The BEST Episodes of Defenders of the Earth

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

Last Updated: Apr 11, 2021

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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).

Terror in Time

#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.

star 7.23
31 votes
The Sleeper Awakes

#2 - 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.

star 7.22
32 votes
The Necklace of Oros

#3 - 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.

star 7.17
30 votes
The Ghost Walks Again

#4 - 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.

star 7.16
31 votes
Like Father, Like Daughter?

#5 - 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.

star 7.13
30 votes
Escape from Mongo

#6 - 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.

star 7.13
68 votes
The Revenge of Astra

#7 - The Revenge of Astra

Season 1 - Episode 9 - Aired Sep 18, 1986

The vengeful space princess Astra creates an army of clay soldiers. The daughter of Princess Aura, Astra is convinced by Ming that Flash Gordon was behind her mother's death. She uses blue clay from the Bandar village to create her army.

star 7.10
30 votes
Hall of Wisdom

#8 - Hall of Wisdom

Season 1 - Episode 10 - Aired Sep 19, 1986

The incredible Hall of Wisdom pays its-2000-year, 24-hour visit to the Galaxy. It's a once-in-a-lifetime chance for Ming to get his hands on the dreaded Quasar Weapon, with which he can conquer the Earth.

star 7.10
30 votes
The Mind Warriors (1)

#9 - The Mind Warriors (1)

Season 1 - Episode 11 - Aired Sep 24, 1986

Ming lures Kshin to Ice Station Earth, then probes the dark side of his imagination to create fearsome warriors capable of destroying the Defenders. While the heroes work to dismantle the Doomsday Warhead, a device left in the universe from an earlier holocaust, they are invaded by RADIAN, BI-NINJA, RIPPER, ZALZAR, JAMMER HEAD, and NEUTRON MAN, all products of Kshin's mind. Two of the evil warriors recapture the Doomsday Warhead and transport it to Ming's asteroid base, while the rest stay on to finish off the Defenders. Meanwhile, the young Defenders fly to Ice Station Earth to rescue Kshin. With the help of Dynak X they trick the mind warriors into thinking they're dead. With Kshin free and the Doomsday Warhead moments from being launched against Earth, Kshin uses the good side of his imagination to make all the Defenders stronger, enabling them to defeat the mind warriors and reset the guidance controls in the Doomsday Warhead, thus blowing up Ming's asteroid base and saving Earth.

star 7.10
30 votes
Diamonds Are a Ming's Best Friend

#10 - Diamonds Are a Ming's Best Friend

Season 1 - Episode 15 - Aired Sep 26, 1986

Ming enlists the aid of the ruthless Beastmaster to create an army of Crystal Soldiers, beings grown from diamonds and invulnerable to everything except an extremely rare mineral called Orcite.

star 7.10
30 votes
Ming's Household Helpers

#11 - Ming's Household Helpers

Season 1 - Episode 27 - Aired Oct 16, 1986

The household helper robot, designed by Ming the Merciless in another of his evil schemes, is the hottest selling item on the market, deployed in over one million homes worldwide - including Monitor. Ming plans to use the robots to hypnotize their owners and make them his slaves. At the behest of Jedda, Rick examines his robot and discovers the plot, alerting the Defenders. When Flash flies out to space to destroy the satellite, a tractor beam renders his ship powerless and drags him towards Ice Station Earth! Splitting up, Lothar, Mandrake and the Phantom penetrate Ming's fortress to save Flash. While Ming captures the Jamaican and the Magician, the Phantom wreaks havoc on the robot production lab. Rick mobilizes his frequency inhibitor, overloading the household helper robots and rendering them useless. Back at Ming's fortress, Mandrake uses telekinesis to overload the main generator, enabling the Defenders to escape.

star 7.10
30 votes
The Future Comes But Once

#12 - The Future Comes But Once

Season 1 - Episode 32 - Aired Oct 21, 1986

While engaging Ming's roboships in battle over the North African Desert, Flash discovers the remains of an ancient pyramid, where he finds an obelisk that produces visions when touched. The other Defenders arrive on the scene and Mandrake informs Flash that the sacred obelisk was believed to foretell the future. Unbeknownst to our heroes, Ming is in the area- in search of the very same obelisk, which he needs to tell the future so that he may propel his time drive device four-times the speed of light. When Rick and L.J. touch the obelisk they see themselves defeat Octon, giving them the confidence to set out for Ice Station Earth. They get as far as Ming's desert hideout, where they are taken prisoner. Mandrake informs our heroes that the obelisk cannot foretell the future, but rather what a person fears or desires for the future. Scavenger, the desert Arab whose home Ming commandeered as a base for his search, breaks free and sends for the Defenders, who raid Ming's headquarters. Mandrake destroys the evil emperor's time drive device, sending the obelisk beyond the reach of mortal men and Ming fleeing for the coolness of Ice Station Earth.

star 7.10
30 votes
The Frozen Heart

#13 - The Frozen Heart

Season 1 - Episode 37 - Aired Oct 28, 1986

Ming's forces kidnap LJ's girlfriend, Kate, turning her into a Frost Person, and have her trick LJ, Rick and Jedda into handing the Defenders' Space Station - now armed with a lethal laser-cannon - over to Ming. When the Swordship is shot down, the adult Defenders initiate the Space Station's self-destruct program but, having survived the crash, they learn that Rick, LJ and Jedda are on the Space Station. There follows a race against time to abort the self-destruct program before it is too late.

star 7.10
30 votes
Audie and Tweak

#14 - Audie and Tweak

Season 1 - Episode 40 - Aired Oct 31, 1986

Ming's computer, Octon, has created the ultimate trap- Tycos, a machine designed by a machine, completely devoid of human flaws- which the evil leader will use to destroy the Defenders. Meanwhile Kshin tries to make friends with Audie, a boy genius whose only companion is his personally constructed robot, Tweak, made with living matter rather than silicon microchips. The elder Defenders are lured to a mountain bunker in Colorado by Tycos and the Phantom is captured. Tycos then shuts down all computer circuitry in the Western Hemisphere, except for Tweak, who is impervious to Tycos' efforts because of his non-silicon makeup. The young Defenders' plea for Audie's assistance falls on deaf ears; however, the fact that they come to his rescue when he is captured by Ming persuades him to help our heroes. Arriving at the mountain bunker, the youngsters discover that Mandrake and Flash are also Tycos' captives. Tweak enters first, sacrificing himself to dismantle the nerve gas which frees the three heroes and clears the way for the others to join in the effort. Audie creates a makeshift lighter to ignite Tycos' power supply and deactivate the evil computer, while the rest of the Defenders escape and prepare to blow the bunker to smithereens. Back at Monitor Audie is made an honorary Defender.

star 7.10
30 votes
Return of the Skyband

#15 - Return of the Skyband

Season 1 - Episode 41 - Aired Nov 3, 1986

When an ore transport ship in deep space is looted and notes are found announcing the RETURN OF THE SKY BAND, the Phantom is apprehensive. He recounts the story of his grandfather, who defeated an all-women pirate group in the 1930's whose "Sky Band Leader" was accidently killed. The Defenders fly out to rescue a mining ship in an asteroid belt, and the Phantom comes face to face with Kristina, the new leader of the Sky Band and the grandaughter of the woman killed in the 1930's. While the other Defenders engage the band members in combat, the Phantom chases Kristina through the asteroid-ship which is headquarters for the pirates. Unable to defeat the Phantom, Kristina plans to blow up the entire steroid and to kill both the superhero and herself. The Phantom delays the destruction and rescues her- thereby vindicating his grandfather- before turning Kristina over to the authorities.

star 7.10
30 votes
Flesh and Blood

#16 - Flesh and Blood

Season 1 - Episode 61 - Aired Dec 1, 1986

The Defenders must fight a fanatic cult calling themselves the "League of Flesh and Blood" who are opposed to the existence of robots, believing that they are crippling human independence. Flash develops a romantic bond with the female member of the group, Kala. When a shocking revelation about the League is exposed, Ming the Merciless, hoping to improve his army's robotics, takes advantage of the League's shameful secret and strikes a bargain with them, and it involves kidnapping the young Defenders. Can Flash and the Defenders save them?

star 7.10
30 votes
The Thunder Lizards of Ming

#17 - The Thunder Lizards of Ming

Season 1 - Episode 65 - Aired Dec 5, 1986

The Defenders fly to Alaska to inspect a dinosaur alert. While following dinosaur tracks, Rick and L.J. discover that a long-dormant volcano, with an artificial dome placed over it, is mysteriously heating up. The senior Defenders and Jedda spot Ming and Garax, while the Defenders are attacked by two Allosaurus Dinosaurs! After a narrow escape in a mountain cave, the group discovers Ming's evil scheme - he's used an earth drill to thaw out tens of thousands of beasts buried in the frozen tundra, and is sending them out to destroy the cities of the Earth! The young Defenders figure out how to work Ming's drill, and use it to blow up the drilling station. The volcano explodes, ripping off the dome, and the arctic climate returns - obliterating the Valley of the Dinosaurs.

star 7.10
30 votes
The Creation of Monitor

#18 - The Creation of Monitor

Season 1 - Episode 2 - Aired Sep 9, 1986

Aided by Flash's Krell allies, the Defenders begin building their base. But Ming has learned of their existence and resolved to put an end to them.

star 7.10
41 votes
Cold War

#19 - Cold War

Season 1 - Episode 7 - Aired Sep 16, 1986

Ming needs Rick Gordon's ring to complete a weather control machine, and having caught Flash in a battle, uses him as bait to lure the impulsive Rick to Ice Station Earth. It is up to the remaining defenders to escape the fearsome Mongor, and rescue Rick and Flash.

star 7.10
31 votes
The Mind Warriors (2)

#20 - The Mind Warriors (2)

Season 1 - Episode 12 - Aired Sep 22, 1986

The Defenders add a new twist to the Battle Simulation Room--a Thought-Transference Cap. It transmits the wearer's imagination directly into the simulation; Kshin loves to use it to scare the other Defenders the best he can. But Ming the Merciless has found a way to tap into the Room. Using his ghastly power source, he can use his own evil thoughts and intensify them into reality! What starts out as a thrilling simulation under Kshin is taken over by Ming and turned into a terrible fight to the death in the all-too-real Haunted World. While the older Defenders fight monsters, harpies and skeleton warriors, the desperate young Defenders destroy the simulator and end the horror.

star 7.10
31 votes
The Panther Peril

#21 - The Panther Peril

Season 1 - Episode 18 - Aired Oct 1, 1986

When the famous explorer Andrew Huxley encounters the wrath of Ming the Merciless while on expedition in Africa, he immediately calls in the Defenders. Ming kidnaps the Chief of the Bandar tribe after destroying their village, and forces him to lead the way to the hidden Temple of Pantheria. Before the Defenders depart for Africa they confine Kisa in a forcefield- for her own, as well as the other's, safety- leaving the key card with Kshin, under strict orders not to let Kisa out or give the key card to any-one else, especially Jedda. A short time later Kshin, disobeying direct orders, hands over the card to Jedda, who lets Kisa free. Meanwhile Ming reaches the Temple of Pantheria, locates the sacred tooth and with its powers orders Kisa to attack and destroy the Defenders. Kisa obeys, wreaking havoc all over Central City. Rick and Jedda track Kisa down and just as Rick is about to shoot her, the Defenders locate Ming in Africa and, with the help of Mandrake's illusory power, wrest control of the sacred tooth. He reverses Ming's orders just in time to save Kisa and our heroes.

star 7.10
31 votes
Fury of the Deep

#22 - Fury of the Deep

Season 1 - Episode 19 - Aired Oct 2, 1986

Ming's attack on an oil platform, to capture a main computer containing the earth's entire energy network, is foiled by the Defenders, but all is not lost as he spots oceanographer Maurice Quiston using a brainwave transmission helmet to communicate with sea creatures. Ming convinces him to join forces in battling the ocean-destructive forces of modern society. With Qusiton operating out of Ice Station Earth, all the ocean's inhabitants obey his orders to attack oil tankers, undersea food farms and sewage systems all over the globe. Meanwhile the Phantom, an old friend of Quiston’s, finds the oceanographer's floating sea-platform vacant, while Flash, Lothar, Jedda and Mandrake try to save the food farm from destruction. Quiston discovers that Ming has betrayed him when the Evil One destroys his sea platform. He joins forces with the Phantom to stop the ocean life's attacks and then blows up his brainwave transmission helmet and computer in the control room of Ming's Ice Station Earth.

star 7.10
31 votes
The Lost Jewels of Tibet

#23 - The Lost Jewels of Tibet

Season 1 - Episode 13 - Aired Sep 23, 1986

Ming is seeking the Jewels of Power, but a female archaeologist named Atuskedero is also after them and travels to Tibet with Lothar and Mandrake (the latter worked with her in his pre-Defender days) to find the Jewels before Ming's forces do. But, when the trio discover the Jewels, it becomes clear that they have the power to hypnotise anyone who touches them. Can the remaining six Defenders reach their two companions in time to prevent an ancient legend - which predicts that the Dragon of Vengeance will appear if the Jewels are ever disturbed - from coming true?

star 7.07
30 votes
The Evil of Doctor Dark

#24 - The Evil of Doctor Dark

Season 1 - Episode 14 - Aired Sep 25, 1986

Mandrake's old enemy, Damian Dark, and the latter's Psychic Warrior cohorts escape from jail and join forces with Ming's troops to search for the legendary Well of Essence.

star 7.07
30 votes
The Men of Frost

#25 - The Men of Frost

Season 1 - Episode 16 - Aired Sep 29, 1986

For Ming's plan to blanket the earth with a veneer of frost to be successful, the satellite requires the strength of a Starblue Crystal, of which only three exist. During a ceremony in which Mandrake donates his Starblue Crystal to the Central City Museum, the Defenders fight off an invasion by Ming's forces and capture two of his Men of Frost, Elgar and Zikry. Rick makes good use of a new invention which re-humanizes Men of Frost and Elgar tells the Defenders of Ming's plan to conquer earth. Zikry however, remains loyal to Ming and sabotages Dynak X before our heroes discover his true "evil" side. When Ming locates the last remaining Starblue Crystal he launches the satellite. It appears that it may be too late to stop Ming, but the Defenders fly out in their battle ships, engage Ming's roboships in an outer-space dog-fight, and explode the satellite with seconds to spare.

star 7.07
30 votes