Thundarr the Barbarian—The Complete Series

7.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 8/10

Fun for a kid, good concept

Repetitive stories, Star Wars rip-off


Welcome to the world of Thundarr!!!

In 1994, a rogue planet passes between the Earth and moon causing havoc in the environment.  Two thousand years later life has evolved and struggles to survive among the strange creatures that inhabit the planet.  Now an adventure named Thundarr and his allies the sorcerer Princess Ariel and Ookla the Mok travel the world battling the forces of evil and helping the helpless.

Airing two seasons from October 4, 1980 to October 31, 1981, Thundarr the Barbarian was produced by Hanna-Barbera through their Ruby-Spears Production house and aired on both ABC and NBC.  It included the vocal talents of Robert Ridgley, Nellie Bellflower, and Henry Corden as the main characters with guest vocal appearances by Nancy McKeon, Stacy Keach Sr., and Joan Van Ark among others.

The series was created by comic book writer and Howard the Duck creator Steve Gerber and also included production design help from comic god Jack Kirby.  Many saw the series as an attempt to capitalize on the popularity of Star Wars.  Thundarr’s sword is an energy sword called the Sunsword and resembles the lightsaber.  Ookla the Mok is virtually Chewbacca reincarnated both in appearance and behavior/speech pattern.


I still think the moon will split someday…Damn you Thundarr!!!

Most episodes of Thundarr involve Thundarr and his allies facing a wizard or creature and/or helping a village.  The stories also had Thundarr, Ariel, and Ookla (on his coer-than-everyone-else horse) riding to different recognizable locations around the Earth.  Most of these trips are primarily in the United States although a trip to the UK and Central America also occur.  Inevitably, the characters go to the big tourist attraction in these cities.  In a few episodes “modern day” is travelled to, including an episode where they are helped a girl named Samantha (1.11 Portal into Time)…I think it was kind of funny that they told Samantha that she had to remain on Earth since she most likely would be killed by the runaway planet in fifteen years.


Ariel…get the bananas!!!

Despite the Star Wars rip-off and the repetitive nature of the series, as a kid, Thundarr was cool.  The opening sequence of the Earth’s destruction scared the crap out of me, and I did find a lot of the episodes creepy in a Johnny Quest sort of way with monsters that are threatening and non-threatening at the same time.  Watching it now, it is fun to go back in time (fortunately Earth avoided destruction in 1994) and experience it again.  It is, however, always unfortunate that none of these Saturday morning cartoons ever give endings to these stories when so many become involved in them.

Thundarr the Barbarian is a franchise that I feel could rise again with some tweaking.  All the elements are there for a fun series, and with a darker tone and modified art, Thundarr could be a fun ride if it were ever to be remade.  Until then, enjoy a fun old Saturday morning show and remember the joy or despair of waking up to an old episode rerun you remember.

Thundarr the Barbarian—Season 1 Complete Episode Guide:


“Secret of the Black Pearl”

1.1       Secret of the Black Pearl Airdate: 10/04/80

Thundarr and his companions Princess Ariel and Ookla the Mok discover a man being attacked by Groundlings.  Before the man collapses, he passes on a mystical black pearl to Thundarr to protect.  Travelling to the wreckage of New York City, Thundarr is targeted by Gemini. Ariel is taken hostage by Gemini, and Thundarr tries to uncover the power of the black pearl before Ariel is killed.


“Harvest of Doom”

1.2       Harvest of Doom Airdate: 10/11/80

When Thundarr, Princess Ariel, and Ookla are overpowered by death flower pollen, Ookla is captured by the Carocs for the harvest and Ariel and Thundarr are left for dead.  Thundarr and Ariel must locate Ookla and free him from the power of the death flower.


“Mindok the Mind Menace”

1.3       Mindok the Mind Menace Airdate: 10/18/80

Thundarr, Ariel, and Ookla discover scientists cryogenically frozen before the destruction of Earth and awaken them from their sleep.  When the scientists are kidnapped by Mindok to build him a robot body, Thundarr, Ariel, and Ookla must go on a rescue mission.


“Raiders of the Abyss”

1.4       Raiders of the Abyss Airdate: 10/25/80

Thundarr, Ookla, and Ariel find people living on a destroyed cruise ship being raided by slavers.  Thundarr vows to free the people from the raiders and voyages into their home in the abyss.


“Treasure of the Moks”

1.5       Treasure of the Moks Airdate: 11/01/80

Thunder, Ookla, and Ariel find the Moks under attack from Captain Corden and learn that Cordon is seeking the legendary treasure of the Moks.


“Attack of the Amazon Women”

1.6       Attack of the Amazon Women Airdate: 11/08/80

Thundarr, Ariel, and Ookla discover the Amazons in battle for their underwater kingdom.  Thundarr, Ariel, and Ookla vow to join the rebels led by Ariel against Straia and her legion of Amazons.


“The Brotherhood of Night”

1.7       The Brotherhood of Night Airdate: 11/15/80

Werewolves are raiding villages and recruiting new members to their pack.  When Thundarr is infected and Thundarr is infected, a cure must be found.  With cure in hand, can Zevon and the werewolves be stopped or will a wizard named Infernus control the pack?


“Challenge of the Wizards”

1.8       Challenge of the Wizards Airdate: 11/22/80

Travelling to Las Vegas, Thundarr, Ookla, and Ariel are captured by wizard seeking the Helmet of Power.  Forced to compete in a race to capture the Helmet, Thundarr, Ariel, and Ookla question how to keep any wizard from capturing the Helmet.


“Valley of the Man-Apes”

1.9       Valley of the Man-Apes Airdate: 11/29/80

Simius and the Man Apes are attacking a small village made up of little people.  Using the remains of a Hollywood picture, Simius attacks with a giant robot ape, and only Thundarr, Ookla, and Ariel can stop him.


“Stalker from the Stars”

1.10     Stalker from the Stars Airdate: 12/06/80

While travelling through Alaska, Ookla, Ariel, and Thundarr witness a ship crash from the sky.  Ookla deals with an illness as an alien creature from the ship preys on a local village.


“Portal into Time”

1.11     Portal Into Time Airdate: 12/13/80

Thundarr, Ariel, and Ookla find the Alamo under attack and learn that the people there have the Wizard Crom’s super computer. Ariel discovers that the super computer can be repaired to protect the people using Crom’s moon dial to travel back in time. Travelling to Earth’s past, Thundarr, Ariel, and Ookla are pursued by Crom and team with a young girl named Samantha to save the Alamo.


“Battle of the Barbarians”

1.12     Battle of the Barbarians Airdate: 12/20/80

Thundarr, Ariel, and Ookla find a wizard named Kublai plaguing Chinatown of San Francisco for the lost treasure of the Golden Scepter of the Yantzee. Finding Thundarr a threat, Kublai recruits Zogar the Barbarian to battle Thundarr and his allies.


“Den of the Sleeping Demon”

1.13     Den of the Sleeping Demon Airdate: 12/27/80

A village of people who have mastered flight in the Grand Canyon are hunted by a former slave named Judaq. As Judaq seeks to awaken a demon that can give him powers, Thundarr, Ariel, and Ookla set out to stop Judaq and the demon.

Thundarr the Barbarian—Season 2 Complete Episode Guide:


“Wizard War”

2.1       Wizard War Airdate: 09/12/81

A named Skullus uses his powers to enslave a village in the wreckage of St. Louis. When Ariel is captured, Thundarr sets out to free Ariel and the prisoners and learns Skullus is involved in a war with another wizard named Octagon.


“Fortress of Fear”

2.2       Fortress of Fear Airdate: 09/19/81

Thundarr, Ookla, and Ariel are captured by a wizard named Lord Argoth. As Thundarr and Ookla are imprisoned in Argoth’s factory, Ariel learns Argoth is courting her as a bride. Starting a revolution in the factory, Thundarr and Ookla set out to free Ariel and uncover why Argoth fears the area surrounding the Le Brea Tar Pits.


“Island of the Body Snatchers”

2.3       Island of the Body Snatchers Airdate: 09/26/81

Thundarr, Ariel, and Ookla voyage across the ocean into the Mystery Zone where ships disappear. When they are ambushed by a witch named Circe, Circe seeks to capture Ariel for her plans. When Circe switches bodies with Ariel, Ariel must find a way to convince Thundarr that she is the true Ariel.


“City of Evil”

2.4       City of Evil Airdate; 10/03/81

Thundarr, Ariel, and Ookla recapture the Gauntlet of Power from a wizard named Sarott for a village.  When Sarott finds a shrunken village, he forms an allegiance with Vortak to restore the city in exchange to become the most powerful wizard.  Transforming Thundarr’s ally Gorn, Thundarr, Ariel, and Ookla must recapture Sarott.


“Last Train to Doomsday”

2.5       Last Train to Doomsday Airdate: 10/10/81

Thundarr, Ookla, and Ariel’s ally Tye is back and facing the threat of a being named Janus and his Hawk Mutants.  When Janus is revealed to be Gemini, Thundarr is captured and Ookla, Ariel, and Tye must save Thundarr.


“Master of the Stolen Sunsword”

2.6       Master of the Stolen Sunsword Airdate: 10/17/81

Battling a wizard named Yando, the Scarlet Lightning steals the power of the Sunsword.  Retreating to Beverly Hills, Thundarr learns that he must recharge the Sunsword in the Pool of Power and stop Yando’s terror.


“Trial by Terror”

2.7       Trial by Terror Airdate: 10/24/81

A friend of Thundarr named Thorac is accused of stealing oil from a town.  Saved by Thundarr, Ookla, and Ariel, Thundarr agrees to find the real thief and finds that a wizard named Artemus might be manipulating the town.


“Prophecy of Peril”

2.8       Prophecy of Peril Airdate: 10/31/81

Vashtarr finds a prophecy predicting his doom ties him to three women.  Now, Ookla, Thundarr, and Ariel must seek out the women capable of destroying Vashtarr forever.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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