The Herculoids is a Hanna-Barbera animated series that first aired from 1967 to 1969 and was later revived in the 80s within Space Stars.
Set on the distant planet Amzot (later renamed Quasar), the show centers around a family of humanoids — Zandor, Tara, and their son Dorno — and their five unique, super-powered creature companions: Zok, a flying, laser-beam emitting dragon; Igoo, a giant, super-strong rock ape; Tundro, a rhino/triceratops-like creature that shoots explosive rocks from its horn; and Gloop and Gleep, two protoplasmic beings who can reshape themselves into any form.
- 18 (36 segments, 1967–1969)
- 11 (1981–1982)
Hanna-Barbera’s The Herculoids
These characters, collectively known as the Herculoids, engage in various adventures, typically defending their planet from alien invaders and other threats.
The show is notable for its blend of science fiction and fantasy elements. Despite its short initial run, “The Herculoids” has had a lasting cultural impact and remains a fondly remembered part of Hanna-Barbera’s legacy.
Composer: Ted Nichols
Created by: Alex Toth
Genre: Science fiction
Original network: CBS
The Herculoids’ Intergalactic Team
The show’s lineup comprises seven primary characters, each contributing to the team’s success. The family consists of Zandor, the team’s leader, his wife Tara, and their son Dorno.
Their companions are a mixture of the fantastical and the bizarre, including Zok, a laser-beaming dragon; Igoo, a rock ape possessing immense strength; Tundro, a ten-legged rhinoceros that could shoot explosive rocks from its horn; and Gloop and Gleep, shape-shifting blobs.
This diverse crew provided various unique skills, making each episode a vibrant showcase of imaginative action and problem-solving.
- Teddy Eccles and Sparky Marcus as Dorno
- Virginia Gregg as Tara
- Don Messick as Gleep and Gloop
- Mike Road as Zandor, Zok, Igoo and Tundro
- Paul Frees as Sarko
- Vic Perrin as Mekkor
Creativity and Innovation
“The Herculoids” boasted a uniquely creative and diverse collection of villains, from interstellar conquerors to malicious robots. The series’ dedication to innovation is evident in the breadth of its character designs and plot lines.
Every episode introduced new challenges and invaders, ensuring the audience remained engaged and intrigued. The series employed a less-is-more approach, with minimal dialogues and maximum action, making it a hit among younger viewers.
The Herculoids and Hanna-Barbera: A Unique Union
“The Herculoids” was a departure from Hanna-Barbera’s typical output, demonstrating the studio’s range and willingness to push boundaries. Unlike the anthropomorphic animals and suburban families common in their other works, “The Herculoids” presented a sci-fi fantasy world filled with extraordinary characters and plots.
The series showcased the studio’s ability to create diverse content, balancing its traditional humor and domestic settings with action and science fiction. This exploration into new genre territory reinforced Hanna-Barbera’s position as a versatile and pioneering force in animation history.
Legacy and Impact
Despite running only for 18 episodes initially, “The Herculoids” left an indelible mark on popular culture. It was revived in the 1980s as part of “Space Stars,” where it introduced a new generation to its unique blend of science fiction and fantasy.
From 1997 to 1999, they appeared in four issues of DC Comics Cartoon Network Presents. The series’ ability to blend imagination and action continues to influence creators, ensuring “The Herculoids” will forever remain a cherished part of Hanna-Barbera’s legacy.
Visual Style and Artistic Imagery
“The Herculoids” stands out for its rich visual style, grounded in pulp science fiction and fantasy aesthetics. From the rocky terrains of planet Amzot/Quasar to the exotic designs of alien technologies and adversaries, the series used vivid imagery to transport its audience to a world far beyond our own.
Characters were rendered with bold lines and vibrant colors, creating a distinct and striking look that distinguished the show from its contemporaries. Its artistic imagery played a crucial role in shaping the visual language of science fiction in animation.
Revivals and Reinterpretations
In a testament to its enduring appeal, “The Herculoids” has seen several revivals and reinterpretations since its original run. The ’80s saw its return as part of the “Space Stars” show, and DC Comics has since integrated the team into its comic book universe.
Each iteration adds to the lore, expanding the characters and the universe they inhabit while maintaining the core elements that make “The Herculoids” a beloved classic. These revivals underline the timeless appeal of the Herculoids and their continued relevance in a continuously evolving entertainment landscape.
Zandor: The Fearless Leader
Zandor, the human leader of the Herculoids, is a heroic figure embodying bravery and intellect. His leadership extends beyond his family to the entire team, guiding them through numerous challenges and confrontations.
With his trusty shield and slingshot, Zandor was not afraid to face threats head-on. He combined his combat prowess with strategic acumen, making him an exemplary leader and a force to be reckoned with.
Tara and Dorno: The Pillars of Support
Tara, Zandor’s wife, and Dorno, their son, formed the core family unit within the team. While Tara’s role was more traditional, she was no damsel in distress, often participating in battles alongside Zandor.
Dorno, despite his age, was just as brave and resourceful as his parents. His relationship with the creature members of the team, especially Gloop and Gleep, added a layer of endearing warmth to the series.
Igoo and Tundro: The Brawn and the Cannon
Igoo, the rock ape, was the team’s powerhouse, providing physical strength when brute force was required. His near-invulnerability and immense power often proved instrumental in their battles.
Tundro, the ten-legged triceratops, combined toughness and firepower, launching explosive rocks from his horn to defeat adversaries. These two characters often served as the team’s first line of defense against threats.
Gloop and Gleep: The Shape-shifting Duo
Gloop and Gleep, the protoplasmic creatures, were the Herculoids’ most unique members. Their ability to shape-shift into any form made them invaluable, often being used for various purposes like forming bridges, shields, or cushions to soften falls.
They provided comic relief at times but were no less important in their contribution to the team’s victories. Their bond with Dorno showcased the series’ heart and the depth of connection among the team members.
Zok: The Flying Arsenal
Zok, the flying space dragon, brought a touch of the fantastic to the Herculoids. Zok could emit laser beams from his eyes and tail, which is essential during combat. He also could become invisible, adding an element of surprise. Zok’s presence underscored the show’s blend of science fiction and fantasy, making him a favorite.
No. of episodes: 18 (36 segments, 1967–1969); 11 (1981–1982)
- The Beaked People
- The Raider Apes
- The Pod Creatures
- Sarko the Arkman
- The Mole Men
- The Pirates
- The Spider Man
- Destroyer Ants
- The Lost Dorgyte
- Defeat of Ogron
- The Android People
- Temple of Trax
- Swamp Monster
- Laser Lancers
- The Raiders
- Tiny World of Terror
- Prisoners of the Bubblemen
- The Time Creatures
- The Gladiators of Kyanite
- Mekkano, the Machine Master
- Invasion of the Electrode Men
- Mission of the Amatons
- Queen Skorra
- Attack of the Faceless People
- The Zorbots
- Return of Sta-Lak
- Revenge of the Pirates
- Ruler of the Reptons
- The Island of the Gravites
- Malak and the Metal Apes
- The Return of Torrak
- Attack from Space
- The Antidote
- The Mutoids
- The Crystallites
Ep. 29: “The Herculoids” Review
What is the setting of “The Herculoids”?
The series is set on the distant planet Amzot, later renamed Quasar.
Who are the main characters in “The Herculoids”?
The main characters are Zandor, Tara, and Dorno, humanoids, and their creature companions: Zok, Igoo, Tundro, Gloop, and Gleep.
What are “The Herculoids” known for?
“The Herculoids” is known for its blend of science fiction and fantasy elements and its narrative of a group defending their planet from various threats.
Has “The Herculoids” appeared in other forms of media?
The Herculoids have been featured in various comic books, including Hanna-Barbera Super TV Heroes, TV Stars, Cartoon Network Presents, and Future Quest.
Who are some of the villains in “The Herculoids”?
The Herculoids often faced off against various alien invaders, including characters like Mekkor, Sarko, Queen Skorra, the Faceless People, and the Ogrons.