ThunderCats was a classic children's cartoon. It had elements that made all seminal kid's shows great: superpowers, monsters, spandex, over-moralising at the end of each episode, giant vehicles (god bless the ThunderTank), characters you aspired to be and a supporting toy line you just had to own. We take a look at some of the things that made ThunderCats thunderingly great.
It was SO sexy
I know it’s easy to over-sexualise cartoons with adult hindsight (although I’m pretty certain He-Man’s nipples made me gay), but the sexual undertones of ThunderCats are hard to miss. Panthro, for example. Panthro is clearly a leather muscle daddy, with S&M-style sartorial choices and he would clearly have your legs spread in the ThunderSling before you could scream ‘ho!’.
There’s also Tygra, the handsome, strapping Thunderian council leader who can turn invisible and has a penchant for whipping his balls in your face.
Finally, take Lion-O, the virile young humanoid-cat who turns his little dagger into a huge glowing man-sized sword in just a few jerks. However, far from making him go blind, it actually gave him sight beyond sight.
The Ewok rip-offs
The Berbils from the planet Ro-Bear were cute little Ewok-a-likes also stranded on Third Earth. They could have been annoying cutesy side-kicks for the ThunderCats (see: Snarf) but there was actually something quite endearing about these little Teddy Ruxpins, and they pre-dated the Furby by a good decade.
It had a properly scary bad guy
Mumm-ra was terrifying. From the creepy mummified old man in Red Riding Hood’s cloak that sheltered in a sarcophagus, to the bellowing, muscled grey monster he became when he invoked the Ancient Spirits of Evil; to a child Mumm-ra was BHS underwear-wettingly scary. Unlike his villainous counterparts, He-Man’s Skeletor (a cheap Halloween costume) and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Shredder (Edward Scissorhands), the ‘Ever-Living’ one was hard to look at for any length of time, which is probably why a quick glimpse at himself in a mirror sent him flying back into his Egyptian coffin. He also reminds me a little bit of Madonna.
This lady deserves her own section. Every gay man wanted to be Cheetara - or at least I did. She had the best costume (who doesn’t love an orange unitard), natural leopard print, a great volumising shampoo and amazing pins. Oh, she could also run really fast and had a big cool baton. I assume for cheerleading. She also had the best intro in the opening credits.
Look, it's easy to dismiss Snarf as the annoying 'comic relief'. Sure, Snarf is shrill, tiresome, inexplicably repeats his name at the end of sentences and tends to get captured a lot, but he can communicate with other animals and once absorbed the Ancient Spirits of Evil to become Snarf-Ra. Really. Although, no one ever seemed to question why the cat-like Thundercats would have a pet cat. Snarf-Snarf.
The theme tune
Without a doubt, ThunderCats had the best theme tune and opening credits ever. It was fast-paced, with great animation and a song that made you want to do backflips in your living room. To this day, when I 'feel the magic, hear the roar', it makes my inner child do a happy wee. ThunderCats, Ho!