By Guest Writer, Patrick Haney
Follow him @prhaney
Last April, Tony brought you the trailer for the new ThunderCats series, and last Friday it finally aired on Cartoon Network. The series is a complete reboot of the 80s classic, and while all of your favorite ThunderCats are present, the premise and backdrop have changed significantly. (Don’t worry; Cheetara is still oddly attractive for a character covered in fur.)
If you don’t remember, the original ThunderCats were space travelling felines fleeing the dying world of Thundera for a fresh start on Third Earth. The new incarnation removes all of their knowledge of technology and makes Thundera a country on Third Earth, a world that doesn’t appear to be dying any time soon. Instead of stumbling upon Mumm-Ra on a new planet, he is a legendary evil being of Third Earth, and unfortunately for the Thunderans, he knows a thing or two about robots and lasers. This new take on the ThunderCats seems to be making a nod to Avatar and hoping that you’ll root for the noble natives with spears one more time.
One of the upsides of this new starting point is the ability to bring in new characters without having to make us believe that everybody in the galaxy just happens to crash land their broken spaceships into the same distant planet. There are also different species of animals living in communities all over Third Earth, and they each will have their own relationship with the dominant Cats that will be interesting to explore. While purists will not take kindly to this drastic deviation from the original, I think that it will make the ThunderCats’ quest for the Book of Omens a more interesting and dynamic journey.
In homage to the original, Larry Kenny, the original voice of Lion-O, makes an appearance. This time he is Claudius, the original Lord of the ThunderCats and father to Lion-O and Tygra (yeah, they’re brothers in this one). We get one good, “ThunderCats, Ho!” out ofhim before the pilot is done, and as a fan of both ThunderCats and SilverHawks, it was nice to hear the voice again.
So where does this new take compare to the classic? Honestly, it may be a bit early to tell. The new edition has the potential to be a great cartoon, and the characters seem a bit more complex than the original. The pilot was superbly drawn with great battle sequences, and the voice acting was well done. I’m definitely in for now. My recommendation: set your DVR for Friday night, wake up Saturday morning, pour yourself a large bowl of Fruity Pebbles and judge for yourself.
I give it 3 Babbles out of 5.
New Episodes of Thundercats Every Friday at 8:30/7:30 Central on Cartoon Network