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How Thundercats is Just Like Sex In The City

  • Jan 29, 2010
  • by
The Reagan-era kids had some great, innocent good-versus-evil TV shows, including Thundercats, Muppet Babies, The Raccoons, A-Team and Knight Rider. While all were basically shit in their own way, they were nice little moral packages that kept us all on the straight and narrow, so even now in my 30s I wish my car would talk so we could fight crime together after work.

But in many ways, Thundercats was a more sophisticated version of the formula that has since been repeated over and over by many shows today, especially those relying on a core repeat cast where the drama comes out of character differences exposed by ludicrous plots.

I don't get it, James.

Ok, first you have to admit to yourself that Sex In the City and Thundercats are almost identical:
  • Lion-O (fearless head of group) is Carrie Bradshaw.
  • Tygra (wise and old) is Samantha Jones.
  • Cheetara (the cute one whom everyone had a crush on) is Charlotte York.
  • Panthro (practical problem solver) is Miranda Hobbes.
  • Mumm-ra The Ever-living is Mr Big, as a token nemesis to screw things up. Somebody in the art department had a Mummy fetish and couldn't be bothered to draw yet another cat.
The pet cat, Snarf, is extraneous.

Wow, I just had a Martha Stewart moment...

What, you just intentionally broke securities law like a cooking version of Bernie Madoff or you just figured out a recipe? I just figured the recipe too - basically, the Thundercats' 4-character model has been reinvented over and over for a host of TV shows including Friends and Entourage. They also seem to have been a great platform for the basis of Avatar, which is the sort of planet you get if Thundercats and The Smurfs start having adult relationships.

The writers didn't realize that this paper-thin way to move the plot along would become a staple for decades to follow. It's neat because it allows one character in each episode to have 'the arc' and we all feel better our life, and - more importantly - they can show the episodes in any order since everything nicely resets at the end.

Do you think Bay or Bruckheimer will try to remake Thundercats soon?

Yes, as sure as Heroes will continue to crash and burn this season.

Did you really have a crush on Cheetera?

Absolutely. Who doesn't love a woman with a javelin. Though it was always unclear if WilyKit and WilyKat were her kids or not, but I guess they're part of the package.

All I can say is "Thundercats- Ho!" A classic.

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January 29, 2010
Great review, can't wait for your Seinfeld formula breakdown!
January 29, 2010
Thanks - I'll get right on it!
January 29, 2010
ha-ha! James, Cheetara is so hot! comparing this classic cartoon to Sex in the City is a work of twisted brilliance. Nice one.
January 29, 2010
Thanks - though Thundercats may well be less preachy than Sex In The City...
January 29, 2010
Great review. I have to wonder -- how did you start comparing the two?
January 29, 2010
Thanks! I just finished reading a book on screenplay formulas and I'm starting to realize how 99% of all the movies I've ever seen are really quite similar. Then I was thinking about the Glen Larson shows of the 1980s (A-Team, etc) that were even touted as the factory way to write TV. And it kind of went from there... I was going to try Ulysses 31 but I don't remember the characters well enough. Though I'm sure it was influenced by Thundercats. :-)
More ThunderCats reviews
Quick Tip by . October 22, 2010
One of the cartoons that I enjoyed quite a lot as a young teen. There is good vs. evil, there's a hero with a sword, there's a tank, there's comic relief and there's a hot heroine. I just wished that Mumm-Ra was more evil LOL! Good times! I did hear that they may be doing a re-issue and possibly a new movie.     
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James Beswick ()
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Produced in 1983, Rankin-Bass' Thundercats was one of the several daily cartoon shows of the period primarily designed to sell a line of toys and action figures. The half-hour series was offered to local stations on a percentage-of-profits basis, said profits based on the toy sales. At the time, however, the FCC had a number of tight restrictions in effect regarding programs that were essentially half-hour commercials. Nearly two years passed before FCC rules relaxed and Filmation's He-Man and the Masters of the Universe proved that an animated series inspired by playthings could not only "fly" in the syndicated marketplace, but also prove immensely entertaining and extraordinarily successful as well. Thus, Thundercats finally debuted in most markets in the form of an extra-length special on January 23, 1985, with the series proper commencing in December of that same year. Most of the series took place on "Third Earth," where exiles from the planet Thundera had relocated after their own world had been all but obliterated by a variety of natural disasters. These aliens were giant feline creatures with human characteristics, led by the courageous Lion-O. With the aid of the magic Sword of Omens, the Thunderian refugees gained awesome powers and "sight beyond sights," and were transformed into the super-heroic ThunderCats. Lion-O's comrades included Tygra, Panthro, Cheetara, twins Wilykit and Wilykat, Snarf, Lynx-O, and Pumyra. Their sworn enemies ...
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