In the year 2015, the alien tyrant Ming the Merciless from the dying planet Mongo set his sights on the conquest of Earth. When he killed space adventurer Flash Gordon’s wife in a botched attempt to gain information, Flash vowed to forever thwart Ming’s ambitions. To that end, Flash recruited several others with unique abilities (who, like Flash, also originated from classic comic strips distributed by King Features Syndicate) to assist him in preventing Ming and his army of evil accomplices from taking over the Earth.
Himself an exceptional athlete and pilot, Flash Gordon’s teammates were no slouches. Fellow hero Mandrake the Magician used mystic powers for a number of abilities, like creating illusions, telekinetically manipulating objects, and astral projection. Mandrake’s assistant and bodyguard Lothar was a powerful fighter and master tactician. Last but not least, The Phantom was a “ghost who walks” from the jungles of Africa who could call on “the power of ten tigers” to gain a temporary boost of superhuman strength.
Circumstances what they were, the four main protagonists had the help of their four teenage offspring, who acted as junior members of the team. Rick Gordon (son of Flash) demonstrated the abilities of a talented engineer and computer programmer. Jedda Walker (daughter of The Phantom) had telepathic powers, usually expressed by communication with her pet panther Kisa. L.J. (son of Lothar, and short for Lothar Jr.) was a martial arts expert, and the orphaned boy Kshin (adopted by Mandrake) trained as Mandrake’s apprentice. An additional hanger-on was a small, furry Zuffoid creature named Zuffy from the planet Mongo, who was originally rescued and brought to Earth by Rick.
After coming to Earth, Ming set up a new base of operations in the Arctic called Ice Station Earth, where the icy temperatures would sustain his technology. From there he relied on a bevy of baddies to carry out his plans. The bulk of his forces consisted of an army of Ice Robots led by Garax. In addition, Ming converted captured humans to frost people by coating them with a veneer of frost, which subjected their will to Ming’s command. Another main player was the robot Octon, which acted as Ming’s advisor.
Although the distance to Ming’s base would seem problematic to the two sides ever engaging in conflict, the Defenders set up their underground headquarters, called Monitor, inside an inactive volcano close to Central City, allowing the teenage members to attend Central High School. Within the base, Rick set up a highly advanced computer called Dynac X, whose operating system contained the human essence of his deceased mother Dale Arden (aka, Flash Gordon’s wife).
For one season of 65 syndicated episodes The Defenders of the Earth lived up to their namesake. Ming, for all his resources and perseverance, proved to be no match for the younger and older generation of heroes working together to save their planet.