Since I bought the print of the ThunderCats at FanX, I have been thinking more and more about them. I figured now was a good time to write about that, since it’s Thursday, and everybody does throwbacks on Thursday. I’m not making this a new thing, really, but it is a thing for today. I have always been a geek. Not just into geeky things, but I mean I have always been a geek in the sense that I don’t just enjoy what I am into, I obsess about. I think that is one of the defining characteristics of a geek. They don’t just like something, they are passionate and obsessive about it. I can think of quite a few “fandoms” that I consider myself a part of, quite a few things that I really enjoy, but the first I clearly remember is the ThunderCats. Why does this series stand out as the first for me? Why did I like it so much? Here are 3 reasons the series stood out to me.
Big Cats + People = AWESOME!
The characters were humanoid big cats. That just sounds awesome. All sorts of cats were represented, from the lion in Lion-O to the Panther in Pnathro (who knew Panthers were blue?), they were all really cool. So, apparently, on Thundera, the cats were the ones who “evolved” into the dominant species. I am not a “cat person,” but I have always been impressed and intrigued by big cats like lions and tigers, something that somehow, genetically, I have passed down to my son. He is obsessed with big cats as well. As a kid, being intrigued by these animals, I was drawn to this show. They were like big cat superheroes, and that made them cooler than other superheroes. My favorite was Lion-O, which is the one that was marketed to be your favorite, but I was between the ages of 3 and 7 while the show was on, so surprise, the marketing worked. He was just cooler than the other guys because he was A. the leader and B. had better weapons. Sword beats whip or staff, in my mind as a 5-year-old, anyway.
The Toys were Incredible
Maybe they weren’t that incredible to the naked eye. They look like just another set of action figures from the 80’s, which they were, but I loved my ThunderCats toys. Each one had the right weapon, and they even tried to get the weapon colors right from the show, no small feat in the 80’s (Ninja Turtles, I’m looking at you). The coloring of each figure was pretty spot on and you’ll notice, they weren’t all one uniform size. There was little bit of scaling going on. They attempted to make the figures reflect what was in the show, unlike other lines of toys at the time, where all the figures were one size. I had all the good guys (I never collected a lot of the bad guys), and I remember playing with them for hours on end. I also had the battle tank, which was the vehicle they used in the show, and I was just in heaven. I would put this line of toys up against any other toy line of the 80’s. It was that good.
It was Different Enough
There were a lot of shows that came out in the 80’s, and they were all the same. They were all designed to do one thing: sell toys. That’s it. G.I. Joe, Transformers, Ninja Turtles, He-Man and even ThunderCats. They were all designed to move merchandise. None of them were about telling a compelling story. It was all about moving merchandise. I love ThunderCats, but I can admit that it was still just about getting me to the store to buy the toys, which I did. It worked. But ThunderCats still stands out to me. I think it was different enough to make an impression on me. Maybe it was the cat people, or the story (their world is destroyed so the nobles are sent to another world to start over), but somehow they were different. I think they remain pretty different today. Many of the things i remember growing up have made a resurgence, and have become more mainstream. ThunderCats hasn’t really. Yes, there was an attempt at a new series a few years back, but it flopped. Yes, there were talks of a new movie, but it’s on hold indefinitely. Liking ThunderCats just isn’t as mainstream as others. Maybe, another reason I’m a geek, that’s why I like it. It still seems like it’s just mine, and it hasn’t been ruined by becoming too mainstream. Maybe that’s just childish on my part. That’s ok too.
It’s fun to look back on shows and toys from my past, and remember the fun times I had with them. I miss them sometimes. I wish I could be that kid again that got up at 6 am on Saturday, because that’s when the cartoons started, and I would park myself in front of the TV until 10 am, when the ended. Then I would get dressed and spend the rest of the day outside playing like I was one of those cartoons. It was the best. Now, when I do that, my neighbors just think I’m weird.
When I look back on that, part of me is sad, because my kids won’t experience that. They don’t have the Saturday morning cartoons. They have Netflix, sure, and that is a good substitute, but there was something about the anticipation on Saturdays, the excitement for a brand new episode. The devastation when it was rerun. It was a great time, and it will never be the same. Our kids will adapt, though. I suppose they will have their own things to look back on and be nostalgic. I just hope they are as awesome and as epic as the things i get to look back on.
What were some of your favorite shows growing up? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook or Google +. We always love hearing from you.