoon series being cancelled?
When it was announced that a cartoon based on the cards was set to air, many people were up in arms. This led to advertisers backing out of the show, and despite it hitting TV screens in some countries, not one episode was ever aired in the US.
2. The Transformers
The Transformers became one of the most popular cartoon and toy line franchises of the 80s, but it ended after four seasons. The explanation was simple: both the show’s ratings and the toy sales were slipping, in part after 1986’s controversial The Transformers: The Movie killed off most of the original characters, in the hopes of boosting toy sales on new characters.
Of course, the Transformers franchise never really went away. It came back in a big way in the mid-90s with the Beast Wars series, and there have since been many more TV shows as well as the blockbuster live action movie series.
1. The Mysterious Cities of Gold
Most animated shows, especially the ones kids watch these days, have stories that last only one episode. But during the 1980s there were many examples of cartoons that had one sprawling plotline that lasted throughout the entire run.
An example of this was The Mysterious Cities of Gold, the plot for which was loosely based on the novel The King’s Fifth by Scott O’Dell. The show was cancelled simply because its makers finished telling the story they had set out to tell!