For the kids watching in 1980, Thundarr the Barbarian portrayed a grim future, brought about by a catastrophic event that would happen in a mere fourteen years. According to the show, in the year 1994 a runaway planet hurtles between the Earth and the Moon, unleashing cosmic destruction. The story then picks up 2000 years into the future.
Mankind had not fared well since the disaster. Destitute pockets of humanity struggle to survive in a savage wilderness where only the crumbling remnants of the old world rise up in testament to a more civilized time. No longer dominant, humans share the Earth with a variety of mutated descendants of the animal kingdom turned humanoid. Most ruthless of all are the wizards who impose their dominance over others using the power of sorcery.
A small group of companions stand up to these forces of evil. The blond haired, muscular Thundarr, who shows no signs of having knowledge of the past or any desire to learn it, uses his strength and an energy blade called the Sun Sword to solve problems. Fighting by his side, Princess Ariel invokes her sorcery for the power of good. Her destiny aligned with Thundarr’s the day she set him free from the bonds of slavery by her stepfather, the evil wizard Sabian. Joining these two in their fight for order and justice, the powerful, fur covered Ookla the Mok makes Thundarr appear slightly less barbaric by speaking only in the unrecognizable howls of the Moks, and by relying even more on brute strength than his human counterpart.
Thundarr the Barbarian premiered on ABC in 1980 for thirteen episodes. Despite decent ratings, the series’ second, and final, season was cancelled after only eight episodes.