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The ultimate Saturday morning cartoon is back!
on June 18, 2011
As any boy who came of age in the late 60's or early 70's can tell you, The Herculoids was probably the greatest thing to ever hit Saturday morning television. In an era when funny, talking animals shows were starting to give way to more adventurous fare like Johnny Quest and various superhero shows, the Alex Toth-designed Herculoids delivered the goods better than any other series.
For the uninitiated, the show followed the adventures of humanoids Zandor, Tara and their son Dorno on the planet Quasar. A unique assortment of creatures aided them: Zok, the flying dragon; a giant with rock-like skin named Igoo; the fireball-shooting triceratops-like Tundro; and the amusing blob-like Gloop and Gleep. Trouble came (and came often) in the form of invaders for whom the planet Quasar must have seemed the ultimate prize. Hideous monsters and robots of all sorts set their sights on the heroes' homeworld, and were met with deadly resistance. You want morals at the end of your cartoon? Forget it. . .the Herculoids were going to defend their turf, and justice was final on planet Quasar.
This two-disc set collects all 18 original shows (technically, 36 episodes, since each half hour is comprised of 2 segments of 10 or so minutes each). There is a very brief featurette about the series, in which various modern artists and writers gush about Alex Toth, and celebrate the boyhood fantasy charm of the show (one commentator points out that the Herculoids was pretty much non-stop stuff blowing up). And that's the gist of the series, really: monsters, ray guns, lots of action. As a fan from childhood, I was happy to see that in today's PC world of bland animated kids' shows, The Herculoids holds up very well.
As is becoming more and more common, these Warner Archive discs are manufactured DVD-R's, meaning it is possible that customers may experience some playback difficulties in some machines. I played both discs on my DVD recorder/player and my computer using WMP with no problems. The prints used are of good quality, although the occasional debris does pop up. As classic animation remains a niche market and sells no where near as well as modern shows, I'd imagine this is the best release we'll ever see of The Herculoids. Certainly it's a no-brainer for fans. And for parents who aren't overly considered about the cartoon violence, I think it's still a fine choice, especially for young boys.