|Rated: TV-Y7 for fantasy violence|
Starring: Loren Lester, Lou Richards, and Sarah Partridge
Released: 1986 - 1987 (original TV premieres) / October 10, 2006 (DVD)
Synopsis: The evil Ming the Merciless wants nothing more to overtake our planet, and has set up a base in the Arctic called Ice Station Earth. The world's only hope lies with the Defenders of the Earth: magician Mandrake, strongman Lothar, a "ghost who walks" known as the Phantom, and intergalactic warrior Flash Gordon, along with their kids. With Ming stopping at nothing to rule the world, our heroes will have to use everything they've got to stop him...but even that may not be enough.
Sure, the series started off interestingly enough, but, after a while, it got tiresome. It would have been better if there had been some multiple episode arcs; in other superhero series, those were always the best episodes, because the story was more convoluted. Instead, things simply wrap up too quickly and easily.
Production Values: 1.75/5
The animation is mostly great, though it has its moments where the animators were simply being lazy, especially with the lip movements in some early episodes. Most of the voice work is only tolerable at best, with some characters being especially annoying, namely Ming's cyber assistant Octon, who starts off every droning sentence with, "Sire..." Though the music is decent--nothing special, anyway--the cyber monster in the "Chips 'N Bits" episode sounds terrible. A lack of closed captions and subtitles in any language is likely to upset those who are hard of hearing or aren't all that well-versed in English.
Positive Elements: 4/5
The Defenders constantly look out for each other, even putting their lives on the line for one another. Some villainous characters make a change for the better by the episode's end.
In a few episodes, guys are seen in tribal garb that bares their chests and their legs. Jedda (the Phantom's daughter) and one villainess wear outfits that show cleavage once each. Still, the stylizing of the animation makes it less sultry.
The "fantasy violence" is actually very mild; more so than most "E"-rated video games. Though characters do engage in fisticuffs, intergalactic dogfights, and such, it's not really very intense. Two characters do die, but one is resurrected, and the other "lives on" via cyber technology.
Ming often calls the Defenders and others "fools" and other G-rated insults.
Frightening/Intense Scenes: 4/5
Some of the monsters could be scary for kids; one of them looks like something out of a horror movie.
Some may be bothered by Mandrake's usage of magic, though it is much more in the style of Bewitched than Charmed.
Final Score: 2/5
I hate to not finish a TV season set, but, after watching at least two or three episodes of this mess a week over the past month or so, I'd just had enough. Though most series tend to be a bit repetitive, this one's poor production values made it positively nerve-grating. You might feel differently if you grew up with this series, but, I am ready to be done with it.