Looking back at these idents, most of which are from the US, it's clear how utterly terrifying the 80s was.
Graphics, music, fonts, jingles - every aspect of it seems to be a vision of a hellish Paul Verhoeven future of disturbing, discordant electronica; driving synths; stark primary colours and vague, subliminal suggestions of global dominance.
The things reek of the things I associate the early 80s with: imminent nuclear destruction, cocaine-fuelled excess, splatter-filled action film and some really fucking freaky music.
That Hanna Barbera one is a strong memory from my youth, and it's pretty frightening. Approaching doom in the shape of a multicoloured swirling star. Another scary celestial body appears in the DIC spot seconds later.
But at least it doesn't seem calculated to terrify like the Paramount one. And who did the music for the Simitar Entertainment ident? Vangelis?
Weiss Global Enterprises. In my mind, they have a huge, faceless black tower block in New York. Get to the top, and you enter a cavernous board room in blackness. The CEO steps forward into a shaft of light. He is a cyborg.
The Viacom spot sounds like something the BBC Radiophonic Workshop would have made to represent someone's mind falling apart in a radio play.
Metromedia Television. Presumably created by something one of one-way journey to Acid Casualty City.
The orange Boston thing towards the end? A David Cronenberg nightmare.
World Vision Entertainment? An evil John Carpenter multinational that's actually a front for aliens to take over the world using mind control.
Seriously scary shit. I think they should bring them all back.
I'll happily admit to being fascinated by things that other people wouldn't think twice about. Subterranea, industrial architecture, TV incidental music and assorted ephemera.
Something I've always loved is vintage TV clips, and particularly idents. As any fool knows, the best ever produced were BBC2's 1990s idents. Funny, ambient, beautiful, clever and an instantly recognisable colour and sound palette.
I expect they worked well as branding exercise because they're what I most associate with BBC2 - the best channel of the five I had regular access to in the 90s.
This is strange, because BBC2 at the time was a hodge-podge of comedy, gardening, mainly duff sports, sci-fi, documentaries, news and old films.
How you create a brand identity out of that lot I don't know, but I suppose the brief was to create something irreverent, intelligent and recognisable different. In that, I have no doubt that it succeeded.
These particular idents are so ingrained on me as I had dozens of video tapes in that decade with taped shows on. Red Dwarf, Newman and Baddiel in Pieces, The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer, This Life, Star Trek, repeats of Doctor Who - I probably still have them somewhere.
Little moments of old television like this are so powerful because they operate on an almost subliminal level of consciousness when you're watching them - they're not supposed to be especially noticeable.
When they disappear you don't really notice, but when you see them again the recall is powerful, and with it the nostalgia of the era: where you were; who you were with; what TV shows were on at the time.
It's the same with certain smells, certain objects. As each year passes I find this sort of instant recall tinged with melancholy, multiplying the powerful effect they have.
It's the same with these idents, but on top of that the 90's BBC2 idents are obviously utterly brilliant. There are certain others from 80s ITV brands that have a similar appeal to me, but these creations - by Martin Lambie-Nairn - are as good as they get.
A number of speciality idents appeared throughout the decade, never straying too far from an obvious brand ID, but all with enough wit and obvious skill to prevent the exercise simply becoming a smug in-joke.
This set of idents was retired in 2001 and while the current BBC2 idents aren't a bad set there'll never be another like the 90s. The replacements were a little more self-consciously wacky, I thought, and imbued the BBC2 logo with a personality. They lacked the simple charm of the originals, to my mind.
By comparison we've recently had Channel 4's baffling floating shapes, BBC1's swimming hippos and infamous Bloody Big Balloon. All pretty duff, by my reckoning.
Idents then. Daft, discardable, distracting. But I challenge you to watch these and not get a little bit wistful. Clever little snapshots of the past, a different world.
• My favourites were always Copper Cutout, Powder, Steam and Neons.
• Predictably, the wonderful TV Ark has a feature on the idents
• You can watch loads of BBC2 idents from the last 20 years on the BBC