Dino-Riders is an American animated television series that first aired in 1988. Dino-Riders was primarily a promotion to launch a new Tyco toy line. Only fourteen episodes were produced, three of which were produced on VHS for the United States. It aired in the U.S. as part of the Marvel Action Universe.
The series focuses on the battle between the good Valorians and evil Rulons on prehistoric Earth. The Valorians were a super human race, whilst the Rulons were a mixture of humanoid creatures — both of which came from the future, however ended up transported back in time to the age of Dinosaurs. Once on Earth, the Valorians befriended dinosaurs whilst the Rulons brain-washed them.
The Valorians were a peaceful race that had lived in harmony until the evil Rulons came and attacked them. The Valorians tried to escape from the Rulon assault and attempted to use their "Space Time Energy Projector" (S.T.E.P.) to do so, however something went wrong and they ended up being sent back through time to the age of the dinosaurs. Unbeknownst to them the Rulons in the spaceship Dreadlock were also sent back through time when the S.T.E.P. was activated.
The Valorians, led by Questar, after making planet-fall use their AMP necklaces to telepathically communicate with the dinosaurs they come across and befriend them. The Rulons, led by their leader Krulos, on the other hand used brainwashing devices known as brain-boxes to control dinosaurs for their own ends. The Rulons then launched an attack on the Valorians, who call upon their dinosaur friends to assist them in fighting back. After successfully defeating the Rulons, the Valorians declare themselves to be the Dino-Riders.
In regard to the dinosaur (and other animal) species present, the series is extremely anachronistic, showing late Cretaceous species like Tyrannosaurus rex alongside species from earlier eras, including the Permian genus Dimetrodon, which lived 200 million years earlier, before dinosaurs existed.
- Questar — Leader of the Valorians, strong-willed and courageous.
- Mind-Zei — Blind warrior with a sixth-sense for detecting people around him. Offers advice to Questar and is Serena's grandfather.
- Yungstar — Young and eager for action, is prone to letting pride get in his way. He rides a Deinonychus.
- Serena — Able to heal other beings and can sense when someone is in trouble.
- Turret — Technician and scientist. Turret is in charge of the S.T.E.P. crystal.
- Llahd — Youngest of the Dino-Riders.
- Gunnur — Hardened war veteran and high-ranking official who often helps train other Dino-Riders.
- Tagg — A mid-level official, who also helps instructs in the training of the Dino-Riders. He rides a Pachycephalosaurus.
- Ikon — Statistician as well as a pragmatist, Ikon is one of Questar's top advisors. He possesses a staff that allows him to answer Questar's questions almost instantly.
- Vector — General contractor who has a computerized wrist strap that allows him to assess projects that need carried out such as camp expansion and infrastructure repair.
- Aero — The competitive rival of Yungstar. Flies a Quetzalcoatlus.
- Ayce — Usually teaches training and equipment familiarization classes.
- Neutrino — Assists in various training courses.
The Commandos are a special forces military unit within the Dino-Riders.
- Astra — Hardened war veteran and leader of the Commandos. Formerly a teacher at the Valorian University and once counted Questar as a student.
- Kameelian — Specializes in surveillance, and reconnaissance, and is a master of disguise.
- Bomba — Explosives expert, who is utilized to make clearings or remove obstacles.
- Glyde — Aerial reconnaissance and artillery cover. Uses a glider to navigate through the air.
- Faze — Artillery expert.
- Rok — Expert in crossing rocky terrain such as mountains.
- Zar — Leader of a clan of Cro-Magnons. Leads his clan against the evil Neanderthals of Grom.
- Kub — Young but courageous.
- Maya — Cro-Magnon equivalent of Serena, as she is the healer of the tribe.
- Krulos — Evil leader of the Rulons, Krulos is a frog-like humanoid creature who seeks world domination.
- Rasp — Leader of the Viper group, and Krulos second in command. A snake-like creature, Rasp tries to usurp Krulos's place.
- Hammerhead — Leader of the Sharkurrs, and one of Krulos's top generals.
- Antor — Leader of the Antmen, and one of Krulos's generals. Usually vies with Hammerhead and Rasp for second-in-command status.
- Krok — A crocodile-like humanoid creature, and one of Krulos's generals. Is entirely obedient to Krulos and focuses on serving his master rather than getting involved in the petty-squabbling his fellow generals get into.
- Skate — Low-ranking official.
- Lokus — Low-ranking official.
- Grom — Leader of a deadly clan of Neaderthals who seeks to control or annihilate all neighboring tribes.
|1||The Adventure Begins||01/10/1988|
|2||Revenge of the Rulons||08/10/1988|
|3||The Rulon Stampede||15/10/1988|
|4||The Blue Skies of Earth||22/10/1988|
|5||Toro, Toro, Torosaurus||29/10/1988|
|8||Tagg, You're It!||19/11/1988|
|10||To Lose the Path||03/12/1988|
|11||Enter the Commandos||10/12/1988|
|12||Battle for the Brontosaurus (1)||17/12/1988|
|13||One to Lead Us (2)||24/12/1988|
|14||Ice Age Adventure||31/12/1988|
Voice actor cast
The voice actors for the Dino-Riders cartoon were:
- Rob Paulsen - Faze/Kameelian
- Charles Adler- Hammerhead, Lokus
- Peter Cullen - Gunnur/Antor/Bomba
- Dan Gilvezan - Questar
- Noelle North - Serena
- Frank Welker - Krulos/Rasp/Glyde
- Jack Angel - Additional Voices
- Cam Clarke - Additional Voices
- Townsend Coleman - Additional Voices
- Joe Colligan - Additional Voices
- Patrick Pinney - Additional Voices
- Ike Eisenmann - Additional Voice
In total there were four series of Dino-Riders toys: Series 1 (1988), Series 2 (1989), Series 3 and Ice Age (1990). In contrast to the rest, the Ice Age line focused on Ice-Age mammals rather than dinosaurs.
The dinosaurs were acclaimed for their highly detailed bodies and color and impressed the Smithsonian Institution who contacted Tyco to reproduce the dinosaurs for their "Dinosaur and other Prehistoric Reptile Collection". In contrast to the Dino-Riders versions, all mechanisms such as motorized walking action and wheels were removed. Dinosaur illustrator William Stout was credited for dinosaur design on the show's credits.
Series 1 (1988)
The release of the first series of Dino-Riders toys was timed to coincide with the animated cartoon series on television. It initially consisted of 5 Valorian and 6 Rulon toys along with eight 2-figure packs. A sixth Valorian toy, Torosaurus, would be released at the end of the series. The Diplodocus, Torosaurus, Tyrannosaurus Rex, and Triceratops all had motorized walking mechanisms.
|Diplodocus, with Questar, Mid-Zei and Aries||Tyrannosaurus rex, with Krulos, Bitor & Cobrus|
|Torosaurus, with Gunnur and Magnus||Triceratops, with Hammerhead and Sidewinder|
|Deinonychus, with Sky||Deinonychus, with Antor|
|Styracosaurus, with Turret||Monoclonius, with Mako|
|Quetzalcoatlus, with Yungstar||Pteranodon, with Rasp|
|Pterodactylus, with Llahd||Ankylosaurus, with Sting|
Series 2 (1989)
The second series of Dino-Rider toys consisted of eight new Valorian toys and only three new Rulons. Along with this was eight more 2-figure packs as well as six "Commandos". The Commandos consisted of a human figure with unique weapons and accessories.
The most notable toy from the range was the Brontosaurus which was the biggest toy in the entire range measuring 34 inches long and 15 inches tall. It is claimed that Tyco in an effort to keep costs for the figure down had to abandon several features that where originally intended to be part of the figure. These included motorized walking action, four figures instead of three, and an entirely different weapons system.
The Stegosaurus toy had motorized walking action, whilst the Pachycephalosaurus and Saurolophus both had a mechanism that allowed their bodies to thrust from a horizontal position with their tail in the air into a vertical position with their tail on the ground.
|Brontosaurus, with Serena, Ayce & Ion, also included three Rhamphorhynchus pterosaurs||Kentrosaurus, with Krok|
|Stegosaurus, with Tark and Vega||Saurolophus, with Lokus|
|Edmontonia, with Axis||Placerias, with Skate|
|Dimetrodon, with Shado|
|Pachycephalosaurus, with Tagg|
|Struthiomimus, with Nimbus|
|Protoceratops, with Kanon|
- Astra, commander
- Bomba, munitions expert
- Kameelian, infiltrator
- Glyde, paratrooper
- Faze, artillery expert
- Rok, mountain warfare expert
Series 3 (1990)
Series 3 of the Dino-Riders toyline was split into two assortments: three new dinosaurs for the regular series and four prehistoric mammals for the new Ice Age concept. The dinosaur sets are amongst the rarest of the entire range due to a limited production run.
The Quetzalcoatlus had originally been released as a Valorian in Series 1 of the Dino-Riders toyline, however was re-released as a Rulon with a new yellow and spotted black paint scheme. The Pachyrhinosaurus in the line had motorized walking action.
|Pachyrhinosaurus, with Atlas||Quetzalcoatlus, with Algar|
|Chasmosaurus, with Llava|
The Ice Age subline of Series 3 was unique in that all of the animals produced belonged to the Valorian faction, and with the rest of the Series 3 line are very hard to find. The largest figure in the range was the Wooly Mammoth which also had motorized walking action.
|Woolly mammoth, with Grom|
|Giant Ground Sloth, with Ulk|
|Killer Wart Hog, with Zar|
|Sabre Tooth Tiger, with Kub|
Action figure 2-packs
- Onk and Buzz
- Tor and Goor
- Urg and Rayy
- Agga and Gill
- Ecco and Squish
- Wizz and Gutz
Apart from the miniature comics that came with a purchase of one of the Dinosaur toys, Marvel released a three part mini series of Dino-Rider comics. The comics had different story lines to the cartoon and were considered to be much darker than the cartoon as well, sometimes focusing on conflicts between the Valorians. For instance, one storyline involves Questar being accused of murdering his jealous, scheming brother, Tark.
A 'Dino-Riders Annual' was later released as a hardcover book that contained both the first and second issues in the one collection. The Marvel comic books were released in 1989, the first issue, The Path being released in February, being 23 pages long.
- The character Bix in the Dinotopia series is modeled after the Dino-Riders Protoceratops toy.
- It is claimed that the character Rex in Disney/Pixar's Toy Story is based on the Tyrannosaurus Rex from the Dino-Riders line, with both toys having very apparent similarities.
- In the South Park cartoon episode "Imaginationland Episode III", a Dino-Rider Tyrannosaurus can be seen for several seconds marching in the background.
- In the Robot Chicken cartoon episode "G.I. Jogurt", the Dino-Riders have a rock song.
- In addition to the toys and comics, there were a number of other products released during the Dino-Riders run on television. These were primarily children-orientated products, such as colouring books, puzzles and crayons. Tyco also released a number of Super Dough play sets. In addition to these products, Dino-Riders clothing, kites, stickers and costumes were produced.
- TV.com - Dino-Riders Season 1 Episode Guide
- Dino-Riders.com - Cartoon Synopsis
- Dino-Riders.com Cartoon Characters
- Dino-Riders Cartoons
- Dino-Riders.com - Cartoon Cast Crew
- Dino-Riders World - Toys
- Toy Archive - Dino-Riders
- Toy Archive - Dino-Riders Series 1
- Toy Archive - Smithsonian
- Dino-Riders World - Toys: Torosaurus
- Dino-Riders World - Toys: Diplodocus
- Dino-Riders World - Toys: Tyrannosaurus Rex
- Dino-Riders World - Toys: Triceratrops
- Toy Archive - Dino Riders Series 2
- Toy Archive - Brontosaurus
- Dino-Riders World - Toys: Brontosaurus
- Dino-Riders World - Toys: Stegosaurus
- Dino-Riders World - Toys: Pachycephalosaurus
- Dino-Riders World - Toys: Saurolophus
- Toy Archive - Commandos
- Toy Archive - Dino Riders Series 3
- Dino-Riders World - Toys: Pachyrhinosaurus
- Toy Archive - Toys: Quetzalcoatlus
- Dino-Riders World - Toys: Quetzalcoatlus
- Toy Archive - Dino-Riders Ice Age
- Dino-Riders World - Toys: Wooly Mammoth
- Gurney Journey: Bix Maquettes
- Dino-Riders World - Miscellaneous