SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this is an action cartoon with lots of violence, explosions, and high-tech weaponry -- so it's not for really young kids. That said, it has a number of strengths. The characters are relatively well developed, with relationships and backstories. And even though the female characters aren't the heroes themselves, they hold powerful roles in the city and aren't portrayed with the typical wasp waists and big breasts that populate many action cartoons.
What's the story?
SWAT KATS, which originally ran on TBS for two years in the early 1990s, is the ongoing saga of two heroic felines in a city populated entirely by cats. Former officers in a glamorous high-tech police squad known as The Enforcers, Chance "T-Bone" Furlong (voiced by Charles Adler) and Jake "Razor" Clawson (Barry Gordon) are now reduced to city salvage workers who must protect their city undercover (a task that requires jet fighting, laser guns, and the ability to deal with everything from alien cicadas to alternate universes). Working in cooperation with the police and the mayor, they keep their true identities secret and are invariably good -- if rogue -- citizens.
Is it any good?
For an action cartoon, SWAT Kats has several things going for it. Female characters are strong and fearless. And the heroes, even while operating undercover, cooperate with the police, who aren't portrayed as either corrupt or foolish. Instead, although they're good, the official police just aren't as willing or able as the SWAT Kats to do whatever it takes to get the job done. The buddy relationship between the two main characters is also nice -- they may be undercover crime fighters, but they're never alone. Both guys seem to feel like they have friends in the city, and they seem pretty happy with what they're doing.
Compared to the many angst-ridden cartoon takes on Spider-Man and Batman, SWAT Kats is both a lighthearted relief and a good option for young viewers who aren't quite ready to consider the moral and ethical implications of superhero status.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the role of the media within the show. One main character is a reporter who often finds trouble but is invariably brave (and reckless) in going after the story. Is that what you think journalists are like in real life? What's good about how she does her job, and what's not? Families can also discuss how this show is similar to and different from other action cartoons.