SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron
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SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron (also known simply as SWAT Kats) was an animated television show created by French-Canadians Christian and Yvon Tremblay and produced by Hanna-Barbera with a superhero/action theme building largely on the popularity of other previous series such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The show aired for two seasons, from September 11, 1993 to December 24, 1994. All the characters on the show are anthropomorphic cats, and some of its word-humor is derived from cat-related terms. Despite its short lifespan, SWAT Kats: the Radical Squadron maintains a loyal fanbase to this day.
Though currently unfounded, there is a rumor going about claiming that Cartoon Network will release a new Swat Kats show - with a brand-new style, but with many of the old characters returning. If true, it is unknown if this series will be a brand new take on the show, or a sequel of sorts, as was the case with the new Biker Mice from Mars series.
Razor - Razor is the ace gunner, somewhat leader and the smarter of the two. He is an unstoppable fighter. His battle tactic is more focused on strategy, reflected both in long-range and hand-to-hand fighting style, in which he employs great skill in martial arts techniques. His secret identity is Jake Clawson, he holds together a struggling auto repair business with his friend, assistant, and partner, Chance Furlong, and could be considered somewhat masculine, sassy, bossy, carefree and confident. This might be owing partly to the incident which discharged him and Chance from the Enforcers.
T-Bone - feisty pilot and the brawn of the SWAT Kats team. He is Jake/Razor's trustworthy sidekick, an unstoppable,strategy fighter in both in long-range air and hand-to-hand, though he does have to deal with the conflict of his ego with his heroic instincts to protect the innocent and defeat evildoers. As Chance Furlong, he is an automotive mechanic along with longtime friend and partner, Jake Clawson. He is somewhat short-tempered, sometimes coward and sometimes shy.
Callie Briggs - The deputy mayor of Megakat City is the real power behind the bumbling figurehead Mayor Manx (who was in fact a parody of actor W. C. Fields). She is one of the SWAT Kats' biggest supporters.
Commander Ulysses Feral - XO of Megakat City's personal police force the Enforcers, and former boss of Razor and T-Bone. He fired them after they defied orders and went after Dark Kat, causing massive property damage as a result, though he has no idea the cadets he discharged from the force are the SWAT Kats. As much as he disagrees with his former subordinates, he has much less tolerance for their alter-egos, considering them just as much a threat to the city as any of the supervillains, and makes it his business to try and capture and unmask them.
Lieutenant Felina Feral - Commander Feral's niece, Felina has more respect for the SWAT Kats than her uncle does, and will often work with them and their supporters under Feral's nose, whenever necessary.
Lieutenant Commander Steele - An abrasive, arrogant, and cowardly opportunist, Steele is always seeking to usurp Feral's position as Enforcers commander, and will use anything at his disposal to do so.
Mayor Manx - A naive, portly man, more concerned about his image than anything, Mayor Manx is more or less a figurehead for Megakat City's political world to the more able-bodied Callie.
Dark Kat - the recurring supervillain is aptly named, for his true identity and the extent of his influence on crime at large are unknown. A brilliant strategist, he was likely modeled after Marvel Comics' Kingpin. He also has some skills in the arcane, or at least advanced technology, as he controls vast physical power and is always accompanied by a pair or more of tiny demon-like creatures who do his bidding without question.
Dr. Viper - the former Dr. Elrod Purvis turned into a half-snake as a result of an accident caused by his own greed. Like Dark Kat, he has his own plans to destroy Megakat City and remake it to his liking.
Mad Kat - The deranged spirit of a Medieval court jester fused with an equally down-and-out modern day comedian, Mad Kat acts much like DC Comics' Myxptlk, conjuring yellow and orange items of doom to take revenge on public figures whom he sees resemble the King, Queen, Knight, and Jester who ruined him.
Metallikats - A husband and wife criminal duo, Mac and Molly Mange were eventually captured, but drowned while attempting to escape the island prison they were sent to. A kindly scientist discovered their bodies and managed to download their memories and personality into robotic frames, which they now use to get revenge on those they feel are responsible for their bad luck.
Pastmaster - An undead, time-manipulating sorcerer from the Dark Ages, the Pastmaster was imprisoned centuries earlier before and remained so until his eventual release in the modern day. Having been out of the loop for so long, however, he does not particularly care for the new technology that has advanced during his absence, and strives to eradicate it all and return Megakat City back to the era he's most familiar with.
- Hanna-Barbera produced a total of 23 episodes for the series, 13 for Season 1 and 10 for Season 2. Only 10 episodes were produced for Season 2 because midway through the season, Turner Entertainment, Hanna-Barbera's parent company, abruptly cancelled the show. As a result, three first-season episodes were re-used for the second season, but with second-season opening credits and opening and closing theme music. The exact reason why the show was canceled is debatable: Turner reportedly canned the show because it wasn't moving enough merchandise. However, at the time there was hardly any merchandise for the show, except for a handful of action figures, a video game and a bicycle tips safety mailer, and also ignores the fact that - even with the lack of merchandise - the show was at the top of the Nielsen Ratings for syndicated animated programming at the time of its cancellation. On the other hand, Ted Turner, the owner of Turner Entertainment, was reportedly displeased with the level of violence in the cartoon, going on record to claim in an interview to Entertainment Weekly after the show's cancellation, "We have more cartoons than anybody: The Flintstones, The Jetsons, the Smurfs, Scooby-Doo. They're nonviolent. We don't have to worry that we're encouraging kids to kill each other - like SOME of the other cartoon programs do.", which seems to indicate he canceled the show solely to keep Hanna-Barbera's image of a squeaky-clean family company. Interestingly, Buzz Potemkin, the show's executive producer, attempted to save the show from being canceled, but was overruled.
- A 24th episode, an "S.K.I.Q." episode featuring clips from both seasons, was originally intended to lead off Season 2 but instead aired at the end of the season.
- The voices of main characters Razor (Barry Gordon) and T-Bone (Charlie Adler) are perhaps better known for portraying the rabbit characters. Gordon is the voice of Donatello from the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series, Robert Rabbit from The Adventures of The American Rabbit, and the Nesquik Bunny. Adler, however, is also known as the voice of Buster Bunny from Tiny Toon Adventures and Mr. Whiskers from Brandy and Mr. Whiskers.
- Other notable voices that can be heard on the show include:
- Gary Owens (Commander Feral), the radio announcer from Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In and the original voice of Space Ghost and Blue Falcon
- Ed Gilbert (Enforcer Sgt), also the voice of Baloo in the Disney TV animated series Tale Spin
- Mark Hamill (Burke/Jonny), probably known best for his role of Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars trilogy (Episodes 4-6)
- Robert Ito (Mr. Young), best known for his 7-year stint as Sam Fujiyama in the 1970s series Quincy, M.E.
- The biochemist Dr. Konway in the episode "Mutation City" is named after Dr. Samuel Conway, aka Uncle Kage, chairman of Anthrocon .
- Enigma University: Rise of the Empires - a roleplaying MUCK based on SWAT Kats.
- SWATKats.com, archived 2006 November 25 by Internet Archive Wayback Machine.
- SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron