I spent a long time thinking about what to showcase in this next segment. “What could be more awesome than Gak?” I asked myself. After some deep soul-searching, the answer was Saturday morning cartoons. As a wee lad, Saturday morning cartoons were the highlight of my week…
Er, maybe the highlight of my early existence.
Spider-man was indeed awesome, but it was one of many great cartoons. I thought about which Saturday morning cartoons were my favorites for a bit and then, all of a sudden, it came to me.
That’s right, Thundercats. I know some of you are probably crying foul right now. “But underwhelmer, Thundercats aired from 1985 to 1988 and technically isn’t an early 90s show.” I hear your concerns, but that’s what made Thundercats even more awesome to me as a kid. In the early 90s, it was all reruns and they were all out of order; completely demolishing any semblance of a plot or feeling of continuity between episodes.
My memories of the show hold up much better than the actual show itself. I re-watched a couple of episodes and came to the conclusion that it was completely fucking insane. The basis of the show was on the same preposterous level as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Ninjitsu master, teenage, pizza-addicted, crime fighting anthropomorphized turtles named after the great masters of art and science? Why the hell not?
Thundercats made no more sense than the turtles. First off, they’re space-faring cat people who are fleeing the destruction of their planet, Thundera. Let your mind wrap around that one for a moment. Good now? OK. Next, they flee to a planet called, Third Earth (never-you-mind what happened to Second Earth.) Along this journey, they are nearly hunted to extinction by mutant marauders hailing from the unimaginatively named planet, Plun-Darr. The Thundercats stave off extinction with a magic sword that houses a powerful artifact called The Eye of Thundera. Upon landing on Third Earth, Lion-O is appointed the leader of the Thundercats despite the fact that (due to a stasis capsule accident) he literally has the mind of a child in the body of a cat/ Conan hybrid. The Thundercats build a base of operations called the Cat’s Lair with the help of the Third Earth natives, who we never seem to see in any other episodes. This plot hole is quickly left wide open with the swift arrival of the Plun-Darr marauders and the introduction of Mumm-Ra, who for no clear reason is a D&D Liche living the bowels of Third Earth. The series then catapults into a series of skirmishing conflicts between the Thundercats and the Mumm-Ra/ Plun-Darr alliance. Nothing is ever resolved and the Thundercats and Mumm-Ra’s forces are locked in perpetual struggle for dominance of a planet that seemed to be completely oblivious to the alien races battling in their jungles. In short, it was the perfect recipe for a Saturday morning cartoon; utter madness.
Despite the fact that the show was created by crazy people, it did follow a fairly structured episode layout. I think the below graph sums up about 90% of the episodes across all of the seasons… enjoy.