Frequently Asked Questions:
Why did Orbots go off the air? The fact that few people even remember the show suggests the main answer: it didn't have much of a following. According to Buzz Dixon, the ratings were good, but the show was pushed off the air by ABC to make room for other commitments; the show just wasn't around long enough to catch on. There was also a lawsuit filed by Tonka alleging that the Orbots somehow infringed on their Go-Bots property that probably didn't help. I initially considered the idea of this lawsuit a bit of a joke, considering that the Go-Bots themselves were (in my opinion) a bald rip-off of Hasbro's Transformers (which were themselves just a re-branding of Takara's Microman/Diaclone line). However, Tonka was a licensee of Bandai's Machine Robo line, and apparently had rights to GodMarz. The combined Mighty Orbots robot was a near-duplicate of the combined GodMarz robot, so even though GodMarz was not itself featured in the Go-Bots line, this may have been a pre-emptive lawsuit, and perhaps not entirely without merit.
Where can I find copies of Orbots episodes on videocassette? Commercial VHS tapes are available on the net, but mostly second-hand, at such sites as Amazon.com and eBay. Off-air copies are also available at similar auction sites.
Are Orbots episdoes available on DVD? There is no official DVD release at the time of this writing, though bootleg DVD's (presumably created from the commercial VHS or off-air taped versions) are occasionally seen on eBay.
Do you know of any downloadable Orbots episodes online? YouTube has quite a few clips and full episodes up.
Where can I buy Orbots toys or merchandise? Probably because of the series' short run, there was no official Orbots merchandise, other than the commercial VHS tapes. However, the prototype for a Mighty Orbots robot toy did exist (see photo). According to Vinnie Bartilucci: "Mattel was to be the master licensee of Mighty Orbots, and the robot you have the picture of was in their Toy Fair catalog for 1985. But between the printing of the catalog and the Toy Fair itself, plans were scrapped, probably because of the Tonka lawsuit." See scans of the 1985 Mattel Toy Fair catalog here: page 1, page 2. One source insists that he saw one for sale once in Texas, but I suspect he may have seen the Bandai GodMars DX, on which the Orbots toy was apparently based.
There was also a cheap Korean knock-off toy called "Unrivaled Obot" which can be seen on this CollectionDX page.
The fact that the assembled Mighty Orbots was nearly identical to the GodMars means that the many available classic and modern GodMars toys are your next best thing to owning an Orbots toy.
If you have any information about these or other Orbots merchandise, don't hesitate to let me know.
Will Cartoon Network or someone else pick up the Orbots? That would be cool, but I doubt it. With only 13 episodes, it's not much of a property... and again, hardly anyone remembers the show. But, feel free to contact Cartoon Network and tell them you'd like to see Mighty Orbots... it couldn't hurt.