The Dungeons and Dragons cartoon was better than it had any right to be

I always believed that Eric’s need for growth as a person was the reason why he had no weapon and a shield that powerful. He was destined to become the leader, if he only became the person he needed to be, first. I always hoped to see that breakthrough, when he would step up, put aside his childish selfishness and lead.


Except then you don’t have the team buttmonkey anymore and status quoe is god after all.

I had most of these…sadly, they were in the bargain bin in no time.

I loved mine. Still have a few, too. Especially the Grell. It’s just so bad.

Still have a few of these, too.

Time to update my hindsight prescription I guess, because I thought it was unwatchable dreck at the time and age hasn’t ripened it any. It was like a none-too-bright marketer’s* idea of D&D, fed through the same nannyish pabulum processor that shat out all the rest of children’s television programming back then.

*But I repeat myself…

My brother and I picked up a couple of bags of these at a TG&Y in the 70s, and they were staples of our play for years. When we discovered D&D, we were pleased and astonished that our old toys were enshrined in our new obsession. Many many years passed, and grown-up me took my offspring to a train museum in Chattanooga. The museum has this wonderful model train set that runs through three rooms, through miniature towns and countrysides. One of the little towns has a little zoo, and these crazy creatures are on display in the zoo. I’ve often wished over the the years that I still had our little landsharks, which we named “Stub” and “Spike”. But now I know right where they are, and it makes me very happy.


Several episodes were written by Paul Dini, of Batman TAS (and Gotham City) fame.

Oddly enough, I was just searching for this on my Roku last week. It’s one of the few series for which I’ve searched that Amazon hasn’t snatched up yet. (I know the DVD set is available as one of my sweeties owns it.)

I actually would debate if it was a marketing campaign or not. I wouldn’t argue that the series didn’t promote the game, but I think that was a side effect more than anything. I see it as far more likely that some KidVid exec heard about “this D&D thing” and decided to get in on that bandwagon before someone else did. These shows more often were vehicles for toys aimed at younger children, not the math- and table-filled textbook-like game books associated with the game.

(I still have some of my first edition AD&D books and it’s possible I even have my D&D books somewhere. The last time I flipped through them I found them very sloppy, unreadable, and even full of what I would consider to be bad DM guidelines. I guess years of refinement will do that, though.)

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i used to love this show. i remember that it was also “the main event” of my saturday morning viewing, since it was the last show i would watch before going to meet up with my friends, usually either to breakdance or to actually play Dungeons and Dragons. i believe it was the final time slot of the morning and then American Bandstand came on; i also remember, even as a kid who couldn’t articulate what was said in the video, that it was the best cartoon show going, so i tended to view all the other cartoons as warm-up acts.

i loved the opening scene of the video. i resisted watching it yesterday since it was so long, but after reading the thread, i decided to try it and was shocked to realize partway through that i was really going to watch the whole thing. in particular, i liked the older brother; his ideas were compelling and he spoke compellingly, which a 25 minute video about a kids cartoon really needs. but more so, i agreed with him. he articulated the ideas which i remember thinking as a kid were the ones that made the show cool, and made me realize things i wasn’t mature enough to spot back then.

oh, and it wasn’t until the title flashed back on at the end that i got that " ‘Uni’ Vision" was a joke. Bobby’s unicorn was Uni. ugh.

I was a total junkie for this cartoon – not the leastwise because here in LA the cartoon aired just about last on CBS’ Saturday cartoon roster, meaning it was OFTEN pre-empted by the live sports programming, and so seldom actually went to air here. (Induced Scarcity) Just about the first thing I turned to in the weekly TV Guide at the time was to see if I’d get an episode that weekend or not…

Later turned into an actual AD&D geek, so yes, it was an effective product tie-in.

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The Owlbear is my (current) tabletop rpg group’s ongoing joke reference in all things.

“The combined powers of an owl and a bear!”

As I recall,it is also one of the few of the original monsters that isn’t under some kind of copyright.

Depends on what you mean by “under some kind of copyright”. The owlbear, like most other original monsters from D&D, was released under the OGL as part of the d20 System Reference Document. It’s more that there are handful1 of rather iconic creatures that were deemed “product identity” and excluded from it.

1. The beholder, carrion crawler, displacer beast, gith (both 'yanki and 'zerai), kuo-toa, mind flayer, slaad, umber hulk, and yuan-ti are the big ones. Though amusingly enough, the blink dog — natural enemy of the displacer beast — was OGLed.

My understanding was that Gygax never put a copyright on the Owlbear in the 70’s.

Edit: you’re probably right and it is only available under the license of the SRD.

I could just as easily be wrong. The early TSR stuff tends to be a bit of a mess when it comes to figuring out just what did and didn’t happen. :slight_smile:

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This sits over our old gaming table…

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The video linked in the article is Part 1. The way the channel does its features is that Part 1 is the cartoon review, Part 2 is the review of the toy line. They haven’t released part 2 yet.

I think they might actually be the rare anti-scare quotes. “Don’t worry, Mom, there’s no real good or evil here! Just safe, fun facsimiles for the kids.”

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