Monday, March 5, 2012

DVD Review: THUNDERCATS: Season One Book One

               Upon first hearing of a new Thundercats show I was quite skeptical.    Nothing outside of comic books has really been done with this franchise since the original series.   No movies, no shows, no nothing.   I’ve grown used to my favorite shows being butchered into lesser versions of themselves.   Though there have been some acceptable versions over the years, I’ve still never found any version of G.I. Joe or Transformers to be better than the originals.    Well, with Thundercats that has all changed.
                I know a lot of the diehard fans will say I’m not really a fan of the original because of how I feel about the new one, but here’s where I stand.   When I was a kid I had G.I. Joe toys.  A lot of G.I. Joe toys.  I watched Transformers, sure, but I never had the toys.  I also watched Thundercats but I never had the toys.   Well, in the interest of full disclosure I did actually have one Mum-Ra figure for some reason.   We all know that Transformers has had many incarnations, which has created many different toys over the years.   One of my close friends, as a kid, had most every Thundercats toy made.   I was really jealous of this.  My goal- as an adult- had been to obtain as many Thundercats toys as I could.   Though as we all know, up until now, they have made none.   The point is, I wanted this franchise to come back because I love it and also because I wanted the toys to go with it.   But if it had never returned, yes, I would have been fine with the Thundercats episodes we had as kids.
                So what makes this series if not better at least as good as the original?   Well, two things stand out to me and they both have to do with the characters.   In the original, it seemed like everything kind of happened within the first episode- the big event of everything changing and Lion-O suddenly being thrust into a role he, perhaps, was not ready for yet.   From then on, the show seems to go on with an episode to episode basis, but really with no main goal and no clear purpose.   Granted, a lot of shows (even my favorite G.I. Joe) had those issues, though yes there were sometimes the two or more part episodes.   As this new series begins, the big event in the beginning stretches out over a few episodes making it a bit more powerful and just making you truly feel what is lost and what must be regained.   They also have the story arch in this particular set of episodes where they are trying to recover the Book of Omens and everything they do in each episode is to bring them closer to that.
                The other character developments I like better in this new series are simple but effective.  Panthro is not with the others right away, but he comes in later.  This is a nice touch that differs from the original.   And perhaps my favorite part is that Lion-O as a character is simply smaller than Panthro as well.   One thing even the most diehard of Thundercats fans can’t debate is how odd it was that Lion-O was that same size as his elders, such as Panthro, yet he was so much younger and na├»ve.    This series just proves that Lion-O can look like a teenager (which he is supposed to be) but yet still look strong even though he may appear smaller and less muscled than the original version.
                And finally, my biggest reason for saying this series is as good as the original if not better is simply because of Snarf.  In this new take on the Thundercats, Snarf simply does not talk.    While some consider Snarf to perhaps be the Jar Jar Binks of the Thundercats, I did enjoy him as a child.  I could watch any of the old episodes to this day and he doesn’t annoy me because I’m used to it.  Look, I like Snarf and all, but if I had to go through his whole routine of talking again I probably wouldn’t have made it past the first episode of this series. 
                So you get plants that have a short life cycle and sand pirates.   Did I mention the sand pirates?   Yeah, this new take on a classic is pretty cool.

Review by Joshua

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