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Author Topic: Thundercats  (Read 26851 times)

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Ziiro

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Re: Thundercats
« Reply #220 on: October 28, 2011, 05:12:29 PM »

That makes a lot of sense actually. I'm glad for the sake of historical accuracy that someone like you latched onto the show. It is also incredibly disappointing that no official group is updating things on IMDB, and most things on IMDB are done by (a majority of) stupid people.
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Thad

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Re: Thundercats
« Reply #221 on: October 28, 2011, 05:23:32 PM »

Eh, I'm an amateur.  Dave Crichton's a pro; I'm just copying down his original research.

(Granted, I still could've come up with those dates myself.  But they're really the least impressive thing in the book.)
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McDohl

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Re: Thundercats
« Reply #222 on: October 29, 2011, 05:23:46 PM »

So, last night's episode.

Not bad, actually.  The Berbils are nowhere near as obnoxious as they were in the original series.

Hug.
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Thad

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Re: Thundercats
« Reply #223 on: October 29, 2011, 07:09:47 PM »

Inclined to agree, but it still might be the weakest of the series to date.  Though I liked Jim Cummings.

And [spoiler]Snow-Meow![/spoiler]  I would like to see more of THAT thread.

Further thoughts on why TOS stood out among its peers:

It had the best villain.

It had better animation than most of its contemporaries (considerably better than He-Man, probably par with Transformers).

It was a straight-up hero's journey story in the way that most of the others weren't.


EDIT TO ADD: And the music.  It wasn't just that the opening theme was great (though it was); I think it had more music cues than most of the other toons at the time (Jem probably notwithstanding, since it of course had a couple of original songs every episode).  And recognizable character themes.  (I like how Lion-O doesn't have theme music but the Thunder Tank does.  And Snarf has two different arrangements.  Three by the second season.)
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Thad

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Re: Thundercats
« Reply #224 on: October 31, 2011, 07:54:43 AM »

I disagree with that on the grounds that Narutards probably don't keep extensive spreadsheets on the writers for each episode in each season and fight with IMDB over air dates and writers.

That's because there's no need to.  All that shit is well-documented in Naruto's case.  You can damn-well bet that if IMDB was missing writer credits on 75% of the Naruto episodes and said half of them aired years earlier than they actually did, somebody would have corrected it.

Adding: The other thing that's different about Naruto is it's still fresh in people's minds.  It's easier to say "That wasn't 2004, it was 2007" than "That wasn't 1986, it was 1989" -- especially if your target audience was born around 1980.  Tell the average person around 30 that Thundercats aired over two seasons from '85 to '86 and there's nothing to immediately suggest anything wrong with that.

And here's where we hit on something else that's unusual about me as a person: I can immediately tell you no, that's wrong.  Not only are there 3 clear season arcs in the last 60 episodes, but I distinctly remember when the last season aired.  Like I said, I was late for school most every day after the local station put the show on at 7:30 AM; I can tell you with absolute confidence that the last season (from Return to Thundera on) aired when I was in first grade.

Now, of course IMDb does not accept "I have an extraordinarily good memory" as a reason for an edit; nor should it.  (Although it DOES accept pretty much any justification for an original submission!)  Which is why I had to rely on hard evidence to back up my memory.

Crichton had a tougher row to hoe than I did; he couldn't have relied on his memory, because he's British and the last 3 seasons didn't air there at all.  I'm curious as to whether he came across the correct (rough) airdate information in initial research (eg the dated scripts on some of the fansites) or whether it didn't come up until he was talking to the people who actually made the show.

Course, in either case, it's easy to infer from the very clear season break every 20 episodes.
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Thad

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Re: Thundercats
« Reply #225 on: October 31, 2011, 02:00:37 PM »

Some thoughts on the original series characters (and contrasting them with their use on the new series):

Lion-O and Panthro are the best, most fully realized characters of the core group.  Lion-O's the audience identification character and the focus of the Hero's Journey arc; he's a boy trapped in a man's body who has to grow up in a real hurry.  Panthro, meanwhile, is the seasoned vet who just kicks ass at everything he does; he's strong, he knows kung fu, and he's a technical genius.

The new series has played Lion-O pretty much the same as TOS; there's no artificial aging fuckery, but aside from that he's very much the same character, a boy trying to be a man after having his leadership role thrust on him.

Panthro...well, he's not there yet.  So far he's the gruff one.  His goofier portrayal in Berbils is actually a good thing; we're seeing him warm up a bit and the show's starting to hint that the Panthro we know and love is hiding somewhere beneath his harsh exterior.  Old-series Panthro was quick to laugh; this one isn't yet but I'm hoping his shell will crack.

Cheetara's the next most well-rounded character, and she's the one with the most obvious superpower.  Honestly I think she's most memorable for Lynne Lipton's sultry voice (which Lipton credits to direction from showrunner Lee Dannacher -- EDIT: and, later in the book, Starr's notes are quoted as suggesting she purr like Eartha Kitt), but she's always in the thick of things and feels like she belongs there.

She hasn't done much on the new series.  I like the whole "Jaga's Cleric" angle, but they haven't really done anything with it since the second episode.  I want to see her developed further, beyond just being part of a love triangle.

Tygra, by contrast...well, nobody ever seemed to know what the hell to do with him.  What's interesting is that his best characterization is in two episodes with Jules Bass's fingerprints on them (under the pen name "Julian P Gardner"): Pumm-Ra and Trouble with Time.  Pumm-Ra has that great bit where Tygra volunteers to infiltrate the Lair himself: "I am the architect of Cats' Lair.  I know every turn, nook, and cranny."  Unfortunately the architect angle isn't played up much in the rest of the series; he should be depicted as being as much a design adept as Panthro, but never really is beyond this one scene.

Trouble with Time has him artificially age and gives the interesting line at the end, "I was tempted to stay in until I was as young as Lion-O" -- it implies he's older, more tired, than the rest of the team.  But that's only ever suggested again in Lion-O's Anointment; more on that in a minute.

Tygra also has an obvious superpower, in invisibility.  But it's never really used to effect.  He should be a ninja -- invisibility is for spying and for sneak attacks.  We see a bit of that, but never very much, and it gets worse when the show goes all wacky and can't decide how the fuck his invisibility actually WORKS.  (One episode actually flat-out says that the whip makes him invisible, and when he uses it on himself and Willa Nayda at the same time it causes bizarre results.  And I'm not sure if that's the same episode that says he can only swim when he's invisible, but seriously, how the fuck does that work?)

Tygra's such a cipher that Starr had to completely make up a power for him when Lion-O faced off with each of the other Thundercats in Lion-O's Anointment.  The others had clear abilities -- Panthro has Strength, Cheetara has Speed, and the Thunderkittens have Cunning.  Since it's presumably too difficult to build an episode around Architecture or Invisibility, Tygra's episode gives him the ability to project illusions, which is never referred to in any episode before or after.  (Hear the Roar includes a memo from Bass to Starr that makes that point; it's pretty funny.)  If anything, if they'd had a more coherent approach, Tygra's invisibility should have been wrapped into the Mind Power mental projection, and maybe he should have been the one with an oracular Sixth Sense instead of Cheetara.

But instead, nobody ever really seemed to know how to play Tygra; it's no wonder they left him on Third Earth with Pumyra in the last season.

And this, of course, is one place where the new series has done a good job: I'm not crazy about the love triangle, but other than that Tygra's characterization has been great.  The idea that he's the older adopted brother who's got a chip on his shoulder brings some real complexity to the role, and I want to know more about him.

Then we get to the Thunderkittens.  They're largely extraneous, most of the writers didn't like them, and they exist mostly to act immature and fuck things up.  Which is already Lion-O's job.  Of course, the fact that they are mentally the same age as Lion-O is never acknowledged after the first episode (presumably because once you start tugging at the "artificial aging" thread the logic of the entire series starts to unravel -- even if you assume there's a reason Lion-O aged and the Kittens didn't, what about the Mutants?  The New Thundercats?  And so on).  The only thing they brought to the table that the rest of the cast didn't was their bond as twins; when used well it gave them a unique character relationship, but when used poorly it made them redundant.

New series has improved them, partly by making them markedly younger than Lion-O and partly by making them Miyazakian street urchins.  They're still the comic relief, but they make more sense this time around.

And then there's Snarf.  I like Snarf.  I like that he spends much of his time being whiny and irritating.  He's the mother hen and the conscience and even though he'd just as soon stay at home where it's nice and safe he's as brave as any of the rest.  I kinda wish they hadn't made him a mute on the new series, but on the other hand he WAS pretty damned irritating.

And do I need to say anything about the New Thundercats?  Lynx-O was cool despite being a token; I liked him as the wise elder statesman who has turned his disability into an asset.  The other two are basically useless and redundant.

And that's it for the Thundercats themselves.  (Well, not Snarfer I guess, but fuck Snarfer.)  Maybe I'll have a long rambly post about the bad guys at some later date.  (Basically: Mumm-Ra's great, the Mutants serve as an interesting evil mirror to the Thundercats, and the Lunatacs have their moments, particularly Alluro, but showed some serious diminishing returns over time and there's a reason each season used them less than the previous.)
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Thad

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Re: Thundercats
« Reply #226 on: November 01, 2011, 09:11:25 AM »

Quote from: Stephen Perry
I would write, hotly, for two or three hour stretches, and then rush out of my studio, strip naked, and throw myself into the swimming hole.  Often I was yelling, 'Safari Joe does it again!'  When others were present, they looked at me as if I had gone off my rocker.  But I didn't care.  I was so into the writing of 'Safari Joe', and it was coming to me so quick and easy, and I was excited about this to such an extent that I seemed to be living on Third Earth.  Much of the dialogue spoken by Safari Joe in that episode is lines I would yell to the waterfall.  I was crazy.

You know how it's sometimes hard to pin down what was great about Thundercats?

It's that.  That right there.
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Disposable Ninja

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Re: Thundercats
« Reply #227 on: November 01, 2011, 09:37:30 AM »

Yeah, Tygra was weird on that show. I always thought he was supposed to be the Smart One -- the mastermind with the plans and the precise, experimental technical knowhow that contrasted Panthro's heftier, practical mechanical knowhow.

As for the new show, I want to see an episode wherein Tygra's obvious jealous adoptive brother/heir bit hits the tipping point with Lion-O and they both get into a big fight and the end of the episode they both grow and learn something. And Cheetara, as the calm, collected one in the group, really needs to lose her shit at some point.
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Thad

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Re: Thundercats
« Reply #228 on: November 01, 2011, 09:57:33 AM »

As for the new show, I want to see an episode wherein Tygra's obvious jealous adoptive brother/heir bit hits the tipping point with Lion-O and they both get into a big fight and the end of the episode they both grow and learn something.

I doubt we'll have to wait long.

And Cheetara, as the calm, collected one in the group, really needs to lose her shit at some point.

It'd sure be nice.
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McDohl

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Re: Thundercats
« Reply #229 on: November 01, 2011, 07:08:07 PM »

I wonder if Lion-O let anyone know that he [spoiler]accidentally lost the Sword of Omens[/spoiler] in the one episode with the bizarre sword-obsessed town and Drifter.

Probably not, because I'm sure that Lion-O doesn't want to give more fodder for Tygra to call Lion-O an incompetent leader.
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Thad

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Re: Thundercats
« Reply #230 on: November 01, 2011, 09:15:00 PM »

You know, I'd certainly noticed that Lion-O lost the damn sword a lot on the old show, but hadn't noticed until the book pointed it out that it was one of Overgard's favorite devices.  Quik-Pik steals it, Captain Shiner throws it into a black hole, he doesn't take it to Exile Isle because he's worried he'll lose it...
...
...presumably it's to eliminate the Sword as a giant deus ex machina, but the problem is, it almost always ends in using the Sword as an EVEN BIGGER deus ex machina.  "Lion-O can summon the Sword to him.  Even if its eye's covered and it's been thown into a goddamn black hole."

I have noticed that "Sword of Omens, come to my hand!" has not been used on the new series.  It may be because Lion-O just doesn't know it can do that, but I'm betting it's because in this version, it CAN'T do that.
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Thad

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Re: Thundercats
« Reply #231 on: November 02, 2011, 11:57:43 AM »

I should also add that the book has a review of every single episode, coupled with a writer's summary -- usually the writer of the episode, but if they're unavailable, with showrunner Peter Lawrence instead.

The reviews are well-written, though of course I don't agree with all of them.  The four-star rating given to Locket of Lies has me wanting to do that bit from Laserblast where Mike and the Bots go through Leonard Maltin's book and mock his ratings.  "Key to Thundera is as good as Locket of Lies!  It may not be on par with The Telepathy Beam, but at least it's half a star better than Wild Workout!"
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Thad

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Re: Thundercats
« Reply #232 on: November 02, 2011, 12:39:08 PM »

Quote from: George Hampton
Due to the illness of another writer, our due date on this script was moved up a week, which is why we almost submitted this script with the inappropriate dialogue below.

If Mike or I were stumped for a line or a description while writing our half of the script, we would write something absurd in a red font and hope that the other would think of something to put in the final version.  In 'Malcar', when Lion-O and Snarf break through the rubble to save Panthro (later Bengali), Snarfer, Egbert, and Oswald, I couldn't think of a line so I wrote:

Quote
LION-O
Panthro, where are the Snarfs?

ANGLE ON PANTHRO COUGHING UP SNARF FUR

PANTHRO
What (cough) Snarfs?

Somehow this came out in black and not red.  Fortunately, Mike caught it in time and wrote back, 'Did you mean to put this in red?'  If we had sent this in, we might have found out about the child psychologist.
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Thad

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Re: Thundercats
« Reply #233 on: November 03, 2011, 01:28:11 PM »

I also like the writers' various theories on why Silverhawks was not as successful.

Peter Lawrence points out that none of the protagonists are actually interesting or well-developed besides Commander Stargazer; Leonard Starr blames the show's failure on its distinct lack of Leonard Starr; and Steve Perry points out that the Silverhawks toys weren't nearly as good as the Thundercats ones.
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McDohl

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Re: Thundercats
« Reply #234 on: November 03, 2011, 05:39:27 PM »

I really gotta wonder: how long is Lion-O going to put up with Tigra's bullshit before he calls him on it and punches him in the face?
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Disposable Ninja

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Re: Thundercats
« Reply #235 on: November 06, 2011, 04:05:04 PM »

Hah. I just noticed something about the Sight Beyond Sight episode: at the beginning the Thunderkittens fuck up by launching fucking missiles at Lion-O, Tygra and Cheetara, and my first thought was immediately "Welp, who let the Thunderkittens out of the cage?". At the end of the episode, on the other hand, Lion-O's the one who fucks up on a pretty equally scale, and it's the Thunderkittens and their power of Phat Beats that save the day.
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Thad

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Re: Thundercats
« Reply #236 on: November 07, 2011, 11:03:10 AM »

Really the most random, padded ep yet, but not bad.  (Funny how it had more in common with the original series' Berbils ep than, well, this series' Berbils ep.  Trollogs notwithstanding.)

I DO like how absolutely nobody comments on the Thunderkittens shooting missiles at the other Cats beyond Panthro's initial "DON'T TOUCH THAT!"

Lion-O's "mistake" is...well, kind of an imperfect moral lesson.  "Consider the consequences of your actions" is a good lesson, but "Assume the senile dudes who don't seem to know where the fuck they are half the time have a good reason for not just swatting the bugs that keep eating their food" is not.

(Were there any lady elephants?)

I do kinda like the whole nomadic thing they're going for.  TOS had a hell of a lot of episodes where they were out searching for MacGuffins (particularly in season 3), but, with the exception of Thundercubs, there was really no sense of them being completely out in the woods; they always had a home base near at hand.  (Even Lion-O's Anointment ended each episode back at the Lair, even if Lion-O himself was out on his own.)  I'm not crazy about the collection quest, but it's doing a great job of showing that Third Earth is a huge fucking place and even the Thunder Tank takes days to get between regions.

(Hear the Roar notes the continuity gaffe that there's a line in The Thunder-Cutter about the Treetop Kingdom being a three-day journey from Cats' Lair, yet later in the same episode the Thundercats respond to Lion-O's signal and arrive in minutes.)

I expect we'll see air travel (Thunderstrike/Feliner/Thunderclaw/Hovercat?) later in the series, given that this series seems to be following the original in the gradual acquisition of more technology.
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Thad

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Re: Thundercats
« Reply #237 on: November 08, 2011, 11:16:47 AM »

Tangentially, you know what else is interesting?  A good chunk of the Peter Pan and the Pirates production team was made up of Thundercats alums.  Peter Lawrence was in charge of the writers, Lee Dannacher was in charge of the actors, the Malachs were onboard, and Overgard wrote for the show too.

I kinda want to go back and watch the thing; I remember enjoying it as a kid, and now that I've got names to put to it I can take a stab at why.  Pity it never got a DVD release; I'm sure anything I may be able to find on YouTube/BT is going to be fugly.

Odd that it kinda got buried; it was a critically-acclaimed show (won an Emmy and Tim Curry thinks highly enough of it that he put it on his list of credits in his bio in the Spamalot playbill).  I wouldn't mind seeing it available as even a burn-on-demand kinda thing like Warner does.
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Niku

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Re: Thundercats
« Reply #238 on: November 08, 2011, 11:21:58 AM »

Odd that it kinda got buried; it was a critically-acclaimed show (won an Emmy and Tim Curry thinks highly enough of it that he put it on his list of credits in his bio in the Spamalot playbill).  I wouldn't mind seeing it available as even a burn-on-demand kinda thing like Warner does.

A quick google suggests that it ended its initial run right before Hook came out.  Maybe it just got forgotten under the big budget Pan, even though it continued in re-runs.  I remember disliking it as a kid but liking Hook a lot.
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Thad

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Re: Thundercats
« Reply #239 on: November 08, 2011, 11:42:26 AM »

That could explain everybody forgetting it and it never getting DVD releases or suchlike, but the decision to forego a second season would have happened well before Hook came out.

And if Hook had been a success, it would likely have IMPROVED the cartoon's ratings, not hurt them.
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