Last night, details emerged about the new ThunderCats cartoon, ThunderCats Roar. The new show – from Warner Bros. Animation & Cartoon Network – will air in 2019 and will be very different to the two ThunderCats ‘toons of the past.
Adopting a more humorous approach and utilising rather distinct animation, it is clear that ThunderCats Roar is aimed at a younger generation than the ThunderCats shows of 1985 and 2011. And this has made a number of people unhappy.
Since news broke last night, a lot of fans have posted their thoughts and feelings across the comments sections of the various news sites that have covered the story. A lot of those thoughts and feelings are not good.
The main issue people have is that the cartoon, particularly the style of animation, appears to be aimed at a very, very young demographic. As I noted last night when I published news of the ThunderCats revival, I said the show appears to be more Teen Titans GO! than Teen Titans – i.e. it’s aimed at 6-8 year-olds rather than 10-13 year-olds.
It’s at this point I must say, ‘so what?’
Honestly, I’m not trying to be inflammatory or flippant, I get the concern – the style of animation doesn’t really appeal and the humour doesn’t seem right either, but that’s OK, it’s not supposed to. ThunderCats Roar isn’t aimed at you, me or our age group, it’s aimed at kids.
The original series aired more than 30 years ago. This means, you and I are reaching the point where reboots and remakes aren’t really aimed at us anymore, they’re aimed at another generation – a much, much younger generation.
Remember during the early ’00s when we got reboots of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and He-Man and the Masters of the Universe? Do you know why that was? Because all us kids from the ’80s were in our 20s – a period in time when we all had disposable incomes and plenty of free-time to reinvest in the shows of our youth.
Sadly – and it is sad as I HATE GETTING OLD – we’re now in our 30s. Some of us are currently on the steady approach to 40. This means we are either married, have kids, have a mortgage or have no money whatsoever because we’re still paying off debts we built up during our 20s.
Do you know what this means? Movie studios and TV execs are not looking to appeal to us in quite the same way.
You want a ThunderCats show like the one you had during the ’80s? You can – it’s called ThunderCats, it was released in 1985 and all the episodes are available on DVD.
Want an updated reboot of ThunderCats, that’s designed to appeal to our generation as well as a younger generation? You can have that too – it happened in 2011. Did you watch it?
The truth is, our generation is moving past the point where things we watched as kids are being rebooted with us in mind. A few years ago properties such as Transformers, Turtles and the like were looking to grab the attention of the ’80s generation. In more recent years, Power Rangers, Jumanji, Jurassic World and so on have been looking to grab the attention of the kids from the ’90s.
Give it a few more years and the ’00s kids will be the focus. Yes, this does mean we are likely to see a Crazy Frog revival. Yes, this will mean that Hell has frozen over.
I understand where all the anger is coming from, but blame the fact you’re getting old and not the fact that Cartoon Network want to create a cartoon for the kids that watch the channel. Let them have something they might actually like… that could keep the franchise going for many years to come.
I appreciate that a counter argument to all this is the fact that we watched the original ThunderCats cartoon when we were 6-8 years-old and the cartoon was clearly not ‘kiddified’. This is true. So, count yourself lucky that we had what we had, when we had it.
There appears to be a trend nowadays to take cartoon characters down this ‘younger’ route. We’ve seen it happen with Transformers and Teen Titans and it’s about to happen with the Turtles too. The reason it happens is because the kids of today’s generation are different to the kids of our generation – they have different interests and different things vying for their attention.
Once kids get past a certain age, consoles and smart phones are what they want – not cartoons and toys. So, TV execs (and toy manufacturers) are aiming for the age group that still pay cartoons and toys a bit of attention, which means they have to appeal to younger kids.
I’m still holding out hopes for a bad-ass ThunderCats movie. A movie that will fill me with excitement and anticipation as I tick off another day at work or as I stare at my empty bank balance.
Will that movie ever happen? Maybe. Hopefully. In the meantime, I’m happy to let another generation have the ThunderCats, so they can get excited and act out scenes in the playground or across the battlefield they’ve created in the living room.
Oh to be an eight-year-old again.