Everything you can remember fondly about Defenders Of The Earth you can get from the opening credits – the amazing Stan Lee-penned lyrics to the histrionic theme, the shameless shotgun wedding of pulp adventurers from various vintage newspaper strips – Flash Gordon, Mandrake the Magician, and the Phantom, the Ghost Who Walks (plus black supporting character promoted to equal stakeholder, progressive in that he exist, regressive in that he’s a super strong “Caribbean Ninja”) – and there’s the irritating kids.
You were always Rick Gordon in your head – the smart, courageously vanilla son of Flash. Your first crush was Jedda Walker – a sort of Sweet Valley High version of Catwoman, and child of The Phantom.
That is your relationship with Defenders Of The Earth – it made you deliriously happy aged 4-8 and in your head you’ve transformed it into a sort of combination of The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen with the cosmic, anything-goes scope of Star Wars.
There is absolutely no need to watch 65 20-minute episodes just to have that notion cruelly disavowed as you marvel at poorly animated characters (especially Jedda, who changes skin-tone, hair, clothes and entire character model constantly) running around surprisingly dowdy and understaffed secret bases, breaking out of prison cells by kicking the doors open from the inside, using the strength of ten tigers to scuttle up a wall like an adventurous crab, or successfully deploy powers of illusion against robots carved from ice.
There’s doubtless some kitsch, ironic pleasure to be had if you’re that way inclined, but your memories of the show come from a place of pure love, then you’re better of sticking with them because rediscovering it as an adult makes the whole thing seem unconvincing at best and deeply bizarre at worst.
Rick, is implanting your recently dead mother’s memories into your supercomputer really the best way of grieving? Guys, if you’re in hiding from the infinite resources of Ming the Merciless, should you really enrol your kids in the public school system?