SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron

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SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron
SWAT Kats Season 2 title card, featuring T-Bone, Razor, and the Turbokat.
Created by Christian Tremblay
Yvon Tremblay
Developed by Glenn Leopold
Davis Doi
Directed by Robert Alvarez
Voices of Charlie Adler
Lori Alan
Jim Cummings
Barry Gordon
Mark Hamill
Tress MacNeille
Candi Milo
Gary Owens
Composer(s) Randall Crissman
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 23 (regular)
1 (special) (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Buzz Potamkin
Producer(s) Davis Doi (1993–1994)
Running time 22–26 minutes
Production company(s) Hanna-Barbera Productions
Distributor Warner Bros. Television Distribution
Original network TBS (1993−1994)
Picture format 480i 480p SDTV 720p 1080i 1080p HDTV
Audio format Dolby SR
Original release September 11, 1993 (1993-09-11) – January 6, 1995 (1995-01-06)

SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron is an American animated television series created by Christian Tremblay and Yvon Tremblay and produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions.[1] The series takes place in the fictional metropolis of Megakat City, which is populated entirely by anthropomorphic felines, known as "kats". The titular SWAT Kats are two vigilante pilots who possess a state-of-the-art fighter jet with an array of weaponry. Throughout the series, they face various villains as well as competition from Megakat City's militarized police force called the Enforcers.

The show originally premiered and ran on the syndication block The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera, as well as TBS Superstation (as a part of the Sunday Morning In Front Of The TV block) from 1993 to 1995. Every episode of the series was directed by Robert Alvarez. The bulk of the series was written by either Glenn Leopold (13 episodes) or Lance Falk (6 episodes). Jim Stenstrum contributed two episodes, while David Ehrman, Von Williams, Eric Clark (with Lance Falk), Mark Saraceni and Jim Katz all contributed one episode each. A total of twenty-three finished episodes (two were cut into two segments, making twenty-five when counted individually) and a special episode, that features a report on the SWAT Kats and of all their missions and gadgets as well as three unfinished episodes and two episodes still in the concept stage.[2]

The show re-aired on Cartoon Network and Boomerang. A revival of the series was funded via Kickstarter,[3] which ended with over $140,000 in funds, guaranteeing new SWAT Kats animation for the first time in over two decades.


Chance "T-Bone" Furlong and Jake "Razor" Clawson were members of Megakat City's paramilitary law enforcement agency, known as the Enforcers. They were discharged from the Enforcers after disobeying the orders of Commander Feral, which resulted in the destruction of the newly built Enforcer Headquarters. While in pursuit of Dark Kat, one of the main arch-villains of the series, the two rebelled against Enforcer Commander Feral's orders to fall back and leave Dark Kat to him. When they objected, citing their already-acquired target lock, Commander Feral crowded out their jet, clipping their wing and sending Chance and Jake's jet crashing into Enforcer headquarters. The resultant explosion distracted Commander Feral, allowing Dark Kat's escape. The Commander took no responsibility for the incident, and discharged Chance and Jake from the Enforcers and reassigned them to work at the city's military salvage yard to pay for the damage to the Enforcer Headquarters.

Using discarded military parts and weapons from the salvage yard, Chance and Jake built themselves a three-engine jet fighter called the Turbokat, which resembled several different jet fighters, most notably the Grumman F-14 and the Saab Draken, along with a handful of other vehicles such as the Cyclotron (a motorcycle built into the jet's seating, deployed from the bomb bay of the Turbokat like a missile), the TurboMole (a subterranean vehicle used to drill underground), the HoverKat (a militarized hovercraft), and the Thunder Truck (a militarized Jeep modified from their tow truck). All these vehicles were stored, along with a training area and other equipment, in a secret hangar below the yard. T-Bone and Razor now patrol Megakat City as the SWAT Kats, defending it against any kind of menace that threatens the city. Their enemies include the criminal mastermind Dark Kat, the undead sorcerer Pastmaster, the mutant evil genius Doctor Viper, and the robotic gangsters the Metallikats. The SWAT Kats also face many villains-of-the-week, such as Madkat and Volcanus.

The SWAT Kats keep their identities secret from everyone, including their closest ally Deputy Mayor Callie Briggs, who assumes the responsibilities of both her post and of her boss, Mayor Manx, who mainly neglects his political duties in favor of pastimes like golf. Their methods do not endear them to Commander Feraline, and the three of them often clash throughout the series. In the second season, Feral's niece Felina (who holds a Lieutenant rank in the Enforcers) becomes another ally of the SWAT Kats.



Reception and cancellation[edit]

SWAT Kats became the number one syndicated animated show of 1994, according to Nielsen Television Index (NTI) and Nielsen Syndication Service (NSS).[4] Hanna Barbera Productions also stated this in a SWAT Kats Poster ad that they were going to release new episodes, posters, and other works in 1995.[4] Toon Magazine also published a section about the success of SWAT Kats in Fall 1994 issue.[5] Modelsheets of characters were also released in the same issue. The show was canceled with three unfinished episodes.[2]

Ted Turner, owner of Turner Entertainment which produced and aired the show, was reportedly displeased with the level of violence in the cartoon, leading to the delay of its merchandising and its eventual cancellation.[6] Turner went on record in front of Congress and in an early 1995 interview after the show's cancellation, saying "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."[7]

International broadcasters[edit]

Other countries have aired this series around the world.


Home Media releases[edit]

In July 1995, Hanna-Barbera (through Turner Home Entertainment) released three VHS collections with two select episodes on each. These releases also included some of the "Secret Files of SWAT Kats" clips that ended each episode in original airings. The VHS releases were titled:

"Deadly Dr. Viper" - featuring "Destructive Nature" and "Katastrophe".

"Strike of Dark Kat" - featuring "The Wrath of Dark Kat" and "Night of Dark Kat".

"Metallikats Attack" - featuring "The Metallikats" and "Metal Urgency".

On December 14, 2010, Warner Archive released SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron- The Complete Series Collection on DVD in region 1, as part of their Hanna–Barbera Classics Collection. This is a Manufacture-on-Demand (MOD) release, available exclusively through Warner's online store and Amazon.com.[8]

It should be noted though, that the episodes themselves aren't remastered, but are from the best quality master tapes available and contain no extras or bonus features aside from the episodes themselves. Three scenes that were originally cut from the show were released on DVD. They are the title card of the episode "The Pastmaster Always Rings Twice", the Farmer Scene from the episode "The Giant Bacteria" and the Guidance System scene from the episode "Chaos in Crystal"; the "Today on SWAT Kats" and the "Secret Files of SWAT Kats" segments are not available on the DVD set.

Most episodes of the series were originally preceded by a short prologue in which Razor would say, "Today on SWAT Kats...," with a brief action scene from the episode. After most episodes, there was a small clip called "Secret Files of SWAT Kats" which gave information about the heroes, villains and tech from the show. Another issue with the DVD was the end credits of the show. Warner Bros put the end credits for the episodes in the wrong order, meaning voice actors either weren't credited for episodes they were in, or were credited for ones they weren’t. Only a few episodes had their proper end credits intact.

On March 3, 2011, Warner Bros removed SWAT Kats from its DVD page, most likely to correct the errors, then on January 19, 2012, Warner Archive re-released the SWAT Kats set with the end credits corrected, but still without the "Today on SWAT Kats" or the "Secret Files of SWAT Kats" segments.


Remco produced a line of action figures in 1994 which included T-Bone, Razor, Dr. Viper and Dark Kat.[9] Both White Castle and Carl's Jr. have offered SWAT Kats toys in their kids' meals in the 1990s.

Video game[edit]

SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron
Developer(s) AIM
Publisher(s) Hudson Soft
Director(s) Toru Nakagawa
Joe Shishikura
Designer(s) Daisuke Tajima
Programmer(s) Kazuaki Toida
Composer(s) Tomoyuki Hamada
Platform(s) Super NES
  • JP: June 9, 1995
  • NA: August 21, 1995
Genre(s) Action
Mode(s) Single-player

The game SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron, developed by AIM, was released by Hudson Soft on June 9, 1995 for Japan and August 21, 1995 in North America for the Super NES. It is a 2-D action platformer with RPG elements in which the player controls either T-Bone or Razor.[10] It features a password system and third-person flying sequences in the Turbokat Fighter. It is based on various episodes of the show and features a different boss for each world, with Dark Kat as the final boss. All worlds contain an urgent message from Mayor Manx prior to the start of each world.


On July 23, 2015, Christian and Yvon Tremblay announced a Kickstarter campaign to revive SWAT Kats, seeking to produce a new series, and if possible, a 70-minute film.[11] On July 24, one day after the campaign began, the Kickstarter successfully reached its first funding goal of $50,000, needed for production of concept art and promotional material, which the pair had aimed to use to help them find an investor who would be interested in helping with the revival.

A more major goal of $200,000 would allow the pair to produce a 22-minute episode, while a pledge total of $1,000,000 would allow them to do a mini-series of five episodes. Their highest pledge, $1.5 million or more, would help them to make a film of the SWAT Kats. The campaign ended on August 22, 2015 with $141,500 pledged, and already passing another goal of $100,000 will help to create a 2-minute-long trailer of how the series should look.

On February 17, 2016, the Tremblay Brothers confirmed they had started development on the trailer, which they will show to a TV company in order to have the green light for production on SWAT Kats Revolution.

Christian Tremblay, along with Warner Animation, have managed to convince Warner Bros into bringing back SWAT Kats on Boomerang Channel / Cartoon Network, but were unable to convince the parent network to commit for a new series, and thus passed on the project. However, Tremblay is currently working with investors to create independent episodes of SWAT Kats that will be available online for streaming. Tremblay is also talking to VOD, looking at all the possibilities to accomplish the goal of producing new episodes.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Swat Kats: The Complete Series : DVD Talk Review of the DVD Video". Dvdtalk.com. Retrieved 2012-10-20. 
  2. ^ a b "About SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron". Swatkats.info. Archived from the original on October 22, 2010. Retrieved June 18, 2008. 
  3. ^ "Swat-Kats Revolution By Tremblay Bros Studios". Kickstarter.com. Retrieved 2016-05-05. 
  4. ^ a b "Nielsen ratings". Animation Magazine (October/November). 1994. 
  5. ^ Swanigan, Michael (1994). "Hanna-Barbera's SWAT Kats: The Best New Action- Adventure Series To Come From Hanna-Barbera In Years!". Toon Magazine. 1 (5). 
  6. ^ Christian Tremblay (November 30, 2012). "SWAT Kats The Animated Series Tlak to the Co-Creator Christian Tremblay". reddit. Retrieved August 27, 2016. The OFFICIAL reasons the show was cancel is that the timing between the merchandising being out late, affected the bottom line of the financial, i.e. the money HB was making. Remenber that the series cost many, many, many million $$ to produce, all financed by HB. Now why the merchandising was out late, is because Ted Turner, announced in congress that what his tv station are producing, there won't be any violence ( this is in 1994 about, in a time where all the broadcaster were pointed about violence on TV.) At the same, here we were producing SK with helicopters crashing into walls exploding....! So the show, before it aired was some kind of a hot and sensible issue the executive had to navigate with.......which at the end result in being late in the coordination of the series coming out and the toys following way late after that. 
  7. ^ Albert Kim (April 21, 1995), "Ted's Excellent Speaking Engagement", Entertainment Weekly, retrieved August 27, 2016 
  8. ^ "Swat Kats: The Radical Squadron - 'The Complete Series Collection' DVDs are Available Once More! ***UPDATED***". Tvshowsondvd.com. Retrieved 2012-10-20. 
  9. ^ "SWAT Kats Toys at Virtual Toychest". Virtualtoychest.com. Retrieved 2008-06-18. 
  10. ^ "SWAT Cats". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 73. Sendai Publishing. August 1995. p. 122. 
  11. ^ "Swat-Kats Revolution By Tremblay Bros Studios — Kickstarter". Kickstarter.com. Retrieved 2015-10-13. 
  12. ^ "Swat-Kats Revolution By Tremblay Bros Studios — Kickstarter Update". Kickstarter.com. Retrieved 2016-05-03. 

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