Animated action animals are difficult to pull off. For every Ninja Turtle, there’s a Street Shark, every Thundercats, a Tigershark. (Sidenote, maybe sharks aren’t the way to go). It’s hard to say what the magic formula is, but when it’s there, it’s apparent. For me, SWAT Kats had it. There was something about these radical
cats kats, with their Batman-esque qualities that struck a cord with me. Too bad no one else seemed to see it.
Chance ‘T-Bone’ Furlong and Jake ‘Razor’ Clawson were once members of Megakat City’s peacekeeping group, the Enforcers, before their incompetent leader, Commander Feral, discharged them. Forced to work at a salvage yard, the two didn’t give up on their quest to quell the quandaries facing MegaKat City. They constructed a fighter jet, the TurboKat, and a few other vehicles out of scrap parts to battle these menaces. The Batman parallels are readily apparent. These two, with their seemingly near limitless amount of resources, constructed all manner of gadgets in their secret underground bunker, and sported some badass costumes. This helped balanced out the overabundance of
cat kat puns.
Sadly, that didn’t seem be the case for others. The show was cancelled midway through it’s second season, with six episodes remaining unfinished. The show originally ran on TBS in 1993 before being recycled on Cartoon Network for a decade. No reason is given for the cancellation, though it’s likely due to poor toy sales. Stupid toy sales.
Despite it’s early cancellation, the quality can’t be denied. The foes and battles the ensued took on an Iron Man like quality, with the Kats abilities based in a somewhat grounded reality and the villains either being freaks of science or magic. Mostly magic. Crazed Comedian Katatonic escaped the MegaKat Asylum and stumbled upon a magic Jack-in-the-box that transformed him into the reality altering Madkat. The ghost of Red Lynx, an old war veteran, returned once his plane was mistakenly dredged from the bay. And of course there’s perpetual villain Dark Kat, who’s magic, or something, constantly summoning dinosaurs and stuff.
On the production side, the voice cast was solid with stalwarts like Charlie Adler (Tiny Toon Adventures), Jim Cummings (Darkwing Duck), and I-swear-that-guys-in-everything Frank Welker (everything). Also, the animation was slick, with a good use of shadows, making the monsters look more diabolical.
SWAT Kats was awesome. Make a point to watch an episode or two, see if it catches you. If it does, blame your parents for not buying the toys, cancelling the show. I don’t care if you weren’t born yet. That’s not an excuse.
Lament SWAT Kats’ cancellation? Or did you think it was a
catastrophe katastrophe? Comment below!
In addition to THN’s Saturday Morning Cartoons and Nerd at the Movies, Tony writes for his own site, thecredhulk.com, about comics, video games, movies, TV and more, six days a week. You can follow his updates on Facebook or Twitter. Drop by and tell ‘em hi.