Cartoon Network decided to air the first promo for the new ThunderCats cartoon on Friday night without telling anyone. SORRY, CARTOON NETWORK, BUT YOUR LITTLE ATTEMPT TO KEEP US FROM SEEING THE FIRST THUNDERCATS FOOTAGE DIDN’T WORK. A jillion people taped it and/or sent me the tip, and the video’s above.
Before I discuss the trailer, I want to tell you a story: Way back when I still worked at Anime Insider and Wizard, I helped out ToyFare with a feature where we all watched DVDs of the cartoon of our youth and reviewed how much they did or didn’t hold up. I remember watching the first five episodes of G.I. Joe and Transformers, and then some random episodes of Masters of the Universe and ThunderCats. I thought G. I. Joe was still pretty fun, and Transformers was actually a bit more compelling than I remembered. He-Man was so-so story and action-wise, but those insanely awesome backgrounds still helped it look and feel like it was somehow better than it was. And then I watched ThunderCats, which sucked.
Seriously. It sucked. Yes, the intro was super-awesome, but none of the actual episodes ever had that same quality of animation. If anything, the beautiful intro made the rest of the episode look worse in comparison. The plots were incomprehensible and/or stupid even compared to cartoons of the day, and the voice acting could be described as He-Man without the depth or nuance. Point is, I think the original ThunderCats cartoon is terrible.
Which is why this new video is kind of kicking my ass. The animation is great — which I would expect from Studio 4C — but even these one-second snippets make the TCats world seem epic, infinitely more epic than the original. Then there’s the depth of the character roster, the great bad guy designs, the scope of the world — man, assuming the writing and voice acting is good (and since it’s being made by WB animation, I have high hopes) this could be the awesome-to-kids-and-fans-alike relaunch that I had hoped the 200X Masters of the Universe cartoon might be. What do you guys think?
Robert Bricken is one of the original co-founders of the site formerly known as Topless Robot, and its first editor-in-chief, serving from 2008-12. He brought the site to prominence with “nerd news, humor and self-loathing” as its motto, raising it from total internet obscurity to a readership in the millions, with help from his savage “FAQ” movie reviews and Fan Fiction Fridays. Under his tenure Topless Robot was covered by Gawker, Wired, Defamer, New York magazine, ABC News, and others, and his articles have been praised by Roger Ebert, Avengers actor Clark Gregg, comedian and The Daily Show correspondent John Hodgman, the stars of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Rifftrax, and others. He is currently the managing editor of io9.com. Despite decades as both an amateur and professional nerd, he continues to be completely unprepared for either the zombie apocalypse or the robot uprising.