This evening, the new prequel series of ‘Thundercats’ premiered on Cartoon Network, and I cannot lie that I was super excited to watch (I am a sucker for nostalgia). Having been born in the ’80s, ‘Thundercats’ was a staple of my cartoon watching childhood, so I was beyond ecstatic to see this reboot. But I must say that having seen the old cartoon almost became a detriment while watching the new series’ pilot episode.
I knew when they announced the new series that they wanted to make it a bit more serious and currently, along the same veins of ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ (Cartoon Network) or ‘The Last Airbender’ (Nickelodeon), but after watching the premiere, I was surprised at how different the reboot was tonally and contextually to the original series. Aside from the animation style and character appearance, the characterization/personality of some of the characters was very strange and numerous things seemed out of continuity with the old show. For instance, Tygra, who always seemed to be cerebral and level-headed in the old series, was somewhat of a cocky jerk in this new show, criticizing and chiding Lion-O constantly. Also, if I remember correctly, Wilycat and Wilykit were members of Thundera’s noble families in the original series, which I think was explained in the 1985 pilot episode, but in this, they are mischievous, thieving orphans. So by halfway through the first episode, I had no choice but to attempt to disregard my memories of the old series, and accept the new one for what it is: a action-packed, overtly political coming-of-age story.
But I will not lie, when the lizards attacked the Thundera capital, I was excited to see how things progressed. The Trojan Horse scheme, which seemed a bit obvious once you recognized the similarities between Thundera and ancient Western cultures, the mech-warriors, missile attacks, betrayals, deaths, the first yelling of “Thundercats, Ho!” and the emergence of Mumm-Ra with his quintessential line “Mumm-Ra, the ever-living” finally had me engaged in the story. Not to mention, getting a little giddy when I heard those old school lines. For the better, the show picked up and was nonst0p until the end of the hour.
As a final note on the premiere, I thought the voice-acting was a bit forced and awkward and that some of the plotting was a bit obvious. I called multiple major episode plot points before they ever happened, which I always find disappointing, but I am hopeful that in future episodes the characters will become more dynamic, the plot will thicken, and the rest series will be entertaining on its own merits, regardless of the way things were in the old series.
Right now I plan to give the show a few more episodes to see if it is worth it, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I am a bit skeptical.