First there was ThunderCats. Then, there was SilverHawks. Finally, there was TigerSharks. Just as I threatened to earlier, I’ve returned to discuss Rankin/Bass’ final animation output. While I wish their animated animal antics remained localized to felines, feathers, and fish (I am on a roll), their final offering included monsters, martial arts, and, uh, more cats.
The Comic Strip was a 90-minute animation block featuring four different shows, running on syndicated season in 1987, and had nothing to do with comic strips. Aside from TigerSharks, the block included The Mini-Monsters, Street Frogs, and Karate Kat. What’s funny is that these all predated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but just barely. While imitation is the sincerest form of making a quick buck, it makes me wonder what these shows were trying to achieve.
First, there’s Street Frogs. Aside from a plethora of frog puns, Street Frogs either was or wasn’t exactly what you thought. Street Frogs were a musical group of teenagers that, aside from performing numbers, would get into some sort of trouble. Urban trouble (diversity!). There were characters like Moose the Loose and … honestly, I was done after that.
Second was Mini-Monsters. Out of the four, this one had a premise that was actually pretty decent. A normal sister and brother (voiced by Seth Green!) were accidentally sent to a summer camp for monsters. Other campers included the children of Dracula, Frankenstein, the Mummy, etc. Good premise, poor writing.
Next is Karate Kat. Not much to say here. Think Hong Kong Phooey, but cats.
Finally, there’s TigerSharks. This team of humans traveled to the planet of Water-O where they defended the inhabitants from local and extra-terrestrial criminals. After traveling through a high-tech piece of futuristic machinery called “The Fish Tank,” they would become anthropomorphic sea creatures. Warning: incoming puns! The leader, Mako, turned into a mako shark. Walro, their chief engineer, changed into a walrus. The rest of the team members’ names were Dolph, Octavia, Lorca, Bronc, and Angel. Guess what they changed to. The part that I find funniest is their names, which as far as I can tell are their God-given names. And the name of the team, for that matter, was established before they were introduced to the “Fish Tank.” Whatever.
I understand Rankin/Bass wanting to reproduce the success of the ThunderCats, anthropomorphic animals + space, but this was a goofy step too far. Not that Cats or SilverHawks were that much better.
Do you remember the Comic Strip, or TigerSharks for that matter? Suggestion for a cartoon? Comment below!
The theme song was kind of catchy.