My Honest Reviews

Talk about the most awesome show in the world, SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron.
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Kooshmeister
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My Honest Reviews

Post by Kooshmeister » Wed Nov 29, 2023 8:29 am

As this forum's time draws to a close, I feel it is important for me to give my honest reviews of each episode, starting with this one.

1.1. The Pastmaster Always Rings Twice (9303)

Cast:
Charlie Adler ......................... T-Bone, Tom
Barry Gordon ......................... Razor
Tress MacNeille ...................... Callie Briggs
Jim Cummings ....................... Mayor Manx
Gary Owens .......................... Commander Feral
Ed Gilbert ............................ Sgt. Talon, Enforcer Commando
Earl Boen ............................. King (Enforcer Pilot), Museum Guard
Frank Birney ......................... Burge (Enforcer Co-Pilot)
Keene Curtis ......................... The Pastmaster
Linda Gary ........................... Dr. Abby Sinian
Frank Welker ........................ Jack, Sabretooth Tiger Zombie

Grade: A-

Review: A solid, classic episode with great animation. I have no complaints about it beyond Razor somehow knowing how to thwart the Pastmaster's plan by jamming the clock hands, based on nothing. In some ways, this is the SWAT Kats episode, at least in season one.

Trivia:
1. Jack's original name was Mac.
2. Tom was originally going to wear an eyepatch.
3. Deleted Scene: An extended chase through the museum. Callie and Dr. Sinian hide in one of the exhibits (during which Sinian sees the Pastmaster and recognizes him) and she and Callie do actually try for the garage before being forced to the roof.
4. The car the Megasaurus rex hits with his tail was originally going to be Callie's.
5. In prehistoric times, the SWAT Kats originally fought six flying reptiles, not just four; the other two are dispatched in the same way as the first two, getting dropped into the lake.
6. Sergeant Talon was originally going to be commanding the roadblock, not a nameless commando.
7. Deleted Scene: The disoriented Megasaurus rex steps on Feral's car.
8. Alternate Ending: Razor gets out of the Turbokat and prevents the clock hands from coming together with his hands and feet. The Pastmaster's line "Time's up!" was originally scripted as a taunt, not an exclamation of disappointment.

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1.2. The Giant Bacteria (9301)

Cast:

Charlie Adler ......................... T-Bone, Murray
Barry Gordon ......................... Razor
Tress MacNeille ...................... Callie Briggs
Jim Cummings ....................... Mayor Manx, Morbulus
Gary Owens .......................... Commander Feral
Candi Milo ........................... Ann Gora
Mark Hamill ......................... Burke, Farmer
Frank Welker ........................ Dr. Viper, Reporter #1, Reporter #2
Paul Eiding .......................... Dr. N. Zyme

Grade: D+

Review: This could've, should've been a classic, and it's very painful for me to rate it so lowly because it features my favorite Dr. Viper scheme, and also features Viper at his nastiest, just how I like him, and Morbulus is a great, memorable one-shot villain. But the animation is terrible and the animation errors even more unforgivable. And while I'm not bothered by the deaths of the farmer and the people aboard the subway train, Dr. Zyme's death struck me as arbitrary, adding nothing to the story in addition to being a waste of a potentially great character. And we also see the first instance of the SWAT Kats refusing acknowledge their culpability, as they insist Morbulus' escape wasn't their fault.

Trivia:
1. Morbulus' original name was Occulus. He was also originally designed to be wearing a a World War II-inspired leather helmet and an old-fashioned flight suit with a fur collar. Despite the sketch notes to keep it, the fur collar was dropped.
2. Morbulus was originally going to be defeated using the Shark Missile (which ended up being used in The Metallikats instead).
3. The white-haired little boy and his father (from Night of the Dark Kat) were originally supposed to appear, apparently aboard the subway train, in which case they would've been eaten. This was wisely dropped.
4. Dr. Zyme was originally going to look a bit more sinister, despite being a good guy. He also didn't originally have his distinctive hairstyle.

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1.3. The Wrath of Dark Kat (9305)

Cast:

Charlie Adler ......................... T-Bone, Enforcer Pilot #1, Murray, The Creeplings, Atomic Engineer #1, Guard
Barry Gordon ......................... Razor
Tress MacNeille ...................... Callie Briggs
Gary Owens .......................... Commander Feral
Candi Milo ........................... Ann Gora
Mark Hamill .......................... Burke
Frank Welker ......................... Al, Atomic Engineer #2
Brock Peters ......................... Dark Kat
Hal Rayle ............................ Lt. Steel, Enforcer Pilot #2, Atomic Engineer #3

Grade: B-

Review: I... don't really like this episode. I don't hate it, either. The animation is slightly better than in The Giant Bacteria, but not by very much. The plot is uninteresting, which is a shame because Brock Peters' performance as Dark Kat is phenomenal. I also like the addition of Steel. However, I didn't care about the Doomsday Device plan. The action was bland and uninteresting, the Creeplings have always been lame to me, and the flashback adds nothing except additional runtime, in addition to damaging Feral's character by portraying him as a selfish glory hound, when he never acts like that anywhere else in the show, including in this very same episode.

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1.4. Destructive Nature (9304)

Cast:

Charlie Adler ......................... T-Bone, Plantimals, MASA Flight Controller
Barry Gordon ......................... Razor
Tress MacNeille ...................... Callie Briggs
Jim Cummings ....................... Mayor Manx, Video Game
Gary Owens .......................... Commander Feral
Candi Milo ........................... Ann Gora
Ed Gilbert ............................ Sgt. Talon, Enforcer Commando, Burge
Frank Welker ....................... Dr. Viper
Robert Ito ........................... Mr. Young, MASA Technician #2
Richard Gilbert Hill ................ MASA Technician #1

Grade: A-

Review: This one took a while to grow on me. For a while it was the only Dr. Viper episode I hadn't seen, and I'd built it up in my mind so much that when I finally saw it, I felt a little let down. In hindsight, though, I think it's another SWAT Kats classic. Like The Pastmaster Always Rings Twice, there's very little I find to complain about in it except to make the obligatory crack about the animation being kinda mediocre, which prevents it from getting a solid "A."

Trivia:
1. Dr. Viper was not the original villain. Botanist Dr. Leiter Greenbox was. However, at the insistence of Buzz Potamkin, Lance Falk used Dr. Viper, essentially saving the character who might've otherwise been definitively killed off at the end of The Giant Bacteria. Greenbox would be reused as a supporting character in Chaos in Crystal and Unlikely Alloys, although no longer a botanist.
2. The Megakat Tower was originally 150 stories tall, not 300.
3. Some of the dialogue between Chance and Jake at the beginning was switched around; in the finished episode, it's unclear what Jake means by "the smell of sour milk," but in the script, he says this after Chance loses the game and he means Chance is being a sore loser.
4. In the storyboards, the Enforcers arrived in single-tracked armored personnel carriers. This was changed to them arriving in their regular cruisers in the finished episode, and the tracked vehicles were never used in anything ever again.
5. It was originally Sergeant Talon who Feral speaks to when he shows up, not the same (?) nameless commando from The Pastmaster Always Rings Twice.
6. Jonny wasn't originally named. He's simply described as "a cameraman."
7. Which news agency Ann worked for was different; she is described as being from WKAT and in addition to Jonny, she has a "news team" with her, presumably the other two Kat's Eye News reporters from The Giant Bacteria (the black-haired guy and the orange-haired guy).
8. Enforcer pilots Burge and King had more scenes and dialogue originally. During the initial attempt to retake the building, King's chopper gets splatted with acid spit like Feral and Burge's, but in the finished episode his is the only one to escape unscathed. In addition, all of King's dialogue ended up being given to Feral.
9. One monster didn't end up in the finished episode; a "Plesiosaur-like Plantimal" which would've been seen in Viper's Megaswamp City fantasy.
10. Deleted Scene: When Viper smacks the Rover into the window in the script for letting Callie get away, it smashes through the glass and falls onto Feral's car. Its acidic blood melts the vehicle and also splashes onto Feral, forcing Talon to hose him down before it eats through his clothes and burns him.
11. The Megakat Tower was originally written to be a "smart" building with a computer controlling it, although this didn't amount to much except for the computer voice announcing the change in internal temperature after Razor accidentally sets the thermostat to "cold."
12. Deleted Scene: After Feral smashes his walkie-walkie, T-Bone contacts him on the one Talon is holding, and so Feral smashes Talon's too.
13. There was originally going to be much more of a sense of competition between the SWAT Kats and the Enforcers, with T-Bone in particular treating getting inside to stop Viper and save Callie like a race. This was dropped entirely in the finished episode.
14. Deleted Scene: Feral and Ann have an argument about how he feels the press is unfair to him and actively impeding his job. Ann, being held back, says the public "has a right to know" (what's going on), and Feral simply says "Ms. Gora, the public can kiss my tail."

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1.5. The Metallikats (9302)

Cast:

Charlie Adler ......................... T-Bone, Fango, Scaredy-Kat, Mobster #3
Barry Gordon ......................... Razor
Tress MacNeille ...................... Callie Briggs
Jim Cummings ....................... Mayor Manx, Katscratch, Mobster #4
Gary Owens .......................... Commander Feral
Candi Milo ........................... Ann Gora
Neil Ross .............................. Mac, Mobster #1
April Winchell ........................ Molly
George Hearn ....................... Professor Hackle
Townsend Coleman .................. Mobster #2, Enforcer Call

Grade: B+

Review: Often considered a classic, I find it suffers from the same problem as The Wrath Dark Kat in that it's a relatively uninteresting plot built around an extended flashback. Mac and Molly are fun, funny and great, classic villains; probably my favorite SWAT Kats enemies after Dr. Viper. Unfortunately, their introductory episode is one great big exercise in mediocrity. The episode just kinda peters out after the aforementioned flashback, and said flashback is my main complaint about the episode; nothing is gained by making it a flashback. The story could've, probably should, been told in chronological order. As it is, after a strong beginning, The Metallikats loses steam despite a few good moments peppered throughout.

1. Mac's original name was Mace.
2. In their first scene, the SWAT Kats were going to sing a song (!).
3. Deleted Scene: The Manges escape from Alkatraz using a bedsheet rope.
4. Deleted Scene: The exploding cigar was originally one of the weapons Professor Hackle shows the Metallikats.

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1.6. Bride of the Pastmaster (9306)

Cast:

Charlie Adler ......................... T-Bone, City Guard
Barry Gordon ......................... Razor
Tress MacNeille ...................... Callie Briggs, Queen Callista
Keene Curtis ........................ The Pastmaster
Peter Mark Richman ............... Tabor
Michael Rye ......................... KatCo Captain
Frank Welker ....................... Cyclops, Oil-Sucking Eel

Grade: A-

Review: Another classic, hampered by one thing and one thing only; the animation. It'd be a solid "A" if it had better animation, and unlike an episode I'll get to in a minute, the story, while great and fun, has nothing terribly unique in it that elevates it above its subpar animation. As it is, though, this is another episode where it's almost completely flawless, but not fantastic. Callista is a fun character and her interest in "Sir" Razor never seems forced, and I love the comedy mined from T-Bone's exasperation with Razor's romance with the Queen. I also love the huge variety of monsters; oil-eating sea monsters, giant cyclopes, dragons; Bride of the Pastmaster has it all! Besides the animation, my only issue is the character of Tabor, the leader of Callista's guards, just disappears halfway through.

Trivia:
1. The two horned cyclopes are a reference to the one(s) in The 7th Voyage of Sinbad.

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1.7. Night of the Dark Kat (9307)

Cast:

Charlie Adler ......................... T-Bone, Enforcer Sergeant, The Creeplings
Barry Gordon ......................... Razor
Tress MacNeille ...................... Callie Briggs, Little Boy
Jim Cummings ....................... Mayor Manx
Gary Owens .......................... Commander Feral
Candi Milo ........................... Ann Gora, Little Old Lady
Tony Pope .......................... Al, Boy's Father
Brock Peters ....................... Dark Kat
Rob Paulsen ........................ Hard Drive, Enforcer Commando

Grade: A

Review: Finally, an episode worthy of Dark Kat! Great animation, a fun frame-the-heroes scheme and a great new supporting bad guy in Hard Drive. This almost got a "B" from me, though, because I feel like the animation is too good for a relatively visually mundane story; yes, the plot is great, but there's nothing in the concept that screams for the best animation Hanna-Barbera could afford. However, I realized this would've been a terribly petty reason to give it a "B," so I rated it a pretty basic "A."

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1.8. Chaos in Crystal (9309)

Cast:

Charlie Adler ......................... T-Bone, Jonny K., Prison Guard, Talon the Guard, Tank Crewman #1
Barry Gordon ......................... Razor
Tress MacNeille ...................... Callie Briggs
Jim Cummings ....................... Mayor Manx, Warden Cyrus Meece
Gary Owens .......................... Commander Feral
Candi Milo ........................... Ann Gora
John Vernon .......................... Rex Shard
Robert Patrick ....................... Dr. Leiter Greenbox
John Rubinow ........................ Lem the Guard, Manx's Chauffeur, Tank Crewman #2

Grade: A

Review: Maybe I'm overselling it, but this is yet another classic. I see it frequently written off by people and I don't get why. Shard is a fun villain and has an amazing and pretty unique superpower. The episode gets an "A" for the central concept all on its own. And an episode where almost everyone survives and gets turned back to the normal would feel like a copout in any other show, but here, it's a breath of fresh air. Even though one person still dies, I always remember a line in the Doctor Who episode The Empty Child and find it apropos of Chaos in Crystal; "Just this once! Everybody lives!" A fun villain, a fun concept and a feel-good ending. Again, the animation is a letdown, but unlike Bride of the Pastmaster, the central concept is so good it doesn't matter that the animation is subpar. But better animation would've pushed it into an "A+."

Trivia:
1. Meece dies differently in the script. Instead of Greenbox knocking him over, the building shaking as Shard grows gigantic is what causes him to fall over and smash.
2. The script originally had a completely different motivation for Shard to come after Greenbox. He wanted to force him to help him control his powers so he could touch things without turning them to crystal. When he turns Greenbox to crystal, it's entirely on accident and get gets upset. It's only after this that he heads for the dam.
3. The scene between Manx and his chauffeur in the limo wasn't originally in the story, but was added during storyboarding.
4. As revealed in unused background art, Megakat Springs is not the golf course but an entire town separate from Megakat City. It is based on the real-like Palm Springs.
5. The Gemkat 6000 Greenbox rewires to turn Shard back to normal was not originally the same one from the mine, but a bigger prototype.
6. Meece and Greenbox were based on actors M. Emmet Walsh and Woody Harrelson, respectively.
7. Greenbox's exact profession is not made clear in the episode, but in the script Meece says he is a "geological technician."
8. The "bratty kid" with the Elvis hair was originally going to be wearing a bootleg SWAT Kats shirt. A random member of the crowd has it in the final version of the episode, but it's difficult to notice because the logo isn't colored in.
9. Final appearance of Al.

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1.9. The Ghost Pilot (9308)

Cast:

Charlie Adler ......................... T-Bone, Enforcer Commando, Scaredy-Kat
Barry Gordon ......................... Razor
Tress MacNeille ...................... Callie Briggs, Computer Voice
Jim Cummings ....................... Mayor Manx, Charlie
Gary Owens .......................... Commander Feral
Candi Milo ........................... Ann Gora
Mark Hamill ......................... The Red Lynx, Worker
Linda Gary ........................... Dr. Abby Sinian
Lewis Arquette ...................... Abner Doolittle
William Woodson ................... Documentary Narrator

Grade: D

Review: The inverse of Chaos in Crystal; while I don't understand that episode's unpopularity (or at least people's indifference to it), I don't get this one's popularity. The animation is bad, the Red Lynx isn't a very interesting villain, the action is bland (and not helped by the aforementioned bad animation; all that talk about how good the Red Lynx is and they utterly fail to sell it)... I just don't like it. Rating it slightly higher than The Giant Bacteria may seem unfair, but whereas that was a potentially interesting episode crippled by terrible animation and the poor story choice to kill off a potentially good character, The Ghost Pilot is crippled by just being boring. When the only thing I can say I like about it is the gag where Callie is startled by the bullet-riddled cardboard cutout of Manx, there's a problem.

Trivia:
1. The Red Lynx is named for the World War I Imperial German ace Manfred von Richthofen, who was nicknamed the Red Baron.
2. The Blue Manx is named for the Pour le Mérite, nicknamed the Blue Max, Imperial Germany's highest award for bravery and combat prowess in World War I.
3. Abner Doolittle is named for James Doolittle, who led the Doolittle Raid against Imperial Japan in World War II.
4. Charlie the guard is a recycled character design; he's just the museum guard from The Pastmaster Always Rings Twice in a brown uniform instead of a blue one, although it is not apparent that they're meant to be the same character.

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1.10. Metal Urgency (9312)

Cast:

Charlie Adler ......................... T-Bone, Murray, Scaredy-Kat, Enforcer Commando #2
Barry Gordon ......................... Razor
Tress MacNeille ...................... Callie Briggs, Puma-Dyne Technician
Jim Cummings ....................... Mayor Manx
Gary Owens .......................... Commander Feral
Candi Milo ........................... Ann Gora
Ed Gilbert ............................ Sgt. Talon, Enforcer Commando #1, Puma-Dyne Supervisor
Neil Ross ............................. Mac
April Winchell ........................ Molly
George Hearn ....................... Professor Hackle
Rob Paulsen .......................... Hard Drive

Grade: A

Review: The Pastmaster Always Rings Twice's only serious rival in season one. Great story, great animation, fun action and visuals. The Macro-Bots are fun, Mac and Molly are at their best, and this time in an episode that's actually good, and I love, love, looooove the ending where we see what Feral is made of as he turns down the villains' offer. My only gripe is the fact nobody acknowledges that the SWAT Kats indirectly get those two Enforcers at the beginning killed, or even acknowledges their deaths at all (another example of the show trying to avoid making the SWAT Kats culpable for anything). But that's the only real issue in the episode, and I'll give the episode the benefit of the doubt that the reason their deaths don't get discussed is because despite not being afraid to kill characters off, the show doesn't like dwelling on it.

Trivia:
1. Deleted Scene: The episode originally opened with us actually seeing Hard Drive steal the Behemoth; the episode was originally going to open with the "super tank" busting through the wall of the warehouse it was being stored in. Unused background art shows that this was considered as the opening well into production before it was dropped and a closeup of Feral yelling "Attack!" was used instead, with Hard Drive already in control of the Behemoth.
2. Feral addressing one of the commandos in his tank as "Sergeant" is a holdover from the script and storyboards where two sergeants were indeed the tank's crew, not two commandos.
3. Alternate Ending, Part 1: Although the story always ended with Feral refusing the Metallikats' offer, in the script, Callie is not the only one who follows him down into the crater. Ann and several reporters (including the black-haired guy from The Giant Bacteria), as well as a few other random bystanders (including the little boy and his father from Night of the Dark Kat) also go down into the crater and witness him turn down Mac and Molly's offer. It was changed in the final version to just Callie following him.
3. Alternate Ending, Part 2: After Feral discards the neural neutralizer and he and Callie (and everyone else) leave the crater, Hackle was supposed to go down there and retrieve the Metallikats' heads so he can try again to reprogram them. In the finished episode, Feral just leaves and Hackle is never seen again after Feral saves him from being crushed by the falling wall earlier.
4. Final appearance of Burke and Murray.

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1.11. The Ci-Kat-A (9310)

Cast:

Charlie Adler ......................... T-Bone, Enforcer Pilot #1, Ci-Kat-A, Atomic Engineer, Pilot
Barry Gordon ......................... Razor
Tress MacNeille ...................... Callie Briggs
Jim Cummings ....................... Mayor Manx, MASA Guard, Enforcer Pilot #2
Gary Owens .......................... Commander Feral
Candi Milo ........................... Ann Gora
Mark Hamill ......................... Jonny K., Enforcer Pilot #3
Robert Ridgely ..................... Dr. Harley Street, Narrator, TV Announcer

Grade: C

Review: Another "could've been great." The Ci-Kat-A are great, creepy aliens, and even though their design may not be all that great to some, I find them charming. And the idea of losing oneself over to a hive mind, like a creepier version of the Borg, with the gradual transformation into a Ci-Kat-A, is a disturbing concept. Unfortunately, this is probably the most weirdly directionless episode in the entire series. It has all these great elements, and some fun setpieces, and it's all there... but it just never comes together. As for actual problems, nothing interesting is done with T-Bone's bug phobia, the MASA guard with the mustache just disappears, there's the loose end of the surviving drone in the rocket and the knocked out but not killed converted kats. And lastly, when I praised Chaos in Crystal for its "(almost) everybody lives" feel good ending, this episode is why; people go on about the deaths in The Giant Bacteria, but what bugs me (he) about The Ci-Kat-A is that all the bitten kats are written off as beyond hope and no attempt is made to help them; they're all either killed or beaten up and rendered unconscious. This is especially problematic with Dr. Street, a perfectly nice guy who didn't deserve to lose his individuality and slowly turn into a bug alien. The Ci-Kat-A is the show's most nihilistic episode.

Trivia:
1. Dr. Street is named for Harley St. in London, famous for its doctors' offices.
2. Final appearance of Manx's chauffeur. He's mentioned in Katastrophe, but never actually appears again. Only his stolen uniform.

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1.12. Enter the Madkat (9311)

Cast:

Charlie Adler ......................... T-Bone, Scaredy-Kat
Barry Gordon ......................... Razor
Tress MacNeille ...................... Callie Briggs, Enforcer Dispatcher
Jim Cummings ....................... Mayor Manx, Enforcer Sergeant #2, Guard
Gary Owens .......................... Commander Feral
Candi Milo ........................... Ann Gora, Little Old Lady
Roddy McDowall ..................... Madkat, Lenny Ringtail
John Byner .......................... David Litterbin
Hal Rayle ............................ Lt. Steel, Prowl Car Officer
James Hong ......................... Katzmer

Grade: B-

Review: This is an all around solid episode, even leaving aside the subpar animation which is in some places some of the worst of the season. A fun story and great characters. Roddy McDowell as Lenny Ringtail and Madkat is great even if the script doesn't supply him with very many actually good jokes (though make that was the point), and Katzmer the antique store owner is also great. And of course I loved seeing Steel back and being a dick again. However, I think more could've been done with Madkat's shapeshifting abilities, and it feels weird to have a supernatural villain without involving Dr. Sinian. I mean, yeah, with Katzmer on hand, it would've been redundant, but nevertheless. I guess what they should've done is have Kaztmer not know the history of the kat-in-the-box, and have all that come from Sinian later. I also find it weird they created a completely new Enforcer sergeant character who they'd only ever use once more and then forget about entirely. What was wrong with Talon? Oh well. Still a great episode.

Trivia:
1. In addition to being based on David Letterman, David Litterbin is supposed to sound like Garry Shandling.
2. Katzmer (the antique store owner) is based on actor Keye Luke, specifically his role as Mr. Wing in Gremlins.
3. Madkat's original design in the storyboards gave him a much more sinister-looking domino mask, and he also lacked a visible nose.
4. Steel's name being spelled "Steele" on his nameplate is a blooper; the storyboards consistently spell his name "Steel" without the "E" at the end.
5. The second Enforcer sergeant was originally just Talon with a mustache (!).
6. Final appearance of Steel and the little old lady (although she does appear as a cardboard cutout in The Origin of Dr. Viper).

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1.13. Katastrophe (9313)

Cast:

Charlie Adler ......................... T-Bone, The Creeplings, Guard
Barry Gordon ......................... Razor
Tress MacNeille ...................... Callie Briggs
Jim Cummings ....................... Mayor Manx, Feral's Sergeant
Gary Owens .......................... Commander Feral
Candi Milo ........................... Ann Gora
Brock Peters ........................ Dark Kat
Frank Welker ....................... Dr. Viper, Alvie, Mr. Smitty, Mushroom Monster
Neil Ross ............................ Mac
April Winchell ...................... Molly

Grade: C+

Review: The first of what I fear will be two very controversial ratings. Yeah, The Ghost Pilot is popular, but Katastrophe is positively sacred to SWAT Kats fans. And I enjoy it, too. But it's... not as good as it could be, and, having read the original Blowout! script, I know it didn't have to be this way. First, the animation is great. Not as good as the previous three Mook-animated episodes this scene, but great. The villains are all in fine form and the action is mostly solid. But it still has a few problems that detract from the whole for me. For one thing, it's less of a teamup between Dark Kat, Dr. Viper and the Metallikats and more Dark Kat and Viper team up and make Mac and Molly their slaves, which feels incredibly humiliating and disrespectful to such great villains. And I have no idea why it was done, because Mac and Molly willingly join Dark Kat in Blowout! without requiring any coercion; there, it's an actual teamup.

The finale is also an issue; while it's a great action sequence, the warehouse hideout feels bland compared to what Blowout! originally envisioned with the abandoned amusement park and the armored "Fear Train." Also, Dr. Viper pretty much disappears from the fighting after his sole contribution of knocking a Creepling into his mushroom monster's mouth. This is because he got arrested in Blowout! and wasn't present for the finale; Katastrophe keeps him around for the finale but doesn't do anything interesting with him. Then there's the issue of our heroes avoiding more culpability, through the very strange insistence that they intentionally destroyed Megakat Biochemical Labs even though it was 100% an accident. Why they couldn't just have told Feral they hadn't meant to do it rather than acting like they had to is beyond me. They do the same thing when they accidentally destroy the stolen money later. It's so weird how the script refuses to let the SWAT Kats make mistakes... even as they clearly make them. And it's another problem that was added, as in Blowout! Megakat Biochemical Labs doesn't get destroyed and neither does any stolen money.

But it isn't all doom and gloom; Blowout! wasn't perfect either and Katastrophe does a lot of things better. The opening is better. Blowout!'s opening battle outside of Megakat Biochemical Labs with the "Mega-Trees" is good and all, but, the aforementioned forced conflict of the place being accidentally blown up aside, Katastrophe's opening with Viper utilizing stealth a sidekick who can turn into a puddle and ooze under doors like the T-1000 is more moody and suspenseful than just throwing us into an all-out action sequence. Also, the manner in which Callie and Manx get abducted is better. Rather than Creeplings posing as reporters in trenchcoats and them falling for it somehow, they're just nabbed by a disguised Mac (although even there they look kinda dumb; of all the people whose face they ought to know, it's Mac Mange, and the mask he was wearing was his old face just without the scar).

Oh, and they used that nameless new sergeant from Enter the Madkat again instead of Talon. And again I have no idea why, especially when, as noted, they just forget this character ever existed and go back to Talon being the main sergeant in season two. But with that sergeant's voice. Weird.
Last edited by Kooshmeister on Sat Dec 23, 2023 9:05 am, edited 9 times in total.
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Re: My Honest Reviews

Post by Kooshmeister » Wed Nov 29, 2023 9:02 am

2.1. Mutation City (9402)

Cast:

Charlie Adler ......................... T-Bone, Enforcer Sergeant #1, Enforcer Sergeant #2, Enforcer Pilot
Barry Gordon ......................... Razor
Tress MacNeille ...................... Callie Briggs
Jim Cummings ....................... Mayor Manx, Dr. Konway, Homeless Kat
Gary Owens .......................... Commander Feral
Lori Alan ............................. Felina
Frank Welker ....................... Dr. Viper, Mutants

Grade: B+

Review: For the most part, this is a solid episode. The animation is fantastic and the story is actually really great, with the city being flooded by mutagen and our heroes needing to make a desperate race to get the cure. But a few things have always held it back for me. As with The Ci-Kat-A's virtual non-use of T-Bone's bug phobia, Mutation City doesn't do very much with his inability to swim. Apart from the scene where it's introduced, it's only used once later when he briefly sinks and Razor has to save him. I'm not sure how, but I think that the finale should've been constructed around T-Bone needing to swim to accomplish a goal. Now, yes, he does swim on his own to save the sinking Razor, but it's an afterthought; Dr. Viper has already been defeated (more on this in a second) and the danger is over. I just think Razor should've become a monster while T-Bone saved the day; I'm just not sure why they gave him a phobia/shortcoming so specifically tailored to the episode's theme and not only didn't really use it effectively, but did one better (or worse) than The Ci-Kat-A by completely sidelining him (a kinda frequent problem with T-Bone, I've noticed). And then there's Dr. Viper. He's barely in the episode at all, and although his giant monster form is cool, he basically doesn't do anything interesting after growing gigantic and gets defeated like a chump. He just stands there and lets Razor shoot the canisters.

The last real problem is the issue of Felina's introduction. Specifically that she doesn't get one. She's just there and everyone already knows who she is. I also fail to see the point of briefly making her look like a villain in her first scene where she appears to pull a gun on Callie, then shoots the monster behind her. Considering this episode was written and produced after A Bright and Shiny Future, and presumably originally intended to have aired after it, would anyone have been fooled by this? I just don't get it. In addition, this is the first instance of Mook being inconsistent with Razor's character design, a problem that would plague the entire season. Lastly, and this is entirely subjective, but I find Dr. Konway to be a bland character and a disappointing replacement for Dr. Zyme. Yeah, technically he isn't replacing him because he's an Enforcer scientist and Zyme worked at Megakat Biochemical Labs, but Konway fulfills the same function as him by being a biochemist who helps the good guys.

However, all those issues are mere nitpicks which do not affect the story, so the episode still gets a decent rating.

Trivia:
1. Chance is missing his arm stripes in all of his scenes.
2. Dr. Konway is named for Sam Conway ("Uncle Kage").
3. Dr. Viper's giant monster design originally included spout-like protrusions on his back from which a noxious has was supposed to emerge.
4. Unused background art for the pet store shows a doghouse and a cat tree/kitty condo, implying the existence of dogs and (normal) cats.

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2.2. A Bright and Shiny Future (9401)

Cast:

Charlie Adler ......................... T-Bone, Robot #1, Robot #2
Barry Gordon ......................... Razor
Tress MacNeille ...................... Callie Briggs, Computer Voice
Jim Cummings ....................... Mayor Manx, Robot #2, Slave #1
Gary Owens .......................... Commander Feral
Lori Alan ............................. Felina
Neil Ross ............................. Mac, Slave #2
April Winchell ....................... Molly
George Hearn ...................... Professor Hackle
Arte Johnson ....................... Pop Perkins

Grade: A+

Review: The first of the really great season two episodes. First, what isn't great. The animation is a little stiff and the colors are all weirdly washed out. Also, Pop Perkins' fur color inexplicably changes from dark gray to kinda brown in the future. But whatever. This episode has a better, proper (if still a little clunky) introduction to Felina and a great story. Ignoring the fact the Pastmaster's plan makes no sense (you've already killed the SWAT Kats, why jeopardize what was a smashing success by bringing their past selves into the present? Was he just pissy that he didn't get to gloat before they died last time?), there's a lot of great dark, moody imagery in the futuristic Metallikat City, the action is great throughout, and, of course, even as evil dictators Mac and Molly are hilarious, fun villains, as is the Pastmaster. I've always liked him, but I love the way that despite his age and great power, he throws tantrums like a toddler at the drop of a hat. It was also interesting seeing elderly versions of Callie, Manx and Feral. Hackle appearing not just not any older but even slightly younger with a light blonde beard was weird, though. And lastly, I have to praise the flashback sequence showing how the Pastmaster helped the Metallikats take over. Except for Hackle's intermittent narration, it's mostly wordless and told entirely through imagery, and both serves the story and doesn't wear out its welcome. Overall, one of my definite favorites.

Trivia:
1. Burke and Murray were originally going to be the two enslaved citizens who try to signal the Turbokat. In the final version of the episode, it's just two random guys (one of whom appears to be the fake old man from Razor's Edge with a black mustache instead of a white one). This means the last time Burke and Murray ever appeared was way back in Metal Urgency.
2. The robot soldiers originally had symbols on their chests. In some concept art, it is the same gold "M" logo as seen used by the Enforcers; in others, it is the same "MK" logo on the Metallitack Units. In the finished episode, they have no insignia or emblems on them at all.

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2.3. When Strikes Mutilor (9403)

Cast:

Charlie Adler ......................... T-Bone, Enforcer Pilot, Mario (Volleyball Player), Surfer #1, Alien Guard
Barry Gordon ......................... Razor
Tress MacNeille ...................... Callie Briggs, Heidi (Volleyball Player)
Jim Cummings ....................... Mayor Manx, Sgt. Talon, Alien Guard Captain
Gary Owens .......................... Commander Feral
Lori Alan ............................. Felina
Michael Dorn ....................... Mutilor
Christopher Smith ................. Traag
Michael Bell ......................... Captain Grimalkin, Sahavi Alien

Grade: A-

Review: Another solid episode. So far, season two has been nothing but great. The animation is great and after two episodes where the show seemed like it was trying really hard to be an anime, seeing the classic character designs for T-Bone and Razor is refreshing. And after the washed out look of A Bright and Shiny Future and the dark and dreary night scenes of Mutation City, this episode looks fantastic, bright and colorful taking place on a beautiful summer day. The character designs are great. Mutilor looks amazing, as does Traag, and while I wish there'd been some more variety in the character designs of their henchmen, said henchmen still look impressively bulky and threatening. The Aqueons are also fun, in a "Star Trek rubber forehead alien" kinda way. The action sequences are good, too. But of course, nothing is perfect; in addition to the animation budget friendly army of henchman clones, I have two major complaints; firstly, the Thunder-Truck sequence is completely pointless and does nothing except eat up time that Chance and Jake could've spent repairing the Turbokat, and I also don't like the ending because although a big deal was made out of Feral thinking Felina is dead, we're never shown a scene where he finds out she's alive.

Trivia:
1. The episode's original title was "Air Raid."
2. Volleyball players Mario and Heidi originally had more scenes.
3. The script didn't originally include Feral finding out Felina had apparently been killed; the scene where Sergeant Talon brings him the discarded bazooka was added in the storyboards.
4. Captain Grimalkin and the Aqueons were originally named Captain Kwi-Ess and the Grimalkins, respectively.
5. When Felina finds the crashed Marauder, it was originally going to be more clear that the pilot was dead and not simply knocked unconscious (with Felina even flat-out saying he's dead).

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2.4. Razor's Edge (9404)

Cast:

Charlie Adler ......................... T-Bone, The Creeplings, Dark Kat's Kommando-Kats
Barry Gordon ......................... Razor
Gary Owens .......................... Commander Feral
Candi Milo ........................... Ann Gora
David Ackroyd ...................... Enforcer Pilot, Newscaster
Lori Alan ............................. Felina
Mark Hamill ......................... Jonny K., Elderly Man, Enforcer Dispatcher
Brock Peters ........................ Dark Kat
Pat Musick .......................... Elderly Woman

Grade: D-

Review: Oh boy. Now I'm in for it. Another fan favorite episode I just plain don't like, or at least find so fundamentally problematic that it brings the entire thing crashing down. First, as usual, the good stuff. Dark Kat is great, no surprise there. The Black Widow was a great bad guy vehicle and the action sequences involving it were mostly solid. The kommando-kats are fun, spooky-looking henchmen and definitely an improvement over the adorable but overall mostly useless Creeplings. The fight between Razor and the fake elderly man in the hospital is also top notch. Alas, all of this is just chunks of goodness in a swirling sea of suck. Firstly, we're asked to believe that the SWAT Kats have never accidentally hurt or killed any innocent bystanders throughout their entire career, which is demonstrably false; I know you're all probably tired of hearing me talk about it, so I'll just say see those two poor Enforcer commandos in Metal Urgency for a prime example. The prime example, I daresay. But, ignoring that, there are two huge problems I have with the plot of Razor accidentally hurting two elderly joggers that just torpedo the entire episode.

First and foremost, the fact that they're fakes undermines any character growth Razor could've had. Rather than learn to be more careful or even to just accept that sometimes in the course of protecting the city there's always the unavoidable danger that someone innocent might get hurt, it's all okay because they're phonies. It was all a scam. A hoax. Razor's only character development therefore is circular; he ends up right back where he started, having learned nothing.

I find this to be cheap. Just cheap. It would've worked better if the couple had been the genuine article and either they forgave him and encouraged him to get back in the saddle and kick Dark Kat's purple fanny, or, a little darker but still interesting, if they hadn't and Razor regained his confidence by deciding that as sorry as he was that they'd been hurt, he was letting their negative opinion of him define who he was, prompting him to return to the fold with T-Bone in spite of the fact he doesn't earn the elderly couple's forgiveness (while still learning to be more careful, of course).

And lastly, Dark Kat's entire plan hinged on everyone from the paramedics to the doctors, nurses and other staff at Megakat Memorial being utter incompetent clods. If they had to go with it all being a setup, then Dark Kat should've paid two actual elderly scam artists to injure themselves for the part. Instead, since they're not only not hurt but also actually two young people wearing old people masks, even the most cursory examination would've, should've, revealed the whole thing; and considering the extent of their supposed injuries, they would've required x-rays and close examinations by doctors, especially when the casts were being put on. The only way it could've come off is if everyone working at Megakat Memorial is a dunderhead or if Dark Kat greased a lot of palms. Neither of which is so much as remotely suggested.

And this is entirely subjective, but, as cool as they are, the kommando-kats are woefully underutilized. They beat up one guard and then blow up a door. Big whoop. They never get a fight scene with the SWAT Kats. One more nail in this episode's coffin. So, I'm sorry, I know Razor's Edge is an episode a lot of people consider a favorite or at least hold in high regard, but it's just too maudlin and full of trite sentimentality, improbabilities and plot holes to be really any good.

And this is the final thing I'll say about it, I swear. Razor's angst, while not out of character, feels forced, especially when it affects his performance; this is the same guy who shrugged off the fact he failed to save an entire subway train full of people from getting slimed to death and he lets the injury, not death but just injury, of two old joggers affect him to the point where he refuses to fire at the Black Widow and then basically quits (or at least strongly considers quitting), meaning a good chunk of the destruction Dark Kat wreaks past a certain point is Razor's fault because he would rather wallow in self-pity than be proactive and make what happened to the people he thinks he hurt mean something by busting the bad guy.

Trivia:
1. The "hurt" civilians who were really villains were originally going to attempt to escape the hospital in a helicopter being used as an air ambulance after Razor discovers the truth about them. This does not appear to have gotten past the very early concept art stage.
2. Dark Kat's robberies (particularly of Megakat Super Conductors) were originally written to take place during the day, to highlight how brazen the attacks were. In the finished episode, the entire story takes place at night (the same night, too, apparently).

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2.5a. Cry Turmoil (9421)

Cast:

Charlie Adler ......................... T-Bone, Jumbo Jet Captain
Barry Gordon ......................... Razor
Tress MacNeille ...................... Callie Briggs
Jim Cummings ....................... Mayor Manx
Gary Owens .......................... Commander Feral
Lori Alan ............................. Felina
Kath Soucie .......................... Turmoil
Jennifer Hale ........................ Lieutenant, Guard, Omega Squadron Pilot

Grade: B+

Review: Now on to a fan favorite I'm not going to tear a new one, despite it not exactly being a favorite of mine. Firstly, let's get this out of the way. The story is mostly decent. I like the Sky-Lion and the Vertigo Beam. But I've always felt, perhaps a little unfairly, that a large part of the enjoyment one gets from this episode is dependent on whether a hot female villain with an army of hot female soldiers is your "thing." Given the way Lance Falk discusses Turmoil, it's clear to be that her being sexy and having a sexy army of hot military babes is intended to be a big draw, but, as a gay guy (or at least a bi guy with a strong preference for other males), Turmoil and her sexy lady army don't do much for me in that department, so one of the main reasons to enjoy Cry Turmoil is already out the window for me. And that's probably for the best; liking Turmoil and her troops because they're hot before one likes them because they're competent and dangerous is a little... I dunno. I don't wanna say sexist. But as a gay guy for whom Turmoil does little to nothing in the sex appeal department, I can instead approach and appreciate the character from a much more objective standpoint.

Although I find her to be a little too easily taken in by T-Bone, Turmoil is nevertheless a strong and intelligent if somewhat played out megalomaniacal extortionist with a big scary vehicle and a cool superweapon, which is fine, par for the course for this show, and the fact her soldiers and pilots are all women is just a detail to me; beside the point. They're just effective (or ineffective, depending) as the male underlings throughout the series; I buy them as a threat but also role my eyes at how they miss every single shot the fire, but accept it because that's the life of a minion in any action story and therefore a none-issue. I just wish the lieutenant got a name. Given the amount of screentime she gets and the fact she's Turmoil's second in command, I figure if any of the Sky-Lion's crew deserved a name it's her.

Regarding the central romance itself, as mentioned, I think Turmoil falls for T-Bone a little too easily, practically before she's even met him, and she trusts him too easily as well. Another issue is the Vertigo Beam. It's really only ever used twice, at least effectively. For what's supposed to be the big main threat of the story, it sure is underutilized. I get that both of these issues are the result of Falk having to cram what was originally a regular length episode down into a short, but problems are problems regardless of the reasons for them.

Lastly, I'll close with some more positives. T-Bone looks fetching AF in the uniform Turmoil gives him (even though I'm unsure why she had a male uniform aboard when her entire crew are women). And when he throws Razor out the airlock, I love that he makes a point of literally kicking him in the butt. That was funny. All in all, Cry Turmoil is a solid episode, but should've been a regular length one. It would've fixed basically all the problems it has. As for Falk's original idea, no. Just no. I just don't see Feral turning evil. Which is another point in the final version's favor, short as it is; at least it doesn't ruin Feral's character. Buzz Potamkin is one of the show's unsung heroes for reining in some of the writers' more bizarre excesses, even if his reasons for doing so weren't the best. He's like the Michael Eisner of SWAT Kats.

Trivia:
1. How Razor defeats the guard on the deck of the Sky-Lion is different in the script. Instead of overpowering her and leaving her tied to his Ejektor seat, he just knocks her off the side. However, all the guards wear parachutes, so she survives. In the finished episode, we never find out exactly what happens to her after Razor covers her with a sheet.
2. Despite the change in who Turmoil falls in love with (T-Bone, not Feral), Commander Feral was apparently originally supposed to appear on one of the Enforcer speedboats when the Enforcers are arresting Turmoil's parachuting guards and crew at the end. There's a size comparison sheet for him in the episode's model sheets. However, the speedboats are only shown once briefly and it's difficult to tell whether Feral is aboard one of them. It's possible he's on the closest one, but this cannot be confirmed.

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2.5b. SWAT Kats Unplugged (9422)

Cast:

Charlie Adler ......................... T-Bone, Enforcer Pilot, Gold Train Gunner
Barry Gordon ......................... Razor
Gary Owens .......................... Commander Feral
Candi Milo ............................ Ann Gora
Rob Paulsen ........................... Hard Drive
Nick Chinlund ......................... Chopshop
Andre F. Stojka ....................... Dr. Ohm, Enforcer Dispatcher

Grade: B

Review: This episode was okay. It feels rushed and crammed with too much stuff. The opening sequence with Chopshop amounts to nothing, and although the Anti-Weapon Scrambler is a fun idea, I think it could've been utilized better. How, though, I'm not sure, since on the surface it seems like the episode squeezed all the potential out of it that it could. And yet it still feels like it was underutilized or at least not utilized effectively. And Hard Drive's scheme to rob a gold shipment, while not bad in and of itself, feels more like something some other villain would do, meaning you could've substituted any other villain for Hard Drive and not changed a thing except how he gets into Puma-Dyne to steal the Anti-Weapon Scrambler in the first place. They should've either ditched Chopshop entirely and given more screentime to Hard Drive, or used another villain, either Chopshop himself (thus justifying his inclusion), or perhaps the Metallikats, as I can see them being interested in something like the Weapon Scrambler. Nevertheless, despite these problems, the episode's brisk, breakneck pace means none of it matters and it's just a fun little extra adventure tacked on to the end of Cry Turmoil. Loads of fun.

Trivia:
1. The episode's original title was slightly different, written as "SWAT Kats... Unplugged."
2. Final appearance of Hard Drive.

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2.6. The Deadly Pyramid (9405)

Cast:

Charlie Adler ......................... T-Bone, Enforcer Commando, Henson, Mummy Commandos
Barry Gordon ......................... Razor
Tress MacNeille ...................... Callie Briggs
Jim Cummings ....................... Mayor Manx, Enforcer Pilot
Gary Owens .......................... Commander Feral
Keene Curtis ......................... The Pastmaster
Linda Gary ........................... Dr. Abby Sinian
George Hearn ....................... Professor Hackle
Perry King ............................ Randall, Bus Driver, Enforcer Dispatcher

Grade: A

Review: This is the best SWAT Kats has ever looked and likely the best it will ever look (until Revolution comes out, anyway). Despite my professed dislike of the episodes where the show is trying too hard to be an anime, I can't deny that this episode is gorgeous to look at and has buttery smooth animation. I don't even mind Razor's latest pointless redesign. He looks friggin' adorable. There's so much to love in this episode. Cybertron is cute and kicks much booty. The giant mummies are awesome. The action sequences are almost all great except for one (which I'll get to). The Pastmaster is his usual melodramatic, short-tempered self (although I dislike how his mouth is animated). I have only two complaints: Cybertron's fate is left unfairly unresolved (until the script for Turmoil 2, that is), and I felt that the final battle where Razor fights the Pastmaster while T-Bone handles Katchu Picchu to be underwhelming; the magic headdress just gets smashed and Katchu Picchu melts, the end. That and, as epic as the Pastmaster falling screaming into molten lava was (so is he dead or what?), the collapsing lair gimmick seemed unnecessary. All in all, a solid episode. And a shout out to the Enforcer pilot who gets such great lines as "You're under arrest! Drop the bus!" and even gives the SWAT Kats the kinda sass that would make Feral proud. A shame he ends up being killed. Oh well.

Trivia:
1. Katchu Picchu's original name was Kat-Ho-Tep.
2. The reason the giant mummies are canonically called "mummy commandos" and carry what amount to laser guns is because they were originally going to be deployed from a giant flying base as soldiers, and not be quite as large as they ended up being in the finished episode.
3. Final appearance of the Pastmaster, Dr. Sinian and Professor Hackle.

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2.7. Caverns of Horror (9407)

Cast:

Charlie Adler ......................... T-Bone, Enforcer Commando, Miner #2, Miner #4, Mutated Scorpions
Barry Gordon ......................... Razor
Gary Owens .......................... Commander Feral
Candi Milo ............................ Ann Gora
Lori Alan .............................. Felina
Mark Hamill .......................... Jonny K., Taylor, Miner #1
Ed Gilbert ............................. Tiger Conklin, Miner #3

Grade: B+

Review: This is another episode that seems like it should've worked but ultimately didn't. The premise is solid. The execution, however, is lackluster. Except for the leader, I don't like the scorpions' design; they're too top-heavy and look like they've been hitting some subterranean gym. I really don't know why they have such bulky upper bodies and tiny lower ones with short legs. Another problem is that despite its title, the episode never really manages to build a good, spooky atmosphere; what should've been dark and creepy mine tunnels and gloomy caverns end up being just kind of black backgrounds for mostly uninteresting and poorly staged fights (this episode's animation isn't bad, but it is mediocre).

Part of the problem is there's no suspense. It's the SWAT Kats and Felina going after Ann Gora, and we know they're all gonna make it. The story showed some promised early on with the initial rescue party consisting of Felina, Taylor, some miners and a few Enforcers in addition to the disguised Ann, but the extraneous characters are sent back to the surface and stay there for the remainder of the episode, and since we know the SWAT Kats, Felina and Ann aren't going to die, and that the missing miners are all already dead, there's nobody to be in suspense over whether they'll live or die. Rather than having the initial expedition high-tail it back to the surface, the SWAT Kats should've joined them. Over the course of the episode, a few miners and Enforcers could've bought it, with Taylor, a couple of miners and maybe one Enforcer surviving to the end. It would've meant more characters to keep track of, but would've made it a much more suspenseful story.

Then there's Conklin. The character has no resolution. He is neither arrested nor killed off. He simply gets launched out of the episode when the scorpion leader bursts through the ground under him and sends him flying away to who knows where. Speaking of whom, although I complained about the regular scorpions' design, the leader's design is pretty inspired. He's got better proportions and I love how he kinda looks like a dragon. In addition, as bizarre and out of left field as it is, the neck-stretching ability was a lot of fun.

And I can't finish without mentioning the scene. You know the one. The one that almost gave this episode a "B-." What fool decided it was a good idea to have T-Bone throw the person they came down there to rescue in the first at one of the giant scorpions, knocking them both off a cliff...?

Trivia:
1. The episode's original title was "Caverns of Hell."
2. The monsters were not originally mutated scorpions but worm-like creatures with rock bodies (shaped like draconic scorpions), and they could actually come out of their shells entirely; concept art depicts one of them launching itself out of its own neck (!) and wrapping around T-Bone.

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2.8a. Volcanus Erupts! (9423)

Cast:

Charlie Adler ......................... T-Bone, Pitchman, Enforcer Dispatcher
Barry Gordon ......................... Razor
Jim Cummings ....................... Mayor Manx
Gary Owens .......................... Commander Feral
Candi Milo ............................ Ann Gora
Frank Welker ........................ Volcanus, Bulldozer Operator
Robert Ito ............................ Mr. Young
Clyde Kusatsu ........................ Islander

Grade: B

Review: Often derided and dismissed, this is probably the most objectively well-executed of the shorts. It uses its runtime effectively. The problem is introduced, inflicted upon the hapless population and then neatly dispensed with. There's nothing extraneous, no fat that needs trimming. It's a lean, mean machine that gets right to the action, but without rushing headlong into it so wildly that it becomes a confusing mess of unrealized potential like SWAT Kats Unplugged. I can't really think of too much in this episode to complain about. The animation is great, Volcanus is a fun monster, I liked seeing more of Mr. Young and his business partners, etc. The unsung hero of the story is the speedboat driver; not everyone can dodge giant flying fireballs! Okay, I thought of one issue; the old islander guy just disappears halfway through. He doesn't even turn up again at the end. Oh well. I couldn't give this episode an "A" despite all that I've praised in it because although they're solid elements adding up to a solid whole, it suffers the same problem as The Wrath of Dark Kat and The Metallikats in that it just isn't very interesting overall. After all, something can be objectively proficient and well-executed and yet not interest me terribly.

Trivia:
1. The construction worker who hit the Talisman Stone originally got in the speedboat with Manx, Young and the others, and made it to the mainland. In the finished episode, he just keeps running down the beach while everyone else hops into the boat and he's never seen again.
2. Deleted Scene: A panicking Manx hails a cab and demands the driver take him and Young to the airport, intending to flee the city. Although it was deleted, Manx can still be seen running towards the cab on TV (when he's yelling "Help! That demon's destroying my city!").
3. Final appearance of Jonny, Mr. Young and Mr. Young's two associates.

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2.8b. The Origin of Dr. Viper (9424)

Cast:

Charlie Adler ......................... T-Bone
Barry Gordon ......................... Razor
Tress MacNeille ...................... Callie Briggs
Jim Cummings ....................... Mayor Manx, Sgt. Talon, Emil, Morgue Attendant
Gary Owens .......................... Commander Feral
Frank Welker ........................ Dr. Viper
Paul Eiding ........................... Dr. N. Zyme

Grade: A

Review: This is the other short that should've been a full-length episode. Like SWAT Kats Unplugged, there's just too much stuff crammed into it, much of it not really relevant to the plot; the Reflex Room scenes exist solely to give the SWAT Kats something to do in a story that doesn't actually involve them until near the end. The only payoff is the gag where T-Bone's boomerang knocks off Manx's toupee instead of chopping his head off like he did with the cardboard cutout (the latter of which I admittedly liked, for the same reason I liked the bit in The Ghost Pilot; Manx is a fun character to abuse and having bad things happen to images of him is hilarious). Initially, I found Viper's origin as a lowly lab assistant to be underwhelming, as I expected something a bit grander, but in hindsight I think it works to the character's benefit to have him start out as a weaselly, conniving backstabber who has to resort to stealing other people's ideas, mostly because, as much as I love Viper, I'm not sure I want him to have a sympathetic backstory. I feel like he's robbed of something fundamental if he doesn't start out as a complete and utter slimeball; after all, Viper's greedy and selfish nature are so fundamental to what makes him such a scary, sadistic villain.

And we can't discuss this episode without discussing Dr. Zyme and my eternal disappointment and anger at his being killed off way back in The Giant Bacteria. It's nice to see him again and playing an active role in the story, and he gets more character development in this one short episode than most other characters get throughout the entire series... but that's actually kind of an unintentional problem. Since he's dead, this is posthumous character development, and all making him such a sweet, gentle, idealistic scientist who wants to help people does is remind us of what was lost when Glenn Leopold decided to so casually kill him off back in season one, and it just deepens the hurt. When I watch this episode, I'm watching a guy who is going to die. It's kind of depressing.

Moving on to Dr. Viper himself, although he's great in this episode, I feel like he goes from zero to crazy-go-nuts in basically no time. Purvis is only interested in stealing his boss' idea for fame and profit, while Viper suddenly wants to mutate everyone. Where did this, one of the fundamental driving goals of this character, come from? I feel like there needed to be a scene, probably of him moping in the sewer, where he recovers from the shock of coming back to life as a mutated freak and comes to some kind of epiphany; even if it only makes sense to him because he's gone completely crazy, we needed to see him make that leap from being interested in money to wanting to mutate everyone. Having it occur entirely offscreen is jarring. For an episode called The Origin of Dr. Viper, we sure don't learn a lot about Dr. Viper's motives; we learn a great deal about who he used to be, what he used to be like, but nothing about why he's the way he is now (mentally, I mean). And I know this is petty AF, but where did he get his lab coat? It's not Purvis' (it has different lapels) and he didn't steal it off of the morgue attendant.

And lastly, as with Cry Turmoil, there are problems that arise as a result of the episode's short running time and the fact Glenn Leopold can only cram so much in. Namely, some characters just up and disappear. Sergeant Talon is with Feral at the morgue, and Feral tells him to get flashlights when he's about to investigate the sewer, but he vanishes after that. He isn't one of the Enforcers with Feral later and this is in fact his final appearance outside of a silent cameo in The Dark Side of the SWAT Kats. It's weird because he does go with Feral in the script, but in the finished episode Feral just has two nameless commandos with him. And then there's Zyme. We last see him tied up in the wasp nest thing, and never see him being set free at the end. It's weird seeing him get sidelined and have no resolution after he was such a prominent character up 'til then. Feral himself and his two Enforcers are also last seen stuck in place by the mosquito spit, and are never shown recovering. Again, weird that there's no resolution with them. But I guess those Reflex Room scenes that ate up all that screentime were just really needed.

Trivia:
1. Emil's original name was Smitty. It's possible his full name is "Emil Smitty," though this not confirmed.
2. Unused monsters for the episode included giant leeches. Viper would've created them the same way he did the mosquitos and wasps, by thrusting his fist into a jar full of the creatures so they can drink his blood, and the concept art is quite gruesome, with the leeches actually digging into Viper's flesh like maggots.
3. The original name for the Viper Mutagen was the Purvis-Zyme Regenerative Formula, or PZ368 for short. It also originally used lizard, not snake, extract. This is the last remaining evidence that Dr. Viper was originally intended to be part lizard, not part snake; in the final episode, of course, it is explicitly called Viper Mutagen and uses viper (i.e. snake) extract, making Viper canonically part snake.
4. Deleted Scene: As he comes back to life and turns into Dr. Viper, Purvis gets off the slab and we see his changing shadow cast against the wall.
5. Given its production number, it's possible The Origin of Dr. Viper was the final episode of the show to be completed before it was cancelled.
6. The little old lady from Night of the Dark Kat and Enter the Madkat appears as one of the "innocent civilian" cardboard cutouts in the Reflex Room.
7. Final appearance of Callie, Mayor Manx and Dr. Zyme.

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2.9. The Dark Side of the SWAT Kats (9424)

Cast:

Charlie Adler ......................... T-Bone, Evil T-Bone, The Creeplings, Enforcer Pilot
Barry Gordon ......................... Razor, Evil Razor
Tress MacNeille ...................... Evil Callie Briggs
Gary Owens .......................... Commander Feral
Lori Alan .............................. Felina
Brock Peters ......................... Dark Kat
Loren Lester ........................ Enforcer Guard, Puma-Dyne Guard

Grade: B-

Review: I'm sorta running outta steam here and, besides, I don't have a lot to say about this episode except to say that it's decent. But I had to detract from its grade because considerably little is done with the alternate universe angle. Only the SWAT Kats and Callie are different. Everything else is exactly the same from what we see. I did like that the evil SWAT Kats are portrayed as dumb brutes who can barely get anything done, although this does beg the question of how, then, they've been able to evade capture for so long. Oh well. I have nothing else to say about this one. It was okay.

Trivia:
1. Final appearance of Dark Kat, the Creeplings and Sergeant Talon.
2. The script featured an extended aerial battle between the two Turbokats, with the evil one plunging through the blimp, puncturing it, forcing the good SWAT Kats to rescue the passengers and crew in the falling gondola.
3. The script makes it more obvious that the Evil SAT Kats die as a result of the Mega-Bomb disintegrating their Turbokat, whereas the finished episode leaves it (somewhat) more ambiguous.

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2.10. Unlikely Alloys (9408)

Cast:

Charlie Adler ......................... T-Bone, Zed, Vault Supervisor, Tab Mouser
Barry Gordon ......................... Razor
Tress MacNeille ...................... Callie Briggs
Gary Owens .......................... Commander Feral
Candi Milo ............................ Ann Gora, Enforcer Dispatcher
Lori Alan .............................. Felina
Neil Ross ............................... Mac
April Winchell ......................... Molly, Puma-Dyne Scientist
Nick Chinlund ......................... Dr. Leiter Greenbox

Grade: A

Review: The final (finished) episode of season two and another good, solid outing. The animation is great, even if Razor is once again redesigned for no reason I can readily determine. The visuals and action sequences are great. Mac and Molly are wonderful as usual and I love how much they're shown to care about one another. My only issues are that I'm not sure why Zed does... well, anything. At first, it's obvious he's being influenced by Mac and Molly, but after he strikes out on his own, his motivation is hazy and inconsistent. He says he needs to find his purpose. Since he started as a repair device, shouldn't his programming make him think that that is his purpose? Greenbox's explanation of him being "contaminated" by the Metallikats' "criminal tendencies" doesn't work because if that were the case, he'd want to commit robberies, but he flat out says he has no interest in money. Then suddenly he seems to have discovered his purpose offscreen, as he mentions "total domination of Megakat City." Where did that come from? And evidently he still wasn't entirely sure about that until fusing with Greenbox, because after having found his purpose, he... finds it again? Weird. I won't even question why he decides conquering the city is his purpose because of course it is, he's a villain in a SWAT Kats episode. What I would've liked is an explanation of why he chose the name "Zed."

The second issue I have is Greenbox's characterization. Much like Purvis when he turned into Viper, Greenbox goes from a normal, sane guy to absolu-freaking-lutely bonkers out of nowhere, essentially becoming a different character. But if nothing else the scenes of him merged with Zed are really creepy and effective. And speaking of effective, the scenes with the Mega-Beam are some of the most visually and even emotionally powerful sequences in the entire show. First, the test shot. The visual of the mountain being wiped out of existence as the white light bathes a startled, speechless Feral and Felina is just awe-inspiring in a terrible, apocalyptic kinda way. Then the attempted second shot, this time at the city. I daresay that outside of the Doomsday Device and Mutilor trying to crash the Aqueon mothership into the whole dang planet, this is the closest Megakat City has ever come to such total and complete destruction, and the shot of Zed turning the cannon on his arm around to aim at the city, while Felina gives a pitiful, helpless cry of "No!" from down below, all with thay emotionless voice counting down with detached disinterest is chilling and makes my heart leap into my throat. It's so effective I forgive how easily it's resolved by having T-Bone just knock the micro-brain repair unit (the real "Zed") off of Greenbox's head and that's that. Unlikely Alloys was not intended to be the final episode, but this sequence, the mountain being destroyed and then Zed preparing to do the same to the city, and all the raw emotion and tension crammed in, make it feel like the final episode.

And finally, I have to give a shout to one of SWAT Kats' greatest strengths, its supporting characters. I love the vault supervisor who stands up to the Metallikats. Dude had serious backbone, and probably saved the life of the guy Mac picked up. And then there's Tab Mouser and his terrifying game show host grin. I shouldn't like him - his character design is scary in an uncanny valley kind of way and he's just a throwaway nothing reporter with the personality of a rock - but I just get a delightful kick out of him nevertheless.

Trivia:
1. Zed's name is shown as "ZED" in all caps in the script, suggesting it's an acronym for something, though we're not told what.
2. Final appearance of T-Bone, Razor, Commander Feral, Felina, Mac, Molly, Dr. Greenbox and Ann Gora.
3. Although the last episode to be completed, three more were left unfinished by the series' cancellation (Succubus!, Turmoil 2: The Revenge and The Doctors of Doom). Although not necessarily non-canon, Lance Falk has insisted they're not exactly canon, either, due to never being finished.

And thus ends what I think are my truest feelings about each individual episode.

And keep in mind, and this says a lot about how I feel about this show; even the ones I rated poorly and raked over the coals have something worthwhile to offer.
1 x
R.I.P. Gary Owens (1936-2015)

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