In 1993, action adventure series, SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron blasted its way onto television screens. The animated show – about two mild mannered junkyard cats, who moonlight as jet-flying vigilantes – was an imaginative series, filled with colourful characters, vile villains, and plenty of action.
In my humble opinion, SWAT Kats is one of the most underrated animated shows of the 1990s. However, during its short, two-season run the Hanna-Barbera produced series served up some memorable episodes, which certainly helped it find a loyal following.
If you remember SWAT Kats, then you will recall how awesome it was. And if you don’t remember it (or you have never seen a single episode of SWAT Kats) then now is as good a time as any to play catch up.
In this post I am highlighting the eleven best episodes of SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron. These are the episodes to dive into whether you are a long-time fan or a newbie, so strap yourself in as I fly through the best of the best.
The eleven best episodes of SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron
Here are the eleven best episodes of SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron. Let’s start with…
The Pastmaster Always Rings Twice (Season One – Episode One)
First up is The Pastmaster Always Rings Twice, a strong series opener which sees the SWAT Kats – T-Bone and Razor – sent back in time to the Jurassic era. With the Kats busy dodging dinosaurs, the villainous Pastmaster attempts to take over Megakat City – and it actually appears as if he might achieve his goal!
The Pastmaster Always Rings Twice is a great episode which boasts some excellent visuals and a truly creepy villain in the Pastmaster. The SWAT Kats manage to save the day, but only at the last minute, making for a tense way to kick off the series.
Destructive Nature (Season One – Episode Four)
Dr. Viper takes over the 300-storey Megakat Tower, infecting it with a plant spore and surrounding it with an army of his ‘plantimals’ – plant/animal hybrids.
In order to stop Dr. Viper from causing further destruction, the SWAT Kats must divide and conquer, with T-Bone piloting the Turbokat for an aerial attack and Razor heading into the building for a direct assault.
The Metallikats (Season One – Episode Five)
Mac and Molly Mange – two of Megakat City’s most prolific mobsters are back from the dead, but they now inhabit robotic bodies. The fearsome felines have been given a metallic makeover, and it is up to the SWAT Kats to bring their reign of terror to an end!
The Metallikats is the perfect introduction to two of the show’s most memorable miscreants. Mac and Molly are deadly villains, but their constant bickering also adds a touch of humour to this menacing pair.
Night of the Dark Kat (Season One – Episode Seven)
In Night of the Dark Kat, Hard Drive and Dark Kat join forces to steal the Turbokat. With Hard Drive piloting the craft, he frames the SWAT Kats, making it appear as if they have turned against the city.
Featuring a heap of action, plus two great villains, Night of the Dark Kat is an enjoyable twenty-minutes of cartoon action. Some of the best SWAT Kats stories take place when the Kats have their backs up against the wall, and this is a perfect example.
Metal Urgency (Season One – Episode Ten)
In Metal Urgency, the Metallikats return to Megakat City to cause more destruction, but not before they uncover the secret identity of the SWAT Kats!
Oh, and to make matters worse, Mac and Molly acquire robotic upgrades to become more powerful than before.
Enter the Madkat (Season One – Episode Twelve)
In Enter the Madkat, comedian Lenny Ringtail escapes from Megakat Asylum with one thought on his mind – revenge! Ringtail believes he lost out on a job as a prime time TV host and wants to ensure everyone pays for his misfortune.
This is an incredibly fun episode, with a kooky villain. And to top it all off, Roddy McDowall provides the voice of Madkat.
Katastrophe (Season One – Episode Thirteen)
In the Season One finale, Katastrophe, Dark Kat, Dr. Viper and the Metallikats join forces to destroy the SWAT Kats! Not surprisingly, they don’t succeed, but that doesn’t stop Katastrophe from being a superb episode.
A Bright and Shiny Future (Season Two – Episode Two)
In A Bright and Shiny Future, the Pastmaster transports the SWAT Kats into a dystopian future. In this nightmarish world, the Metallikats rule Megakat City and the SWAT Kats are the citizens’ only hope for freedom.
Do they save the day? I will let you work that one out, but what I will say is the second season of SWAT Kats has a darker edge than the first, and this is most obvious in A Bright and Shiny Future. This episode offers a twisted look at a dark future, and one which could happen if not for the SWAT Kats.
Razor’s Edge (Season Two – Episode Four)
When one of their missions goes wrong, and two citizens are seemingly injured, Razor believes he is to blame – even developing a form of PTSD as a result. However, all is not what it seems and there is something more sinister going on.
The Dark Side of the SWAT Kats (Season Two – Episode Eleven)
In The Dark Side of the SWAT Kats, T-Bone and Razor get transported to a parallel universe, where Dark Kat is their ally and their evil counterparts have terrorised the city. These doppelgangers – known as the Dark SWAT Kats – prove to be a formidable match for the Kats, begging the question, can good triumph over evil?
Unlikely Alloys (Season Two – Episode Twelve)
And finally, in Unlikely Alloys, the SWAT Kats and Molly Mange join forces to tackle an experimental computer device. The self aware device – which calls itself ‘Zed’ – poses a deadly threat to Megakat City, prompting this unlikely team up.
Unlikely Alloys is a creepy episode with fantastic animation. It is the final episode of SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron, but a strong way to end the series.
To recap, the eleven best episodes of SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron are as follows:
- The Pastmaster Always Rings Twice (Season One – Episode One)
- Destructive Nature (Season One – Episode Four)
- The Metallikats (Season One – Episode Five)
- Night of the Dark Kat (Season One – Episode Seven)
- Metal Urgency (Season One – Episode Ten)
- Enter the Madkat (Season One – Episode Twelve)
- Katastrophe (Season One – Episode Thirteen)
- A Bright and Shiny Future (Season Two – Episode Two)
- Razor’s Edge (Season Two – Episode Four)
- The Dark Side of the SWAT Kats (Season Two – Episode Eleven)
- Unlikely Alloys (Season Two – Episode Twelve)
If you want to enjoy the best of SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron, then please watch the eleven episodes listed above. But in all honesty you will find much to enjoy across all 25 episodes, so do check out the entire series if you have time.
Both seasons of the show are good. As noted above, Season Two is a little darker than Season One, but it is also a little shorter.
Season Two contains one less episode than Season One (there are 13 episodes in Season One and 12 episodes in Season Two). Season Two also contains four episodes with shorter running times, including Cry Turmoil, SWAT Kats Unplugged, Volcanus Erupts! and The Origin of Dr. Viper.
I hope you have found this post on the eleven best episodes of SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron useful. If you’re a fan of the show, be sure to let me know in the comments section what you like about it and how you came across it.
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