[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/dinoriders1_3622.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:350:That is awesome.]]

The home planet of the Valorians, a peaceful race of [[OurElvesAreBetter somewhat Elven telepathic humans]], has been conquered by [[WhatMeasureIsANonCute an evil race of lizard-, frog-, bug-, and fish-men]] called the Rulons. Four hundred Valorian survivors use an experimental TimeTravel device to go back in time and escape, but they inadvertently drag a Rulon ship back with them. Stuck in prehistoric times, they fight each other by [[RuleOfCool strapping lasers and BFGs to dinosaurs]].

Holy shit, that is awesome.

Best known today for being the benefactor of MemeticMutation (see the sentence immediately above). The dinosaur toys were eventually recycled (stripped of their armor) as a series of straight, though articulated, dinosaur models. Compare ''WesternAnimation/{{Dinosaucers}}'', ''ExtremeDinosaurs'', and ''DinoSquad'' for [[SoBadItsGood more dumb fun]] [[EverythingsBetterWithDinosaurs with dinosaurs.]]
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!!Tropes in this series:
* AmplifierArtifact: The [=AMPs=] (Amplified Mental Projector), which the Dino-Riders use to communicate with and befriend the dinosaurs.
* ArtEvolution: Between the first two episodes by Creator/HanhoHeungUp, the rest of the series by Creator/{{AKOM}} and the Ice Age special by Island Animation.
* ArtisticLicensePaleontology:
** They had dinosaurs like ''TyrannosaurusRex'' and ''Diplodocus'' coexisting, which were separated by millions of years' time.
** The line of toys included ''Dimetrodon'', which A) was not a dinosaur and B) was long extinct before the first dinosaurs came into being.
** Also, Woolly mammoths, saber-toothed cats, and giant sloths are thrown into the mix. These were collected from the Ice Age and brought back via time travel. Yeah.
** ''Brontosaurus''. Enough said.
*** Made worse by the fact that the "Brontosaurus" was at the centre of a two-part storyline that had the Dino-Riders and Rulons battling over it because it was "the largest dinosaur in the world." A great idea in concept, and to an eight-year old it was an absolutely epic story, but considering the Dino-Riders made casual use of a Diplodocus, which was bigger than Brontosaurus/Apatosaurus to begin with, they really dropped the ball. Should've made it a Brachiosaurus.
**** As far as doing research goes, Diplodocus was lengthier than Apatasaurus/Brontosaurus but nowhere near as heavy.
** The greatest irony is that at the time they were released, [[TheMerch the toys]] for the franchise were considered some of the best, most realistic depictions of dinosaurs available ''anywhere''. [[ScienceMarchesOn Not so much these days...]] They were fully articulated, unlike most dinosaur toys, so that was cool.
*** Oddly, the distinctive-looking ''T. rex'' figure appears to have gained another very weird life as the inspiration for Rex in ''WesternAnimation/ToyStory''!
* BigBad: Emperor Krulos
* BrainwashedAndCrazy: The Rulon dinosaurs, as a result of the Rulons using Brain Boxes to control them.
* ConvectionSchmonvection: Dinosaurs are [[AnnoyingArrows merely annoyed]] by laser beams. Even ones that can rip through their metal armor.
** One episode features a ''Plesiosaurus'' swimming in lava. Seriously!
* DisabilitySuperpower: Mind-zei, who can "see" without eyesight.
* EverythingsBetterWithDinosaurs
* EvilSoundsRaspy: With a name like Rasp, what do you expect?
* FiveManBand
** TheHero: Questar
** TheLancer: Yungstar (really)
** TheBigGuy: Gunner
** TheSmartGuy: Turret
** TheChick: Serena
** {{Mentor}}: Mind-Zei (really)
** TagalongKid: Llahd (really)
* FrickinLaserBeams
** Even two different types of them: The "thermo lasers", which could burn through metal, and the "impulse lasers", which were little more effective than rubber bullets.
* HealingHands: Serena's specialty.
* HeyItsThatVoice: Creator/FrankWelker voiced the BigBad, Krulos, like [[InspectorGadget Dr Claw]] and Rasp, his [[TheStarscream Starscream]], in a voice which was uncannily like [[{{Transformers}}the actual Starscream]], causing much confusion as to whether or not it was actually Chris Latta doing the voice.
** Also, PeterCullen provides the voices of several characters including Antor and most notably Gunner, since the latter has the same voice as [[{{Transformers}} Iron Hide]].
* MacGuffin: The STEP (Space Time Energy Projector) Crystal, which the Valorians used to travel through time, and which Krulos and the Rulons want.
* MalevolentMaskedMen: The Brain Boxes, the [[KickTheDog mind control devices]] the Rulons used to control dinosaurs resembled metal masks.
* MerchandiseDriven: One of the biggest examples of this -- the reason for the production of the animated series was so that Tyco could launch a Dino-Riders toy line. Oddly, in some markets there was no animated series, or there was just a one-off special. Some markets (France in any case) had a comic book.
* MindControl: The villains used "Brain Boxes" to control their mounts, unlike the protagonists who simply befriended them... [[NotSoDifferent by projecting foreign thoughts into their brains]].
** The Dino-Riders respected dinosaurs as living creatures, at least. To the Rulons, they were only war machines.
* OnlyAFleshWound: Whenever a FrickinLaserBeam actually manages to wound someone.
* NeverSayDie: Averted.
* PteroSoarer: The Dino-Riders had ''Quetzalcoatlus'' (Yungstar's mount of choice), ''Pterodactylus'', and several small ''Rhamphorhynchus'' which came with the ''Brontosaurus'' set. The Rulons had ''Pteranodon'', and as late addition also a ''Quetzalcoatlus''. A [[AmazingTechnicolorWildlife leopard-patterned]] one.
** Serena flew a ''Pteranodon'' with a ''Quetzalcoatlus'' saddle.
* RaptorAttack: The Dino-Riders ''and'' the Rulons have ''Deinonychus'' among their forces. Until the introduction of a Rulon ''Quetzalcoatlus'' at a quite late point within the toy line's run, it was therefore the only species that was ridden by both factions. (If you only count the toys, and not the series or the comics.)
* RememberTheNewGuy: Happened a lot with both Dino-Riders and Rulons as the toy line expanded to include more characters. Most notable example; the Commandos, who didn't appear at all in early episodes but were featured prominently in the last few and starred in the Ice Age special.
* RuleOfCool: The entire premise!
* SharkMan: Hammerhead, Mako and several unnamed Sharkmen are part of the Rulon empire.
* SnakePeople: Rasp, Sidewinder and whole bunch of several unnamed snakemen.
* SpotlightStealingSquad: As the show's short run went on, episodes seemed to centre more and more around the GI Joe-style Commando team.
* SpiritualSuccessor: For the toyline Imaginext Dinosaurs.
* TheSmurfettePrinciple: Serena is, in fact, ''not'' the only female Dino Rider. Just the only one you won't [[FreezeFrameBonus miss if you blink]].
* TheStarscream: Rasp, and quite a few others. One episode's whole premise involved Krulos injured and near death and the three main Starscreams feuding amongst themselves to take over.
* TimeTravel
* TyrannosaurusRex: Krulos' ride of choice, of course.
* WeaponizedAnimal
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