Thundercats was never a big part of my childhood. Sure, I owned a toy or two and I thought the opening to the show was epic but I was a Transformers and M.A.S.K fan more than anything else. Watching some old episodes recently didn’t help matters because they really do not hold up in the same way some other old shows do. With the all new series just beginning, I thought I’d offer my opinions on this rebirth as a non-Thundercats fan.
To say the first three episodes were brilliant would be an understatement. I’ve already stated that I wasn’t a Thundercats fan as a kid but this new series certainly makes me want more. The story establishes that the current cast are not yet the Thundercats, another group of heroes founded their society and it has become a utopia for the cats while all the other animal species are subjugated and repressed by current ruler King Claudus (Played by original Lion-O voice actor, Larry Kenney). It is through the harshness of this world that we meet Lion-O, heir to the throne and believer in the mystical arts of technology. We soon learn through him that all is not right with the kingdom of Thundera and soon the worst comes to pass as…. Well, I’m not actually going to spoil it for you. Suffice to say that the story had me hooked and wanting more.
The voice cast is stellar, from the returning Larry Kenney, to Will Friedle taking the role of Prince Lion-O as well as Kevin Michael Richardson, Corey Burton and Clancy Brown; this is an all-star voice cast. All the voices feel natural for the characters and not to mention the subtle audio bits they do like purrs and growls are superb.
I’ve already touched upon Claudus and Lion-O so I’ll talk about some of the other key characters. Tygra, unlike the architect of old, is the smarmy adopted brother of Lion-O and is the foil for Lion-O, often teasing or showing him up. Cheetara is introduced fairly early as a competent fighter as she helps Lion-O in a street brawl. The Thunderkittens, WilyKit and WilyCat, are portrayed as adorable, pick-pocketing, street urchins with dreams of finding the mystical city of riches, El Dora. One thing that annoyed about the original series was Snarf and thank the maker they changed him too. In a world where most animals talk, it’s nice that Snarf is being played more as a pet than the bumbling wise-cracking dick he used to be. Panthro is introduced in the pilot but we aren’t actually introduced to the character other than he’s one of Claudus’s most trusted generals.
The animation and sound design are beautiful in equal measure, the incidental music that accompanies the stunning painted visuals of Thundera truly make this world come alive. I’d definitely put this on par with the likes of Avatar: The Last Airbender in terms of stunning landscapes. Some of the old music cues from the old show return, such as the weird noise of the Eye of Thundera and a shortened orchestral version of the Thundercats theme for the intro which starts with the third episode.
As a non-fan, I really enjoy this show and is one of the more successful reinventions of old cartoons. If you’re a fan of the old 80’s cartoons, you’re really spoilt for choice right now between this, Transformers: Prime, G.I. Joe Renegades, and My Little Pony. I highly recommend watching this show (or finding it online somehow). To end, I pretty much have to do this.
Thunder! THUNDER! THUNDERCATS, HOOOOO!
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