SilverHawks Silverhawks Impressions

Discussion in 'Other Cartoons & Collectables' started by Mark M, Sep 15, 2014.

  1. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    I finally got around to watching Silverhawks after a conversation with LiamABC.

    All I can say is I am not impressed and I will not be watching anymore after those opening two episodes.

    In fact I would rate them as the worst opening episodes of any 80's action cartoon I can think of.

    The only good things I liked about it were:
    1. The concept design of the Silverhawks...sadly none of the actual designs in the cartoon were that great.
    2. Some of the villain designs were quite good although look a lot like left overs that would have been better suited to Thundercats.
    3. The music by Bernard Hoffer is quite good although it sounds a lot like Thundercats.
    4. The animation is quite nice. Nothing spectacular but better than some other 80's shows.

    The start of episode one with Monstar escaping was quite good but as soon as Hawkhaven shows up it went down hill.

    I can't really explain why I don't like it and it doesn't appeal to me but I am going to try.

    To me it was like watching a strange mix up Battle of the Planets, Starzingers, Thundercats and C.O.P.S. but really being too much of a mix up of either show for one particular element from either one to catch my interest. In comparison to any of the four shows I named their is a drastic difference to their opening two episodes compared to Silverhawks as they are exciting and have interesting characters. For any show to be good it has to have interesting characters or at least be exciting.
    Also the heroes are so bland and generic. The design of Quicksilver is pretty cool but an entire team the same is really boring. Bluegrass had a bit more character but a really stupid weapon and his design doesn't make sense as it would make more sense for his hands to be reversed and have his fingering hand be bare instead of the plucking hand.

    It's really hard to imagine this show was made by the same people that made one of the greatest cartoons of the 80's. it is no surprise this show never really caught on or had much success.
    But as I said this is only based on those opening two episodes, maybe it gets better, I don't know...I don't care, but if the rest are like them I really have no interest in watching them.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2014
  2. Daremonger

    Daremonger Thunderian Legend

    I own "SilverHawks" on DVD, and despite not making a lick o' sense, I still appreciate it.
  3. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    I can't say I would have any interest in buying a DVD of it LOL.
  4. adssse

    adssse Thunderian Legend

    I will admit that it fails in comparison to Thundercats. I do although enjoy the series. In my opinion the series does pick up after the first couple of episodes (the first episode is especially dry), but if you did not care for them at all it may not be worth it for you to venture on.

    The Silverhawks themselves are probably the least interesting of the series to me (although I do like Copper Kid the most), but I actually really like most of the villains and even some of the side characters.

    Not to get too of subject since it is a Silverhawks thread, but I am interested in what your opinion is on Tigersharks?
  5. Daremonger

    Daremonger Thunderian Legend

    I've only seen a couple episodes of "TigerSharks" in my youth, so I don't know too much about it.
  6. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    I just watched the first two episodes of Tigersharks. It didn't really capture my interest either but I prefer it to some extent compared to Silverhawks. The heroes are a lot more interesting especially. Some of the villains seem okay but not as interesting as the villains in Silverhawks.
    Maybe they should have done a mash up of these two ideas and made one show instead of two.
  7. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend


    This show was never aired over here in England, and after watching the first two episodes, I think I know why.

    I have just this minute finished watching the first two episodes, and am not that impressed myself.

    First off, episode 1 establishes things . . . and that's all it does. Likewise, episode 2 was action but nothing much else. So basically, these opening two episodes should have taken the space of just a single episode. The content of episode 1 could, and indeed SHOULD, have been condensed into the first ten minutes, and had the action from episode 2 to finish it off.

    The theme tune - instantly recognisable as written by Bernard Hoffer. If anything, it's too recognisable, it almost sounds like a rejected idea for the Thundercats theme, or else when asked to come up with a theme for Silverhawks, he just did a pastiche of the Thundercats theme.

    As for Mon*Star . . . basically a Mumm-Ra rip off. "Moonstar of Limbo, give me the might, the muscle, the menace, of MON*STAR!" is pretty much a rip-off of "Ancient Spirits of Evil, transform this decayed form to Mumm-Ra the Ever Living!" - and the fact that both characters were voiced by Earl Hammond doesn't help. (Although Mon*Star's voice does shift from Mumm-Ra to Vultureman at times, allowing those of us who still doubted to know for sure that those two voices were by the same actor!)

    I could understand if some other team had created a character evocative of Mumm-Ra, but come on, this show is made by the same people who made Thundercats. You don't need to rip off your own old characters for your new show. (I suspect the fault here lies with Jules Bass; according to Lee Dannacher in the Thundercats DVD bonus interviews, Bass was the ideas man for catchphrases and the like. This looks like the handiwork of the same mind.)

    The Copper Kid seems a bit pointless, and by the looks of things exists only as a channel for the young viewers' moral (and also in this case intellectual) education. I suspect his lessons from Bluegrass at the end of each episode are going to grate on my nerves if I carry on watching.

    I also have a slight problem with Melodia, but this one isn't a reflection on the show itself. Maybe it's because I'm left-handed and play the keyboard, but I feel I'm being discriminated against here.

    Mark - in your comparisons, you mentioned two shows I'm not familiar with, and two that I am. Obviously, the Thundercats comparison is inevitable. And I see what you mean about C.O.P.S. - for one thing, there's a police concept to the premise, of trying to put Mon*Star back behind bars again. And for another, Stargazer and his office feel very Raymond Chandler-esque.

    I would also add Visionaries to the list of comparisons. Effectively, the first episode there consists of various knights making their way through the traps, trials and tricks of Iron Mountain in the hopes of gaining Merklynn's magic; the second episode is basically just a lot of action sequences that serve to show off how the magical powers work - BUT, the key difference with this is that Visionaries is a lot more coherent, there's narrative structure and character motivations running through it all. Silverhawks falls somewhat flat in that department.

    I might have a go with some regular episodes: I know that establishing episodes can suffer from the fact that they have to establish things, so maybe some regular episodes might be better. My first impression of the 2-part C.O.P.S. pilot (which was actually aired 8-9 - maybe they wanted to show as many of the characters off as they could before telling the backstory, I don't know) was not very favourable, but I watched some regular episodes, and yes, I enjoyed it.

    However, that show was different in that I had some positive childhood memories of it going in.

    It appears that every show I've compared Silverhawks to on here, I have been able to say, "ah, but that show did it so much better". I'll try and give it a fair chance, but I'm struggling with it going in right now.
  8. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    Both of the shows I mentioned are from the mid 70's.
    Starzingers is about three humans who get turned into cyborgs and sent out into space with a princess to rid the galaxy of evil.
    Battle of the Planets / G-Force / Gattchman (I only seen a few episodes) is a bout a group of people who dress in bird like costume and have bird looking vehicles and battle invading aliens.

    When I get time I might watch some mid season episodes and see what I think.

    As far as an opening episode goes I definitely have to give it to Tigersharks over Silverhawks. But Silverhawks has to rank at least in the top three of the worst opening episodes to any 80's action toy based cartoon.
    It's really odd because the first episode is written by Peter Lawrence and in some of his interviews he really portrays himself as a very competent writer and was very critical of others. If his goal was to make the first episode exciting, establish a good back story and introduce some interesting and likeable characters he failed on each one.
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2014
  9. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    I noticed the writing credits to Peter Lawrence too - both of those first two episodes. Maybe he's better working with established characters than he is at introducing brand new ones en masse.

    The only other time I've watched the opening episode again as an adult and just thought, "no . . . definitely not" was Jayce & The Wheeled Warriors. That's one of those shows that had a great theme tune, that the series content couldn't quite live up to.

    Arguably King Arthur And The Knights Of Justice also has a weak opener, but at least that had some action (and a really, REALLY amazing theme song, as I've mentioned on a regular basis!). And once you swallow the concept of the show, it's not too bad, it just takes a few episodes to get going.
  10. Daremonger

    Daremonger Thunderian Legend

    How would you feel if Rankin-Bass did a "ThunderCats/SilverHawks" crossover in 1987?
  11. AutobotC5

    AutobotC5 Junior Member

    To me, constant reruns of the first season of Thundercats were getting a bit tired by the time Silverhawks premiered. Of course it was an obvious attempt to mimic the formula that had worked for Thundercats. But I was always a big fan of Rankin-Bass stuff, and it looked like Thundercats was going away at that point (I never saw the later episodes until CN re-ran them a decade later) so I gave it a shot. Silverhawks is, simply, a cop show set in space. Definitely not grand high fantasy like Thundercats. In the end I liked them both, because I like both kinds of shows.

    Silverhawks did suffer from weak characterizations of three of the main good guys. Quicksilver and the Steel Twins just seemed to be kinda...there, taking up space. To me, they didn't really stand out in a big way, and I think that hurt the show to some degree. Stargazer, though, was probably the best defined character in the show. A tough Chicago cop, right down to the '30s style office (and desk fan!). Loved every bit of that. Bluegrass and the Kidd also carried the good guys in the character department. To an extent, so did TallyHawk. Some of the supporting good guys (Hotwing, Flashback, etc.) did help make the heroes interesting, but they didn't get enough screen time.

    I found the most enjoyment in the Silverhawks' large and varied rogues gallery of villains. Sure, MonStar was a Mumm-Ra ripoff and pretty predictible, but man, some of the other bad guys were just fun as hell. Hardware, Poker Face, Windhammer, Molecular...they just seemed so much more diverse and weirdly different than the recurring Thundercats villains (though I felt they were on par with some of their standalone villains like Captain Shiner).

    The other supporting characters were hit or miss. I won't get started on Seymour and Zeek...I wanted to punch them both all the time, even though I understood their necessity to move the plot along at times. :p

    I think one of the things that also enamored me to Silverhawks was the lack of a “holy weapon” in the show. There was no magic object that was always going to save the day...the Hawks had to figure out all kinds of different ways to get the job done. That, to me, made the show much more interesting and slightly more unpredictable than Thundercats (at the time).

    Mark, I'll see if I can drum up a list of recommended episodes that might nudge you to reconsider your initial judgement. ;) For one, the episode where Flashback was introduced is one of the better ones. The final episode is also one of the best. Also, it's funny you mention how much Silvehawks reminds you of Gatchaman (nee Battle Of The Planets)...I thought the same thing about Thundercats when it premiered. I think that “team formula” that Tatsunoko hit on has been emulated many, many times since...some to great success, many more not.
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2014
  12. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    I think it might have been okay and might have established the characters better and would maybe have got more Thundercats fans to support it if it was part of the Thundercats universe. Although a lot of aspects of Silverhawks would have to have been changed to get it to work.
    Merged Post:
    If you could recommend some in particular episodes I will give it another try.

    I understand what you mean about a 'holy weapon' though and it could get a bit annoying at times in Thundercats. Although as for a 'holy weapon' I don't think any show will ever out do Voltron in that department. Every episode had them beat the bad guy with the Blazing Sword attack.

    AutobotC5 I will recommend a show you should watch if you haven't seen it. Galaxy Rangers. I would put that show among the very best of the 80's cartoons.

    I was doing some research on the Silverhawks toyline and it was also odd. The bad guys were really cool figures with the exception of Mo-Lec-U-Lar and Mon*Star. The designs of the good guy figures really didn't work as the vac metal body paint rubbed off over time. Same with their wings. Strangely Kenner did not include the flip down mask feature on the first series of figures. Only on two later figures. To combat the paint rubbing problem the started only chroming the bodies and leaving the arms and legs plain. Although this didn't help as all the figures were designed to lay down in The Maraj so the chrome on the bodies would still get scuffed.
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2014
  13. balgus82

    balgus82 Thunderian Legend

    I tend to agree with AutobotC5 on most, if not all, points. I'll always have a soft spot for SilverHawks. It isn't as good as ThunderCats but, aside from Mon*Starr being a Mumm-Ra clone and having a lot of the same Voice actors and art style, it was a very different show and had a different vibe to it. It was a cops vs mobster show.
  14. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    Maybe LiamABC and I would have a different opinion if we had seen it in the 80's but it wasn't broadcast over here back then.
    I will watch a couple more episodes and see if my opinion changes.
  15. Daremonger

    Daremonger Thunderian Legend

    I believe the "SilverHawks" characters would've fit right in with the "ThunderCats" universe, but as Mark M pointed out, the premise of "SilverHawks" would have to be altered. Commander Stargazer and the SilverHawks would be a part of the Interplanetary Control Force, for instance.
  16. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    Logically then, that suggests a Mandora spinoff would have worked. And indeed it might.

    I am going to try a few more episodes of Silverhawks - if nothing else the theme tune has been stuck in my head for the last 24hrs - but not quite yet. I'm not really in the mood right now. It'll be all I can do to have my dinner tonight.
  17. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    I recall not liking the first episode of Spiral Zone but I listened to Liam and liked the other episodes I saw. And vice versa for Liam when I told him to watch Avatar so maybe Silverhawks will get better when I get time to see them but I have other stuff too watch first.
  18. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    As I recall, that was more to do with the fact that episode 1 as aired was not the actual pilot! For some reason the pilot was the 4th episode broadcast! I was a bit miffed by the first episode myself when I saw it on youtube back in 2012, I stuck with the show and when I saw episode 4, suddenly everything made sense, and I wondered why they didn't show it first!

    Btw, have you seen any more episodes since?

    Likewise. I'm still going through Avatar and Galaxy Rangers. I want to finish one or the other before I try any more of Silverhawks, two "new" cartoons is quite enough for me at the moment!
  19. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    Seen episodes 2 and 3.

    You will be a while with Avatar. When you started you didn't know if you would get past episode 8 yet your on the second season. You still have to finish season 3 LOL.
  20. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    Right-o. Both interesting concepts, I think episode 3 was where I started to have a bit of faith in the show. You've got to see episode 6, "Small Packages". I told you already that when selecting episodes that were either important, interesting or irresistibly good, this episode ticks all three boxes.

    Yes, I've noticed. At the present rate it will be over a month before I'm finished! And I'm watching Galaxy Rangers even less frequently . . . I saw episode 8 this morning. Weird.

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