|SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron|
|Created by||Christian Tremblay|
|Developed by||Glenn Leopold|
|Directed by||Robert Alvarez|
|Voices of||Barry Gordon|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||25 (and 1 special) (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer||Buzz Potamkin|
|Producer||Davis Doi (1993–1994)|
|Running time||22–26 minutes|
|Production company||Hanna-Barbera Cartoons|
|Release||September 11, 1993 –|
January 6, 1995
SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron is a 1993–1994 American animated television series created by Christian and Yvon Tremblay and produced by Hanna-Barbera Cartoons. The series takes place in the fictional metropolis of Megakat City, which is populated by anthropomorphic felines, known as "kats". The SWAT Kats of the title 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 Glenn Leopold (15 episodes) or Lance Falk (9 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 revival series, titled SWAT Kats: Revolution, is under development, with both the Tremblay brothers and the Toonz Media Group at the helm.
Jake "Razor" Clawson (Barry Gordon) and Chance "T-Bone" Furlong (Charlie Adler) 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 (Gary Owens), which resulted in the destruction of the newly built Enforcer Headquarters. While in pursuit of the criminal mastermind Dark Kat (Brock Peters), 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 Jake and Chance'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, discharged Jake and Chance from the Enforcers and reassigned them to work at the city's military salvage yard to pay for the damage to the Enforcer Headquarters which Feral caused.
Using discarded military parts and weapons from the salvage yard, Jake and Chance 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. Razor and T-Bone now patrol Megakat City as the SWAT Kats, defending it against any kind of menace that threatens the city. Their enemies include Dark Kat, the undead sorcerer Pastmaster (Keene Curtis), the mutant evil genius Doctor Viper (Frank Welker), and the robotic gangsters the Metallikats, husband and wife Molly (April Winchell) and Mac Mange (Neil Ross). The SWAT Kats also face many villains-of-the-week, such as Madkat (Roddy McDowall) and Volcanus.
The SWAT Kats keep their identities secret from everyone, including their closest ally Deputy Mayor Callie Briggs (Tress MacNeille), who assumes the responsibilities of both her post and of her boss, Mayor Manx (Jim Cummings), who mainly neglects his political duties in favor of pastimes like golf. Their methods do not endear them to Commander Feral, and the three of them often clash throughout the series. In the second season, Feral's niece Felina (Lori Alan), who holds a lieutenant rank in the Enforcers, becomes another ally of the SWAT Kats.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||13||September 11, 1993||December 4, 1993|
|2||12||September 10, 1994||December 24, 1994|
|Special||1||January 6, 1995|
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 and an episode of Space Ghost at the beginning.
"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.
The episodes themselves are not remastered, and the DVDs contain no extras or bonus features, although three scenes that were originally cut from the show were restored for the DVD. However, Warner Bros. put the end credits for the episodes in the wrong order, meaning voice actors either were not credited for episodes they were in, or were credited for ones where they did not appear. Only a few episodes had their proper end credits intact. On March 3, 2011, Warner Bros. removed SWAT Kats from its DVD page. On January 19, 2012, Warner Archive re-released the SWAT Kats set with the end credits corrected.
Reception and cancellation
SWAT Kats became the number one syndicated animated show of 1994, according to Nielsen Television Index (NTI) and Nielsen Syndication Service (NSS). Toon Magazine documented the success of SWAT Kats in its Fall 1994 issue. Due to the program's success, Hanna Barbera Productions planned to release new episodes, posters, and other works in 1995. However, the show was ultimately canceled with three unfinished episodes.
Ted Turner, CEO of Turner Broadcasting System which produced and aired the show, was reportedly displeased with the level of violence in his cartoons, leading to the delay of its merchandising and its eventual cancellation. Turner went on record in front of Congress and in an early 1995 interview after the show's cancellation, stated that "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." According to the Tremblay Bros. in an interview, this quote was more directed against more adult-oriented TV shows at the time such as Beavis and Butt-Head, which depicted more realistic and easily copyable violence, compared to the more cartoony slapstick violence of the aforementioned shows. However, this was misconstrued by both fans and Hanna-Barbera execs as being a strict "anti-violence" policy, especially in the wake of Turner's own pet project show, Captain Planet and the Planeteers.
On July 23, 2015, creators 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. 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, confirmed Warner Bros. had expressed interest in "bringing back" SWAT Kats on Boomerang, but were unable to convince the parent network to commit for a new series, and thus they passed on the project. Tremblay then started working with investors to create independent episodes of SWAT Kats that will be available online for streaming. In a Kickstarter campaign update on July 23, 2020, show co-creator Christian Tremblay alluded to the issues being faced in getting the Swat Kats: Revolution re-boot picked up:
"It has been a long time coming to provide an update on Swat-Kats Revolution, we sincerely apologize. I hope this update will bring you comfort that the efforts to bring back SK is very much alive and we are actively pushing to make it happen...For us the challenge is not IF a new series will be produced, but WHEN will it be done...So we encountered roadblocks after roadblocks: Hulu passed, Netflix passed, Warner Bros passed. Amazon was not really the place for it and changed its animated content approach. A fairly important movie producer wanted to bring Swat-Kats to Netflix, where he has an output deal, but ultimately, the deal did not make sense for us. I can't count the number of potential business investors we met, trips we did, meetings we held. There have been many opportunities we believed were very promising (with some very important mini Major studios, among others), and we hold on to those opportunities to bring some good news, only to fall apart. Some additional difficulties were unexpected, such as the movie CATS! (Anthropomorphic cats), and a major box office disaster, ridiculed by everyone, let's just say that we had to let the dust clear on this one before we could even approach anyone in the industry, so they could not make any types of similarities between the two properties...this is a Hollywood mindset; when something bombs at the box office it becomes radioactive...We are more motivated than ever before. We have seen and encountered roadblocks in the past but we are resilient. It's not the 100's of NO that count, its the one Yes that allows everything to fall into place. We will make SK happen, no matter how hard or how long it takes.
Official revival announcement
In a Kickstarter campaign update on January 19, 2022, show co-creator Christian Tremblay announced that they "teamed up with Toonz Media Group, an amazing global media company, and Studio 4°C, a Japanese animation company, to bring Swat-Kats Revolution to life." On February 1, 2022, several websites reported additional details, including that "the new series is billed as being for kids in the age range of 5-11" and that the series was already in pre-production as of that date.
In other media
Remco produced a line of action figures in 1994 which included Razor, T-Bone, Dark Kat and Dr. Viper. Both White Castle and Carl's Jr. have offered SWAT Kats toys in their kids' meals in the 1990s.
The game SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron, developed by AIM, was released by Hudson Soft on August 21, 1995, in North America for the Super NES. A Sega Mega Drive game based on SWAT Kats was in development by Traveller's Tales but it was cancelled before being completed.
- "SWAT Kats 25 Year Music Reunion". YouTube. Archived from the original on December 22, 2021.
- "Swat Kats: The Complete Series : DVD Talk Review of the DVD Video". Dvdtalk.com. Retrieved October 20, 2012.
- Perlmutter, David (2018). The Encyclopedia of American Animated Television Shows. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 620. ISBN 978-1538103739.
- Erickson, Hal (2005). Television Cartoon Shows: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, 1949 Through 2003 (2nd ed.). McFarland & Co. pp. 816–818. ISBN 978-1476665993.
- "Swat Kats: The Radical Squadron - 'The Complete Series Collection' DVDs are Available Once More! ***UPDATED***". Tvshowsondvd.com. Archived from the original on February 24, 2012. Retrieved October 20, 2012.
- "Nielsen ratings". Animation Magazine. No. October/November. 1994.
- Swanigan, Michael (1994). "Hanna-Barbera's SWAT Kats: The Best New Action- Adventure Series To Come From Hanna-Barbera In Years!". Toon Magazine. Vol. 1, no. 5.
- "About SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron". Swatkats.info. Archived from the original on October 22, 2010. Retrieved June 18, 2008.
- 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.
- Albert Kim (April 21, 1995), "Ted's Excellent Speaking Engagement", Entertainment Weekly, retrieved August 27, 2016
- "Swat-Kats Revolution By Tremblay Bros Studios — Kickstarter". Kickstarter.com. Retrieved October 13, 2015.
- "Update 43: Re: Swat-Kats Revolution Update · SWAT-KATS REVOLUTION". Kickstarter. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
- "SWAT Kats Reboot in the Works". Comicbook.com. February 1, 2022. Retrieved February 7, 2022.
- "SWAT Kats Toys at Virtual Toychest". Virtualtoychest.com. Retrieved June 18, 2008.
- GameHut (August 9, 2018). Madagascar's Cancelled Party Game. YouTube. Archived from the original on December 22, 2021.