Most of my childhood can be summed up with a handful of TV shows. One of my all time favorites (next to Spider-Man: The Animated Series) was SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron. For those not fortunate enough to watch it, the show is about two vigilante pilots who possess a state-of-the-art fighter jet and patrol Megakat City (which is basically New York with semi-futuristic technology), defending it against any kind of menace that threatens it. Their enemies typically include the criminal mastermind Dark Kat, the undead sorcerer Pastmaster, the mutant evil genius Doctor Viper, and the robotic gangsters the Metallikats. They also seemed to fight A LOT of giant monsters throughout the series. Seriously, I don’t know if that was the trend in the ’90s, but it was still awesome.
After buying the series on DVD, I highly believe that the show was ahead of its time and could use a new series in the modern world and here’s why:
REBOOTS CAN WORK
For the past couple of years, there has been a surge of reboots and remakes in television shows focused on costumed heroes. Some of them worked (such as Young Justice, Spectacular Spider-Man, and Avengers:Earth’s Mightiest Heroes) while some have not (such as Loonatics Unleashed, Ultimate Spider-Man, and Avengers: United They Stand). Done right, a SWAT Kats reboot can have all the action and fun of the old show while making it appealing to those who might not be familiar with it. My only concern is that if this does happen, it will be remade into an Americanized anime. While I acknowledge there were obvious Japanese influence in the background designs and the looks of the robots, this was still an American TV should and show be reflected as such.
THERE WERE MORE STORIES TO TELL
While researching the show, I discovered that there was a third season planned. Hanna-Barbera, the show’s producers, ended their syndication block of shows to focus on producing original content for Cartoon Network like Dexter’s Laboratory, Johnny Bravo, and The Powerpuff Girls. Despite those being great shows, I still think SWAT Kats shouldn’t have been thrown to the waste side to make shows like Cow & Chicken. There was talk of bringing back fan favorite villains like Madkat and Turmoil, while also exploring the SWAT Kats’ first mission as vigilantes in Season 3. All that can be put into a new show along with updated origins and abilities for the old villains. As long as they stick to the essence of those characters, I don’t think die-hard fans would mind too much. Plus a remake could give new writers a chance to create new villains to test the radical squadron.
A DEDICATED FAN BASE
Though not originally a cult classic (it was the number one syndicated animated show of 1994), SWAT Kats still has a very dedicated fan base. While looking up information on the show (besides what I already knew), I came across multiple websites, wikis, artwork, and fan fiction to this beloved cartoon. I even came across a web comic about a new team of SWAT Kats called Nova Squadron. It serves as a ‘SWAT Kats Beyond’ story and was entertaining. You can view it by clicking here. Almost 20 years after their cancellation, the show still has hundreds (or even thousands) of fans. Seriously, if He-Man got a reboot, then why can’t they?
TOPICS ARE SURPRISINGLY RELEVANT
While it was still an action cartoon with lots of explosions, SWAT Kats still had a somewhat dark tone. Key elements of the show included terrorism, personal relations, fear of the unknown, and the dangers of technological malfunctions. These are still very popular topics today, seeing as how they have been the focus of most popular films and TV shows in the last few years. With the right spin on it, a rebooted series can be some kind of an action/sci-fi/political thriller. I know cartoons are supposed to be entertaining, but they can’t just be mindless entertainment. Contrary to popular belief, you CAN think and be entertained.
IT’S A BAD-ASS SHOW!
Plain and simple. With it’s action, humor, kick-ass music, and over the top plots, the SWAT Kats were kind of The Expendables of its day. If Hollywood is going to keep recycling everything we watch, they can at least recycle what was arguably one of the best cartoons of the 1990s. Let me know what guys think about this show getting rebooted.
To buy the entire series on DVD, click here!