August 3, 2011

Show Review: The New THUNDERCATS

This is going to sound sacrilegious, but even though I grew up watching cartoons like ThunderCats, Transformers, He-Man, and G.I. Joe, I cannot say that they were major influences on my life. Yes, I grew up playing with the toys, and the mere mention of the names does take me back, but I was so young that I cannot remember any of the actual episodes or stories (I do know all of the catchphrases, so there's that).

Since the turn of the century, movie and television producers have been trying to tap into the nostalgia factor now that so many of the kids who watched these shows are now in the coveted demographic, so we've been getting reboots, remakes, and adaptations galore. It was just a matter of time until Lion-O got his new age make-over, and I'm a little surprised that it's taken so long. This past Friday, Cartoon Network debuted its re-imagined version of ThunderCats, and the pop culture enthusiast (and the young boy at heart) just had to check it out.

I'll admit that at first the show rubbed me the wrong way mostly because of its very anime-style artwork. Now, I don't have anything against anime as a genre, but the visual changes to some very iconic characters was hard to get used to. That being said, once I got over my initial hesitance, the more modern look made sense (not as many singlets), so I'm sure I'll be able to deal.

What was a nice surprise was the story presented in the first two episodes. From what I do remember from the original series, the stories were pretty standard and easy to follow so kids could get sucked in enough to beg their parents to by them toys. I got the feeling that those in charge of the reboot were expecting older audiences to come back to the franchise because the premiere had some pretty dense storytelling that utilized classic sci-fi/fantasy archetypes and tropes, which made it feel more like Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter than the original.

In the reboot, Lion-O is still the heir to the Kingdom of Thundera, but his backstory's updated with more of an emphasis on his family life and struggles with being his father's successor. He's also been tasked with completing the classic hero's journey, which will more than likely comprise the first season.

This new origin and quest for Lion-O all sounds pretty standard, but that's exactly why it started to work for me by the end of the second episode. It's a familiar tale that we've all heard before, but there's a certain novelty that comes along with placing these elements within the ThunderCats universe that makes it feel fresh.

I know that it's hard for some people to accept updates to characters that have impacted their childhood, but not all reboots should be dismissed out of hand. While it's still too early to tell, ThunderCats could be a good example of how a classic story can be retold and actually improve the source material. If X-Men: Evolution can do it, I'm sure this show can too.


Anonymous said...

I fully expected the worst, but then upon watching it. I WAS FULL OF SO MUCH DELIGHT. I LOVE IT SO MUCH NOW!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Updates Via E-Mail