Take to the skies with SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron!!

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Cats are those loveable pets that like to lounge around, play with yarn, or curl up next to you and cuddle. But they can also be destructive little beasts that claw your furniture, climb the curtains, or knock your beer off table while looking at you stoically. Cats are all those things. Heck, they can even be fighter pilots if they only had the one essential tool necessary—thumbs. Luckily, there is a cartoon that has fighter pilot kitties and Devildriver1313 is here to tell you all about it! Welcome to Awesome Cartoons and here a look back at Swat Kats!

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There were plenty of action cartoons in the days of George Bush Sr.’s presidency and when M. C. Hammer actually had a career. Among them, there were a few standouts. Swat Kats is one of them. Produced by Hanna-Barbera and created by Christian Tremblay and Yvon Tremblay, the series takes place in the fictional metropolis of Megakat City, which is populated entirely by anthropomorphic felines, known as “kats”. The titular SWAT Kats are two vigilante pilots who possess a state-of-the-art fighter jet with an array of weaponry. Throughout the series, they face various villains as well competition from Megakat City’s militarized police force called the Enforcers. Chance Furlong and Jake Clawson were once a part of the Enforcers until they were discharged by Commander Feral who caused their plane to crash into the Enforcers Headquarters while they were in pursuit of Dark Kat. Feral took no responsibility for the incident, letting Jake and Chance to take the fall. The two are then assigned to work at the city’s military salvage yard to pay for the damage to the Enforcer Headquarters. This move will come back to bite Commander Feral on the tail. Using discarded military parts, Jake and Chance built themselves a fighter jet and then took the personas of “T-Bone” and “Razor”, becoming the SWAT Kats! Together, the SWAT Kats defend Megakat City against any kind of menace that threatens it.

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AWESOMENESS!! SWAT Kats was the “Top Gun” for kids! It had the high-flying action, aerial acrobatics and good excitement worthy of a military type of show. The Turbokat, which Jake and Chance built, is one of the coolest jets ever seen in a cartoon. It resembled several aircraft, most notably Grumman F-14 and the Saab Draken. Intense action mixed with friendly comedy made SWAT Kats a joy to watch and could be comparable to the “A-Team” TV series which has similar content minus a triple-engine jet fighter. T-Bone and Razor went up against an array of villains in the series. Among them included Doctor Viper, who is a snake/cat hybrid mad scientist; the Metallikats, mechanical cats with Bonnie and Clyde theme about them and Pastmaster, the undead sorcerer. Some of the series’ villains could have drew inspiration from DC characters, notably the Metallikats and Madkat, whose jester appearance and twisted sense of humor are reminiscent of the Joker or Trickster. But what was really cool was the show’s rock and roll opening theme which had a sweet guitar riff.

SWAT Kats ran for two seasons on the syndication block The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera, as well as TBS Superstation from 1993 to 1995 as a part of the “Sunday Morning In Front Of The TV block.” According to Nielsen Television Index (NTI) and Nielsen Syndication Service (NSS), SWAT Kats became the number one syndicated animated show of 1994. Sadly, Ted Turner, owner of Turner Entertainment which produced and aired the show, grounded the SWAT Kats citing that the show’s level of violence displeased him, stating that they have more cartoons than anybody and they are nonviolent, fearing that they were encouraging kids to kill each other. For me, this made little sense considering there are were plenty of other cartoons on the same level. Nevertheless, SWAT Kats will forever fly high in our hearts. There have been attempts to bring the series back but nothing tangible has been done. So let remember T-Bone and Razor, two cool kats who ruled the wild blue yander.

Season 1 intro

Season 2 intro

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