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SWAT Kats 25th Anniversary

Posted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 1:13 pm
by MoDaD
On September 11, 1993, SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron debuted on Turner Broadcasting Network, Hanna-Barbera's aggressive step into the 90s style action/adventure genre. It's a show that everyone here is very familiar with, and has developed a dedicated online cult following that's spanned countless newsgroups, websites, chatrooms, games, social media, fan videos and projects that have extended across 25 years and thousands of people. SWAT Kats has inspired artists, writers, programmers, and designers and has led to the creation of many different fan communities over the years. Due to various international syndication broadcasts, the show's release to DVD, and this year with VRV streaming the show, there have been several new people introduced to SWAT Kats, and still several more reminded of it. There are always new fans introducing themselves, but there are also just as many who have been a part of the online community for decades.


25 Years represents a Quarter Century of Fandom, and while activity can ebb and flow, SWAT Kats retains a strong following. In recent times we've been introduced to an idea called SWAT Kats Revolution, where fans had the opportunity to show that the SWAT Kats fandom is very much alive in having raised a substantial sum for a Kickstarter effort led by Christian and Yvon Tremblay. Unfortunately, this effort has been fought against by individuals in the Hollywood industry, which is not surprising, as unfounded bias against SWAT Kats was at the root of its premature season 2 ending. This has presented a lot of unexpected (and even combative) opposition from various, formerly assumed sympathetic, points of contact at Warner Bros., even leading to certain legal actions of which I'm not permitted to reveal the details of.

To put it simply, SWAT Kats Revolution has had a lot of unexpected setbacks and delays, but it has not been forgotten about.

It's important to keep in perspective that SWAT Kats has been something we've all made it to be in the subsequent decades, and that our online community we've placed so much time and effort in still matters to each of us, and that while the creation of a new show would be a rather vindicating event, it has never been the sole reason for our involvement in this "obscure cartoon." SWAT Kats means something different to each of us. Maybe you liked the characters, or the music, or the animation style, or the world, or premise, or the designs, or the anime-influences, or the voice actors, or perhaps something less easily defined.

I think it’s important to remember that on this 25th Anniversary, that while certain projects related to the future of SWAT Kats may be unknown or even in question, what is certain are the people who’ve made up this fandom for a quarter century. Each and every one of you are SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron, because you’ve kept a show alive that for all intents-and-purposes should have been long ago forgotten about.

For that, I thank each of you, and I look forward to witnessing the future of this fandom with you.

Re: SWAT Kats 25th Anniversary

Posted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:27 pm
by Echo
WOOHOO, happy 25 years SWAT Kats!!! SKLogoIcon BroFistIcon

I made my own little funny review to celebrate, it's not perfect but you might get a laugh.

Once upon a time in 1993, two brothers named Christian and Yvon Tremblay decided to make their own series starring two kat pilots named Chuck and Yeager. These guys fly around and protect their home named Megakat City from all sorts of enemies, including their arch enemy Dark Kat. However down the line they decided to spice it up a bit, make it look like something everyone of any age would enjoy.

And after a bit of revamping, these two badasses were born. Meet TBone and Razor the SWAT Kats, two masked vigilantes sworn to protect others and kick some tail. How do they do it, you ask? By using an arsenal of weapons and vehicles including their prized gem the Turbokat, three engines, tough exterior, retractable wings and a bomb bay that acts like a hammerspace. I mean seriously, have you seen what can fit up there? The Turbokat was created by combining many different spare parts found in their salvage yard. I forgot to mention, they live in a salvage yard as mechanics to pay off a debt for the rest of their lives by their former boss who tried to take the glory for apprehending a villain and caused his employees to crash into a building. Something some aviation fans will notice is that parts of the jet are similar to the Grumman F-14 and the Saab Draken. This jet is not something you want to get into a dogfight with, it will take you down faster than you can say 'mama mia, I'm going down' thanks to the weapons system operator (and my favorite SWAT Kat) Razor. A mechanical genius, karate master, sharpshooter and all around awesome, Razor can take down about any villain that comes his way with anything he can get his paws on. Not to mention he gets all the ladies, I mean seriously who wouldn't like that cinnamon roll. He's so cute and adorable.

Aside from being the WSO, Razor also does plenty of ground recon when needed using his special right-handed gloved weapon called the glovatrix. If that thing was real, I would so buy one. It is also implied that Razor is the youngest of the two as seen in the episode "The Metallikats" when TBone calls Razor 'kiddo' while trying to evade a heat-seeking missile, which explains why TBone always acts like a protective big brother towards him when he's not in the Turbokat. Speaking of big bros let's talk about my second favorite SWAT Kat TBone, if you try to get into a fight with this ball of testosterone filled fury you stand no chance. Extremely strong, cocky, daring and reliable, TBone serves as the pilot inside the turbokat and let me tell you his banks and flips are awesome. In desperate times he will refuse to eject out of his seat and leave the Turbokat as it always comes through for him in the end to the cost of losing some gas, and he doesn't let his partner drive the tow truck when they're their secret identities Chance Furlong and Jake Clawson. Which I find kind of funny, seeing how Chance complains how boring driving the truck is.

These two are the definition of bromance, they deeply care for one another and will always protect each other. Their bond is so sweet and I enjoy their banter with each other, they each have their moments to shine and I think a great moment for Chance was in the episode Razor's Edge. And I know what a lot of you are thinking "but that was a terrible episode, Razor didn't learn anything" and I understand but it's not about that, when Jake is sitting on the couch very depressed while watching the news report, Chance comes over and tries to comfort him. Chance's calming voice really sets the tone at that moment, to me it shows how much he cares for Jake and tries to help him feel better.

Speaking of Chance's tone, it's really interesting to me how it changes when Jake and Chance's favorite customer Callie Briggs visits the garage in "The Giant Bacteria". He puts on this soft velvety bedroom voice facade and it just makes you melt, yet when he talks to her as TBone it turns tough and gravelly. I don't think Jake really as a noticeable tone change when he's Razor though, at least I haven't heard it. I find it funny how no one can tell who the SWAT Kats are and this is mostly due to the Clark Kent effect, the Clark Kent effect happens when someone's outward appearance changes a little bit and no one has a clue. As seen in Superman, which is where I got the term from. I mean really, the guy just wears a pair of glasses and no one knows who he is.

But it's not just the kats that are awesome, it's the weapons. These guys have missiles coming out the ying yang, we got the chainsaw missile, octopus missiles, bolo missiles, scrambler missiles the list goes on and on. Their vehicles are awesome as well, we have the expendable two-seater cyclotron which is destroyed in every episode it shows up in. I'm not kidding either, look it up. Razor's one seater cyclotron, the hoverkat, the turbomole, the turbo atv (I think it's called) and one of the only aquatic vehicles they have, the wavekats. They don't specifically have a name, so I gave them one. You're welcome. But my favorite missile and vehicle? I can't choose, they're all great.

I think one of the funnier things they do is constantly have contests to try and one-up each other, whether it be a pepper-eating challenge, cinder-block breaking challenge, an obstacle course, testing resistance to g-force, training in an indoor obstacle course called the reflex room or spinning in a gyroscope. But it's just not these two that make the show awesome, technically it is but other kats need some spotlight too. There's Mayor Manx, the cowardly mayor of MegaKat City obsessed with golf and doesn't do his own work. Callie Briggs the deputy mayor who Jake and Chance fawn over, mostly Chance. She does all of the mayor's paperwork and is the damsel in distress on a weekly basis, though it is shown she can defend herself at times. Commander Ulysses Feral, the kat who inadvertently created the SWAT Kats after court-martialing Jake and Chance. He doesn't really care for the SWAT Kats because of the damage they cause, but he does thank them from time to time and somewhat cares for them as seen in the episode "Caverns of Horror" when he wishes the SWAT Kats good luck. Unless he was directing it towards Felina, we'll never know.

Felina Feral is a great character, she is Feral's niece and a lieutenant. I ship Felina and TBone so much, those two are adorable together. She's the best pilot and about as quick-witted and sharp-tongued as the SWAT Kats, many people consider her as a third member and I can see it. There are many more allies including the museum curator Abby Sinian, news reporter Ann Gora, and the senile Professor Hackle. There's always plenty of villains for the SWAT Kats to take down, most notably Dark Kat the one who Jake and Chance were chasing when they were still on the force. Mac and Molly Mange the married cyborgs aka the Metallikats, the Pastmaster a time-traveling skeleton with a magic watch, Hard Drive the comedic villain with a 'spark' for evil, and a mutant kat-snake that loves ooze Dr. Viper. There's a lot of fanart of this guy, some of it is good and some of it is let's just say interesting. There are plenty of other villains but these guys are the main ones, there was gonna be a guy named Nimbus that controlled the weather but he was later scrapped. I hope he shows up in Revolution though.

I also love the music in the show, the electric guitar is the best. There's plenty of action to go around, the only problem is that also comes with violence. A few years later Ted Turner decided to cancel SWAT Kats due to the violent nature of the show and replaced it with.... (sigh) Captain Planet, SWAT Kats was way ahead of its' time but if we're lucky Revolution might go to Netflix or something. I will love this show now and forever, no matter how many times I watch through it because I always find something new.

Here's to 25 years SWAT Kats, happy anniversary!~

Re: SWAT Kats 25th Anniversary

Posted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 7:45 pm
by Rusakov
Happy 25th!

It's a real shame WB isn't being supportive, but they've been incompetent for a good while now. RazSilly

Re: SWAT Kats 25th Anniversary

Posted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 11:25 pm
by Cait
For another 25 radical years!!! SKFistIcon But this time, let's make it be revolution years TurmoilIcon

Re: SWAT Kats 25th Anniversary

Posted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 11:27 pm
by Echo
Cait wrote:For another 25 radical years!!! SKFistIcon But this time, let's make it be revolution years TurmoilIcon
WOOOOOT! BroFistIcon MKIcon

Re: SWAT Kats 25th Anniversary

Posted: Tue Sep 11, 2018 12:19 am
by Kooshmeister
All these years and I still remember my first episode. The Giant Bacteria chilled and thrilled me and left its mark on me probably forever, which may explain why I'm so obsessed with it, and I saw it at just the right time and place to become a fan of the show want to see more. Not just of Dr. Viper, but of what other crazy, fun, scary and/or awesome stories SWAT Kats could throw at me. And with a few exceptions, it's never disappointed me. Not entirely. Even its worst episodes are better than most other shows' most mediocre episodes.

SWAT Kats isn't, and never has been, perfect, but there's a charm to it, and, as I discussed on Discord, SWAT Kats is a show based on two things; first and foremost, the "rule of cool," and secondly, less well-known but no less important, is that it is ruthlessly, ruthlessly economical. The only reason we've never seen much outside the city is that the plot has never called for it. Whatever isn't needed for the immediate plot is discarded. Burke and Murray? The less the show focused on Chance and Jake's lives at the salvage yard, the less these two were needed. Gone. We've never seen Steel again because there has never been a need for a treacherous second in command again, and Felina and/or Sergeant Talon fill the role of Feral's right hand(s) in the field, so Steel was jettisoned after two episodes. They only brought him back for Enter the Madkat to address the issue of who would lead the Enforcers with Feral captured. If he hadn't been one of Madkat's targets, Steel wouldn't have appeared, and if the episode had been done after Felina's introduction, I can pretty much guarantee she'd be acting commander with not one mention of Steel.

Some may complain that this approach is a detriment, but I believe it's one of the unintended reasons for the show's longevity with fans. This ruthlessly basic, only-what-we-need-when-we-need-it form of storytelling is, seemingly counter-intuitively, what makes SWAT Kats so much fun and why it's lasted just as long as shows who did better jobs as worldbuilding. Specifically, the show is in, some ways, an open sandbox for fans. With so little set in stone beyond the most basic things, the SWAT Kats universe is a playground for fanfic writers. Meaning that as long as one adheres to "the basics," just about anything a fan writes can fit within the show's universe with minimal adjustment. For example, Dark Kat lacks a concrete origin (the judge thing aside), therefore he has as many fan origins as there are fans, probably.

In short, part of what makes SWAT Kats so great is how well it lends itself to fanon/headcanon; when you, the fan, write, beyond "the basics," it can be whatever you want. So IMO that's at least part of why the series has endured for so long. Just about anyone can take it and put their own spin on it.

Obviously, the fun characters and original concepts (Morbulus, Shard, etc.) help a lot, too. But I don't think the fandom would've lasted this long, regardless of the show's quality, if it hadn't lent itself so readily to fanfic writers. So let's here for it a fandom turning a negative trait into a positive one! RazorHappyCait

Re: SWAT Kats 25th Anniversary

Posted: Tue Sep 11, 2018 10:30 am
by Katney
Ahhh memories of my childhood and how I was at the mercy of non-cable and non-satellite viewing. Also... ManxScared BEFORE THE INTERNET!!! I came in slightly late to the SWAT Kats band wagon, missing the first run episodes of the first season, but I managed to get on during at least the first run of reruns. ... With "Katastrophe!" as my first ever episode. XD That was a lot of new stuff to cram into my 11-year-old brain. But it hooked me and I watched each new episode with great anticipation. Those butterflies in my stomach were murder.

This was years before my family got cable or satellite so I was the mercy of watching the show on a channel that wasn't listed on a TV guide. By the time the second season rolled out it seemed like the air times were very sporadic and commercials announcing the air times were rare. I missed the first 2/3rds of "Mutation City" when it first aired and it wasn't until the clip show that I realized I was missed "Bright and Shiny Future" and "When Strikes Mutilor." And it wasn't until 1997 or so when I was watching a tape my aunt sent of the show (we only had fuzzy videos thanks to being at the mercy of the TV antenna) that I realized "The Dark Side of the SWAT Kats" was a thing!! Oh, how I suffered so. KittyEyesChanceIcon

Thankfully my family invested in satellite and the internet not long after and I learned I didn't miss anything else. SWAT Kats being so obscured where I lived I didn't think there'd be much of it on the internet. Oh, how wrong I was! Fan sites, fan art, fan fiction, fan-insert-here! Met some great people through it, at least one I've known in the 20 years I've been a part of the online fandom and still communicate with today. And how can I mention the people I've known through the fandom without mentioning our own NeeKnight? We met through a SWAT Kats Art RPG in 2005 and somehow we've managed to not scare each other off. XDDD Love ya. CallieKissIcon2 Also, mine.

I've written terrible fan fiction that gradually got better, drew awful fan art that gradually improved to not be crud... I guess it inspired me to be more creative in my work. So while I was a little late to the party and don't partake in every activity at it (though sometimes I wish I did), I'm still there and I'm still enjoying myself. SKLogoIcon

Re: SWAT Kats 25th Anniversary

Posted: Sat Sep 29, 2018 2:34 pm
Wow, has it really been 25 years? Just amazing, I remember when I first saw SWAT Kats in 1993. I was looking for a football game to watch, it was on a Sunday. Suddenly, I flipped to TBS and there were these two cats flying a jet plane, and shooting at a giant bacteria monster. You know what episode that is. Been hooked ever since, especially when I saw Callie for the first time. Yeah I was in my 20's, and she looked like a cat version of Christy Brinkley, my favorite model. Gulp. The overall animation astounded me. Best cartoon ever!!