Dino-Riders is an action, adventure, science fiction, fantasy animated television series. Tyco licensed this series to create a background story and promote their new toy line. With only fourteen episodes produced, Gerry Conway and Carla Conway created Dino-Riders while Ray Lee directed most of the series. Then, Steven Hahn directed the first and last episodes of the animated television series. The episodes featured many talented artists like Charles Adler, Jack Angel, Cam Clarke, and Townsend Coleman. The show ran from the 1st of October to the 31st of December 1988, the same year that Tyco’s Dino-Riders toy line came out.
Dino-Riders animated television series centers on the trials of a race of some serene humanoids who inhabited the planet Valoria. They lived happily and went about their daily routines until the evil Rulons, another extraterrestrial race of humanoids with likeliness or characteristics of some Earth’s animals like Snakes, Crocodiles, Ants, and even Sharks, invaded their planet. Both races lived in a very distant future from ours. After the invasion of the Predatory Rulon race, Questar leads a small group of Valorians to seek refuge away from Valoria, using a spaceship equipped with a Space-Time Energy Projector (S.T.E.P.) as a get-away space shuttle.
The Valorian’s Escape
The small group of Valorian survivors, while trying to escape the Rulons’ invasion, inadvertently traveled back through time and space to the planet Earth, about 65 million years back. On landing on Earth, the Valorians saw Earth’s primitive animals, the dinosaurs, and other animals. The Valorians wielded their Amplified Mental Projector (A.M.P.) necklaces to communicate with the dinosaurs telepathically. Instead of using the A.M.P.’s to control the Dinosaurs, the Valorians became friends with their new host, and they could communicate fluently with the dinosaurs.
Just before taking off from Valorians, the Rulons Flagship, the Dreadlock, which was under warlord Emperor Krulos’s command, followed and attacked them. The Dreadlock had locked in with a tractor beam on the Valorian spaceship, which dragged the Dreadlock into the Earth’s Prehistoric time along with the Valorian spaceship. Unlike the Valorians, the Rulons used their brainbox to brainwash and control the dinosaurs they encountered for their selfish reasons.
New Life in the Past
The Rulons then launched frequent attacks on the Valorians on Earth. The Valorians, however, successfully defeated the Rulons with the help of their newfound allies, the dinosaurs, who fought alongside the Valorians of their own free will. After the success of the battle and the utter silencing of the Rulons, the Valorians dubbed themselves Dino-Riders.
The Dino-Riders animated television series consists of 23 to 25-minute episodes that aired every Saturday. Starting from the 1st of October to the 31st of December, each episode broadcasted one episode per week for about 14 weeks.
Episode 1 – The Adventure Begins
This episode quickly shows the life of the Valorians before the invasion of the Rulons. The action moved to Questar and the group of Valorians trying to evade the troubled planet. The planet also shows the Valorians on primitive Earth, and quickly, they felt at home around the dinosaurs. The Rulons led by Emperor Krulos also arrived on Earth, but they are hell-bent on returning to their own time and space by any means necessary.
This episode of the animated Dino-Riders cartoon ran on television on the 1st of October 1988.
Episode 2 – Revenge of The Rulons
To return to their original time and their world, Emperor Krulos’ Rulons devised a plan to steal the Valorians S.T.E.P. (Space Time Energy Projector). The device that was responsible for their involuntary time and space travel to ancient Earth. The plan resulted in the kidnapping of Llahd, the youngest member of the Refugee Valorians).
This episode of the animated Dino-Riders cartoon aired on television on the 8th of October 1988.
Episode 3 – The Rulon Stampede
After the failure of his plans in the previous episode, Emperor Krulos would not back down on his desire to acquire the S.T.E.P. but instead device another plan, a more terrible one. Krulos’ master plan was to create a dinosaur stampede by sending many dinosaurs through the Dino-Riders’ camp just to steal the S.T.E.P. Crystal.
This episode of the animated Dino-Riders cartoon aired on the 15th of October 1988.
Episode 4 – The Blue Skies of Earth
This episode depicts an internal mini battle within the Rulon ranks, between Rasp and Hammerhead. In a bid to become the official second in command to Krulos, Rasp, the Cobra-like humanoid the viper group’s leader and the most favored to be Krulos second in command, contends with the reliable Hammerhead, a Shark-like humanoid who is the leader of the Shark-men and one of Krulos’ most trusted top General.
The fourth episode of the Dino-Riders aired on the 22nd of October 1988.
Episode 5 – Toro, Toro, Torosaurus
Again, the adventure of this episode centers around the young Llahd. After Llahd ran away from the Valorians’ camp, Questar summoned all the Valorians to deal with the emergency. He then encouraged them to split into groups and look for the lost youngling. Unfortunately, they discover that Krulos once again captured the young Llahd. Luckily, the displaced Valorians quickly found a way to attack Krulos and save the young one.
This episode of Dino-Riders aired on the 29th of October 1988.
Episode 6 – T-Rex
This episode kicked off with Turret, a Valorian scientist and technician who serves as the egghead who works on the S.T.E.P. Crystal and Crystal’s last duty line. However, Turret had begun to feel like his importance to the group had dwindled. Meanwhile, Krulos had kidnapped a Tyrannosaurus Rex baby, and he blackmailed the baby’s parents into attacking the Valorians. Turret became the unlikely hero, which rekindled his confidence.
This episode of Dino-Riders aired on the 5th of November 1988.
Episode 7 – K.R.U.L.O.S.
This episode depicts Krulos in a weakened state after an earthquake damages the exo-suits for his troops. Without usable exo-suits, his underlings became agitated and distrusting of Krulos’ ability to lead them. So, Krulos’ subordinates planned a coup and tried to usurp him. While they valiantly battled against their leader, the coup attempt completely failed in the end. So, Krulos kept his command.
This episode of this animated Dino-Riders television series aired on the 12th of November 1988.
Episode 8 – T.A.G.G., You are It!
Tagg, Dino-Riders’ trainer and mid-level officer, had accidentally discovered that the Rulons are trying to get to the Valorians camp by digging their way through the camp. So, he rushed to tell the rest of the Valorians about his discovery. However, the Rulons captured Tagg before he could inform the others about their new play area.
This episode of the animated Dino-Riders cartoon series aired on the 19th of November 1988.
Episode 9 – Thanksgiving
It is Thanksgiving weekend on ancient Earth. So, the Valorians are in a celebratory and happy mode to commemorate this happy day. Unfortunately, the Rulons, under Ackimi’s command, decide that this is the perfect day to attack and ruin the day. So, the Valorians must defend their celebration against the Rulons’ assault. They prevail against the Rulons in the end and continue with their Thanksgiving festivities.
This episode of the animated Dino-Riders cartoon aired on the 26th of November 1988.
Episode 10 – To Lose the Path
The episode centers around the Dino-Rider Yungstar, who is young and hurries into action. However, he is still very much an integral part of the group. His anger toward the Rulons makes it difficult for him to prove himself to the rest of the Valorians.
This episode of the animated Dino-Riders cartoon aired on the 3rd of December 1988.
Episode 11 – Enter the Commando
Astra, who made his first appearance in this chapter, led a group of six special ops to break into the Dreadlock. They had discovered that the Rulons were keeping stolen eggs on the ship. So, these Commandos lured their marks away then rescued the stollen triceratops.
This episode of the animated Dino-Riders cartoon aired on the 10th of November.
Episode 12 – Battle for The Brontosaurus
Krulos and his Rulons already captured a brontosaurus, but the Valorians quickly freed the dinosaur. Thus, Emperor Krulos became enraged. So, he used the opportunity of trying to get the brontosaurus back. As he was capturing the brontosaurus, he also tried to steal the S.T.E.P. crystal.
This episode of the animated Dino-Riders cartoon aired on the 17th of December 1988.
Episode 13 – One to Lead Us
This time, Emperor Krulos was successful in his attempts of stealing the S.T.E.P. He also managed to repossess the super-sized dinosaur, brontosaurus. So, things are looking dire for the Valorians. Questar must now step up to the challenge of rising higher than his adversary to save the fate of the Valorians. Fortunately, Questar raised to the challenge and defeated the Rulons once and for all.
This episode of the animated Dino-Riders series came on air on the 24th of December 1988.
Episode 14. – Ice Age Adventure
After the Valorians won the battle, Krulos and his Rulons defeated forever. So, they began repairing the S.T.E.P. when it accidentally sends the Valorian’s Commandos, that Astro led, to the Ice Age. There, they met and interacted with a race of individuals in a frantic war against the Grom tribe.
Unliked the rest of the series, the Ice-Age released on VHS in 1990. However, it never aired on television.
Although Dino-Riders was not the first movie or animated television series produced to primarily market the toys, the success of this union between the creative world of movie making and toy making cannot go unnoticed. Dino-Riders was a success, even though it never went past the first season. It had served its purpose by giving life and meaning to those wonder action figures produced by Tyco.
At a time when kids were crazy about dinosaurs and futuristic science, Dino-Riders gave us a science-fiction animated television series about futuristic people who came from their galaxy to live in our past with amazing dinosaurs.
Tyco’s action figures and dinosaur figures will go down as one of the best toys ever produced, and Dino-Riders as one of the best movies ever created to market a ty line.
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About the author
Author: Chris Ingledue
Bio: I am the founder and owner of Wheeljack’s Lab pop Culture and Toy Shop. My vision has always been to reunite customers with their favorite childhood toys and pop culture, triggering fond memories, and reigniting their imaginations. Every day, I work in the “lab” where it’s Christmas 365 days a year. I scour the internet, like when we had the Sears Catalog of yesteryear, for the next great treasure. Then, I await the arrival of the postman as if he were Santa Claus himself and helping collectors worldwide with their own versions of Christmas. Every day as a vintage toy buyer is an absolute joy!