There are few cartoons that can lay claim to embedding themselves into my young psyche like The Mysterious Cities of Gold. The adventure, the exotic locales, the mercenaries, the lost civilization, everything about this show was designed to hook the six-year-old me.
No surprise, it's not American. Like most cartoons in the early to mid eighties, the best ones weren't being made in the US. While our studios were busy with He-Man and Turbo Teen, French and Japanese studios were producing this, The Engulfed Worlds, and Robotech. There's certainly something to be said for our cartoons, especially ones that were so aggressively, and proudly, bad as Turbo Teen. But there's also something to be said for actual quality. And besides, the US would make up for it in the late eighties, and especially into the nineties, when they arguably made the best television animation ever.
But back to TMCOG. I can't stress how much this show affected my creative mind. Epic adventure, lost civilizations, morally ambiguous characters, and an emphasis on entertainment all are basic tenets of my fantasy world. When I dream up stories to entertain myself, these are the stories that I create. If I was to ever write a book, these are the stories that I would write. The only way I can describe my emotions regarding this show are to liken it to Lord of the Rings, discovered for the first time by a young child, who is so bowled over by what they read that they have to simply read it again and again to understand not only the semantic nature of the book, but the understand their own emotions in the face of such creation. Whether the show is worthy of such high company and praise is your decision, because for me, the show isn't just a show, it is a doorway to six-years-old, when every day left me dumbstruck.