Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Here There Be Dragons

I am honestly thankful that the person/s in charge at Radio Television Brunei back in the 80s managed to bring in some of the most memorable American cartoons to air. Those re-runs (and sometimes broken episode lines) were the matches that fueled the the boyish imagination-flame in me - that helped me grow into the man-geek that you see today. Respect goes to some of the more landmark cartoons, such as He-Man, Thundercats and TMNT. Honorable mention must also be made on those more obscure cartoons that sometimes slip our minds when we talked of great classic cartoons; greats like Dungeons & Dragons.

Dungeons & Dragons aired in 1983 for 27 episodes and was produced by Marvel Productions. The show focused on a group of friends who are sucked into the "Realm of Dungeons & Dragons" by taking a magical amusement park roller coaster ride. While such a premise for story origins could not necessarily happen in real life - I want to believe it. Upon arriving in the realm they meet Dungeon Master who gives each teen a weapon  and a character persona with which to survive the dangerous realm.

Hank, assigned as the Ranger, is the oldest with a magical bow that shoots arrows of glowing energy. These arrows have been shown to be used in many ways from binding enemies to creating light. Eric, the Cavalier wields magical shield, which can project a force field. Diana, the Acrobat is an acrobat (I know right?!) who carries a magic staff which can shift in length from short to long. Presto, the Magician, is able to pull an endless number of various tools from his magic hat - items that are sometime useless or precisely adept to the situation. Sheila, the Thief,  has a magical cloak which, when the hood is raised over her head, makes her invisible. Bobby, the Barbarian, is the child of the group, wielding a magic wooden club that can smash objects when called for.

Throughout the cartoon, Dungeon Master (last name: Master) provides important advice and help, but usually in such a cryptic way that it does not make sense until the team has completed the quest of each episode. Think: Yoda with proper sentence structure.

While the main objective is to find a way home, the group often take detours to into sideline stories. Also, while the group venture and run into different enemies, but their primary archenemy is the dastardly Venger.

Venger is a powerful wizard who wishes to rule the realm and believes the power from the teenagers' weapons will contribute to his succes. Another recurring villain is the fearsome Tiamat, who is a five headed dragon and the only creature Venger fears.

The show ran for 27 episodes and was split into three seasons of thirteen, eight and six episodes respectively. Most of the episodes served as 'stand alone' stories. Additionally, a final un-produced episode was planned which would have served as a conclusion - however, the show was cancelled before the episode was made.

A Dungeons & Dragons toy line was produced by LJN in 1983, which included original characters such as Warduke, Strongheart the Paladin, and the evil Wizard Kelek. Funnily enough, none of the main characters from the TV series was included in the toy line.