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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that there's a lot of violence in this remake of the classic '80s cartoon of the same name, and it's a bit more intense than the original. Heroes and villains alike use weapons like swords, whips, and knives against each other in tense combat scenes, and some deaths result from the fighting, although there's no blood or gore to speak of. The ThunderCats' efforts to destroy their enemies is the main plotline, but an equally prominent one is Lion-O's personal struggle to cope with the responsibilities of his newfound leadership role and to balance his personal expectations with those thrust upon him. Because of its classic roots, this entertaining action-adventure cartoon has some cross-generational appeal, but its intense content and frightening villains make it a better choice for older tweens than for kids.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
When Thundera is invaded by the lizard people and his father is killed, Lion-O (voiced by Will Friedle) is thrust into the role of king of the ThunderCats and charged with protecting his home from the villainous imposters. Though uncertain of his abilities, Lion-O finds strength in his friends Cheetara (Emmanuelle Chriqui), Panthro (Kevin Michael Richardson), WilyKat, and WilyKit, and even his adopted older brother, Tygra (Matthew Mercer), who has his own aspirations toward the Thunderian throne. Armed with Lion-O's Sword of Omens, the ThunderCats embark on a quest for the legendary magic stones and the Book of Omens, whose power will allow them to defeat the evil sorcerer Mumm-Ra (Robin Atkin Downes) once and for all.
Is it any good?
THUNDERCATS is a reimagining of the '80s cartoon of the same name, and now-adult fans with fond memories of the original will revel in how the new animation revives their favorite characters. The story picks up approximately where the old series left off, taking a few small liberties with characterizations (Tygra is now Lion-O's adopted brother, and Snarf doesn't talk, for instance) to improve on the original, but sticking closely enough to its predecessor to maintain continuity. Good and evil, sibling rivalry, and personal responsibility are major themes in this high-adventure cartoon, which has the potential for cross-generational appeal.
Parents' main concern with ThunderCats will be its violent content, since the combat scenes can get intense, and death by explosions, weapons, and hand-to-hand fighting occur on a regular basis. There's no gore, but palpable danger lurks around every corner, and the villains are a pretty scary bunch. For tweens who can handle this level of intensity, though, there are some decent takeaways in Lion-O's commitment to his own value system and the heroes' willingness to set aside their differences, rely on each other's strengths, and work as a team for the common goal of survival.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about heroes. What defines a heroic act? Does heroism always require an element of danger? Who do you consider to be heroes?
Are good and evil always clearly defined in this show? What about in real life? How can you tell what someone intends?
How does the violence in this show compare to what you've seen in other cartoons? Does violence have less impact when it's in a cartoon rather than a live-action show? Do you think seeing it on TV desensitizes viewers to violence in real life?