ThundercatsThundercats is an animated children's television series. It was developed by Rankin-Bass from 1983 and Series One was shown from 1985 to 1986 (63 episodes) and Series Two from 1986 to 1987 (65 episodes). It was created to tie in with a wide range of merchandising which pre-dated the show. Items of clothing featuring the Thundercats logo have enjoyed a resurgence of late.
Like many similar 1980s animated series Thundercats had a simple and predictable structure, it offered a long-running battle between good (the Thundercats) and evil (the Mutants) set in a mileau that combined high technology and hand-to-hand combat. The Thundercats are humanoids with distinct feline appearances while the Mutants are a rag-bag of uglies.
The action is set on a planet called Third Earth, a wild and violent world. Both the Thundercats and the Mutants are non-native, the Thundercats fled there when their home planet Thundera became unstable and the Mutants came from Plundarr. While the entire population of Thundera fled the disaster the Thundercats of Third Earth number only seven (eight including Jaga). They dwell in a substantial fortress built in the shape of a cat, the Cats Lair.
The leader of the Thundercats is Lion-O. During the trip to Third Earth his suspended animation pod malfunctioned, while only a youth on Thundra he arrives on Third Earth physically an adult while mentally still a child. Despite this problem Lion-O carries the group's super weapon, the Sword of Omens. When unused the sword was no larger than a dagger but extended to full size in battle, it also had a eye at the base of the blade which would give Lion-O a useful hint when he needed it. The group's original leader, Jaga, did not survive the trip at all but remains in touch spiritually to mentor Lion-O.
Second to Lion-O is Tigra, an older male he is the brains of the group and acts as a foil to Lion-O's intemperate nature. He is armed with a whip which with a special twist can render him invisible, he has other super-natural abilities but rarely demonstrates them. After Tigra is Panthro, the strongest of the group and also the most technically adept, he fights with nun-chuks and is the driver of the group's oversized vechicle - the Thunder Tank. Cheetara is the only adult female, she can run extremely fast and fights and vaults with a quarterstaff, by running fast in a small circle she can also see into the future.
The remaining members of the group are detestable. There are two youngsters, Wiley Kit and Wiley Kat, who are constantly causing problems, getting into trouble and needing rescuing. They don't fight, although Wiley Kat as a "bag of tricks", but can escape on hover boards if seriously threatened. The final member of the group is the comedy character, a curious hybrid of species, he is small, fat and named Snarf.
As well as the original Thundercats the second series added Bengali, Pumyra, Lynxo and some other allies.
Opposing the Thundercats are the Mutants, living in Castle Plundarr. Their lineage is more diverse than the Thundercats and includes a number of less well regarded species. In common with most cartoon 'bad guys' they are extraordinarily incompetent, led by the silibant Slythe they include Monkian, Jackalman and Vultureman. In order to offer a significant challenge to the Thundercats they are led by Mumm-Ra. He usually resides in a pyramid as a withered corpse-like being but by reciting a piece of doggrel he can be 'pumped-up' into a much more muscular blue-skinned being to offer the Thundercats an episode long challenge before being driven back. Sometimes other evil entities arrive on Third Earth, before being forced back into space. Mumm-Ra also has a dog, blue and bulldogish it is named Ma-Mutt.