%% ZeroContextExample entries are not allowed on wiki pages. All such entries have been commented out. Add context to the entries before uncommenting them.
[[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 [[Creator/DepatieFrelengEnterprises Marvel Productions]] and Creator/KingFeaturesSyndicate. 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 teamed up to battle the evil machinations of Flash's alien ArchEnemy, Ming the Merciless. The Defenders were helped by their teenage children: 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, of all people.

!!Defenders of the Tropes:

* SixtyFiveEpisodeCartoon: The series didn't do well enough to rate more episodes.
%%* AcePilot: Flash.
* ActionFigureFileCard: The figures had brief character bios on the packaging.
* AdaptationalBadass: Not that they weren't badass originally, both The Phantom and Mandrake are even more so than they are in the original comics. The Phantom, who is just a BadassNormal in the comic, can gain a temporary burst of SuperStrength by invoking his [[TheStrengthOfTenMen "Ten Tigers"]] ability. Mandrake, who was simply a skilled illusionist in the comic strip, can use actual magic here.
%%* AliensSpeakingEnglish
* BaldOfAwesome: Lothar, in keeping with his being a heroic ScaryBlackMan.
* BaldOfEvil: Ming, although his headpiece usually hides it.
* BigBad: Ming, who's behind pretty much every bad thing that happens in the series.
* BraggingThemeTune[=/=]ThemeTuneRollCall: Each adult Defender gets a verse that touts his accomplishments. (For example, here's Lothar's verse: "His strength is a legend, his skills conquer all! Armed with his power, we never will fall!") The teen Defenders get a throwaway verse at the end (see LegacyCharacter below).
* 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.
* ChasteToons: Deconstructed, not only with the heroes, but the villain. (Although Ming is clearly not a good father, [[TheStarscream as his son double-crossed him.]])
* 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?[[note]][[CaptainObvious She's Kit Walker's daughter. It's hereditary.]][[/note]]
* CreditsGag: The credits state in parentheses that this Phantom is the 27th Phantom, which would make this quite far into the 21st century.
* {{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
* 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: Each episode has its own unique design.
* EvilDetectingDog: In "Ming's Household Helpers", Zuffy [[FreakOut freaks out]] when he sees one of the titular robots, even before the Defenders discover they're part of Ming's latest EvilPlan.
* 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 DisneyVillainDeath 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.
* FantasyKitchenSink: Obligatory when your team of heroes includes a space warrior, a jungle protector, a magician and a BadassNormal. The Defenders encounter a wide variety of villains and sci-fi/fantasy situations throughout the series.
* 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 "Flash Times Four", 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.
* HeterosexualLifePartners: Mandrake and Lothar had apparently been living in the same mansion for some time with L.J. (whose mother is never shown or mentioned) and Kshin.
%%* JunglePrincess: Jedda Walker.
* KangarooCourt: In "The Defense Never Rests", the Defenders are put on trial by an alien race whose members claim to detest violence. The evidence against the Defenders comes in the form of "news reports" which appears to show members of the team engaging in acts of violence and terrorism. But Rick, LJ, and Jedda manage to escape and discover that the whole thing was a plot by Ming, who's using android duplicates to frame the Defenders.
* KidAppealCharacter: Presumably, this is what the Defenders' children were intended to be.
* 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. Jedda even briefly ''became'' the Phantom in "The Ghost Walks Again" when her dad was assumed to be dead.
* 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: Literally. Dynak X is powered by a magical crystal with a dead woman's soul in it. [[MakesJustAsMuchSenseInContext Yup.]]
* MechaMooks: Ming's ice robots.
* McNinja: Lothar was changed from a tribal warrior-king into ...according to his ActionFigureFileCard... a ninja from the Caribbean.
* MindControl: In "Ming's Household Helpers", Ming programs the titular robots to turn their users into his mental slaves with a HypnoRay.
%%* 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 Creator/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 Creator/KingFeaturesSyndicate's 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.
** At least two episodes have characters speaking without their lips moving.
* OneWordTitle: The episode "Battleground".
%%* OverlordJr: Prince Kro-Tan.
* PantheraAwesome: As noted above, Jedda had a panther named Kisa.
** In the episode "Dracula's Potion", Jedda is actually transformed into a black ([[OffModel or maybe white]]) panther, as is L.J.
* PowerTrio: SubvertedTrope. Lothar is treated equally with Flash, the Phantom and Mandrake.
* PsychoRangers: In "The Mind Warriors: Part II", Ming uses Kshin's imagination to create a Psycho Ranger team, with each member designed to counter a specific defender: Radiarm (Flash), Zalzar (Mandrake), Bi-ninja (Lothar and L.J.), Ripper (Phantom), Jammer Head (Jedda) and Neutron Man (Rick).
* 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: Traveling 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.
* SpiritualSuccessor: Creator/DynamiteComics have reunited Flash Gordon, The Phantom, Mandrake and Lothar in their Kings Watch series. However this time it's not set in the future, there's no children of the original heroes and the threats faced are mostly supernatural rather than alien.
* 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.
* 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, no less.
%%* TokenMinority: Kshin, who was created for the series.
* {{Transflormation}}: In "Root of Evil," a scientist's accidental transformation into a plant serves as the blueprint for the villains' plans to [[BalefulPolymorph transform everyone else too]].
* TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture: The series was set in 2015, which means that it's now AlternateHistory.
%%* 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.
* TheXOfY: Several episode titles. [[labelnote:List]]"The Revenge of Astra", "Hall of Wisdom", "The Lost Jewels of Tibet", "The Evil of Doctor Dark", "The Men of Frost", "Fury of the Deep", "The Book of Mysteries", "The Carnival of Doctor Kalihari", "The Mystery of the Book", "The Rites of Zesnan", "Return of the Skyband", "One of the Guys", "Call of the Eternals", "The Return of Doctor Dark", "The Necklace of Oros", "The Gravity of Ming" and "The Thunder Lizards of Ming".[[/labelnote]]
* YellowPeril: Ming, originally an example of this trope, is given green skin and a distinctly non-Asian accent to circumvent it.