Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Diary: The Magic Of Visionaries

"Visionaries- knights of the magical light! Visionaries- with magical powers they fight!" Thus went one of the cheesiest and most bombastic theme tunes that the 1980s ever brought us. It's weird, I could have sworn there were more episodes of this singularly odd cartoon made, but that's probably just my wizened old mind playing tricks on me. The visionaries cartoon series, much like most other series at the time, was nothing but a giant toy advert, but we didn't care at the time, did we?

Plot and character could go hang as long as we got to see the Spectral Knights doing cool stuff with their magic powers. The action figures themselves were nothing special, but it was the holographic chest plates and accessories that made them so magical for a while.

The TV incarnation of the Visionaries toy range is an odd thing to rewatch now, as seeing it again as an adult brings home the fact that it's populated with Transformers voice actors, stories dafter than Masters of the Universe ever got (which is open to debate) and a bunch of characters from the 'let's touch all the bases' school of thought.

I'm being a little harsh there I suppose, but I'm a fan of the show and the toys and as such I'm allowed to be a bit cruel. The series is set in the far future, after a cataclysm has wiped out all electricity and technology. The world has reverted to being populated by knights and superstition, and when a wizard offers two factions of knights magical powers and magic staffs, the Visionaries are born. Magical mayhem ensues.

The thing that gets me about the show now, as with various other series from around the same time, is just how inept the bad guys are at doing anything whatsoever. It gets to the point where you kinda feel like you're watching the good guys just sweeping up behind the villains as they cackle and drop their toys all over the place.

Visionaries is kinda hard to get hold of now on DVD, but well worth adding to your collection if you get the chance. The adventures of the Spectral Knights, led by the heroic Leoric, as they face off against the bumbling hordes of the Darkling Lords and their leader Darkstorm, are silly, loud and loads of fun. Perfect.

Each character is given a magical power relevant to their own personality, as well as the ability to transform into a totem animal when the situation calls for it. This made for some exciting action sequences as well as some all-too-convenient solutions to the problems of each episode, but hey, when you're a kid and watching magic knights kicking the crap out of each other with their amazing powers, who gives a toss about quality?

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