The New Thundercats: Preliminary Thoughts

Word came through today with details about the new Thundercats series that will be produced by Warner Bros. Animation and will air on the Cartoon Network next year. But first off, an apology. Clearly this is supposed to be a daily blog and cleary this is the first post for a couple of days. In my defence, 14 hour workdays can really screw around with your scheduly and sadly, that’s what I had to deal with this week. Fun times, but you gotta do what you gotta do and I still have my career chip so I guess I can’t complain.

Without further ado, onto today’s post!

When I first read this, I immediately thought of a quote from an excellent why-haven’t-you-read-it-yet interview with Fred Seibert conducted by Joe Strike on AWN, where Fred talks about his first days at Hanna-Barbera:

…The kid comes in and his first question is ‘Why don’t they make cartoons the way they used to?’ I do have a rap for that and I talked about The Flintstones, The Jetsons and Huckleberry Hound, bababa… He looks at me finally and says ‘I mean the stuff they made in the ’80s — why don’t they make good stuff like that any more.’ I realized the issue of cartoon quality is really all in the eye of the beholder. In general, especially for a 25-year old kid, whatever you grew up with was the best stuff.

Which is pretty telling really isn’t it? Here, Fred considers the early H-B stuff to be the best, but the young guy thinks the 80s stuff is the best. The connection? Both favour the shows from their respective younger years. This won’t impact the current topic of discussion, but it is interesting to note nonetheless.

So we’re getting a new anime-influenced series. You already know my thoughts on anime so let’s not rehash that. What is relevent is, of course, Loonatics Unleashed. In case you forgot (and I mentioned it, like, last week or thereabouts), Loonatics Unleashed was a show that probably could have been done better and was perhaps unfairly bashed around the head by Looney Tunes fans as perhaps the grossest bastardization of the characters in living memory.

Why mention it? Because it took an established property, plastered it in “anime”, which for some executives, means extreme plots, little dialogue, poor direction and character design that any 14 year old could do. Again, not to disparage the folks who worked on the show but there were clearly too many cooks in the kitchen and fingers in the pie on that show.

That is unlikely to happen to Thundercats, there’s too many eyes on this one, what with it being a classic 1980s show that any kid worth their salt has fond memories of. As the picture above barely shows, it is hard to decipher what the show will actually be like. Suffice to say it will probably have a darker tone and more brooding charcters than the original.

There’s no point commenting on the show itself as that picture and the press release is all we have to go on. What I’d like to see though is a show with strong charcters, clean, artistic, creative design that is clearly evolved from the original and plots that would not be beyond the scope of the original series.

If they pull all them off, they’ll have a lucrative merchandising empire on their hands.

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