In 1983, a group of six children board a theme park ride and disappear inside. How could this happen? Were they taken in by dark forces who played the evil Dungeons & Dragons? Or was it all just a Saturday morning cartoon and I’ve misremembered it as a true crime scenario?
I have no idea how many episodes of the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon I saw in the ’80s. I’d say it’s probably only a handful. But this weekend, whether you’ve seen them or not, D&D is streaming the whole series on its Twitch channel.
There were three seasons of the show, 27 episodes total, though it was cancelled before it could properly finish the story of that third season (you can find the script online). Our intrepid party of kids take on First Edition classes in the show, with a Ranger, Cavalier, Acrobat, Magician, Thief and Barbarian, along with a weird Dungeon Master creeping up the joint while bad guy Venger cruises around being bad and even Tiamat herself gets in on the action (she has beef with Venger, not the kids). It’s fun, it’s silly, and it was MANY people’s first taste of D&D as a concept.
D&D is running the series as a promo for the Magic The Gathering Secret Lair that brings the characters from the series to life in special edition versions of Magic cards.
It all starts at 8am FRIDAY Pacific Time in the US, which means Australian fans will need to treat it as the earliest of early Saturday morning cartoons. No word on whether the plan is to loop the series all weekend long like many special Twitch events do or whether it’s a one and done kind of thing. It’s not in the official schedule listing on the D&D Twitch channel.
Whatever the case, if you miss some and it is a one off, you should be able to watch it on the rebroadcast option on the Twitch channel at least for a few days afterward. I’m going to tune in and make my kids watch it all too. Does it stand up? We’re gonna find out!
Interesting fact: the cartoon was produced by Marvel Productions, which was a part of Marvel Entertainment back in the day. It later became New World Animation and went in a different direction. It made the classic Spider-Man and Hulk cartoons, as well as G.I. Joe, The Transformers, and loads more.