The 80s and the 90s were the two best decades EVER as far as I am concerned. From the music, TV shows, cartoons, films, games, books sweets, slang… And of course the fashion!

This fortnightly column will take a look at some of the best-loved elements of popular culture from these two decades, and in some cases things that maybe more hated than loved, but have become iconic staples of that time due to their notoriety!

So to kick things off in style… If you ask anyone who grew up in the 80s to name their favourite cartoon, chances are Thundercats will be in their top three! Yep, this action-packed animated series followed the adventures of a group of half human/half feline superheroes, trying to fend off the evil Mummra, the self-proclaimed ‘ever-living source of evil’ and one of the scariest cartoon villains of all time.

Mine was Cheetara, the sexy half woman, half cheetah, who like the wild cat she was cut from, could sprint her ass off, leaving anyone for dust! Even Usain Bolt would have struggled to keep up with her! She could also see into the future. My kind of gal!

One of my younger brothers on the other hand predictably preferred the leader of the crew, the muscle-bound Lion-o (half man-half lion), whose trusty ‘Sword of Omens’ could get him and the rest of the Thundercats out of the most dangerous of situations!

The vast popularity of the original series has meant a recent revival via an updated version of the cartoon, which premiered on the Cartoon Network earlier this year. There is also a long-awaited big screen movie in the works, which judging by the hype alone is shaping up to be one of the most anticipated films of recent times!

But it wasn’t just about Thundercats when it came to cartoons back in the day. He may not have been as cool as Lion-o and his pals, but Inspector Gadget had them on the comedy front.

This accident-prone police detective, who was half man and half gadget (“Didn’t any of these old school cartoons feature normal people?” I hear you youngsters wondering?), used to crack me up with the scraps he would get into trying to solve a case.

He would say things like ‘Go-go gadget legs!’ and his legs would just extend themselves on springs as he shot up into the sky, making him look like he was on very high stilts. His arms could do the same thing, as could his neck. He also had other gadgets installed inside his staple Mac coat and trilby hat. But the problem was none of these seemed to work properly and would cause more damage than good! Luckily he had his bright-as-a-button niece Penny and his trusty dog Brain (yep, ‘Brain’, not Brian – he was super intelligent) never far behind to clean up his mess and ensure each crime was solved, and these usually involved ‘the Claw’ – another classic old school villain who will go down in history!


For more on Thundercats, Inspector Gadget and other staple old school memories from 80s and 90s pop culture, check out:

Words by Adenike

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