Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Thundercats: 80s Redone Right

The reboot of the Thundercats cartoon debuted on Cartoon Network Friday night. Now I usually don’t try to judge a cartoon until I’ve seen an episode or two after the pilot. Once the writing and animation team hit their stride the series is usually much better. I’m going to break that tradition now though and say that I was thoroughly impressed with the new Thundercats.


Before we go any further I have to say that I like the Thundercats property, but I hate the original Thundercats cartoon. The 8 year old Ken O. thought the Thundercats cartoon was on the same level as Shakespeare, so the show certainly hit its target demographic. As I’ve gotten older and returned to the series though, it did not hold up well. It’s painful, like a hammer to the forehead. I still like the characters, just not the execution. For the record I feel the same way about Silverhawks and Voltron. Remember if you want to send hatemail the “contact us” button is on the right.


Enough about the old show, let’s talk about what the new show does right. Snarf is an animal. Not a nursemaid, an animal. This change makes the show 500 times better, just by removing the character’s ability to talk. Jaga and his clerics (including Cheetara) are all speedsters. Tygra is Lion-Os brother but apparently they aren’t blood relatives. It’s like Loki or Game of Thrones. Actually Tygra just having a personality is an improvement from the old show; because if he had one back then, I don’t remember it.


Wilykit and Wilycat are portrayed as street urchins/pick pockets and it is an inspired choice.  The voice acting was very fun too. The original Lion-O, Larry Kenney voices King Claudus. Grune is voiced by the always awesome Clancy Brown. The new Lion-O is voiced by Will Friedle who has played badasses like Doyle in Secret Saturdays and Terry McGinnis in Batman Beyond. So I think he’ll be fine in the young hero role.


At this point I’ve already set my DVR to record the entire series. I’m excited to see how the cats all get together. Lynx-o made a cameo; I wonder how long it will be before we see him, Pumyra, and Bengali. I’m also interested in seeing if some of the old side characters like Hachiman and Snow Knight of Hook Mountain show up.

4 comments:

  1. Agreed wholeheartedly re: property vs. execution in all three of those old shows mentioned. Now the new: I can't think of a bigger improvement than making Snarf mute. Almost as good as no Snarf at all. Take heed, Orko!

    Kit and Kat annoy me, and I don't find them cute. At all. The voice actor for the male one (Kit or Kat?) hasn't yet learned how to read naturally. But then, Larry Kenney hasn't either, after 30 years in the business.

    The lizard guys remind me of the Rankin Bass version of Gollum.

    Halfway through episode 3 (pilot being 1-2), and, ew, sand pirates? A fishy Ahab? A sand ocean? Sigh, I'll give this a couple more eps...

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  2. Oh, and Cheetara is hotter now. This is good.

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  3. Kit and Kat didn't bother me till they started purring. I'm hoping that is over with.

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  4. And they mewed! Ew.

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