... The most popular cartoons of the 1980s all essentially existed to create new customers for their respective toy lines. Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, My Little Pony; when you break it down, each episode is essentially a glorified toy commercial.
I'm sorry to pop the nostalgia bubble, but go and watch the intro to He-Man and tell me if it holds up to today's artistic and creative standards. ...
I came onto the Animation Guild's executive board during those glorious days of yesteryear (1983). I can still remember business representative Bud Hester rattling off employment stats at different studios, telling us what shows were in production, and what shows were getting cancelled.
And I was impressed with how steady employment was at a mid-valley studio named Filmation. It had been the CBS network's "go to" Saturday morning cartoon shop a few years before, but by '83 Lou Scheimer and upper management had discovered the joys of syndication and resulting big episode orders. He Man, as under-nourished as it might have been, provided a lot of work for artists in the middle '80s.
The shows might not be on the top shelf of the nostalgia trophy case today, but dozens of animators, board artists and designers got their start in the business because of He-Man and She Ra, Princess of Power.
It's hard to believe now, but Filmation was the largest animation studio in Los Angeles in 1985. Disney's expansion was still four years away, as was Warner Bros. (Spielberg was still busy making epic live-action films; he hadn't yet turned his attention to Tiny Toons and Animaniacs.)