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Everything Action Theaters: Dungeons & Dragons

This weekend’s Onward, the latest from Pixar, apparently owes a lot of inspiration to Dungeons & Dragons, which has spawned its share of officially licensed adaptations from the absurdly terrible movie to the much better received and beloved 80s animated series.  Debuting on CBS in 1983 and animated by the legendary Toei Studios, the show lasted for three seasons and 27 episodes until 1985 and followed six friends who get on the Dungeons & Dragons roller coaster at an amusement park and find themselves teleported into a fantasy world.  Each of the friends gains the powers and weapons of a D&D archetype; Ranger, Thief, Barbarian, Wizard, Acrobat, and Cavalier.  Led by Dungeonmaster, they join him to battle the evil Venger, who himself is battling the dragon Tiamat for control of the realm.  The show had an unfinished finale called “Requiem” that would have wrapped up the story of the first three seasons and set things up for a fourth but it was never produced, although it eventually got released as a radio play on the complete series DVD collection.  The show received a bunch of tie-ins, including a board game from D&D publisher TSR and various books including Marvel comics and “Pick a Path to Adventure” gamebooks.  Strangely enough, the official Advanced Dungeons and Dragon toyline did not feature the cartoon characters, although characters from that line appeared in the cartoon in guest roles.  The show characters eventually got collectible statues from Iron Studios in 2019.  You can check out the entire first episode, “The Night of No Tomorrow” below.

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