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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Adventure > Fantasy > Battles > Myths > Superhero > Animation > TV > Thundarr The Barbarian (1980 - 1981/Ruby Spears/Warner Archives DVD)

Thundarr The Barbarian (1980 - 1981/Ruby Spears/Warner Archives DVD)

Picture: C+ Sound: C+ Extras: D Episodes: B

PLEASE NOTE: Thundarr The Barbarian is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.

Many people have fond memories of Saturday morning cartoons and Thundarr the Barbarian is often a highlight of that early 1980s era. Based on an original concept by Steve Gerber (of Howard the Duck and Guardians of the Galaxy fame) Thundarr only managed to last two seasons, but had a lasting impact on generations to come.

Taking place in a mixed up world of wizards, magic, mystical creatures, and (of course) barbarians audiences were treated to 21 fantastic, half hour episodes produced by Ruby Spears Productions. Are main cast consists of Thundarr (voiced by Robert Ridgely), Ookla the Mok (Henry Corden), and Princess Ariel the Sorceress (Nellie Bellflower). Thundarr and his crew travel the vast world on horseback battling Lizard people, The Brotherhood of Night (werewolves), Stalker from the Stars (a vampire), and wizards. Other inhabitants of this new world consist of different mutants ranging from the cat-like Moks to the crocodile-like Carocs. The backdrop for this post-apocalyptic world is the good ol’ U.S. of A. visiting such locales as New York City, Los Angeles, Washington DC, and Mount Rushmore.

We are treated to some of the backstory in the opening sequence, as well as in the initial episodes; suggesting that a rogue planet crashed into the moon (splitting it in two) and causing devastating changes in the climate and land formations. The world of Thundarr takes place 2,000 years after those events when the earth and moon have seemingly found a balance; leading the way for both man and beast to rule again. The world is now host to a combination of super science and magic; each used in their own way to bring both order and chaos to the world.

Thundarr was an incredibly innovative series that had a lasting influence on a creative youth who would go on to have comics, animated series, films, and other artistic endeavors of their own. Thundarr the Barbarian has gone on to make appearances in series such as Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law and the series 3 main characters even had brand new action figures produced in 2004. Needless to say Thundarr is far from done. Thundarr obviously drew inspiration from the past with the likes of Flash Gordon, Conan the Barbarian, and even elements of Star Wars taking center stage throughout the series; but concurrently puts in its own unique brand of creativity and superherodom.

This release from Warner Archives is a 'burn to own' DVR type deal; so whereas the quality is not the best, it is far from bad. The picture is presented in a 1.33 X 1 color, Full Screen aspect ratio that demonstrates solid, but not perfect colors/contrast. Black levels are somewhat weak and a degree of print degradation is present throughout; though not an insane amount of grain or debris. The sound is a simple, lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono track that comes solely from the front, getting the job done; but nothing earth shattering.

No extras are available on this release.

Thundarr the Barbarian is a great series that is worth a look. Older generations will have a sense of nostalgia, while newer generations will continue to be inspired by this quirky, adventurous series.

To order Thundarr, go to this link for it and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Michael P. Dougherty II


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