It’s hard for me to feel nostalgia for a decade I wasn’t born in, but the 80s manages to do just that. Despite not being born until the 90s, I’ve always felt a sincere enjoyment for most of the things associated with the ever-colorful 80s. This rings true for one of the weirdest shows to ever come out of the 80s, an obscure cartoon called “Kidd Video”. What’s this show? Well, it’s near impossible to describe, but I’ll give it a shot.
The show’s story is detailed in its intro. It revolves around the eponymous band Kidd Video, who are in turn named after their lead singer. Kidd Video (the band) are practicing one day, when an evil cartoon villain appears in their mirror. He then teleports the live-action band into what can only be described as one of the trippiest fever-dreams ever put to animation.
Now stuck as cartoon characters in a world that’s apparently powered by 80s rock music, the hapless teens must find a way to get back home. To do that, they must stop the evil plans of “Master Blaster”, while jamming out to the catchiest music the mid-80s has to offer. Judging by that premise alone, you’d think this show would be a bland and generic 80s cartoon.
Surprisingly though, you’d be absolutely wrong by thinking that. The cartoon is insane, with its world having little consistency in how it works. Each episode has a new town, with new characters and its own set of bizarre “rules”. No area in this insane wonderland is quite the same, which makes for some rather interesting scenarios.
For example, the first episode has our heroes trying to save Lionel Richie from his imprisonment inside his own music video, while attempting to help a bunch of strange neon-based lifeforms. If you think that sounds insane, you haven’t heard anything yet. Almost each episode somehow tops the last in terms of craziness. Heck, even some writers on the show speculated that the animation department were on drugs!
What made the show for a lot of people was its incorporation of both the culture and music of the 80s. You had songs from Michael Jackson, Duran Duran, and even Eddy Grant! They would not only show the music videos for said shows, they would also use the songs as background music. As a result, the show often feels like an animated version of the “Top 40” chart from any given radio station at the time.
Kidd Video not only used plenty of licensed music, but even created some of its own. While Kidd Video was not technically a real band, the characters were played/voiced by people with a fair bit of musical talent. As a result, they would often produce songs and music videos of their own by shown during the episodes. Kidd Video even had an album release, despite being a fictional band. This very thing happened to another music-based animated series called “Macross 7”.
Both shows toyed around with the concept of having the fictional band come first, before having them create actual albums for the show. Almost all of Kidd Video’s songs are surprisingly entertaining, making it a shame this show has never been released on Blu-Ray. Yeah, this show only ever been released on VHS, never getting a release on any other video platform.
It comes down to copyright reasons, due to all the music videos and songs included in each episode. This makes getting the show properly released an impossibility, without cutting out 25% of each episode. It’s a shame, because this show is actual enjoyable and fun to watch. I think a lot of the enjoyment factor comes down to how crazy and trippy the show is. I think more people need to give this weird bizarre show a chance, it’s one crazy and fun show!