|Inspired by the success of Batman: The Animated Series, Hanna-Barbera decided to get down and dirty with its own urban superheroes, SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron. Created by French Canadian brothers Yvon and Christian Temblay, SWAT Kats cranked up the violence and the volume, delivering a rock and roll action cartoon that had fans purring with delight.
The series was set in an alternate universe where cats had evolved into the dominant species. Crime ran rampant in the kitty metropolis Megakat City, and the local police/military unit, the Enforcers, seemed unable to contain it. Enter Jake Clawson and Chance Furlong, two former Enforcer jet pilots who were kicked off the team due to a misunderstanding with hard-nosed Commander Feral. By day, Jake and Chance worked as humble garage mechanics, but when danger reared its head, the two entered the fray as the SWAT Kats, T-Bone (Chance) and Razor (Jake). To keep their alter egos secret, T-Bone and Razor donned masks and uniforms before gearing up with weapons and taking off into the skies aboard the land/sea/air craft The TurboKat.
Commander Feral didn?t approve of the Kats? vigilante style of justice, but Deputy Mayor Calico (Callie) Briggs knew they were the best thing ever to happen to Megakat City. Besides, the Enforcers really needed the help. Despite the talents of soldiers like Felina Feral (the commander?s niece), the Enforcers were no match for the black magic of Dark Kat, the twisted science of half-cat/half-lizard Dr. Viper, the robotic gangsters Mac and Molly Metallikat, the time-bending Medieval sorcerer The Pastmaster and the many other villains the SWAT Kats faced on a regular basis.
SWAT Kats was more intense than most other segments on the Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera lineup (where it debuted), but that only made it more appealing to action cartoon junkies. Thirteen episodes aired during the show?s first season, running simultaneously in syndication and on the TBS Superstation. The following season, SWAT Kats moved to the Cartoon Network, where 10 new episodes were released to a hungry public.
For whatever reason (opinions range from slow merchandise sales to the show?s violent content), SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron quit airing new episodes after its second season, but that hasn?t stopped the show?s many fans from keeping Jake and Chance alive on the web. SWAT Kats fan sites abound, and the show continues to run sporadically on the Cartoon Network, leaving the glimmer of hope that T-Bone and Razor will come out of retirement for a whole new series of missions.