With the roar of “Thundercats Ho!,” the Thundercats crank up the action and wild mutant characters in their return to DVD with the massive six disc Season Two, Vol. One set out now from Warner Bros.
The set collects the first 34 episodes of the season – which had 65 total shows. It also comes packed with several special features that this time explores more of the show’s famous music – the first season sets’ special features went into the creation of the show, and the voices behind the series.
The Thundercats was one of the great action cartoons/toy lines that came out of the 80’s (along with other hits like G. I. Joe, the Transformers, and He-Man), and season two took what worked in the first season and expanded on it. All the key elements that made the show a hit remain – the great animation (for the time); a opening theme that you can still identify on the opening note; strange characters and vehicles that always seemed to make their way to the toy shelves; and some of the wildest stories you could hope to imagine. This season also built on what worked in the first season to create bigger stories, more characters, and even more action.
The second season kicks off with the massive five part series Thundercats Ho! – where our original gang of Thundercats (Lion-O, Panthro, Tygra, Cheetara, WillyKit and WillyKat, and Snarf) discover that three more Thunderians survived the destruction of Thundera, and they are living of Third Earth. Naturally, the evil Mumm-ra discovers this secret and launches a massive plan to capture the three before the Thundercats can rescue them.
In the five-parter, we are introduced to the new three Thundercats – Pumyra, Ben Gali, the blind but wise Lynx-O. Like Cheetara, Pumyra is a fast runner and strong female character. Ben Gali is a famous blacksmith on Thundera. Lynx-O is the wise sage and is similar to Lion-O’s mentor Jaga. The episodes also features characters like The Snowman of Hook Mountain and his pet Snowmeow; the Ro-Bear Berbills; and one of my personal favorites Hachiman a samurai warrior. The Thundercats Ho! storyline takes up the entire first disc and is packed with enough action to keep you entertained and start the second season off right.
The second disc continues the massive storyline with another five part story called Mumm-Ra Lives (we are supposed to think he might have bought it at the end of the first disc). This story sees Mumm-Ra’s evil pet Ma-Mutt (everyone needs a pet dog even if it is undead) helping to save his master, and the Thundercats going up against another threat from the wizard in the form of the Luna-tacks. The Luna-tacks even manages to break the Sword of Omens (Lion-O’s powerful weapon), and we are able to Ben Gali’s blacksmith talents come into play. This five-part series has even more action than the first five part tale, and takes up the entire second disc.
The third and fourth discs have six single episodes each and continue to build on some of the story that was introduced in disc one and two. While these episodes are just as good as those on the first two discs, the lack of a large storyline might be a bit of a letdown for some fans. Still, the episodes manage to deliver what we expect from the Thundercats with plenty of action, and strange creatures.
The fifth and sixth discs of the set have a mix of single episodes and another five part story called Thundercubs. While the episodes are just as good as the rest of the season, the show is starting to get a bit redundant by now, and even the five part story doesn’t hold up as good as the beginning of the season.
Also, some diehard Thundercats fans might not like how the show shifts more and more to the new Thundercats and some of the original characters (like Cheetara) begin to be overshadowed.
The DVD comes with some decent special features that focus on the music of the show. They include Music of Thundera – composer Bernie Hoffer and The Rembrandts reveal the inspirations behind the music, and Hoffer discusses how the music was made to fit each character and vehicle in the show; The Rembrandts Thundercats Theme Song – a music video for the killer song that opened the show; and Bernie Hoffer – Live! – another look at the theme song this time performed by its composer. There is also a Superman preview – that takes a look at the icon and his different interpretations in television and film; and a trailer for Superman Returns.
While the season is as good as the first, it does have some problems. Although new characters were added, the opening theme was never changed to include them. This isn’t a big problem, but it would be nice to see the new Thundercats rolling along to that famous opening theme.
Also, the special features could have been better. The look at the show’s theme and what went in to creating it is interesting, but the features lack any real purpose. It is cool to see the Rembrandts do a rocking performance of the song, but that is about as far as the excitement goes. I enjoyed the first season’s special features more due to the features going into the history of the show.
Overall, fans of the series will want to pick up Season Two, Vol. One. The season builds on what made the show a success. It also broadens its scope with more characters (which also meant more toys) and bigger stories (at least in the first part of the season). I would recommend the set to any fan of 80’s cartoons and anyone wanting to re-live their childhood. The show also still holds up for kids today – both of my sons are hooked on it.