Welcome to another installment of
Action Figure Commercials Saturday Morning Cartoons! This week we’ll be diving into the awesome toy show King Arthur and the Knights of Justice. Trying to trick unsuspecting viewers into buying toys gain viewership through combining two things every boy loves: swords and football. Like many before it, this hapless attempt to sell plastic cartoon had a rockin’ theme song.
In the distant past, the evil sorceress Morgana trapped King Arthur and the 11 Knights of the Round in glass. Sorry, magic glass. Merlin, unable to free them, took a (likely high school) football team, the Knights, from present day to replace them. They each took the place of one of the knights, with their quarterback, Arthur King, taking the place of King Arthur. Each knight could be freed with a special key that only his replacement could touch. Only once all twelve were free could the team go home. I would make fun of the premise more, but I think it does that by itself.
But how, you say, did they manage to turn this into the next action figure craze? Well, each knight, along with having an individualized weapon, also hand an animal emblazoned on their shield that they could summon in battle. Animals like a dragon, a bat, a sphinx, a panther, a hydra, or Cerberus, the hellhound. While some of the animals were goofy, they don’t have anything on the weapons. Twelve unique ones can be a bit difficult to come up with, so I can cut them a little slack. Maybe. Of course there’s Excalibur, then the typical lance, pike and spear (synonyms…), but then things go downhill pretty quickly. There’s a battering ram (how one carries that into battle, I do not know), a spiked club, a brick wall, and a football. Apparently names are hard, too, because the wielder of said wall and football are Brick and Lug, respectively.
I’ve been hard on the show to this point, but truth be told, it’s pretty good. Like Bots Master (from the same creators) before it, this was a vehicle to sell toys. But also like Bots Master, it did a pretty decent job of telling a story that was working toward a conclusion. Sadly, after two 13-episode seasons, the show ended abruptly with no resolution. Pretty much the only difference between this and Bots Master was the lack of an obtrusive gimmick (Laser Time!).
The show did eventually have some sort of conclusion two years after it ended via a Super Nintendo game. It was terrible. Like, wow bad. Beating the game showed players how the knights returned home. If you really need to play this, good luck. Few copies were produced.
King Arthur and the Knights of Justice was a surprisingly good show for what it was. If you’re looking for some dumb fun, give this a go (it’s on Netflix). Did I mention the awesome theme song?
Did you own any of the action figures? Play the game? Comment below!
Notice Avi Arad’s name in the credits?