Let's recap the plots of some 80s cartoons

The main characters of Ulysses 31, wearing space helmets and looking dramatic.

I recently stumbled upon a cartoon I used to watch as a kid and all kinds of memories started flooding back. It was an era of colourful characters, rigid action figures and impractical but very cool vehicles.

I was left wondering if the shows I remember with misty eyed nostalgia are still as good as I once thought they were. Let's find out.

Ulysses 31

Ulysses is a space traveller in the distant future, aboard the ship Odyssey with his son Telemachus. He's visiting Troy, a massive space station shaped like an ancient Greek warrior's helmet, about to go home to Earth in order that his wife Penelope doesn't have choose another husband for some reason.

On his way home Ulysses runs into and ultimately destroys a massive creature named the Cyclops, who is being worshipped by a cult of blind aliens all shouting about the god Poseidon.

Despite all the references around him to ancient Greek mythology Ulysses is still surprised when he the ancient Greek gods turn up, angry at him for killing the Cyclops. They banish him to wander lost in space with only his son, some alien girl and a goofy robot for company. Even though technically it was the goofy robot who destroyed the Cyclops.

I mock, but actually most of what I know about Greek mythology comes from this show, jumbled as it is, so I've got to give it some credit. Also, it had an awesome theme song.

A spaceship caught across a giant face in space.

Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors

A scientist (his name is unclear, let's call him Simon) is developing new plants that will wipe out hunger throughout the galaxy when some radiation happens and all the plants turn into sentient evil creatures who can turn into monster trucks with weapons. Obviously.

Simon disappears but his goofy robot escapes to find Simon's son Jayce, who is waiting under a big bubble with a wizard, a plant girl, a floating fish and some more goofy robots. Together with a random Han Solo type they try to escape the planet but their ship is held down by giant vines. Jayce fights them off with the wizard's combat vehicles but then falls out of a gun turret and turns into a flying playing card (because magic ring) and slices the vines. Then they escape.

There's a bit of sexism when Jayce orders the girl back to the ship for her own safety despite the fact that she rescued him from getting his truck stuck in a ditch. Also the Han Solo clone decides to fly them around from then on because he hasn't been paid yet, rather than the obvious choice for a space brigand, which would be ditching them and selling the vehicles.

This one's aged pretty badly. At least it had an awesome theme song.

One of the vehicles from Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors, a yellow truck with a big arm on it.

Bionic Six

Jack is a loving husband and father of four, but in his spare time moonlights as Bionic 1, a bionically enhanced crime fighter. His family are completely unaware of this, despite the fact that they've seen him on the news and his superhero costume doesn't include a mask.

Aliens travel to Earth and land in the Himalayas. By amazing coincidence, Jack and his family are having a skiing holiday there. The aliens push a big rock down a mountain at their tent one night for some reason and the family are buried in an avalanche. Jack rescues his family at the cost of his secret identity.

The evil Dr. Scarab arrives in a plane, attracted by a signal from the aliens and sets some robots on Jack. He destroys them easily so Scarab flies back to his base to turn five normal people into bionic bad guys. This involves firing some kind of laser at them.

Meanwhile, back in the Himalayas, Jack wants to protect his family from danger so takes them with him to find the alien signal, which is in the shape of a black star. The aliens attack, there's another avalanche, and his family fall into a cave where they all fall into a coma and start glowing. Jack picks up all five of them on his shoulders and skis down the mountain using only his feet, while it explodes behind him.

Jack takes his family back to Dr. Sharp, his boss, who concludes that the only way to wake them is to make them bionic too. This involves more flashing laser effects. Dr Sharp manages to deliver this line without wincing.

"Remember, when the argon level hits 6000, a quantum leap will be made. That's when you hit it."

This makes his family bionic (and gives them new clothes) and they wake up. They go back to the Himalayas, just as Scarab arrives with his new henchmen. Jack's family easily defeats them. The aliens watch. Then the alien star emerges from the ground and flies away. None of this is explained. This is literally the plot of the episode.

At least it had an awesome- oh, no wait, it didn't. It had a terrible ear worm of a theme song, that sounded like it belonged to some awful cheesy family drama. I'm not going to even bother linking to it. Also it had a goofy robot.

So much for nostalgia.

Bionic 1 strains to break some chains, for some reason.


This article is tagged with