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 classic King Features series — Flash Gordon, The Phantom, Mandrake The Magician, and Mandrake's long-time friend Lothar — as they battled the evil machinations of Flash's alien Arch-Enemy, 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 Marvel Comics under their "Star Comics" imprint.The theme song's lyrics were written by Stan Lee. That is awesome.
By the Power of Grayskull!: 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.
Dead Hat Shot: 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.
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 Killed Off for Real after dissolving into a skeleton.
Gadgeteer Genius: Rick Gordon. Being raised in space among various advanced alien civilizations helps.
Genius Bruiser: Lothar is superhumanly strong and portrayed as a mechanical genius and tactician.
Getting Crap Past the Radar: 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.
Kangaroo Court: 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.
Legacy Character: 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.
Limited Wardrobe: Except for Jedda (as mentioned below) because the animators could never quite decide what she wore (or even looked like).
Machine Monotone: Ming has a mechanical reverb to his voice; curiously, his son doesn't.
Massive Multiplayer Crossover: 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).
Never Say "Die": Averted. In the first episode, Flash states that Ming "murdered" his wife.
Off Model: 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.
They Don't Make Them Like They Used To: 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.
We Can Rule Together: An offer Ming makes to Rick at least once. Though it's doubtful that he meant it, especially as he already has a son.
Writers Cannot Do Math: 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.