Out of all those wacky, high-concept cartoons I watched as a kid in the 80s, one of them really stuck out: Thundercats. I don't know what it was about the show, but I couldn't get enough of it, and as an adult (or man-child... you make the call), I own all of the original series, and I still think it holds up as a good show overall. Recently, however, Cartoon Network picked a new Thundercats series up. Hopefully, you've seen the trailer for it. If not, you can view it here.
Now that you've watched it, I have a few questions on my mind: Who is this geared towards? What seems to be the big differences? Is this a good idea?
The first time I saw the sketches for the characters, I was a bit bummed out. Why remake this show? It didn't make sense to me. After I saw the trailer, I was a bit more pumped, but a thought occurred in my tiny, fan-boy brain: Who is this show geared towards?
Reboots of cartoon classics don't seem to last too long. G.I. Joe seems to get a new series every other week, then it disappears into the vault of 80s reboot failures. Same thing happened to Masters of the Universe, which was infinitely better than the original show, but after a season, it too was gone. Now we have this new Thundercats show, and while I, a 29 man-boy, thinks this show looks cool, but are kids going to go for this?
The primary audience for the vast majority of cartoons is children; the adults that watch it are just a nice buffer in the ratings for most shows. Will Thundercats appeal to kids the same way Ben 10 has over the past few years? It's hard to tell, but we do know that a couple 80s favorites have failed in the past.. As cool as this show may seem, I have a bad feeling the ratings just won't be there to keep the show going.
There's obviously going to be some differences between the two series. This shouldn't shock anyone. However, one big difference, that I'm just getting from this trailer is that this series doesn't seem to take place on Third Earth. The story seems to take place entirely on Thundara. So, assuming that, does that mean the planet isn't destroyed, and we'll get a whole series on the planet of the Thundercats? If so, color me excited! I always thought it was a bit of a cop-out in the original series when they wanted to bring in Bengali, Lynx-O, and Pumyra. They just had them appear and said "look! other survivors!" Even as a kid, I felt I was being cheated of a real back story. Obviously, the design for the characters has also changed, and all the characters' wardrobes have a bit more of a medieval feel to it, instead of sexy sexy spandex. (I'm talking to you, Cheetara)
One thing I'm very pleased to see is that the show still done in an Asian animation style, just like the original series. Yes, the animation is more contemporary, but that was one element of the show I felt made Thundercats stand above many other American-style animated shows. It had style: sexy-cat style. And it wasn't a type of style, aside from Silverhawks, Americans were very familiar with.
That being said, this trailer, compared to the original series, really hits the message home of the heroes' journey as Lion-O must accept the call to arms and lead his people. It looks as though this series will be a bit more epic than the last one. Will the Mutants and Mumm-Ra be working together? Will Lion-O's father die? Wait... Will Jaga die and become all "ghost forcey" like Obi-Wan?
When I first heard about this show being remade, I flipped out like a 14 year old girl who got dumped by her boyfriend, but with more crying. This was something I felt was sacred to me and my child hood. Even when I saw the first designs for the characters, I thought it was a bit ridiculous. However, after watching the trailer, like 50 times, I feel strongly about this television show that not only can it win over old fans, but maybe, just maybe, it can bring some younger viewers into the mix. I have high hopes for this, and I hope the rest of the old Thundercats fans do as well.
According to a few other sites, the Thundercats reboot will be hitting the Cartoon Netowrk airwaves this summer. Do you think this show will do well? What do you like, love, or hate about it? How much do you hate Snarf?
~Mat "inferiorego" Elfring is a comedian, teacher, writer, and comic store employee.
Follow his crazy ramblings on twitter: @ inferiorego