Blast off on adventures as big as the cosmos itself with Space Stars


Hanna-Barbera’s ‘Space Stars’ featured a galaxy of heroes teamed together in an interstellar battle against evil. Now that the series has been released on DVD, you can rejoin Space Ghost, the Herculoids, Teen Force and more in their epic adventures through time and space … and Throwback Thursday!


Picture a spacey animated backdrop with the following uttered by an eager-sounding narrator: A galaxy of heroes teamed together in an interstellar battle against evil. Blast off on adventures as big as the cosmos itself. Race poised on the edge of time with Space Ghost and his young friends. Streak through the universe with Space Ace, Astro and the Space Mutts as they spring into action. And somewhere deep in space, super danger threatens the Teen Force. Join the famed Herculoids in their new battles to preserve peace on the planet Quasar. Now get set for 60 laser-blasting minutes of action, adventure, fun on Space Stars.

Are you ready to blast off yet? I certainly was! Originally broadcast on NBC from 1981-1982, Space Stars was a Saturday morning cartoon featuring classic Hanna-Barbera-style animation and several characters who often crossed over into one another’s segments throughout the program. For the first time, the Warner Archive Collection has released the entire series on DVD in over 600 minutes of adventures destined to bring out “the inner kid who always wanted to go to space camp” in you.

Sprinkled in-between the main four storylines are shorter segments featuring space mysteries, coin tricks and secret  codes to crack.

Space Stars featured several familiar Hanna-Barbera characters, as well as several newly developed ones. Space Ghost and the Herculoids both had their own respective series in the 1960s (which are also out on DVD now), while Teen Force and Astro & the Space Mutts were new segments created specifically for the series. However, it turns out that the Astro in question was the same beloved Astro from The Jetsons (much to my delight). Sprinkled in-between the main four adventurous storylines are shorter segments featuring space mysteries (presenting fun facts about comets and various other aspects of space), magic coin tricks to dazzle your impressionable friends and secret alphabetic/numeric codes for you to crack by each episode’s end.

Obviously, the magic coin tricks and codes to crack may not impress one as an adult watching the series on DVD, but I can certainly see why they would’ve helped launch this show to soaring heights in popularity among children during its heyday. They gave it an interactive appeal that I think is noticeably missing from much of today’s animated programming.

Whether you’re a fan of robots, time travel, the universe or monsters in the form of giant snakes, space sharks, vampires or witches, danger lurks at just about every corner … as well as the constant threats of Uglor.

With a variety of colorful aliens and backdrops of planets, spaceships and the vast expanse of space itself, this series holds up surprisingly well. There is a little bit of something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you’re a fan of robots, time travel, the universe or monsters in the form of giant snakes, space sharks, vampires or witches, danger lurks at just about every corner. There are the constant threats of Uglor, a weird winged villain in purple with red glowing eyes who surely would’ve scared me as a child, as well as the imminent threats posed by space smugglers and colossal collisions in space. One learns the importance of family and working together to defeat obstacles. There are hints of a romance between Jan of Space Ghost’s crew and Kid Comet of the Teen Force for those who enjoy the giddy throes of young love. There’s an adorable monkey named Blip who I would love to have a stuffed animal of. The crews in Teen Force and Space Ghost exhibit an interesting array of super powers including super speed, invisibility, telepathy and the ability to scramble one’s molecular energy. And then there’s Sandor, the dad on the Herculoids, who reminds me a little of He-Man, except with red hair. Make no mistakes, he is just as bad-ass and secure in his masculinity.

Hanna-Barbera magically wove a rich tapestry of characters, plots & settings other cartoons are incapable of recreating.

I have no problem understanding that this series represents a different era in animated storytelling, the detailed likes of which is not seen today. Hanna-Barbera magically wove a rich tapestry of characters, plots and settings in just such a way that other cartoons are incapable of recreating – then and now – despite their most-calculated efforts. No, what puzzles me most about this series is how I could’ve missed it up until now! While I was not around during its original run, I don’t understand why I never saw it in reruns. I loved Hanna-Barbera cartoons as a kid, and I continue to love them to this day.

I also wanted to be an astronaut from grades 1-5 and I hungrily devoured any space-themed shows or cartoons I could find while growing up in the 1980s/1990s. Some of my favorites were Pinocchio in Outer Space, Alf, Star Trek, Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Jetsons, George and the Christmas Star and a cartoon that I think was from the 1970s that is so obscure I couldn’t even find it on Google when I searched, but I believe it was titled The Third Planet from the Sun. (It involved espionage and someone attempting to make this species of bird extinct because they could recall things they had heard or observed and one of them had observed something due to being in the right place at the wrong time. If any of you out there could shed any light on the subject, it would be greatly appreciated, as I’m seriously racking my brain trying to remember more about this animated movie … it was one of my childhood favorites!)

Whether you’re a junior space cadet in training, a fan of classic Hanna-Barbera animation at its finest or just a huge kid at heart, this is a star-studded collection I think you’ll want to get your space-gloved hands on. I recommend throwing on a pair of comfy pajamas, pouring yourself a bowl of sugary cereal and preparing yourself for an epic journey through space and time with the help of some of your favorite — albeit possibly forgotten — characters on Space Stars.

Editor’s note: Matthew Patterson from the Warner Archive Collection has offered a little background on the educational segments added to the show — they never aired! The show’s format spelled doom for it to run in syndication, so it was chopped up and run in a variety of formats. This DVD release features the “Space Science” segments restored and presented here for the first time ever. If you’d like to hear more about this title and its history, check out the Warner Archive podcast from last year’s Comic Con.


Photo Credit: Hanna-Barbera Productions

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