The BEST Episodes of Defenders of the Earth
Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!
Defenders of the Earth is an animated television series of the 1980s featuring three characters from comic strips distributed by King Features Syndicate - Flash Gordon, The Phantom, and Mandrake the Magician - battling the Flash Gordon villain Ming the Merciless in the year 2015. Supporting characters include their children Rick Gordon, Jedda Walker (daughter of The Phantom), Kshin (adopted son of Mandrake), Mandrake's assistant Lothar, and Lothar's son L.J. The show lasted for 65 episodes; there was also a short-lived comic book series published by Star Comics (an imprint of Marvel Comics).
#1 - Terror in Time
Season 1 - Episode 26 - Aired Oct 15, 1986
After retrieving a vat of deadly mutant slime from Ming's laboratory, six of the Defenders (LJ and Kshin do not appear in this episode) are chased through a time warp and go back to the days of King Arthur. There, they meet and join forces with Prince Valiant who tells them that his wife, Alita, is being held prisoner by the evil Warlock who has stolen the fabled Eternity Stone. And, to further complicate matters, the mutant slime - which has already infected Mandrake - escaped from the Shuttle when the Defenders crashed into the sea and begins to spread.
#2 - The Necklace of Oros
Season 1 - Episode 56 - Aired Nov 24, 1986
As part of Jedda's coming of age, the Phantom takes her to the Skull Cave to choose a gift from among the family treasures. She is drawn to the mysterious Necklace of Oros, but an evil interdimensional being named Graviton needs the Necklace for his own purposes and will stop at nothing to get it.
#3 - The Ghost Walks Again
Season 1 - Episode 30 - Aired Oct 21, 1986
When industrial tycoon Kent Madden's plan to buy a magic health elixir from Partha, son of Chief Ajuna of the African Fallu tribe, goes awry, he makes a deal to obtain use of Ming's forces to steal the potion. The Phantom and Jedda learn of the plot and immediately fly to Africa. On the way, the Phantom is shot out of the sky by Madden and is believed killed. The Fallu implore Jedda to take up where her father left off - as Phantom, protector of their tribe - and after some heavy soul searching, she does just that. As Madden and Ming invade in full force, Jedda valiantly leads the Fallu in counter-attack. Unbeknownst to her, the Phantom raises himself from the jungle and must call forth the strength of ten tigers just to muster the power to fly the skullcopter. With the father-daughter team together again, Ming and Madden flee for their lives. The Fallu people are saved, however the sanctity of their location is violated, forcing them to abandon their obscurity and join civilization.
#4 - Escape from Mongo
Season 1 - Episode 1 - Aired Sep 8, 1986
When Ming the Merciless leaves Mongo to invade Earth, his old enemy Flash Gordon and the latter's son, Rick, join forces with six others - the youngest a pre-teenaged boy named Kshin - to form the Defenders of the Earth.
#5 - The Sleeper Awakes
Season 1 - Episode 8 - Aired Sep 17, 1986
Eons ago, a giant robot crash landed on Earth. Ming learns of The Annihilator, which now sleeps beneath Central City, and distracts all but one of The Defenders long enough to activate the robot.
#6 - Like Father, Like Daughter?
Season 1 - Episode 22 - Aired Oct 9, 1986
Ming's estranged daughter, Aura, crash lands her ship on Monitor and informs the Defenders of her father's latest scheme to enslave the population of earth with his Mind Neutralizer. Flash, an old friend of Aura's who once saved her and her husband, Barin, from destruction at the hands of Ming, immediately sets out for Grand Junction with Aura, Rick, Jedda and L.J. Upon arriving they discover that all the city's officials are already under Ming's hypnosis and that Aura's motivation is revenge- pure and simple. As Mandrake, the Phantom and Lothar rush to the rescue, the Defenders escape and convince Aura that she is an unwitting dupe in Ming's evil scheme. Briefly captured but now free, Mandrake and Lothar, with the Phantom set to work on reversing the polarity of Ming's neutralizer before he hypnotizes the entire world, while Flash, Rick, L.J., Jedda and Aura fly to an alien planet to rescue Barin. Seconds before Ming's scheme enslaves the world Dynak X completes the reversal, and all those previously under Ming's spell are once again free-thinkers.
#7 - Battleground
Season 1 - Episode 17 - Aired Sep 30, 1986
Ming's forces travel to the planet Grubor, where they use his freeze-ray weapon to capture six Cave Slugs- invincible alien creatures the size of semi-trucks who can and do eat anything, including rock, metal and laser beams. They are harmless unless provoked, whereupon they counterattack with tremendous force. The Merciless One deploys his first Cave Slug in a mine tunnel beneath Monitor, and as the alien munches its way towards the Defenders headquarters, Kshin and Zuffy stumble upon it and must be rescued by the Defenders. At the time the Cave Slug breaks through the top of the Volcano and heads to Central City, Ming places the five other Cave Slugs in major cities all over the world. The Defenders make the costly mistake of attacking the Cave Slug, sending it on a rampage until Jedda uses her animal telepathic contact abilities to make peace with the alien monster. Infuriated, Ming decides that if our heroes won't provoke the creatures, he will; however, his attack on the earth is crushed when the Cave Slugs counterattack Ming's forces. The misunderstanding settled, the Defenders happily transport the Cave Slugs back to Grubor.
#8 - The Book of Mysteries
Season 1 - Episode 31 - Aired Oct 21, 1986
When a two-hundred square mile area of Morocco mysteriously disappears, the Defenders investigate- sans Kshin, who is instructed to choose any book from Mandrake's library for a book report. While Kshin flips through the blank pages of a book titled "Enigmas", Flash, Rick, L.J. and Jedda enter the unexplained area and discover a primitive wall with a door in it. Suddenly the wall image appears in Kshin's book, along with an inscription telling how to get inside. As our heroes are nearly crushed by falling rocks, Kshin relays the information and stops the avalanche. Kshin, once again reading from the book, instructs the Defenders, who are now inside the shrine, to push the gold keys on the control panel, revealing the lost city and removing the jamming field surrounding the area. Mean-while Mandrake and Lothar track down a notorious jewel thief and recover the Eye of the Dragon which is missing from the wall. Back inside the shrine our heroes awaken the Sleeping God before Kshin warns them that he is unstoppable, and it looks like certain death for the Defenders. As Flash, Rick, L.J. and Jedda are about to be boiled in oil, Kshin arrives on the scene and convinces the creature that they are here to help; while Mandrake produces the crystal which will allow the Sleeping God to return home, thereby saving our Champions.
#9 - The Rites of Zesnan
Season 1 - Episode 39 - Aired Oct 30, 1986
While trying to prove their individual prowess during an obstacle course competition, Rick, Jedda and L.J. get a bit too serious, endangering themselves individually and as a flying unit. When the youngsters again risk their safety during a dogfight with Ming's roboships, their parents take them to the Amazon to compete in the Rites of Zesnan, a tribal warrior contest to develop good warriors. Ming intercepts a Dynak X transmission and arrives in South America before our heroes. Posing as a god he preconditions the natives against the Defenders. While Rick, Jedda and L.J. are on their respective paths of the warrior course, the Merciless One traps the elder heroes in a grid pattern with deadly sensor beam canons. Meanwhile our young Defenders, after fighting off an attack from the local tribesmen, band together. Discovering from one native the presence of Ming, they rush back to the Terry and working again as a well-oiled unit, turn all four laser canons against one another, blowing them to pieces and sending Ming fleeing for his cowardly safety.
#10 - 100 Proof Highway
Season 1 - Episode 44 - Aired Nov 6, 1986
At school, Jedda is invited to a party by Eric, who freely admits that, "Everything looks better with a little vodka". At first a bit hesitant, Jedda eventually agrees- she thinks Eric is cute and exciting. Rick and L.J. warn Jedda to steer clear of the trouble-maker, but she reminds them that they are neither her brothers nor her father. At the party that night, Erick is dead drunk, and his best friend Sam spikes Jedda's punch to "loosen her up". Confused and dizzy, Jedda asks Eric for a ride home. On the way he passes out at the wheel, with Jedda barely gaining control in time to avert disaster. Jedda gives a repentant Eric a second chance and attends a drag race with him. Disturbed by the drinking and dangerous driving, she once again demands that Eric, secretly drunk, take her home. This time they crash into a lake where Rick and L.J. must dive in for a risky rescue. The incident finally opens Eric's eyes to his alcoholism and he begins daily counseling, confident that although sobriety is a tough road, it's worth it.
#11 - The Time Freezer
Season 1 - Episode 45 - Aired Nov 7, 1986
The Defenders attend an inter-galactic science convention in Monaco which coincides with a junior magician's competition that Kshin enters. Mandrake tells the boy the secret to opening locks through telekinetic activity, a trick which he uses to win the competition. When a big, roughhousing alien named Brutan steals a Time Freezer device from Yonda, a soft-spoken scientist at the fair, and uses it to rob the casino and local jewelry stores, Kshin is a suspect in the robberies. Kshin, with Zuffy, set out to clear his name, discovering from Yonda that Brutan plans to rob Fort Knox! They inform the Defenders and our heroes arrive on the scene to discover Brutan in the act. Using another version of his Time Freezer, Yonda captures the thief.
#12 - The Prince Makes His Move (1)
Season 1 - Episode 46 - Aired Nov 10, 1986
Prince Kro-Tan reduces his father to nothing more than a microbe and seizes control of his empire, determined to conquer earth and destroy the Defenders himself....
#13 - The Prince Triumphant (2)
Season 1 - Episode 47 - Aired Nov 11, 1986
Pursuing Kro-Tan to a small kingdom in India, Flash and Rick are astonished to find that Kro-Tan is revered as a benevolent and trusting being, deemed worthy of ruling earth
#14 - The Prince Weds (3)
Season 1 - Episode 48 - Aired Nov 12, 1986
Continuing his power play, Kro-Tan's next step is to secretly attach miniature, mind-controlled explosives to the Defenders and take Jedda captive. They arrive in Mongo, where he announces that they'll soon wed.
#15 - The Prince's Royal Hunt (4)
Season 1 - Episode 49 - Aired Nov 13, 1986
Locked in the prince's palace, Jedda uses her gift to communicate with animals as a means of escape before the wedding. In a subterranean area, Kshin discovers a race of small, peaceful creatures who are known for singing a special tune. The Defenders, via a tip from Jedda, discover the explosive devices and remove them.
#16 - The Prince Dethroned (5)
Season 1 - Episode 50 - Aired Nov 14, 1986
The witch who's aided Kro-Tan from the start manages to revive the original King of Mongo, and is revealed to be his Queen while having her youth restored. They lock Kro-Tan away and later do the same with the Defenders via a magical transportation. The King then disposes of his Queen. In the cell, Kro-Tan reveals that the King has returned, and the Phantom, after enhancing his strength, frees the Defenders. The showdown with the King is interrupted by the arrival of the creatures Kshin discovered earlier, whose singing brings about his downfall once again. Ming is restored, and angrily takes his son off for punishment.
#17 - Lothar's Homecoming
Season 1 - Episode 51 - Aired Nov 17, 1986
The Defenders accompany Lothar to his hometown in Jamaica, where the new children’s wing of a hospital is dedicated in his honor. While there, Dr. Barbeau informs them that a new wonder drug is doing fantastic things for the children, but is difficult to obtain because a mythical sea serpent has been stealing it. A cult, led by Papa Duke, worships the serpent, and L.J.’s new friend, Felice, tells him that her brother has joined. While spying on a ceremony, L.J. is captured and Felice escapes, but not before learning that Papa Duke plans to lead the youth of the town on a campaign to seize power from their elders. L.J. is hypnotized into following Papa Duke and kidnaps Kshin for a sacrifice while Rick and Jedda search the water submarine for the monster. The Defenders invade the cult and rally the town citizens to control the kids. L.J. becomes his old self when the drug wears off, Kshin is rescued and Papa Duke turns out to actually be Dr. Barbeau!
#18 - Suspended Sabotage
Season 1 - Episode 52 - Aired Nov 18, 1986
While Rick and L.J. test out Rick's new invention- a wave interference device that scrambles any signal transmitted through the air- Rick is kidnapped by Ming, who then places an implant on L.J.'s head which will monitor his thought patterns. In exchange for Rick's safety, Ming orders L.J. to sabotage Flash's spaceship the night before our heroes plan to battle Ming's minions. During the fight our heroes are forced to retreat to Monitor. Ming then forces L.J. to divert the Defenders to South America while Ming invades New York City. L.J. recovers Rick's wave-interference device and rescues him. By the time the other heroes discover that L.J. is the saboteur, L.J. is able to explain himself and inform the Defenders of Ming's actual target. They arrive just in time to defeat the Merciless One.
#19 - The Return of Doctor Dark
Season 1 - Episode 54 - Aired Nov 20, 1986
Ming sets out to rule the entire universe by stealing the first of the three shards of the Orb of Konos from the Yucatan rain forest. At Monitor, Mandrake picks up telepathic signals from Mara, prompting Rick's journey to the Well of Essence, where he finds her in a cocoon. Dr. Dark locates the second shard with Ming, but in a confrontation between the two the evil ex-shadow lord drains the crystal's power, capturing it in his own body. Flash and Mandrake travel to a frozen planet to recover the third shard, only to discover that Ming has beat them to it. Back at Monitor Mara emerges from her cocoon, now a shadow lord. The Defenders rush to the Amber Keep on Rylos --the only place where the Orb of Konos can be reassembled- to discover that Dr. Dark has double crossed Ming and entered the Shadow Void to become the supreme ruler of the universe. Mara enters Dr. Dark's mind and prevents him from regaining control, thereby allowing the Orb to take back the power he stole from it, and destroying the evil warlock in the process. The Defenders escape the planet and Mara stays to become the new shadow master, ensuring that no one ever again splits the Orb of Konos.
#20 - The Deadliest Battle
Season 1 - Episode 55 - Aired Nov 21, 1986
Rick feels the pressure that results from his efforts to live up to Flash's reputation, and all aspects of Rick's life are suffering- school, personal and Defender work. A "friend" gives him a vial of drugs which Kshin sees Rick take in an effort to better perform when Ming, supercharged by an electrode machine, invades Monitor. Because Rick forgot to activate the defense system, Flash must lead Ming away from Monitor. Flash, along with the other senior Defenders, is trapped under a subway tunnel which Ming collapses on top of them. Back at Monitor Rick, under the influence of drugs and frustrated at his inability to perform, throws a temper tantrum. Ming again attacks Monitor and injures Kshin, forcing Rick to see the consequences of the drugs he has taken. To vindicate himself, Rick leads Ming through a Defender battle training exercise, driving the evil emperor mad with simulated attacks. As his "supercharging" wears off, Ming hallucinates as Rick, Jedda and L.J. drive him away from Monitor, sending him fleeing back to Ice Station Earth. Kshin calls Rick a hero, but Rick disagrees. Kshin is the hero for saying "NO" to drugs.
#21 - Ming Winter
Season 1 - Episode 58 - Aired Nov 26, 1986
Flash receives a distress call from Prince Barin, summoning him to Mongo to save the planet from Ming's evil son Kro-Tan. Back at Monitor our heroes uncover Ming's plan- Kro-Tan has turned the population of Mongo into slaves who mine the planet of Oceanite, which is turned into slabs and used by Ming to encircle the Earth, thereby blocking out all sunlight and plunging the planet into endless winter. When L.J.'s foolish heroics against attacking robo-ships backfire, the Defenders (sans Flash) counter-attack Ice Station Earth. As Flash and Barin start a slave uprising on Mongo, L.J. is seriously injured at Ming's headquarters, forcing our heroes to surrender. On Mongo Flash and Barin destroy the transporter-computer, breaking apart the oceanite wall and sending it crashing towards Kro-Tan's home planet, while the other Defenders escape from Ming's dungeon and rush back to Monitor to obtain much-needed medical help for L.J.
#22 - The Golden Queen (1)
Season 1 - Episode 59 - Aired Nov 26, 1986
As Ming teams up with Queen Hadea of the Netherworld, elsewhere, Jedda suffers injury from an experiment intended to examine the Neckless of Oros. The Phantom takes her to a village to be healed, accompanied by Rick and LJ. With a crew of soldiers, Hadea suddenly holds the village hostage and captures the group of Defenders, seeking the neckless for herself. Meanwhile, Graviton continues to pressure Ming into retrieving the neckless for him. At the Netherworld, the others and a still-unconscious Jedda are brought before Hadea's feet and an offer is made: the Queen will heal Jedda if the Phantom agrees to be the new King, which he apparently does. Hadea keeps the Neckless of Oros and gives Jedda a fake before reviving her. Ming then enters unexpectedly with troops and abruptly seizes all of the Defenders except Phantom, who's been locked in the main chamber.
#23 - The Gravity of Ming (2)
Season 1 - Episode 60 - Aired Nov 27, 1986
Graviton discovers that the neckless Jedda's wearing is a fake, and Ming vows to punish Hadea. The Phantom escapes from Hadea's palace with the real neckless and heads for Ming's fortress, where he's captured just as the other Defenders show up to witness it. Hadea and her soldiers later arrive and win a brief struggle with Ming's robots, before having a face-to-face showdown with Ming himself. Hadea states she wants her neckless and King back. Graviton then enters and claims he wants the neckless as well. Suddenly, Ming says that they should all reach an accord. As Graviton is given the fake neckless and becomes momentarily distracted when he discovers this again, Ming has his people, via some form of technology, suddenly transport both Graviton and Hadea to a banishment that's soon identified as the Kingdom of ""Oblivion,"" where they are to remain indefinitely. Back at the fortress, Flash makes an air raid and the captured Defenders are able to escape. Later, Jedda privately destroys
#24 - The Adoption of Kshin
Season 1 - Episode 63 - Aired Dec 3, 1986
During the court proceedings of Mandrake's adoption of Kshin, Hai, an old Asian man, enters with proof that he Is the boy's grandfather. Hai's return sparks Kshin's memory- he was three years old and with his parents on the search for the Lost City of Dreams when the Dragon Queen attacked and his parents were killed. Mandrake re-counts his introduction to Kshin in the streets of Singapore, and the discovery of one half of a mysterious map on the boy. Hai pulls out the other half, displaying the full directions to the Lost City of Dreams. Kshin, Hai, Mandrake and Lothar decide to set out on an expedition to locate the city. In Shanghai, the Dragon Queen gets wind of the expedition and follows our group on its quest- through jungles, dangers and traps- into the Lost City. Once inside, the evil Queen captures our group and throws them into a well. They escape and are aided by the rest of the Defenders in defeating the Dragon Queen. However, in the process old Hai is killed. His dying wish is fulfilled when Mandrake completes his adoption of Kshin.
#25 - Street Smarts
Season 1 - Episode 64 - Aired Dec 4, 1986
In battle simulation with Jedda, L.J. refuses to take part- he thinks it is only "kid stuff". Flash transports Morlag, a lizard-like leader of the rebellion on Mongo to Monitor, where Rick and the Phantom will deliver from Peru the Sun Medallions necessary for his people's fight to continue. Ming attacks the medallion base in Peru, destroying all the precious Firestones which focus their energy, then uses Octon to plant a virus program inside Dynak X so he can invade Monitor and capture Morlag. Meanwhile Flash and Kshin fly to an underwater volcano off the coast of Peru- the only other place to mine Firestones. When Ming attacks Monitor, L.J. thinks it is only another battle simulation, so he doesn't help when Jedda and Morlag are captured and taken away by Ming's forces. When he discovers the truth, L.J. feels horrible- prompting him to invade Ice Station Earth and conduct his own rescue. Flash and Kshin return with the Firestones, and L.J. learns a valuable lesson about adulthood.