|Space-travelling hero Flash Gordon got an all-new series in 1996. The character, who had been around in the comics pages since Alex Raymond created him in 1934, had already starred in several movie serials, a 1980 feature, and two earlier cartoon series—The New Adventures of Flash Gordon and Defenders of the Earth.
For the new Flash Gordon, the dashing blonde hero was regressed to his teen years. Like previous versions, he teamed up with the lovely Dale Arden (also a teen) and scientist Hans Zarkov (balding, bespectacled, and definitely not a teen). Flash’s parents were American astronauts who got sucked into a dimensional hole just outside the earth’s atmosphere. The trans-dimensional portal was placed there by Ming the Merciless, emperor of the planet Mongo, who hoped to provide open access for his invading armies.
Flash, Dale, and Zarkov followed Flash’s parents in their own space vehicle, rescuing them and closing the dimensional hole. Unfortunately, Flash and crew were stuck on the Mongo side. The earthlings discovered other nearby planets with anti-Ming factions and put together a loose coalition, determined to overthrow Mongo’s evil emperor and return Flash, Dale, and Zarkov to their native planet.
A multinational co-production, Flash Gordon came into weekly syndication in the fall of 1996. It was hip and action-packed, but the revamped Flash didn’t have the staying power of his earlier incarnations, bowing out after 26 episodes.