The new version of ThunderCats that premiered Friday night on the Cartoon Network is both faithful to the original 1980s-era, charmingly schlocky cartoon series, and a rather canny rethinking of a series that probably didn’t take a lot of thinking to conceive in the first place.
This ThunderCats features familiar characters in an anime-style version of the feline-and-sorcercy saga. The central cat-like humanoid remains Lion-O, whose story has become a test of maturity and bravery. There was war against evil lizards and traps set by the series ultimate villain, Mumm-Ra. In this new version, Tygra is now Lion-O’s adopted brother, an aggressive sarcastic fellow, to add some sibling rivalry to the derring-do. Pantho began the premiere dead, but the twist about his character was clever by the end. Cheetara is now a luxuriously buxom babe in the anime manner, curvier than her original version.
The premiere set up a pretty good premise for a hunt for the Book of Omens – get it before Mumm-Ra does, “Lion-O, lord of the ThunderCats!” He’s a man on a mission.
I’d watch it again to see where the series goes – with a show like this, all borrowed mythology and hoary adventure tropes, narrative momentum is everything.
What’d you think?