The Life & Times of an Auteur.

Commentary on Pop Culture, and maybe creating some of my own.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Count Me Out, As of Now



I just watched episode six of "ThunderCats" and, wow, where should I start? I think they have dropped any and all pretense of being more interesting and three dimensional than the original series. The lizards are nothing but evil villains, and Slithe is now the typical Dumbass Minion. Welcome back 80's, it's the White Hats vs the Black Hats. Good is "attractive" and Evil is "ugly." We get the back story on the Book of Omens, and how it was hidden in order to keep it out of the hands of the other animals. The other animals, the lizards, happening to be evil.

So, why did Clawdus send Panthro and Grune on an impossible quest to find the Book of Omens when all he had to do was ask Jagga where it was? The entire premise here just falls apart. Grune's betrayal now makes even less sense than it already did, if such a thing were even possible.

Remember in the premiere when Mumm-Ra was about to transform, but fled due to the rising sun? They made a big deal about sunlight being his weakness. And here he is walking around in broad daylight as if it were nothing. Um, I do not have the attention span of a goldfish. I remember this. You made a pretty huge deal out of it. All they had to do was set this episode at night to avoid this stupidity.

So, the temple just happens to be right next to where Lion-O and his merry felines are camping out. I know this is a kid's show, but kids are much smarter than you give them credit for. Don't insult their intelligence like this. That was cheap, and trust me, they'll know it.

Panthro cannot swim. He was one of the greatest warriors in Thundera. He was skilled, well trained, and the king valued him enough to make him a general. We saw him rise through the ranks. You have this extremely well trained soldier, and he cannot swim. The pampered princes can swim. The cleric can swim. The two annoying brats can swim. The one guy with any real military training cannot swim. Pardon my French but what a crock of shit! And then he finds an exit that just happens to lead to the room above the one being flooded?

Mumm-Ra finally transforms into his more powerful, demonic form. Or whatever it is. In the pilot, in his weaker form, he is able to take out all the clerics, and crush all resistance. In his more powerful form, he cannot defeat a band of five. It was laughable. He was much more intimidating in his withered form, believe it or not.

And I still have no clue why he's supposed to be evil. They had this line where he gloated about killing Clawdus that I guess was supposed to be his "BWA HA HA! I AM EVIL! HA HA HA!" moment, but it falls flat on its face because, again, Clawdus was an evil, bigoted king who was conquering and subjugating others. Oh wait, I forgot, the lizards no longer have a point of view anymore. Cats good, everyone else bad.

We saw a brief flashback where Mumm-Ra commanded a space fleet of ThunderCats. The ThunderCats were once a spacefaring race... and yet, that scene is just thrown at us. I guess we're supposed to find it intriguing, but the way it is presented is more like a "what the hell" moment, instead of easing us into such a revelation. We get no further context, and it is all forgotten about as the episode progresses.

And this is where I step off the wagon. I gave it six episodes. That is far more than a fair shake. I gave "ThunderCats" a chance. But this is it, I'm done. I will not be watching any more episodes after this. Why? Because I hate people who despise TV shows and yet keep coming back week after week, year after year. If you hate a show that much, find something better to do with your time. That's what I'm going to be doing here.

The animation on this show is gorgeous. The character designs are well drawn. The direction and boarding is good. The voice acting is good. But the writing is atrocious. The characters are bland and one dimensional. There is nothing intriguing about the story arc. This is a stupid, stupid, stupid show and I predict it will run for at least five seasons.

Ronald Reagan is dead, and I hope the 80's nostalgia craze joins him soon. And that is all I have to say for the abysmal creative failure that is "ThunderCats." Or, to further drive home how terrible this show is, I would rather watch all of "The Goliath Chronicles" again than endure another second of this crap.

19 comments:

  1. Hmmm, having seen only 10 minutes of one episode (that's all I could get of the pilot on Youtube-since it's not airing in Canada), I'm curious to see how bad it is. The animation quality is there. Having seen the trailers, that's what interested me the most-but as you said, the writing has to be there too. Seems most shows I like never last long. "The legend of Calamity Jane" and "Extreme Ghostbusters" were among them. "Avitar-the Last Airbender" was a rare exception-and that one I stumbled on by accident, not having ever heard of it at the time. Want to suggest any shows you liked that didn't last?

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  2. "So, why did Clawdus send Panthro and Grune on an impossible quest to find the Book of Omens when all he had to do was ask Jagga where it was? The entire premise here just falls apart. Grune's betrayal now makes even less sense than it already did, if such a thing were even possible."

    The only way I see this working is if we assume that Grune was right. That Clawdus concocted the quest as a means of getting rid of what he saw as potential threats to his power. Heck, that actually seems pretty in-character for what we've seen of Clawdus.

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  3. Honestly, I think you're nitpicking here. It feels like you're so focused on pointing out cliches (newsflash: every single show, ALL OF THEM, use copious amounts of cliches) and looking for some Oscar-worthy character drama that you have the inability to just enjoy a simple, fun action show at face value.

    I really hate the "turn your brain off and enjoy it" argument, but I think refusing to like a show because it isn't ambitious enough or doesn't reach some gold standard is just as bad. It's an entertaining, competently made show and there's nothing wrong with that.

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  4. CHDR> Except I don't have that inability. I enjoyed "G.I. Joe Renegades" quite a bit until the finale, which was rushed. I enjoy "Avengers" a lot. Loved "Transformers Animated" And those shows hardly featured "Oscar-worthy character drama."

    I'm sorry, but when a big deal is made about Mumm-Ra being vulnerable to sunlight in the premiere, having him walk around in sunlight without a problem in later episode with no explanation is not the mark of a competently made show.

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  5. I'll give you the Mumm-Ra one, but it just feels like you're writing this show off because of minor nitpicks and the presence of cliches (which by themselves aren't bad or good, it's the execution that counts).

    Oh well, different strokes I guess.

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  6. CHDR> I have to agree with Greg. Little continuity errors can and will happen, but when the writers blatantly ignore something that was a big plot point not more then five episodes ago, it doesn't exactly fill me with confidence.

    Plus I'm really kinda bored by the whole Mumm-Ra/Book of Omens story-arc. I would have enjoyed it far more if they had spent more time exploring the racial tension between the cats and other races like the lizards.

    So far we've got no real sense of how the fall of Thundera has impacted the rest of Third Earth or even what happened the rest of the cat race. There's been a distinct lack of world building since the pilot and that's dissapointing.

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  7. CHDR> I didn't mention cliches in this review at all. But, if you re-read my review for the premiere, I mention that cliches aren't bad in and of themselves, just that they were executed poorly. And I feel that this show is executed very poorly.

    It's an 80's cartoon with better animation. And a lot of the problems this show has are things that television animation should have evolved past two decades ago.

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  8. I agree with most complaints except that you got the thing about Mumm-ra in the daylight wrong. Yes, it was daytime when he was in the forest but the sky was clearly cloudy and gray. With no sunshine. And the LIGHT from the SUN was his weakness. Heck, even at the end it was light from Jaga's sacrifice that drove him away. Go check it on Youtube if you're not convinced.

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  9. I did look again, and that would have to be some overcast for sunshine not to get through. In fact, if no sunlight was getting through, it would be pitch black.

    He was out, it was daylight, it may have been an overcast, but it was still daylight. I look outside my window now, and there is a gray overcast from the remains of Hurricane Irene, but it's still light out, and sunlight is getting through the clouds.

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  10. I'm going to give Greg all these ones. I feel pretty much the same way about ThunderCats--no one was asking for it to do more than bring up the plot points it introduced in the pilot, while altering them to cover the current situation. No dice...these aspects were virtually forgotten, and the series is much poorer for it.

    There are a lot worse things being done than Mumm-Ra by daylight, which I also agree with. Clouds or branches, sunlight still gets through, and why would he take the risk?

    Although, by this point I'm not sure if Mumm-Ra is actually smart enough to realize sunlight comes through three branches and overcast skies. :P

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  11. "Or, to further drive home how terrible this show is, I would rather watch all of "The Goliath Chronicles" again than endure another second of this crap."

    Woah woah woah let's not get too crazy here!

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  12. I know that Shortpacked strip that you attached to this post calls Thundercats a cat version of He-Man. There was a He-man reboot series like ten years ago. How would you compare it to this series if you saw the He-Man 2002 series?

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  13. I didn't see the He-Man series, so I cannot comment on it.

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  14. ... I'm sorry, I was too distracted by that terrible webcomic to read your post, Greg. I'm not a big Thundercats fan, but I could have pooped out a better joke than that.

    "TL;DR"

    Yeah, whatever.

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  15. Well, I kinda watched it a bit further. I'm gonna say this, Greg.

    It's not getting better, it's "go into a village, fight and leave for further adventure"/Shonen Jump formula. It is like this failure anime, Inuyasha.

    BTW I do not recommend if you want to lose brain cells. That and the main protagonist is nothing more a shit-written (emphasis on 'shit') knock-off of Wolverine for furries.

    PopCultureDiva42 on ThunderCats: "It's great for furries."

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  16. Well I almost got to the end ... it wasn't worth it. I wanted to like it I really did. It had potential, it had good animation, it had an interesting setting but the writing. At first I thought it was just the dialogue but looking back the writing in all areas was problematic. The plot meandered, the characters were poorly developed (Lion-o especially sticks out because he had the most development. The problem is that his development is closely related to his relationships with the other characters because he's the leader. Since those relationships aren't focused on at all any growth he has rings false), the villains were hardly present, the romance between Tygra and Cheetara came out of left field, etc. It's a shame, Will Friedle's good voice acting and enthusiasm are wasted. :(

    Also if your interested the show's been canceled. I feel kinda bad for it because it ended on a huge cliffhanger and because cartoon network has been not very good to their cartoons as of late. But I'm honestly not sad to see it go.

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    Replies
    1. Do mind if I ask you a question Greg? In your opinion,how does the new Thundercats cartoon compare to the old one?

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    2. I think they're both terrible. The original was terrible because just about all cartoons from that era was terrible. The newer one was terrible, and from an era when people should have known better.

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    3. Thanks for the speedy reply.
      I appreciate what the newer cartoon tried to do, streamline setting elements of the old cartoon. Instead of landing on a random planet and just run into Mumm-ra they had them all in one place. They created a backstory to explain why there were magic and high technology in this show.
      However, the way they did it raises quite a few questions. For example, how is all the tech that Mumm-Ra gave the Lizards still functional after all these centuries?
      Also, in one episode there was a minor antagonist, who was based off a character from the older show, with a jeep and gun. How did he get that gear in a setting where technology is so rare that people considered it the stuff of fairy tales?

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