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Cats and Robots of the 1980s

26 Oct, 2011 By: John Latchem

As the "Transformers" movies have demonstrated, cartoons from the 1980s have made quite an impression on the 2000s.

Classic Media has been re-releasing the 1980s animated series “Voltron” on DVD, beginning a few months ago with Voltron: The Legend Begins, collecting the first seven episodes, and continuing Nov. 1 with Voltron: The Final Battle, collecting the final few episodes ($12.99 each DVD). The show tells of five robot lions that combine to form a mighty warror named Voltron to battle evil across the galaxy. Legend Begins includes a guide to the show’s characters and concepts, while Final Battle includes previews of the new “Voltron Force” TV show and the new video game and toy line.

“Voltron” is just the latest 1980s toon getting spruced up for DVD. A&E Home Entertainment has released Robotech: The Complete Series ($99.95), a new 17-disc collection of the 1985 series. The saga dealt with the survivors of a future Earth after an alien war, and still holds up quite well. While the series has been released on DVD several times before, this collection includes several new retrospectives, alternate versions of episodes and deleted scenes, among hours of additional extras.

And Warner Home Video recently released its first DVD of the Cartoon Network remake of another 1980s cartoon, with Thundercats: Season 1 Book 1 ($19.97). This new version is faithful to the spirit of the original with a fresh animation style and more of a serialized storyline.

Of course, you probably can't go wrong with the most enduring of all franchise, "Star Wars," and the third-season DVD and Blu-ray of "The Clone Wars." The episodes are somewhat inconsistent, and the storytelling is heavily geared toward prequels and sequels of earlier episodes. But there are some memorable moments that tie into the movies, including a cameo by Chewbacca and a nod to the 1980s animated series "Droids."

Finally, Dec. 6 sees Shout! Factory release Transformers Prime: Darkness Rising, a DVD of the miniseries that kicked off the new CGI "Transformers" series now playing on The Hub. The $14.97 DVD edits the five episodes into a single movie, with extras including animatics and concept designs.

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