SwatKats Episode Guide/Animato!

From: chance <chance_at_unix.infoserve.net>
Date: Fri, 20 Oct 1995 14:21:04 GMT

The following is reprinted with permission from the author, and was
originally published in Animato! issue 32, under the title "Hanna-Barbera's
flying, fighting felines are cult favourites". If anyone missed the first
portions of the article (detailing some background information and
containing descriptions of the various characters) please feel free to
e-mail me, and I'll get copies to you through e-mail.

_____________________Quoted text begins________________________



Airdates: September 11/12, 1993
Written by Glenn Leopold

     When two grave robbers accidentally free the Pastmaster from his
800-year imprisonment, he steals his "Tome of Time" spellbook from the
Megakat City Museum of History and attempts to change the metropolis back
to the Dark Ages form he prefers. The wicked wizard summons dinosaurs
through a magical "time vortex" to act as his bodyguards, one of whom
knocks the SWAT Kats through the portal into the prehistoric era. Can our
heroes fight their way past the dinosaurs, return to the present and stop
the Pastmaster before time runs out? This may have been chosen as SWAT
Kats' premiere episode because its use of dinosaurs was very timely in the
wake of "Jurassic Park". It's okay, but not the best possible introduction
to the series. "B"

Trivia: 1. Most SWAT Kats episodes are preceded with a clip of an action
scene from the story, with Razor's voice saying "Today on SWAT Kats...".
Since "Pastmaster..." was the first episode aired, it has a different
beginning, intended to introduce the series, in which Razor narrates a
brief overview of the SWAT Kats format over an assortment of clips (all
from "The Giant Bacteria", except for one close-up of the Pastmaster from
this episode).

Appearances: Dr. Abby Sinian has a strong supporting role in this episode.

(ed. note: "Bacteria" was actually the first ep in the series, but
"Pastmaster" aired first).


Airdates: September 18/19 , 1993
Written by Glenn Leopold

     Dr. Viper turns his fellow evildoer Morbulus (Jim Cummings) into the
title creature, which then goes on a predictable rampage through Megakat
City (and inconveniently divides into two anytime it's hit). Viper's
reason for creating the monster is so it can break into the "impenetrable"
Megakat Biochemical Labs and steal a chemical he wants (Oh well, he's a mad
scientist -- his evil plots don't have to be logical.) This was the first
SWAT Kats to be completed, and it's worth watching because it sets up many
of the show's key elements. Unfortunately, it's also the series most
violent and horrific episode. After Morbulus' agonizing transformation,
the bacteria monster(s) eat a farmer and his cow, Viper's old colleague Dr.
Zyme (Paul Eiding), and -- in a shocking scene I can't believe the censors
allowed -- ate a subway car full of passengers. Yes, SWAT Kats is a
violent show where characters sometimes die (often for no compelling
dramatic reason), but "Bacteria" goes way too far. Therefore, I must make
an example of it. "D+"

(ed. note: Mark is very anti-violence, and I personally felt this "letter
grade" rather unwarranted. "Bacteria" was the episode concept that the
Tremblay Bros. used to sell the show, and versions of the Turbokat and the
Kat guys escaping an early form of "Bacteria" are featured on many of the
early pre-production posters).

Musings: 1. There is one good thing about this episode -- an amusing scene
where Chance moons over Callie when she brings her car to Jake & Chance's

2. "Bacteria" also wastes a potentially good villain by killing off
Morbulus as soon as he's introduced. Morbulus is even given a distinctive
shtick -- he literally has eyes in the back of his head, which gives him
360 degree vision. This is presumably so all the bacteria monsters (there
are eventually three) can have eyes after they divide.

Trivia: Morbulus was originally called Oculus, but it was discovered that
there had already been a "Fantastic Four" villain with that name. As a
result, all the original dialogue featuring the name "Oculus" had to be


Airdates: September 25/26, 1993
Written by Jim Stenstrum

     When Dark Kat steals the material for a homemade nuclear bomb to
destroy Megakat City, neither the SWAT Kats nor the Enforcers can break
through his defenses. Commander Feral tries to sneak aboard Dark Kat's
ship ( a plan even he admits is "desperate and stupid") and quickly gets
captured. The ambitious Lt. Steele (Hal Rayle), Feral's yuppie scum
aide-de-camp, would rather advance his career than rescue his boss, so it's
up to the SWAT Kats to save both Feral and Megakat City. A suspenseful,
exciting episode, but what makes it special is a flashback sequence that
shows as much of the SWAT Kats' origin as we're ever likely to see -- which
is why this should have been the first episode broadcast. "A"

Appearances: Burke & Murray appear in the flashback.


Airdates: October 2/3, 1993
Written by Lance Falk

     The 300-storey Megakat Tower office building is aobut to open for
business, but its first tenant is a most unwelcome one: Dr. Viper, who
seizes the structure with his army of monstrous, acid-spitting
"plantimals". He places a huge "spore pod" on top of the penthouse; when
it explodes, it'll cover Megakat City with spoers, turning the metropolis
into the "Megaswamp City" of Viper's fantasies. Obviously, the SWAT Kats
can't allow this. While T-Bone runs interference in the TurboKat, Razor
sneaks into the building and tries to stop Viper -- with the help of Callie
Briggs, who happened to be in the tower when it was taken. Like the "Outer
Limits" classic "Demon With a Glass Hand" (which also concerns a man and a
woman trapped inside an office building fighting evil attackers), this is a
vibrant, briskly paced thriller that increases the tension by restricting
much of the action to a confined space. this is also Dr. Viper's best solo
appearance; he's almost funny as he continually tells his grotesquely
mutated creations how "beautiful" they are. "A+"

Appearances: Mr. Young's debut is in the is episode. Mayor Manx tries to
persuade him to house his corporate headquarters in Megakat Tower; of
course, the less-than-civic-minded Viper ruins Manx's plans.

Lance Falk: Falk was a unit head for H-B's art department who wanted to
get into writing (he'd previously done four spec scripts for "Star Trek:
The Next Generation"). He was also one of the artists who attended the
SWAT Kats developement meetings. Davis Doi (who had worked with Falk on
"Capitol Critters") allowed him to pitch ideas for SWAT kats, all of which
Doi liked, and "Destructive Nature" became Falk's first produced script
(and the first of six SWAT kats episodes Falk would write). "I wanted to
do a "Die-Hard" type thing. Originally I didn't have Dr. Viper, I had a
different villain -- I called him Leiter Greenbox (a name Falk re-used in
"Chaos in Crystal" and "Unlikely Alloys"). In Falk's early outline,
Greenbox creates the plantimals, who go berserk and cause an accident that
turns him into a half-plant/half-kat creature, but the plot is otherwise
similar to the finished episode. "Davis said, 'We've already got a mad
scientist -- just make it Dr. Viper.' It made more sense to me --yeah,
bring the guy back". After the episode aired, Falk learned of some unusual
interpretations. "Somebody told me after the show was on, 'Man, that show
was so dirty! You have this big, tall building, like this phallic symbol,
and then this big thing that's going to explode on top of it and spread
seed all over the city'. When I was writing it, it never occurred to me,
but now I can't NOT see it like that".


Airdates: October 9/10, 1993
Written by Jim Stenstrum

     for the first time since their posthumous "complete makeover", The
Metallikats are back in Megakat City and planning to "tear up this town
like a scratching post!" However, Mac and Molly's first priority is
"rubbing out that crud Mayor Manx", because they think he denied their
parole. It's mayhem in the mayor's office as the SWAT Kats fight to save
both Manx and Callie from the mean machines. This is a SWAT Kats classic,
thanks largely to the villains, who play their unique shtick (Bonnie&Clyde
meet Al and Peg Bundy -- as robots) to the hilt. Valiant Callie also gets
a powerful moment when she tells the Manges that she, not the Mayor, denied
their parole ("Manx hasn't done an ounce of paperwork around here for
years!") -- and almost pays for it with her life. "A+"

Musings: The theme of villains returning from the dead and seeking revenge
was used often on SWAT Kats. Other variations on the theme include "The
Pastmaster Always Rings Twice", "The Ghost Pilot", "Enter the Madkat" and
"The Origin of Dr. Viper".

(ed. note: "The Pastmaster Always Rings Twice" is a play on words in
regards to the title of an old flick that parents of younger folks may
remember - "The Postman Always Rings Twice").

Received on Fri Oct 20 1995 - 10:46:59 PDT

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