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How far can a Reboot go?

Tantz_Aerine at 12:00AM, May 19, 2018
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So I came across this new announcement of a reboot (?) due in 2019 of the nostalgic cartoon Thundercats that most of us grew up with (fine, ok, I'm only dating myself with this).

I have always been partial to Thundercats, but not overly possessive. I didn't mind the new version they made a few years ago that was designed differently but generally kept the feel and the guidelines of the show's main recipe.

But this new one… it really jarred me.

How do you go from this:


To this?



It looks like a parody more than a reboot or new iteration or take on the show to me.

Don't take me wrong, the design and the art is quite good (even though not quite my cup of tea), stylized and fluid and I've no doubt the animation will also be good. But it's… somehow not a style I'd easily associate with an action adveture featuring space cats fighting a giant voodoo practicing egyptian mummy, showing off all the machismo and battle prowess and ferocity of big anthropomorphized cats.

I suppose that a kid that is introduced to thundercats with this new 2019 show won't mind and will totally get into it, if the writing's good and the stories engaging… but it will be a completely different flavour. It won't be the thundercats I grew up with, or even the ones I could recognize and relate to with the other reboot that was done.

And while of course everything is permissible in art, if you're going to change something this much, to the point that it is unrecognizable to its original core fanbase, why don't you go create something completely new, from scratch, and just get inspired from that something instead? Because it's quite likely that the original fanbase will hate your redesign since they won't be able to relate to it (thus you're not likely to be able to cash in much on the nostalgia and old fame and fanbase that comes with the title use) and the new fanbase won't have reference to the old show nor care.

Why not leave the old things well enough alone?

comment

anonymous?

Kou the Mad at 7:57PM, May 23, 2018

Tycho from Penny Arcade actually has a pretty interesting viewpoint on all this. https://www.penny-arcade.com/news/post/2018/05/23/mumm-wha

Abt_Nihil at 1:18AM, May 23, 2018

Yeah, social media rage is a big problem of our times, and I'm still very unsure how to deal with it. But that topic probably deserves its own newspost/quackcast/book... ;)

Tantz_Aerine at 11:44AM, May 22, 2018

Abt_Nihil: I agree with everything you say. Personally I am quite certain it at least won't be for me, if not objectively bad. As for the other outrage, I think social media rage is a trend of the times, and perhaps a symptom. // Cdmalcolm I liked the 2011 reboot too! And I'd love to see reboots mining the potential of all those 80s characters and basic premises. It would be excellent.

Abt_Nihil at 7:52AM, May 22, 2018

I would also much prefer another season of the previous reboot to this new series. Generally, I can understand everyone's worries that it'll be bad. What shocks me though is the violent outrage this piece of art, a short animated clip and interview with the show's creator has caused. The show may turn out to be bad, and offend many 30-somethings' sensibilities who grew up with the original, but all the instant vitriol and no-holds-barred threats worry me much, much more. -- Apart from that, the great thing about 80s cartoon reboots/remakes is that they can mine their unused potential. 80s cartoons often had great concepts, but, let's face it, not-so-great narratives. Transformers Prime and the 2011 ThunderCats reboot had much better stories... but they weren't quite as kick-ass as the originals, or at least not as our present memory of the originals. Truly great reboots would combine both and transcend the original by being every bit as great as the originals we remember!

cdmalcolm1 at 10:19AM, May 21, 2018

I have to say, this reminds me of the same exact thing they tried to do to Sonics the Hedgehog and it’s different versions from the original. The same thing can be said with some god awful versions of the Transformers the TV series. It turns me off to watch a BS version Transformers when it has nothing to do with their history. So Tantz, I totally feel you. If you gonna do it, do it right. I do like the second version of ThunderCats very much and thought that it made more sense then the original to a point. (What I’m referring to is the earth in the original series not have that many people, Society or wildlife but yet later in the series they were there. ) this new version, better not be like mighty migiswords. You know, a Pointless 7 minutes mini adventures on CN.

bravo1102 at 10:43AM, May 20, 2018

So says the guy in the middle of ret-conning and re-booting a comic he did 10 years ago. Irony!

bravo1102 at 10:24AM, May 20, 2018

A problem with reboots is they often end up becoming ret-cons and that opens a whole new can of worms that often quickly devours whatever charm the original series had.

bravo1102 at 10:20AM, May 20, 2018

I loved the new Johnny Quest as it filled in a lot of holes from the original. I grew up on the original as well as Scooby-doo. My favorite reboot was A pup Named Scooby-doo because of the ridiculous backstory with Scooby's parents and the character Redd Herring. Muppet Babies was based on a musical number where Miss Piggy imagined she had grown up with Kermit (IIRC: Muppets Take Manhattan) The Muppets can reinvent themselves but no reboot of them is ever actually all new and most refer back to earlier incarnations. (Like a Very Merry Muppet Christmas refers back to the Muppet Show and The Muppet Movie. It's all one continuity, just like one of the Cutey Honey series was a very tenuous sequel to the 1970s original series. Cutey Honey Flash and Cutey Honey Live reinvented the story just to give one example) Space Cruiser Yamato was actually killed off by its creator in the second movie, which did so well he was obliged to do a second series retelling the story and not killing it off.

usedbooks at 6:54PM, May 19, 2018

For me, it's a no-comparison necessary issue. I will watch a "reboot" of a series I didn't like if the new title looks like I'd enjoy it. I might watch a "reboot" of a franchise I like but only if the reboot is something I would enjoy regardless of its connection. The Looney Tunes Show that came out a few years ago was hilarious. It had a brand of humor I enjoyed. But it was set up as a sitcom. The art style was a little off-putting at first, but it didn't bother me. (People who thought they were getting Looney Tunes or expecting something else probably hated it.) I watch every new Lupin III series (haven't seen the latest one, blue jacket Lupin, yet). A Woman Called Fujiko Mine was a weird one, but I liked it. I like the production team in general.

usedbooks at 6:48PM, May 19, 2018

Like KimLuster, I'm not a Thundercats fan. But I actually enjoy checking out re-imaginings and new spins on old franchises. The thing is, I never think of them as remakes. I think of them as inspired-bys and new spins. I loved the Real Adventures of Johnny Quest. A lot of old Johnny Quest fans didn't. I get that. But they were both fun adventure shows for their respective times. For me, shows (and movies) need to be stand-alones, taken at face value, and not compared to other titles in a franchise. There are good Scooby-Doos and not-so-good Scooby-Doos. There will always be new takes. I loved the Muppet Babies. It wasn't the Muppet Show or the movies. It was for a different audience. It was great for what it was. Anyone making a new version of an old franchise will ultimately suffer from the too-similars and the too-differents. They will never win over the former audience.

mks_monsters at 6:41PM, May 19, 2018

Just to let everyone know, I am not saying this Thundercats reboot will be good or bad. I will not judge what I have not seen and looks can be very, very deceiving. However, I will the first to admit that some reboots bomb because they really are badly done not simply because they are reboots. There are plenty of original ideas out there which bombed even harder in which the reboot was so good we completely forgot about the original.

KimLuster at 5:46PM, May 19, 2018

Having never been a big fan of the original Thundercats, I have no dog in this particular fight, but to me, most reboots have a 'too soon' feel (the Spider-Man character reboots of the last decade), or just don't really seem needed (Total Recall)... but sometimes they really work (Planet of the Apes)

ozoneocean at 3:12PM, May 19, 2018

My biggest issues with it is that the original and the last iteration were both solidly realistic in style and action drama in tone. The style here is a slavish copy of the current popular form from stuff like Adventure Time, Steven Universe etc while the tone is action comedy. It can't honestly be seen as part of the same work, parody is the highest it can shoot for. If you had a "reboot" of Scarface where all the actors were little people and the story was changed from an action drama to an action comedy you would ONLY consider it a parody and never seriously entrain the idea that it was a genuine attempt to adapt it for another audience.

ghostrunner at 2:52PM, May 19, 2018

reminds me of the total ruination of ben 10

bravo1102 at 11:17AM, May 19, 2018

Different? Doesn't matter. Reboots need to be worth a bucket of warm spit for them to work. Too many reboots have felt obliged to change too much and all too often for the worse. We'll take this great classic movie/series and re-start it to make it "current" and fail miserably because we have no idea of the period context of the original piece. Some things should just be left alone and Mr. Creator go off and do something original. But if the reboot captures the spirit of the original with respect and reinvents things to make them better in light of developments since the original was done? Horse of a different color. (To bring up another thing that's had all kinds of re-makes and reboots: Wizard of Oz)

IronHorseComics at 7:54AM, May 19, 2018

they shouldn't have cancelled the one in 2011, that was is so much better than this will be

mks_monsters at 6:13AM, May 19, 2018

My guess is that it will be a parody of rebooting. As someone who practices rebooting, I sympathize with those who get flak from old fans because I break molds the way a flirt breaks hearts though in my case I don’t mean to break hearts. I also go a different way because I hate doing another said story and because our perception of good and evil has changed. Do you think even Steven Universe was made in the 1980s it would be the same as it is now? Do you think good and evil would be presented the same way? I think not. With that in mind, I get where the classic lovers are coming from but I get where reboots are coming from too. We don’t see things the same way, lifestyles have changed, we are more aware of cultural differences and gender roles are all but dead. Reboots need to be different in order for them to work.

bravo1102 at 6:05AM, May 19, 2018

Maybe the Warner Brothers logo in the bottom left should be a tip-off? Thundercats meets Looney Toons? And Liono's battle cry Thunder, thunder, thunder cats YO! Can anyone say Thunderbirds are GO! Another series that had some lame reboots, like the live action movie. Captain Scarlet on the other hand had a great CGI reboot.

bravo1102 at 6:00AM, May 19, 2018

Awful-awful-AWFUL! Someone thought to turn the Robot chicken parody into a full time thing? A reboot if done well can be phenomenal! (Space Battleship Yamato:2199 as the reboot of Star Blazers/Space Cruiser Yamato) Some anime have gone through so many reboots and re-tells as to become institutions and each of its reiterations just expanding the fan base (e.g. Cutey Honey) But this?

Genejoke at 4:53AM, May 19, 2018

The last reboot of thundercats wasn't too bad. That one looks terrible.

Corruption at 3:21AM, May 19, 2018

I think Thundercats Roar (the remake) is designed for a younger audiance. Maybe around 3 or 4 year olds, while the originial was designed around 6-10 year olds. I HATE such changes, but I can understand why they would make such a change. It allows them to relate to a younger audiance who are notfully awake, or adults who are stoned and drunk (their intelligence is often considered the same) Also, the art change allow them to release the original ones latter without causing confusion. Me, I hate the three REs of shows, stories and comics I like REboots, REmakes (like a reboot, but for something that's meant to be stand alone, like a movie. I refuse to see the new Ghost Busters movie!) and REtro-continuety. There is not enough room here for me to list all the reasons I hate them! I tried.

MOrgan at 3:08AM, May 19, 2018

Looks like drug use is alive and well in Hollywood.

Gunwallace at 2:54AM, May 19, 2018

I watched a short "behind-the-scenes" video of the new creative team, and all I can say is I wouldn't want those people to even make my next cup of coffee.

ozoneocean at 12:09AM, May 19, 2018

Yeah, I predict it will be cancelled after a season. Probably they want the same effect that My Little Pony had with its modern reboot, nut the original style was super lame and was only improved by the modern touches. This sort of stylisation is a huge backwards step for a realistic looking show like Thundercats. I'd still watch it but I'd only be thinking of it as a parody. Bloody Ren and Stimpy has a lot to answer for! By the 1980s this style was DEAD, but the Ren and Stipy guy revived the corpse and now the zombie plague of 1950s stylisation has taken over and mutated.


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