Saturday Morning Memories: Swat Kats

Welcome to the first entry of Saturday Morning Memories. I haven’t watched Swat Kats: The Radical Squadron probably since it was first on TV, there wasn’t a whole lot I remembered about the show other than one of the cats were named Razor and it was a pretty fun cartoon. This time around I rewatched the first four episodes. I tried to watch all of them with my eight year old daughter Jena, but she wasn’t all that interested and only watched most of two episodes with me over the course of a couple days. Before I get too far into it, I will say that it was both better and worse than I remembered, but it did bring back a lot of memories of the show.

Swat Kats

Before I get into more of my thoughts, I will share what Jena thought of the show via the questions I set up for any kids taking part in this along with their parent(s).

What was your favorite part of the show?
“When the cats saved Callie” – I believe she was specifically referring to when Razor saved Callie from the building that was infested with killer plant creatures created by Dr. Lizard.

What was your least favorite part of the show?
“When the lizard guy / cat comes.” – Again, she was referring to Dr. Lizard.

Who was your favorite character?
“I like Callie because she’s pretty. I can’t believe there’s only two girls.” – No surprise that she liked the girl character, deputy mayor Callie Briggs, and the only other girl in the episodes that we watched was the news reporter Anne Gora.

How old do you think this show is?
“about 1985” – She initially said just “85”, and when I pressed if she meant 85 years old or 1985, she said she meant 1985. I had no idea where she was going to go with this question, and considering how old she is and her current concept of time it was a lot closer than I thought she would have guessed considering it was actually 1993, so she was only 8 years off.

How does it compare to the shows you watch now?
“It compares to Hello Kitty because they’re cats.” – This question I don’t think she fully understood, when I pressed her she just said that this show was nice, but didn’t really mention any of the shows that she likes. Although based on what I see her watch, it’s mostly YouTubers playing Minecraft and Nightcore music. Kids these days…

Would you want to watch more of the show, or were you glad to be done with it?
“I want to watch more episodes” – She was mostly noncommittal about the show, but gave a barely enthusiastic recommendation that she would be willing to watch more episodes. I doubt that she will ever suggest that we watch the show again, but she won’t complain if I were to put an episode or two on.

What else would you like to say about the show?
“Callie’s the pretty one.” – Again, no surprise that she gravitates towards the girl character of the show and doesn’t really pay attention to anything else about it.

Swat Kats dr Lizard

So that’s Jena’s thoughts about the show, but what about my own thoughts? I was really surprised at the anime influence of the show. Especially in the first episode where the villain Pastmaster opens a portal to bring in some dinosaurs to wreak havoc, the camera does some very anime style moves that move along the body of the dinosaur before ending with a bright flash of light. The characters themselves were much more American in style, where they looked like they fell right in the middle between the Loony Tunes and Walt Disney style of character design. The characters were all pretty one dimensional, with room to grow if I were to continue on through the three seasons that were made. Callie was the typical Lois Lane type character who always seems to be in the middle of trouble and has to call on the Swat Kats to rescue her. Razor and T-Bone were hot shot pilots turned junk yard vigilantes with tons of gadgets and a fierce but friendly rivalry between each other. Commander Feral used to be their commander, but is essentially the chief of police, or head of the army, or something in between. He obviously hates the Swat Kats because they are always one-upping him. There’s also the mayor who was basically a bumbling, ineffectual politician with an obvious hairpiece and a lousy Irish accent befitting a cop in a 50’s movie.

Swat Kats plane

As far as the villains go, out of four episodes there was already one recurring villain, and as I watched the episodes I had a strong familiarity where I remembered having watched them before, though I didn’t remember exactly what was going to happen. The plots already got somewhat repetitive where Callie gets in trouble, the Enforcers come in but don’t get anywhere, then the Swat Kats come in and have some malfunction with their plane that they have to fix, then the finally come back in time to save the day. The music was also an interesting choice of generic 90’s electric synth guitar riffs that feel like they would have been very cutting edge in the 90’s but now feel quite dated. Overall, the show was fun to revisit, and I think if I were to keep watching it there would be a bit of repetitiveness within the first season, but the characters and plots would improve as it moved into the second and third seasons.

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