Thundarr The Barbarian: The Complete Series (Blu-ray Review)

Warner Archive Collection has show no bias in terms of its quest of restoration projects across the catalog. In addition to golden era Hollywood movies, musicals, horror films and the like, there have been plenty of animated titles getting attention. April saw Thundarr The Barbarian resurrected and put on Blu-ray. Now, while it looks like a Hanna Barbara event, it is actually not. However, the show did come from people who spun out of there and modeled their business practice off of them. Thundarr The Barbarian will be arriving as a 3-disc set, newly restored, and porting over a previous bonus featurette that is a retrospective on the series as a whole. Before Arnold was Conan, before He-Man won over the hearts of children around the globe, there was Thundarr The Barbarian. And you can own every episode by using the paid Amazon Associates link that follows the review.



A strange new world rises from the old — a world of savagery, super science and sorcery… One man burst his bonds to fight for justice and with his companions — Ookla the Mok and Princess Ariel — he pits his strength, his courage and his fabulous Sun Sword against the forces of evil.

Thundarr the Barbarian is anything but a throwaway relic of Saturday morning cartoons past. The show was just ahead of all things popular before its cancellation. It actually came BEFORE Conan The Barbarian, Masters of the Universe and the entire sword and sandals B-movie phase of the 1980s. This world contains some really rad ideals, characters and meshing of genres that actually would have someone captivated by it still today.

Rather than just be your standard sword and sandal or medieval event, Thundarr decides to go further. It gets weird, and its all the better for it. Short of just being set on another planet (Which Masters of the Universe would do), Thundarr sets its sights for a futuristic apocalyptic Earth. This allows for some recognizable things and place during their many adventures. It also lends its self to much more science fiction wackiness in terms of weaponry, magic and the show’s villains. Imagination runs rampant here, and it makes the show all the more memorable and bold for what its accomplishing.

I’m not sure Thundarr is for everyone. Perhaps many who are more nostalgia based for this time. But, the genre mashup’ing and “ahead of its time” factor really pulled at me when checking it out for this review. This show is trying for a lot within the confines of what a Saturday morning cartoon was in its time and should be taken in with such context in terms of why my praise is like this. If you’re into Masters of the Universe, then surely check this out.


This release contains all episode from the entire series run of Thundarr The Barbarian.


Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/DetailThundarr The Barbarian continues the line of well restored hand drawn animation from the Warner Archive Collection. The image is as crisp and razor sharp as you could ask for. While not a Hanna Barbara production, it shares a lot in common in terms of appearance and restoration. You can see the strokes from drawing or coloring as well as a the nice details, shades and textures where it is not just a flat color.

Depth:  Yes, this is flat 2D animation, but with its motions and fluidity, it make for a nice clean appearance despite not offering much in the distance and third dimension department.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep and quite strong with good shading and strong outlines to the characters. When possible, there are textures and such in darker areas, but its mostly using blacks for shading and dimensions on the actual characters and planet surfaces. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Colors are pretty flat, with a more primary display in its palette. However, they are quite thick and bold with a full appearance.

Flesh Tones: N/A

Noise/Artifacts: Clean.


Audio Format(s): English 2.0 Mono DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English SDH

DynamicsThundarr The Barbarian features a solid mono track, accurate to its feeling watching it on a cathode ray television while eating cereal on a Saturday morning in the 1970s/80s, but now with much more space to breath and clarity. Effects now have a nice depth and there is good layering creating the environments. Vocals, effects and music all balance and work in tandem quite well. This is pretty much the best you could ask for in terms of the sound quality for the original mono track of the series.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: N/A

Surround Sound Presentation: N/A

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and have good attention and clarity to the actors’ dictions and vocal inflections.


Thundarr The Barbarian: The Complete Series is a 3-Disc set. 1 featurette is included and is found on Disc 3.

Lords of Light! The Story of Thundarr The Barbarian (SD, 18:33) – A really cool retrospective that gives you a good idea on not only the production of the show, but putting a tap on what was going on at the time and what would happen in pop culture entertainment after Thundarr‘s cancellation.


Thundarr The Barbarian is a really fun, obscure relic from Saturday morning cartoons’ past. I really wasn’t too familiar with it beyond hearing the name and found myself quite surprised and how trailblazing it actually was. This Blu-ray has a terrific restoration, similar to the top notch stuff the Hanna Barbara titles have been getting. If you’re into sci fi, sword and sandals and whatnot, you may want to give this one a try.

This is a paid Amazon Associates link


Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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