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Visionaries: Remembering Saturday Morning Cartoons

Whispered secrets of a shattered age, I summon you to renew Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light, the Saturday morning cartoon created in 1987 that only ran for 13 amazing episodes.

What are the Visionaries?

Created by Flint Dille, Visionaries was originally a 6-issue comic book series that was later developed into a 1987 TV series and toy action figure/vehicle line. Visionaries was the only Hasbro TV series to be produced by Sunbow without the assistance of Marvel Productions.

The Visionaires: Knights of the Magical Light TV series takes place on the planet of Prysmos, a technologically advanced civilization which suddenly suffers a breakdown when technology stops working and the populace have to resort to magic in order to survive.

Merlin offers a competition to those wishing to gain the power of magic and subsequently gifts the winners with abilities that coincide with their skills and attributes. Although all are gifted with the ability to transform, some are gifted with the ability of summons, be it through a staff or vehicle.

This leads to the creation of the two powerful magical factions, The Spectral Knights who are embodiment of justice and right, and The Darkling Lords who are evil and crave power by any means.

The Spectral Knights

  • Leoric – Leader of the Spectral Knights. Transforms into the Lion with the power of Wisdom.
  • Ectar – Leoric’s lieutenant in the city of New Valarak. Transforms into the Fox with the power of Protection.
  • Feryl – The youngest Spectral Knight. Transforms into the Wolf with the power of Fire.
  • Cryotek – The oldest Spectral Knight. Transforms into a Bear with the power of Strength.
  • Witterquick – Prince of an unnamed southern city. Transforms into a Cheetah with the power of Lightspeed.
  • Arzon – Transforms into an Eagle with the power of Wisdom.
  • Galadria – The only female Spectral Knight. Transforms into a Dolphin with the power of Healing.
The Spectral Knights from IDW Comics’ 2017 Transformers vs Visionaries mini-series.

The Darkling Lords

  • Darkstorm – The leader of the Darkling Lords. Transforms into a Mollusk via the power of Decay.
  • Reekon – Rival of Ectar. Transforms into a Lizard with the power of Magic Extractor.
  • Mortdredd – Darkstorm’s loyal servant. Transforms into the Beetle with the power of Flight.
  • Cindarr– Oldest of the Darkling Lords and foe of Cryotek. Transforms into a Gorilla with the power of Destruction – Played by the legendary Peter Cullen, the voice of Optimus Prime.
  • Cravex – The shortest tempered of the Darkling Lords. Transforms into the Phylot with the power of Fear.
  • Lexor – A liar and coward. Transforms into an Armadillo with the power of Invulnerability.
  • Virulina – Adversary to Galadria. Transforms into a Shark with the power of Sickness.

Why to love the Visionaries?

One of the main reasons that Visionaries, although incredibly short, still captivates so easily is because the themes throughout the episodes are not dumbed down to make it digestible for children. The stories are told well.

I also thoroughly love the concept that when a high technological age fails, it has to turn to Magic.

The character designs, weaponry, vehicles, animation and music are all fantastic for the time period and although they may look dated by today’s standards they still hold an originality that can only be found in the 1980s.

Where are the Visionaries now?

Alas, Visionaries was short-lived and didn’t get the chance to take the world by storm. However it was announced by Hasbro in 2015 that there were plans to create a cinematic universe that included the Visionaries. Here’s hoping they can summon the wisdom to do so.

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