The New ThunderCats Is Off to Roaring Start

I think we can all agree that reboots of '80s cartoons—the kind we old people used to watch after school while eating Zooroni (true story)—scare the bejeezus out of us. Why mess with the classics? Some things just shouldn't be remade.

But Cartoon Network has ignored my mental letters of protest and gone ahead with its planned relaunch of ThunderCats. The series debuted on Friday, and it totally sucked. Wait, that's not right. Sorry—force of habit. Actually I just finished watching it, and it's... pawsome.

The new producers of the series have taken some big liberties with the new version, most notably going with a full-on reboot and completely remaking the origin story rather than picking up where the original left off. Combined with the sharp new animation and character tweaks, the new story works well for old folks like me as well as for kids who didn't pop out of the womb during Reaganomics.

But the most impressive part of the new version is how grown up it is, while still appealing to kids. The new series plays out more like an actual serialized television series or an epic movie rather than something meant to babysit your kids while you "work" (or whatever it was Mom actually did). There is some seriously dark stuff in here—like, Bambi-type of dark stuff. But the series also throws in some laughs, and humor and drama are both used well, extending the depth of these anthropomorphic cats. Overall, a very impressive start for something I thought would smell like a week-old litter box.

Twelve years of college and a steady diet of canned, various-shaped pastas consumed during my formative years didn't exactly do wonders for my memory, but there are some pretty sizable changes that even I recognize. They are (with grades and some spoilers from the first two-part premiere!):

Lion-O's start:
In the premiere of the new series, Lion-O didn't start out as a buff, handsome ass-kicking man-lion like he did in the original (he was a kitten in a cat's body, though, as he aged on the trip away from the already exploded home planet of Thundera). Which means that he's now a wishy-washy prince and heir to the title of Lord of the ThunderCats. This probably means we'll see him come into his own as a leader while he's still a young cat, as he learns from mistakes and early successes. Grade: B. Something about young Lion-O young works well here.

Cheetara's rockin' new bod:
In the old cartoon, Cheetara was hot in a Daryl Hanna kind of way. In the new one, she's hot in a Kate Upton way. Grade: A+. Like duh, obviously.

Tygra is Lion-O's adopted brother:
In the old cartoon, Tygra was just another member of the gang, and a bit shy. The new Tygra is a borderline a**hole, cocky, arrogant, and Lion-O's adopted brother. He's also the favored son of Lion-O's dad Claudus, creating a bitter rivalry between the two bros. Grade: B-plus. While it's sad to see one of the originals get such a big makeover, it's better for the story.

Panthro is DEAD?:
In the original, Panthro was like the Michael Clarke Duncan of the ThunderCats' world. In the new one, he's dead. Grade: F. Wait, no, A. OMG Panthro is DEAD?! F! Of course he's not actually dead, right? So we're giving the move an A for fake-killing him and actually keeping him out of the premiere.

Snarf isn't begging to be murdered:
The old Snarf was at the top of my list of "things to kill" when I was a kid, just ahead of whoever invented vegetables. "Snarf snarf snarf," the jerk would always say, making my ears bleed with murderous rage. He also looked like the town drunk or a child-molester version of whatever species he was. The new Snarf is much cuter and quieter, albeit in a Pokemon sort of way. Grade: A-plus. It was a good decision to keep Snarf, and it was an even better decision to shut his ass up.


What did you think of the new ThunderCats? What other changes did you notice, and how would you grade them? When you were little, did you mistakenly call Lion-O "Lionel" like I did? And when is someone going to reboot Zooroni?


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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I love thundercats and i was so happen when they bought the show back out. They Should finish off from the last show but they didn't im not mad shit aleast i could watch a new show. So Everybody crying shut the hell up. Because I bet yall $ 500 the ones talking shit is the ones watched the new series lol
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Hmmm!!! I haven't seen it yet, so please bare with me here....



The Thundercats are back!? Awesome, I have been praying for this day ever since it stopped airing...



I seriously hope it's worth the wait... I am a huge 80's cartoon Fan....



But just looking at the pics, I have my doubts about it... The New Thundercats look more like cardboard cutouts. There doesn't seem to be much visual depth in the drawings. They look very flat... The 80's series looks more "3D" (as in a more rounded, you can look around them kinda way). not flat edged. It kinda reminds me of DBZ (DragonBall Z) - The worst anime I have ever seen...EVER!!!! I would rather watch Captain Planet (as 24. Ben mentioned above)... No Seriously!!! I Would... Ok now my Brain hurts, as well as my mental vision - Thx Ben. ;-)



They don't look like Warriors at all. They look more like drowned rats.



Why change the story and the characters backgrounds and history? This has to be 1 of my biggest peeves!!!! Just like TMNT - In the Cartoons Leonardo is the Leader of the Turtles... In the Live action Movies, Raphael is the Leader!!! What Gives? I'm all for Modernizing the Old, but not for complete re-writes.



But as usual they take something really Awesome and make it Uber-cr@p.



Well this is my opinion till I actually see it. ;-P



I hope I'm wrong about it and it blows me away.



Oh! and what's with Cheetara's huge (@)(@)? is this some new Adult Manga? WTF?

...and we wonder why kids are doing things they shouldn't be doing at a much younger age than they used too!
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Reboot? They talk of having technology and that they came from another planet in the past and that when they came to the planet the thundercats brought peace? Could it be a sequel rather than reboot?
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So far so good - I liked that there was a cameo (hopefully more later) of Lynx-o (blind thundercat who was in the tower prior to the attack. I hope that Bengali and Pumyra also re-surface.



The only bothersome piece is the 'no-tech' civilization - i hope that they quickly add tech into the mix.
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I'm not a fan of reboots but this one looks good so far.
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I saw the original on occasions but didn't know the whole story, this new version is awesome so far.
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Never watched (well, watched as a child, didn't retain) the original Thunder Cats. So, coming from a completely new slate, it was well worth the channel pause.
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Come on! No one has said it yet....

The new show is:

THUNDER! THUNDER!! THUNDER!!! THUNDERCATS HO!!!!
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i think this show is pretty kick ass! one of my DVR regulars =D
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I love how they brought DCAU voice actors Will Friedle (Batman Beyond) and Clancy Brown (Lex Luthor). Clancy is perfect as the villain.
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I liked the reboot - I can't say I liked everything about it because other then the fact that Panthro was missing, it felt like something else was lacking or not there completely to give it a full spark. Now, I'm not hating - like I said, I liked it and will continue to watch and enjoy it, but there's something just out of thought I can't come up with that is missing, so it doesn't feel whole.
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I watched it again - They recycled a shot of the lizard guys getting his by arrows, the same shot was in the same show twice and they weren't that far apart. I know shows recycle a lot shots to save on costs and time, but this was something that bothered by minds eye for detail. Story-wise it was pretty spot-on for a reboot.
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Yes I saw that too and thought it was a cheap move.
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I loved the reboot!!
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also hope the red circles/jewels in all their outfits shows the cat having it plain red looks WRONG !
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panthro will get rescued by the lion-o, i like tygra's new story he was always a bit arrogant in the orginal, wow cheetara is hawt!! willy kit/kat could of been left out but they looks promising, nice story of jagah and the clerics and totally agree on snarf 2.0.



also claudus lion-o's father is the original lion-o voice actor



from imdb the quotes it does make it sound like a sequel but generations have passed, the differences in the story to me say it is possible, but i'm going to stand in the remake stand alone camp !
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claudus lion-o's father is the original lion-o voice actor



Yes, and that is cool, but I thought he was gonna be in the series, they killed him off already.
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I'm deeply hurt by what you wrote about Summer Glau and her fans and i hope i'm not the only one. I'm a huge fan of Summer Glau but that doesn't mean automatically i'm a stalker or a nerd or both, unlike what you're implying in your article.



Summer Glau has played two of the most iconic characters in scifi history but i doubt these characters would have had this impact without Summer Glau's subtile and inspired performances.



Summer Glau carries herself with dignity, and appreciates her fans as much as they appreciate her as a result.She is so talented, driven, and engaged that she excels almost immediately in any part she plays. She is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside and she has a raw and pure talent that allows her to breathe vivacious life into her characters.



Scifi shows have a tendency to get cancelled on broacast tv these days and Summer Glau is tycast, this is true; i don't recall Miss Glau played on The Event, No Ordinary Family, V or Flasforward though.



I can understand some internet users want to sound funny by mentioning the so-called Summer Glau curse but this is inadmissible when it comes from someone who claims to be a journalist and write in such a famous website. Not to mention this is insulting for her fans and for herself.



And don't tell me that i have no sense of humour, or that it was not meant to be taken seriously or that you're a great fan of hers as they say each time. That doesn't remove one inch of the feeling to have been insulted. less
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They better show us Panthro in the next episode, because not only he was one of my favourite characters in the series, but because without him, the Thundercats gang is incomplete. Plus, I want to see more of Wilykit and Wilykat... those two never cease to surprise me in the original seires, and now, i think I'm going to even laugh harder thanks to them.
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Like the old claw shield look better, I dont care for Cheetara's longer hair, and why's Tigra a douche? I better get some Panthro in the next episode or there'll be hell to pay! Other then that I was I liked it.
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Yeah, i felt like slapping this new Tygra. So cocky! But thank Thundera he later showed a nice side too when he jumped into Lion-o's defense.
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I actually hope he keeps being a douche. A little tension among protagonists couldn't hurt the story line.
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This is NOT a prequel or a sequel. The producers and creators of this new series have clarified this MANY times in the leadup to the premiere. In this version Thundera and Third Earth are not seperate planets but instead, Thundera is a kingdom on Third Earth ruled by the Thundercats.



Lion-O is not de-aged, accelerated, re-incarnated or anything or the sort. He's simply a young prince trying to prove his worth to his father and his kingdom. Tygra, instead of just being one of the group, has been re-imagined to be Lion-O's older adopted brother. A change that I actually like for him.



Everyone in this series has infinitely more depth than they ever had in the old series and I think a serialized story will be great for today's audience. Avatar: The last Airbender proved that an American serialized animated series can thrive on television in today's market and Thundercats looks to add to that and I'm really looking forward to it.
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Yeah, I agree with you on that one. This is a totally new series, that has nothing to do with the original when it comes to storyline and that stuff. They did the same thing with Scooby-Doo and it came out pretty decent if you ask me, so I have hopes that this new Thundercats series is also quite good.
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Was I the only one who has some issues with the voice acting? Visually and story-wise, it was very good, but at times the voice acting made me cringe just a bit. Hardly the worst voice acting in a kids show I have ever heard, but still...
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I actually thought that Tygra's voice was the original voice actor from the 80s version for most of the episode. It was just different enough to realize it was a new actor. as for the show, I thought it was excellent. It had a sort of "Avatar: The Last Airbender" feel to it. Love the direction it's going too & can't wait for the next episode.
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Yeah, i cringed a little at the voice acting too....Tygra sounds a little.....well....let's just say i'd prefer if he had a lower manlier voice.But hey, at least the script's revised now. Remember how the Thundercats spoke with one word at a time when they were in a struggle?



Imagine the classic Lion-O going "No....must.....go....on......Can't.....give....up.."
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awesome start , did,nt expected so many twist and turns . and what momra is a vamp now
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sequel?? descendants of the original Thundercats?? I doubt that....otherwise, it sure is one heck of a coincedence that every current Thundercat had similar names to their ancestors. What are the chances, one in a gazillion thunderillion???
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I may have to check this one out.
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Heh your review makes it sound interesting though still wasn't impressed.
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snarfs cuteness level hit diabetes level sweetness.
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Definitely a good surprise, visually & story wise, though I wish the cats' facial feathures were more feline.
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absolutely agree on the "more feline look", especially lion-o. They got it right with claudus, maybe lion-o will grow into those features.
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I liked it very much, I must say...

Was a fan of the thundercat's in the 80's, although I was a little too young to remember a lot of it. Anyways, I like that they've added more japanese anime influences into the character drawings. Adds more emotion to them I think. Screamed alongside lion-O (which I too mistook for Lionel) when he yelled: Thundercats, Ooohhhh !!! Omg, the memories just came flooding back to me.

Btw, Cheetarah is hot!!
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Liking it so far! Yeah, you got Mumm-Ra, the ultimate evil (and perhaps the very last "human" on Third Earth. We shall see) but there are some definite shades of gray with the Thundercats themselves. They're like Rome, in a way; a city state that is growing a little too proud and decadent (keeping slaves, for instance). Even the lizard men are not totally evil.



Really anxious to see how this reboot plays out. So far so good.
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I didn't expect it but it was nice...
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i'm gonna watch it tonight....thank GOD SNARF shut up. I'm gonna have to like it though, because i have a Thundercats Tattoo :s
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This is not a sequel or a prequel. This is a total re-imagining of the series. They are telling the story over again. That is fine by me. I am excited to see where that can go. I wonder if they will make it like battlestar galacta in the sense that there are a few cats left alive and it will focus on their struggles to stay alive as the prey now. That is an effective story line and would make for good TV. I look forward to what happens next.
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I like the new one. It has a grown up feel to it. While it feels like a reboot, I see a little bit of the old series in it. Like how Claudus mentioned the ancient Thundercats who brought order to the chaotic world of third earth and tings like the Berbil arm being found. The voice acting is great also. It was great to hear the original Lion-O again and Clancy Brown and Kevin Michael Richardson are always well cast.
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All this stupid reincarnation theory junk people are talking about is total rubbish and you are all grasping at straws to try and justify your silly belief.



The differences are far too large, and to have absolutely EVERYONE be "reincarnated" is down right stupid. It's a flawed theory that holds no ground what so ever. What DOES make sense is that this is simply a total re-imagining/Reboot of what the 80's cartoon used to be.



Think of it like the 80's Batman cartoons compared to the 90's Batman: The Animated Series. With your peoples logic, TAS is just a reincarnation of the 80's series. It makes no sense.



With that aside. I absolutely adored these first two episodes and am ecstatic for this weeks.
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overall awesome, but i'm especially happy they kept the iconic"thunder , thunder , thunder, thundercats HHHOOO!
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On Saturdays I would wake up and my grandmother would make me a an egg sandwich and a cup of coco and I would sit down and watch Thindercats. Good times! Thank you Cartoon Network for bringing back one of my favorite 80's cartoon's. Loved the premiere! I definitely agree with everything you said Tim. Cheetara is hotter, Tygra is a major douche (still like him though), Panthro not being dead i saw coming so it didn't bother me so much and I thought I wasn't going to miss Snarf talking his behind off but for some reason I don't.
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First off I loved this show as a child. I never missed it on Saturday morning so when I heard that the ThunderCats were being remade I got really excited. So finally after the long wait we all had the opportunity to see the first two episodes of this re-imagined cartoon franchise. I have to say I really enjoyed this new take on this classic cartoon. I really loved the more serious grown up tone & less silly dialog of the original 80's show. The updated origin of the characters was also really well done and the story was well crafted which makes me beg to find out what will happen next.

So I am officially on board with this show and cannot wait for next Friday Night!!!!
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In the original lion-o started out as a 10 year old, yaga told him the stasis didn't stop the aging process completely, and yet he's the only one that aged, all the rest stayed the same...even the other 10 year olds.

You're making me doubt you actually posses any intelligence if you actually think this is not a sequel, sure it's like a couple centuries ahead of were the original left off, but it's still pretty obviously a sequel, learn to pay attention.
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Guys, c'mon, it's not that hard to notice it's a re-conception of the original series, set years ahead of it. It can count as a reboot, since they re-imagined all of the characters and stuff. But, still, they're starting off in the same planet were we left, not actual Thundera.



In my comment before I said, maybe coming as geeky, that like in The Legend of Zelda, Link is not always the same 'Link' in every game. He's a different character that looks alike, and starts a new journey,



As JimmyBoyt says, just pay attention.
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Did you guys ever stop to think this kid is just messing with your heads because he needs attention? The writers/producers and all proof of the show say "Reboot" but he keeps saying sequel in face of the proof and won't change his mind. He's either an incredible idiot or it's a ruse and his mother didn't hug him enough. Luckily I have a mother who's real friendly with the chaps and she's hug you in your special place so you don't have to troll forums all day long.
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You're not the brightest crayon in the box are you?



The character and story changes are far too big for it to make sense as a sequel. With your obviously flawless logic, every Thundercat got amnesia, Lion-O magically adopted Tigra to be his own brother, Claudius was raised from the dead, Snarf managed to some how devolve into a Pokemon type pet, Mum-Ra managed to come back for a second go, and The Book of Omens magically vanished (clearly due to the amnesia and mystical age reduction on the Thundercats).... but wait, Panthero is actually Middle Aged as opposed the same age (roughly) as Tigra. I guess he was trapped in a time bubble and continued to age while everyone grew younger.



Yeap. Makes PERFECT sense.
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you know one of these days, people are actually gonna read my comment before replying to it, but i guess until that day comes, it's just you then
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And yet you can't seem to take your own advice on any of your own replies to others, can you?



Everything you're saying is absolute fallacy and you have not proven your points what so ever. Thus far all you're doing is saying "This is what I say it it, therefore it's true", meanwhile getting uppity towards people clearly telling you otherwise.



It's what? Three against one? And if you want to add the creators of this ~reboot~, that would add an extra 100 or so?



Face it child, you can kick and scream "I'm right, you're wrong" all you like, but the facts are clearly against you.



Try harder.
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Cat got your tongue?
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Does the show has some re imagining and retouching

yes

could it be classified as a reboot

yes

is it a sequel

basically yes, but not in the sense you think i mean



I mean in the sense of the storie, they are not in thundera, they are in the third earth, they even say it in the first line of the show and i quote

"These were days of peace and prosperity on third earth"



now I'm not saying they reincarnated like some people, but, they are clearly descendants of the original series thundercats



these particular "facts" point towards the conclusion that it-s a sequel, only in the sense of the story



now i don't know how the creators are classifying it, but all the "facts" would make anyone with common sense think that it is a sequel



they have stories and mythology of munrah, which would indicate the original series thundercats founded the civilization that we are seeing in this new series.

Myths of technology, now hoe they lost touch with technology, i don't now.



All these "facts" say no, scream it's a sequel and it is also a reboot, it is both, but to think that it is only a reboot and that the lion-o we are seeing now is the same on we saw before, is just wrong.



as to why i got "uppity" towards people is the fact that i can't conceive of missing something like this like you and all those 3 people did, and quite sincerely it just annoys me.



and about the whole "This is what I say it it, therefore it's true"



It's more " This is what I'm saying, and I'm saying it because it's true"
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"but it's still pretty obviously a sequel, learn to pay attention" You DO know the difference between sequel (after story time) and prequel (before story time)? How can this be a sequel when its before? Because it was made after the old one?
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they are on the third planet

i said centuries ahead of the previous one

ok here it is again in case you missed it

centuries ahead of the previous one

centuries ahead of the previous one

centuries ahead of the previous one

centuries ahead of the previous one

did ya miss it again, cant help you there

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Just because you say it, doesn't make it true. Show some proof behind your claims, or stop whining.
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it doesn't matter how many times you say it.

you're still

WRONG

WRONG

WRONG

WRONG

WRONG.



it's not a sequel, it's not a prequel.

it's a reboot.

the new writers wanted to do away with the whole planet of 3rd planet thing. they made it that the 3rd planet was where indeed Thundera. Thus combining two planets into one.





so in case YOU missed it. it's a REBOOT.
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It's a mostly valid theory, and I'd think it would be very clever if true, but there are a few inconsistences. How would Snarf's species have reproduced? Where did the lizards come from after what happened to the mutants in the original series? You'd think that Mum-ra would've immediately ordered the execution of a reincarnated Lion-o after his experiences with the original Lion-o. Most d***ing of all, it's not possible that the jewel from the Sword of Omens was originally Mum-ra's in the original series.
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You know, just because you're wrong and can't come to terms with it, doesn't mean you should scream at me in the form of text

I can only suggest that you watch it again and pay real attention, and maybe, just maybe, you can muster enough common sense to realize you're wrong.
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I also agree with @OscarMedina1 and @MichaelJones33, for the hints they gave, the current story is set hundreds (or maybe thousands?) of years after the original series. That would make the main characters reincarnations of their former selves. I'm sure we will have more reminiscences in upcoming eps
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First of all, I agree with almost everything you said. I was also expecting a flop, but in honor to one of my favourites childhood cartoons I decided to give it a try. And I agree with you! we are off to an awesome start. The changes are quite risky, but they work very well with the story (at least in the premiere). Pretty sure Panthro will appear soon enough.

Loved the "80's hot - actually hot" gag, LOL. Also, thanks you so much for introducing me to Kate Upton! OMG!
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I think it is a continuation of the original series, probably a distant future...between the talks of the ancient great cat leader who could use the sight beyond sight, and the robo-bill parts that the junk guy had lying around in the shop
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Rather than a remake, I think it is more of a sequel. They seem to be in the "Blue planet" instead of actual Thundera, apparently hundreds of years after the first series ended. It seems the felines grew to some kind of Medieval ages and forgot everything about technology. As for using the "same characters", it goes the same way on Legend of Zelda, these new guys being reincarnations of the former gang.
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It was good. I enjoyed it a lot. I am very happy to hear panthro might be back. He was really cool in the original series. And u are soooooo right, Cheetara's really hot now. I was happy to see a cool mumra too. I can't wait for his alternate form. I believe thundercats were the first to use a demon morphing into something worse for their "ultimate" form. Every scary movie does that today.

Now, if they can remake prince planet and star blazers, I can die knowing all my favs have come back (the cartoons anyways). I like the story concept in thundercats. I like it is more grown up with still some stuff for the little ones. I always hated how childish the super heroes and hong kong fooey, ghost buggy, johnny Quest, space ghost, and (one of my favs) the herculoids. I don't think I can cram any more of my favorite cartoons of yesteryear in this message. I applaud them for a good first episode. Keep it up and keep a story going (like lost in space, season 1) that shows them working to get back what was taken from them. They can write it so that faithful viewers will be rewarded with easter eggs and the casual one can enjoy it as well.

i'd love to write for this series. Or any series for that matter!! :)
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What was your take on WilyKit and WilyKat?

I think they were underused in the original and only had a few episodes where they actually proved their worth. Did you also notice the cameo of Lynx-O?



I can't believe that I have reverted to a kid after seeing this. I wasn't sure if it was an entire different world or set in the distant future from the original. Either way, I am hooked on cartoons again.
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when was lynx-o's cameo?
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He was the blind guy in the Tower (of Omens?) who sounded the alarm for the attack.
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I loved the original (I'm a child of the 80's) so I was very skeptical to the fact that this reboot would be good but I was pleasantly surprised with what I saw on Friday's premiere! I really liked the changes, the background music (very different from the original which I adored), the animation and specially the story! This show has a lot of potential! And like Tim said it will not only appeal fans of the original but a new generation as well. I'll definitely tune in every Friday for this! The only thing missing? a full transformation of Mum-Ra.. They teased one but it didn't take LOL
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