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There’s a Zelda animated series you haven’t seen, and it’s terrible

The Legend of Zelda already has an animated series, but before you watch it, you should probably know that it's really terrible and not in an ironic way.

legend of zelda series 1989

Did you know there’s a Zelda animated series? If there’s one thing we’ve learned from videogame adaptations, it’s that they’re either hit or miss. The Last of Us horror series? Hit. The 2023 movie about the Mario Bros? Hit. Uncharted with Spider-Man actor Tom Holland? Miss. Huge, horrible miss. Of all the infamous video game movies and TV series over the years, the Super Mario Bros Super Show remains the most famous.

Airing back in 1989, the animated series intercut adventures in the Mushroom Kingdom with live-action performances by Lou Albano and Danny Wells, who portrayed Mario and Luigi, respectively. But once a week, the animated portion of the series was replaced with a 15-minute cartoon based on The Legend of Zelda.

While the Super Mario Bros comedy series had a degree of corny charm, The Legend of Zelda cartoon, which aired every Friday back in the ’80s, was just… weird.

As described by Polygon writer Nicole Carpenter, the “bizarre” fantasy series heavily focussed on the relationship between Link and Zelda, where “all Link wanted was a smooch.”

“The hero of Hyrule is still tasked with defending the Triforce of Wisdom from Ganon’s grasp,” the senior reporter added in a piece for the outlet, “but that’s secondary to his insistence on a little kiss.” You might think we’re being harsh, but the sheer horniness of Link in this trainwreck of a series is also highlighted by several viewers, who made their feelings known in audience reviews on IMDB.

One viewer described it as “nightmarish,” while another wrote that it “reeks of bad intention and abysmal writing.” A third reviewer generously dubbed it “the worst video game adaptation of all time.”

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Still, as much as the 13-episode series objectively stinks, several audience reviewers noted that it remained a “guilty pleasure” — least of all because of Link’s now-iconic line, wherein he repeatedly begs for a kiss from Zelda by exclaiming, “Well, excuse me Princess!”

The series might not be available on many streaming services, but you can check it out on Tubi if you live in the US, or watch full episodes of it on YouTube if you live further afield. For more terrible content, check out our guide to the worst movies of all time as well as our explainer on how to watch Morbius.