Five reasons for the whole family to watch ThunderCats Roar on Cartoon Network

’80s classic cartoon ThunderCats has clawed its way back into our hearts in a whole new way. Meow!

ThunderCats Roar, Cartoon Network’s rebooted version of the original American animated fantasy adventure series (which originally ran from 1985-1989, and was followed by a rebooted version in 2011) is here to make parents and kids alike purr with delight.

It is inspired by the fantasy world building of the original series and features the original series bizarre villains, artefacts and settings. It also keeps all the original feline-human heroes including fearless leader Lion-O, swift Cheetara, wise and refined Tygra, inventive and brilliant Panthro, double-trouble mischief makers WilyKit and WilyKat and their pet, Snarf. But their personalities have all been tweaked a little – or in the case of Lion-O, a lot.

This is not your dad’s ThunderCats. ThunderCats Roar has a completely different tone with a focus now on humour of all kinds, from the slapstick to the clever and irreverent. But even if you are now “the dad”, and you were a die-hard fan of the original series’ ’80s-style, muscle-man action and pounding soundtrack, ThunderCats Roar is going to give you at least five things to love as you watch it with the kids…


The Sword Of Omens

Some of the best “wait, what?” moments in the new ThunderCats Roar happen when the script acknowledges the series’ existence in the toy world. Lion-O, the exuberantly immature and weapons-obsessed battle leader of the ThunderCats, is head over heels for his almighty Sword Of Omens, a magical artefact that powers the ThunderCats’ base. But when Lion-O presses on the red gem in the hilt of the sword, it produces a range of tinny, cheap sounds that’ll be familiar to anyone who’s ever played with a toy plastic sword with that kind of feature as a child. Lion-O even refers to it as his “plastic sword”, and you can bet that he presses that button repeatedly as he waves the sword around, striking heroic poses. Like a child’s toy sword, the Sword Of Omens can do pretty much anything to save the day, from shooting energy bolts, to giving Lion-O super-sight, to curing illness, making Lion-O fly and acting as a shrink ray – all of which are powers it had in the original series.

Lion-O, the furry idiot!

Lion-O’s childishness in the Roar series – which makes him light-hearted, fun and empathetic, yet also absolutely insufferable and tiring to be around – is actually a nod to the original series’ backstory. During the ThunderCats’ original escape from their planet Thundera (which blew up, alas, at the start of the series), 12-year-old Lion-O’s stasis pod malfunctioned, so when he awoke he had the ripped, muscular physique of a mature man, and the mind of a tween. Roar’s Lion-O reflects this with his short attention span, boundless imagination, inability to stand still and listen, and his tendency to rush into battle without any kind of plan.


Music to our ears

The original series’ score has directly inspired the music for ThunderCats Roar. That means all those heroic cues and epic, sweeping synthesiser moments are intact, but undercut by the humour of what’s happening onscreen as the ThunderCats and eternal enemy, the evil undead sorcerer Mumm-Ra, embark on some very silly battles – like a fight using an evil karaoke machine. The two elements feed off one another to create something delightful in that it’s both nostalgic and gleefully absurd, particularly in the high-action fight sequences. It also means that the violence that was in the original series comes across with a completely different feeling.

Creatures great and small

ThunderCats Roar has created loads of original species for the ThunderCats to befriend on their new planet, Third Earth. And even when they are familiar, like unicorns and trolls, the show has added its own spin. Third Earth’s unicorns, for example, are open-mouthed, utterly inconsolable, wailing crybabies when they are depressed. There are gold-loving robot pirates who go berserk in battle, the tiny Micrits who see Lion-O as a gigantic, stomping bringer of destruction to their little villages, and even Berbils – robotic bears with a passion for construction who bear a passing resemblance to Star Wars ewoks crossed with original series BattleStar Galactica robot dog, Muffit.


What a plot!

Entire episodes are built around ridiculous ideas. In episode 20, Mumm-Ra’s henchman Jackalman accidentally goes home with the ThunderCats instead of his own team following a battle. He then fakes amnesia and pretends to believe that he is their pet. The very next episode sees the ThunderCats go to the beach for the day in an effort to avoid heroic battles. Alas, the beach is full of belligerent Crab-men, who love nothing more than a good punch up. The episode after that? A big game hunter named Safari Joe keeps capturing the ThunderCats in his animal traps.

The result is a series that’s fun to sit down with the kids and watch, or even sneak in a few episodes on your own. And hey, even if you believe that ThunderCats Roar has destroyed your childhood and you’re mad as hell, at least it’s not Caillou.

Watch ThunderCats Roar weekdays from Monday, 25 May on Cartoon Network (DStv301) at 15:05

Does your kid like to watch on your phone?

Download the DStv Now app (Apple or Android) or go to on your laptop. Your little ones can watch their favourite shows on DStv – just remember to connect to the Wi-Fi first so there are no surprise data costs.