[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/defenders-of-the-earth_3269.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:350:Suspiciously similar to, yet not the same as, ''ComicBook/TheDefenders''.]]

''Defenders of the Earth'' was a 1986 animated television show, jointly produced by Marvel Productions and King Features Syndicate. Set in the year 2015, it starred characters from three [[TheThirties classic]] King Features series -- ComicStrip/FlashGordon, ComicStrip/ThePhantom, ComicStrip/MandrakeTheMagician, and Mandrake's long-time friend Lothar -- as they battled the evil machinations of Flash's alien ArchEnemy, Ming the Merciless.

Supporting characters included Rick Gordon (son of Flash), Jedda Walker (daughter of the Phantom), Kshin (adopted son of Mandrake), and L.J. (son of Lothar). The show ran for a single syndicated season of 65 episodes, and had a brief four-issue comic-book series published by Creator/MarvelComics under their "Star Comics" imprint.

The theme song's lyrics were written by Creator/StanLee. That is awesome.

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!!Tropes:

* SixtyFiveEpisodeCartoon
* AcePilot: Flash.
* AliensSpeakingEnglish
* AmbiguouslyGay: Mandrake and Lothar had apparently been living in the same mansion for some time with Lothar's son (whose mother is never shown or mentioned) and Mandrake's adopted son.
* BigBad: Ming.
* BraggingThemeTune
* ByThePowerOfGrayskull: The Phantom would activate his super-strength by chanting "By jungle law, the Ghost Who Walks calls forth the power of ten tigers." His transformation sequence would then show tiger heads passing into his body (the number varied but was usually less than ten), this raised the question whether or not this Phantom was a mutant who suppressed his ability through mental prowess.
* CainAndAbel: the Phantom and his brother Kurt.
* CanonForeigner: Kurt Walker, aka N'Dama the Weather Demon, who was specifically created for this series.
* ClearMyName: Ming framed the heroes in one episode and they had to expose the hoax.
* ConvectionSchmonvection: The team works in a ''volcano''. Jedda even states that the heat in some places pleasantly reminds her of Africa. What is this girl made of?
* CreditsGag: The credits state in parentheses that this Phantom is the 27th Phantom.
* {{Crossover}}: One episode had ''ComicStrip/PrinceValiant'' as a guest hero.
* DaddysGirl: Jedda, with the Phantom. The fact she has a MissingMom doesn't help.
* DangerRoomColdOpen
* DangerouslyGenreSavvy: Prince Kro-Tan.
* DeadHatShot: In "The Ghost Walks Again", where the Phantom falls into a river after being shot. On finding his belt floating in the water, Jedda immediately fears the worst and, when the Phantom is subsequently declared dead (even though his body has not been found) has to decide if she is ready to take over his duties. However, the Phantom has, in fact, survived and is reunited with his daughter by the episode's conclusion.
* DealWithTheDevil: Ming was fond of making deals with other powerful beings.
* DudeMagnet: Every other teenage male character got a crush on Jedda at one moment or another, including Ming's own son. Most of the ShipTease was Rick/Jedda.
* EpisodeTitleCard
* ExpendableClone: Ming creates four clones of Flash with different aspects of his personality in "Flash Times Four". They're all killed at the end of the episode.
* FamilyUnfriendlyDeath: A few villains wound up receiving some surprisingly violent death scenes.
** Ming the Merciless is killed off in the beginning of a five-part arc (he got better) and his death scene sees him get vaporized into ash.
** Another villain, Doctor Dark, seems to suffer a Disney Villain Death by falling, but the end of the episode reveals he's still alive and in the fall caused him to lose an eye and get half his face horribly disfigured; when he returns in a later episode he's KilledOffForReal after dissolving into a skeleton.
* GadgeteerGenius: Rick Gordon. Being raised in space among various advanced alien civilizations helps.
* GeniusBruiser: Lothar is superhumanly strong and portrayed as a mechanical genius and tactician.
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: In one episode, Flash is captured and has facets of his personality transplanted into four clones. The romantic one flirts with everything that moves, including ''Flash himself''.
* {{Hammerspace}}: Where Zuffy kept things.
* JunglePrincess: Jedda Walker.
* KangarooCourt: In one episode, the Defenders were put on trial by an alien race whose members claimed to detest violence. The evidence against the Defenders came in the form of "news reports" which appeared to show members of the team engaging in acts of violence and terrorism. But Rick, LJ, and Jedda managed to escape and discovered that the whole thing was a plot by Ming, who was using android duplicates to frame the Defenders.
* LegacyCharacter: Rick Gordon, Jedda Walker and Lothar Jr. "With our new young heroes, proving their worth/Four become eight, defending the Earth". (Eight, because Stan counted Kshin.)
** Also, Kro-Tan, Ming's son.
** The Phantom is one one of the oldest legacy characters there is.
* LimitedWardrobe: Except for Jedda (as mentioned below) because the animators could never quite decide what she wore (or even ''looked'' like).
* MachineMonotone: Ming has a mechanical reverb to his voice; curiously, his son doesn't.
* MadScientistsBeautifulDaughter: Princess Castra.
* MagicalComputer: Powered by a magical crystal. With a dead woman's soul in it. [[MakesJustAsMuchSenseInContext Yup.]]
* MechaMooks: Ming's ice robots.
* MissingMom: Lots.
* MotherlyScientist (inverted): The crystal powering Dynak X is actually holding the soul of Rick's dead mother.
** The TV show never spells it out, but the short-lived MarvelComics adaptation specifies that Dynak is, in fact, [[ComicStrip/FlashGordon Dale Arden]].
* NonHumanSidekick: Jedda's panther and for an evil version, Mongor to Ming.
* MechaMooks: Ming's ice robots.
* MassiveMultiplayerCrossover: It brought together all of King Features' most famous adventure-hero characters: Flash Gordon, The Phantom, and Mandrake The Magician (along with his sidekick, the strongman Lothar).
* NeverSayDie: Averted. In the first episode, Flash states that Ming "murdered" his wife.
* OffModel: Jedda's design was nowhere near consistent for several episodes. She would change outfits, hairstyles, hair colors, and even ''skintones'' from episode to episode. Sometimes you had no idea who the hell she was supposed to be until someone said her name.
** In the episode "The Root of Evil", practically everyone is off-model.
* OverlordJr: Prince Kro-Tan.
* PantheraAwesome
* PowerTrio
* RagtagBunchOfMisfits: Arguably applies -- what common grounds ''are'' there for a rocket-flying adventurer, a secretive jungle guardian, and an Eastern-trained illusionist to team up and work together?
* RidiculouslyCuteCritter: Zuffy.
* ScaryBlackMan: Lothar, and possibly Lothar Jr. in the future.
* SmallAnnoyingCreature: Zuffy. No wonder he ended up TheScrappy.
* TheSmurfettePrinciple: Jedda as the only female team member.
* SpaceDoesNotWorkThatWay: Travelling from one planet to another in a few minutes? Yes...
* SpacePirates
* SpeaksFluentAnimal: Jedda's telepathic powers allowed her to communicate with animals.
** It's not made obvious, but it's suggested The Phantom has this power too thus explaining where she got it from.
* SpotOfTea: Mandrake, being a posh English gentleman, naturally drinks tea and offers it as a remedy to someone who's been in a crash.
* StageMagician: Mandrake, occasionally.
* TheStarscream: Prince Kro-Tan.
* TheStoic: The Phantom.
* StoryArc: A couple; the longest was a 5-part arc where Kro-Tan took the throne.
* TeenGenius: Rick Gordon.
* ThemeTuneRollCall
* TheyDontMakeThemLikeTheyUsedTo: Ming the Merciless once created robot duplicates of the heroes to frame them. When one of the heroes noticed an arm falling off his robot double, he commented they don't make him like they used to.
* TimmyInAWell: With a panther, nothing less.
* TokenMinority: Kshin, who was created for the series.
** Lothar himself is a borderline case, as he was a supporting character in the original newspaper comics but is elevated to a starring role here.
* TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture
* VillainessesWantHeroes: [[spoiler:Queen Hadeas]].
* WeCanRuleTogether: An offer Ming makes to Rick at least once. Though it's doubtful that he meant it, especially as he already has a son.
* WritersCannotDoMath: The Phantom in the show is stated to be the 27th one, while the present-day Phantom at the time the show was made was the 21st. Somehow the mantle was passed six times within 29 years, when it usually goes from father to son.
* YellowPeril: Ming.
** Well, ''green'' peril, here.