Kidd Video and the Rise of Animated Rock Bands

Back in the 1980s, Kidd Video ruled the Saturday morning cartoon airwaves! Learn how it shaped an entire genre of animation.

The 1980s were a crazy time in the entertainment industry. It was the decade that brought us shows like Small Wonder and Alf. Not to mention, every album featured so many synthesizers… like non-stop synth! The decade also brought us one of the most popular Saturday morning trends: the animated rock band. And if you ask me, one of the most memorable examples was Kidd Video.

I’m sorry, did you say Kidd Video? Never heard of it!

Kidd Video was a Saturday morning favorite that combined animation and live-action to tell the story of a rock band that gets sucked into a cartoon world called the Flipside. Are you still with me here? Good. Let’s keep going. While trapped in the Flipside, they must escape the big boss Master Blaster and find their way back to the real world.

Before Kidd Video, there had been attempts to create kid-based TV shows featuring musical acts. But often, these shows were solely live-action (Kids Incorporated anyone?) or animated specials or one-off segments on variety shows. Kidd Video was one of the first shows to build an entire series around the concept.

Other animated rock band shows followed…

The success of Kidd Video paved the way for other animated shows to follow in its footsteps. For example, in 1985, the popular band “The Archies” formed in the series The New Archies. And then there is my personal favorite, Jem and the Holograms, which featured a band that used holographic technology to perform their music (truly outrageous! Truly, truly, truly outrageous!).

The trend continued throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s, with shows like The Chipmunks and The Beets (from the popular series Doug) becoming fan favorites. Even today, some shows continue to draw inspiration from Kidd Video and its legacy. The series played a huge role in paving the way for future shows in this niche television genre. So while the era of animated rock bands may be over, the influence of Kidd Video and its legacy lives on.

Check out a string of music videos from the series below: