Earlier this week we looked at three of the four issues of Star Comic’s Defenders Of The Earth tie-in comic. Since I didn’t get my next video (a BW Chats with Jim Salicrup) done in time I thought I would post the first episode of the actual TV series. Defenders Of The Earth brought together four of King Features’ action heroes: Mandrake The Magician, Lothar (who comes from Mandrake’s strip) and the two more well known character, The Phantom and Flash Gordon. Naturally they have kids who join in the battle because it’s a kids show. Even Ming The Merciless (Flash’s enemy) has a son in this. Why not use a variant of Aura? Beats me. Maybe she already turned good by this point, I couldn’t tell you.
As I said in the comic review, I don’t understand why they made some of the changes they did. Why is the Phantom, the one who needs a male to help keep the illusion (Julie being a stand-in for her brothers before fans bring her up), is the one with the daughter…who ISN’T named Kit, which is also important to the Phantom legacy. And while I like the fact that Dale can kick butt now (years of being involved in the struggle against Ming could very well lead to that), she’s now blonde with really long hair…and she gets fridged for Flash and Rick’s development? Oh, they stick her essence into the supercomputer in the next episode, but it’s not the same is it?
These points aside Defenders Of The Earth was a good show for it’s time and you can decide if it aged well or not. While Mandrake and Lothar have never shown up outside of comics again Flash Gordon would have a better show from that Filmation series I’ve pointed you to before. As for the Phantom, look up a show called Phantom 2040, a better attempt to bring the legend of the Ghost Who Walks into the future and written by the same head writers that would screw up Flash Gordon almost right after.
[UPDATE: 10/23/2020: Defenders Of The Earth can be found as of this edit on the Comics Kingdom YouTube channel.]