Old Friends

15 of the Very Best ’80s Cartoons and Where to Stream Them

Reclaim your childhood with episodes of Inspector Gadget, He-Man, Ghostbusters, and more, all streaming online now.

Originally Published: 
The introduction to 'The Real Ghostbusters.'

The ’90s may be credited as the decade where animation really took off but, let’s be serious. The ’80s walked very fast so the ’90s could run. From He-Man to Ducktales to Inspector Gadget, to the Smurfs and G.I. Joe, the cartoons of the ‘80s changed everything. It was the decade when studios first began to realize that animation could be treated as more than just an afterthought for a brand and several foundational shows helped pave the way for the cartoon explosion in the ’90s. Various animated shows that are still running today, owe something to the cartoons of the 1980s.

But where can you watch and stream ‘80s shows online right now? Here are 15 great ‘80s cartoons, plus where to stream the shows.

Inspector Gadget (1983)

The classic Inspector Gadget is currently streaming on Paramount+.

DuckTales (1987)

Although the contemporary reboot of DuckTales is excellent, the original show is still near and dear to our hearts. Along with the new show, that DuckTales is streaming on Disney+.

Adventures of the Gummi Bears (1985)

Rember that killer theme song? The Adventures of the Gummi Bears is streaming on Disney+.

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1985)

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe is, in some ways, the most important ‘80s cartoon of them all. Most of the show is streaming on Amazon Prime Video. But some episodes are also on YouTube for free, on this He-Man channel.

ThunderCats (1985)

ThunderCats might not be as brilliant as you remember it. But if you want to see just how those awesome catchphrases are holding up, ThunderCats is streaming on Hulu.

Transformers (1984)

The robots in disguise, the Transformers, have inspired a dubious avalanche of spin-offs and live-action films. But other than the excellent 1986 animated feature film, the best version of Transformers is still the original series. Watch it free on Tubi.

The Smurfs (1981)

The Smurfs have been around forever, and if you want to revisit all the ups and downs of Papa Smurf and the gang, you can watch the classic show on HBO Max.

G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (1983)

G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero might be more famous for the toys, but the show is still solid. You can stream it on Tubi.

Voltron (1984)

Like many great ‘80s shows, Voltron has had many incarnations since the beginning. But, the 1984 show still slaps. Most of the classic show is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers

Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers is on Disney+

Jem and the Holograms

Jem and the Holograms is on Tubi

Denver: The Last Dinosaur

Jurassic ParkDenver: The Last Dinosaur is on Tubi

She-Ra: Princess of Power

She-Ra: Princess of Power is on Amazon Prime Video

Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends

Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends is on Disney+

The Real Ghostbusters (1986)

The famous animated series that was spun off from the 1984 movie, was wild and beloved. You can watch Slimer and the rest of the gang in The Real Ghostbusters for free on Crackle.

This article was originally published on