Blowout! - The Katastrophe We Never Got

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Blowout! - The Katastrophe We Never Got

Post by Kooshmeister » Wed May 25, 2016 10:47 am

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Double meaning intended! :lol:

Now that the furor over Succubus! has died down, it's time, I think, to turn to another episode we never got, specifically, Lance Falk's version of Katastrophe, which was going to be called Blowout! (again, the exclamation point is part of the title). But whereas Succubus! was apparently destined to get made, never gracing our television sets only due to Hanna-Barbera pulling the plug, this got shelved and replaced with a different script by Glenn Leopold, which became the season one finale we all know and love.

But what was Blowout! going to be like? Well, it can be read in its entirety on the fan fiction archive of all places here: http://skfanfic.com/authors/lance-falk/blowout

I only bring it up since despite its being there on the archive, I never really see any discussion of it. Perhaps because it's old news. I remember reading the script way back in '97 or '98, so it's clearly been with us for a good long while. Perhaps, then, everything that can be said about it has been said, but a quick search of the forum reveals the only mention of it by name was by me, and recently, so perhaps we ought to revisit it and discuss its pros and cons. I don't know the full story of why it was rejected and the task of doing the finale was given to Leopold, or how close we came to actually getting it, but still, if things had gone differently, it would've been the season one finale, and so I consider it worth at least getting its own thread. Plus some relative newcomers who don't go digging through the fan fiction site might be unaware of it.

So, I guess I'll start. My opinion of the script is mixed. I remember dismissing it as excessive in comparison to the more subdued Katastrophe, and my opinion upon rereading it now hasn't changed. In fact, it's often so over the top it seems a little odd that Lance Falk of all people did the more over the top script and Glenn Leopold did the more grounded one we eventually got. It almost feels backwards somehow (no offense to either writer, I associate more SWAT Kats' sober scripts with Falk - even Destructive Nature, with all of its goofy plant monsters, didn't quite reach the heights of absurdity Blowout! does at times).

My thoughts, covering just where the two are similar enough to overlap:

The script has many similarities to Katastrophe, in fact, enough that I'm guessing both Falk and Leopold were given similar marching orders: to build a story around certain elements and setpieces: begin with a robbery, have Dark Kat, Dr. Viper and the Metallikats team up, have them kidnap Callie and Mayor Manx, and have the SWAT Kats forced to accept assistance from Feral at some point, and end the episode by killing off at least Dark Kat, seemingly conclusively. Both scripts do all of these things, but some differences which I'll list below:

The Robbery: Blowout! gives us two, one connected to the main plot, one not (sorta); Dark Kat's Creeplings break into Enforcer Headquarters to steal the Metallikats' heads, rather improbably stealthily taking out an Enforcer commando (a rare instance of the Creeplings being useful), and then we cut to Dr. Viper trying to obtain Katalyst 100 and being thwarted by the SWAT Kats. The SWAT Kats defeat them with minimal property damage. In Katastrophe, the two robberies are combined into both Viper and Dark Kat being after the same thing, and the Metallikats' heads are obtained later on. This makes things less complicated.

Viper's Monsters: As well all know, Dr. V's trusty assistant in this outing is your friend and mine, Fungusface the mushroom monster. But in Blowout!, he's MIA and the wily doctor has quite a few other critters, particularly a trio of giant plant creatures he calls "Mega-Trees" (even though one is a cactus). These are killed off right at the beginning, and never reappear; Viper later replaces them first with half bug, half plant things called "Venus Trap-Flies" and eventually a living topiary hedge monster shaped like an elephant, neither of which last very long and are disposed of pretty quickly. As creative as they are, it just works better to have only one mutant assistant be with Viper for the duration. It helps, too, that the mushroom monster, as realized, has quite a bit of quirky personality to him (small wonder he's a fan favorite).

Dark Kat's Idea: In Blowout!, Dark Kat already has the idea for the team-up when he approaches Viper, having already obtained Mac and Molly's heads. In later dialogue with Callie (ironically long after Viper has exited the story), Dark Kat explains he (somehow) engineered Viper's attempt to obtain the katalyst without Viper knowing it, all to get Viper into a position whereby they could "coincidentally" run into one another. This seems weak to me, and I prefer how Leopold did it, where Dark Kat only gets the idea after he realizes they failed because they fought one another instead of cooperating. I'm also unsure precisely how Big D is supposed to have managed it so that Viper's attempt to get Katalyst 100 was his idea when Falk makes it clear that Dr. Viper encountering him in the alley is the first time he's laid eyes on him recently. Another point to Katastrophe.

The Metallikats: Here we get to the first real example of Blowout!, I'm sorry to say, being slightly better. In Katastrophe, Mac and Molly are little more than slaves for Dark Kat, compelled to obey him using the collars. This made it seem less like "four villains join forces" and more like "Dark Kat and Viper do, and force the Metallikats to participate essentially against their will," which makes Dark Kat seem like a chump if he can't control two of his own supposed allies without using shock collars right out the gate. Here, he doesn't need the collars to make anyone do anything; Mac and Molly do try and rebel, but rather than the collars, Dark Kat is protected by a personal force field thingie that deflects their gunfire. Unable to harm him, they resolve to cooperate for now, compelled to listen to his offer without the need for the collars, making Dark Kat seem more persuasive and clever. And Viper, too, since he helps convince them in this version. Also, whereas Katastrophe ignores the issue of what, if anything, the Metallikats remember from Metal Urgency, here Falk actually attempts to have continuity by having Mac mention he has some gaps in his memory he can't account for (and presumably Molly does too). Overall, I think Blowout! treats the Metallikats with a little more respect as characters than Katastrophe eventually did.

Callie and Manx Are Nabbed: A mixed bag. I've always found it strange that neither Callie nor Manx recognized Mac, when the mask he wears while posing as their chauffeur is exactly the same as his real (old) face, just without the scar, and his voice doesn't wouldn't fool anymore. Plus they, especially Callie, just accept the newcomer without much question or any hint of suspicion. And while having someone pose as the chauffeur is effective, is seems simplistic and a little too off the cuff for someone like Dark Kat, who seems like he prefers his schemes pointlessly complicated. I guess even he realizes simple is best sometimes, but still. On the up side, the scene where Mac tears the mask off in the limo and shoots them with knockout gas is surprisingly effective, and reminds me of a scene from the Doctor Who serial Terror of the Autons. In Blowout!, the pair are tricked into attending a banquet being held by "Mega-Charities," who I think send a car for them, neatly explaining the new driver, and Callie even gets to act suspicious since she's never heard of the organization. The trap isn't sprung until they arrive at their destination. On the down side, Falk wants us to believe anyone, even Manx, would be fooled by Creeplings stacked on top of one another wearing trenchcoats posing as reporters. Really, Lance? Really? :lol:

And on a personal note, Falk's script calls for Manx and Callie to be wearing expensive formal attire in anticipation of the (nonexistent) banquet, which would've provided an interesting change from their basic outfits.

Dark Kat's Hideout: I love Katastrophe, but Dark Kat's abandoned tuna factory lair is just another big empty warehouse like all of the other big empty warehouses we've seen in the show before and since, with nothing remarkable about it. It gets the job done, but I have to admit, the MegAmusement Park hideout Falk wouldve given us in Blowout! is way more interesting. This is purely personal opinion, though.

The SWAT Kats' Performance: In Katastrophe, our heroes never directly engage Viper or the Creeplings at the beginning, and end up accidentally blowing up Megakat Biochemical Labs, which ends up getting Feral on their case. In Blowout!, they take out Viper and his Mega-Trees in a more direct fight, one which actually doesn't end with the lab getting blown up. Consequently, Feral isn't introduced until a little later, when Dark Kat broadcasts that he has Manx and Callie. Although I feel this makes Blowout! a little too economical, and I like the added subplot of Feral being after them for the lab's destruction, I think Leopold bungled it in his version; firstly, it doesn't go anywhere, and is never resolved (the SWAT Kats don't ask for it to be forgiven at the end in return for saving Manx and Callie, even though that would've been the perfect time), and also I've never liked how they try and justify it. Razor says "Dr. Viper and the Creeplings were stealing stuff in there!" says Razor, which doesn't excuse accidentally blowing the building up. Even as needlessly destructive as the SWAT Kats can be, Razor's attempt to justify blowing the entire building up is just weak. When you see a convenience store being robbed, you don't fire a rocket launcher into it and blow everything up, including the merchandise. It would've made more sense for them to continually (correctly) protest that it was an accident and they didn't mean to. So as much as I like the added "Feral wants to nab the heroes" subplot, it's handled poorly and so I prefer the version where the lab isn't destroyed, and consequently Feral isn't actively pursuing them, so points to Blowout!

Callie: Poor Callie in Katastrophe is effectively removed from the action completely. The most she does is... booty bump Viper into the force field bubble, after all the villains including him have been conclusively defeated. Big help there, Ms. Briggs, thanks a lot. In Blowout!, well, she's basically the same except she more actively participates in the action in the finale, directly attacking Creeplings, and she does it before the outcome of the battle is determined, making her seem braver and less passive. It isn't much, but it's an improvement.

Viper: In Blowout!, Feral knocks Dr. Viper out and arrests him early in the third act, so he is not aboard Dark Kat's Fear Train for the final battle. Glenn Leopold kept him around for Katastrophe's finale, but you can clearly see how he is essentially inserted awkwardly into scenes that didn't originally include him, the final battle particularly, wherein after knocking a Creepling into Fungusface's mouth and ducking some laser fire, he disappears completely until he's shown trying to sneak out. This is a mixed bag. Although I like more screentime for the good doc, I wish Leopold had tried harder to integrate him into the action.

Dark Kat Intending to Betray His Allies: Mark Lungo once complained that Dark Kat is far too transparent in his intention to doublecross his allies and dispose of them once he has no further use for them, since he can't keep his big mouth shut and talks about it loudly in front of them (Dark Kat, I mean, not Mark Lungo). Blowout! handles this slightly better. Although from the outset all three individual factions of the evil alliance make it plain they're only cooperating as long as the SWAT Kats are alive, Dark Kat doesn't actually start shooting his mouth off about doublecrossing anyone until one ally, Viper, is already in Enforcer custody, and the other two are (he thinks) somewhere else. He's thus undone not by his loose tongue, but because Mac and Molly picked that moment of all moments to enter the engine room from another part of the train. Oops.

Anyway, I have more thoughts, but they can wait, and this post is massively long enough already, so I'll leave you guys with all that to chew on for now. :lol:
Last edited by Kooshmeister on Tue Nov 27, 2018 1:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Blowout! - The Katastrophe We Never Got

Post by Kooshmeister » Sat May 28, 2016 4:40 pm

So as I did with Succubus!, I've done a summary of the script's events, and sent it Matt's way for inclusion on the site. It's a little shorter than that one because there's a lot less plot; as I note in the summary, if Blowout! has a truly fundamental problem (besides the usual ones which plague the show), it's that Falk is ruthlessly economical and never allows the plot to ever slow down and take a breather, so the story pretty much rushes along nonstop. Had it been produced, it would've been one of the series' fastest-paced episodes ever.
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Re: Blowout! - The Katastrophe We Never Got

Post by MoDaD » Sat May 28, 2016 6:14 pm

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Re: Blowout! - The Katastrophe We Never Got

Post by Kooshmeister » Sun May 29, 2016 3:26 pm

As Matt so helpfully did for Succubus!, I added an additional little section for Blowout! detailing locations, items and creatures unique to it. All non-canon since unlike the (IMO) quasi-canon Succubus!, nothing in this script is canon because it was never put into production the way Succubus! was.
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Re: Blowout! - The Katastrophe We Never Got

Post by Kooshmeister » Tue Nov 27, 2018 1:28 pm

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