I know you guys probably think I'll find any sort of driftwood from the 80's and write some long-winded blatherskite about how it was an unappreciated gem and blazed a trail for what came next in SF or cartoons or whatever, and it's true, I have done a lot of those lately.
However, because my goal is as much confusing my regulars as anything, the subject of the inaugural edition of the Turkey Shoot is Silverhawks. You may know it as Thundercats' unloved middle child back in the oh-so 1980s. I know it as one of the most brain-meltingly bland shows I have ever seen, and I once watched M.A.S.K. all the way through.
Despite all this . . .I don't hate it. Probably because I'm completely fascinated that one could grind 65 episodes of it out without having a single driving idea through the whole thing, perhaps it's just nostalgia (I had pretty much all the action figures, which I loved because they were shiny and I was 11 and was also apparently part magpie) and perhaps it's because the very absence of anything to talk about makes this something of a challenge to me.
But before we start tearing it down, I will totally stand up for it's totally bitchin' intro:
Let's get right down to it, then--In the galaxy of Limbo, hard-boiled desk jockey Stargazer has imprisoned the evil Mon-Star, keeping him in a dark cell because if he gets a look at the Moon Star of Limbo, he hulks out, kind of like when Goku looked at the moon and became a big pissed-off monkey. Why he looks like Getter Dragon is anyone's guess.
Anyways, Mon-Star naturally gets to look at the star and breaks out of prison, gets his mob back together, and starts rebuilding his empire of organised crime. Now here's the first problem I have with this--because Mon-Star is constantly sold as a Bad Motherfucker even when he's not in super mode, but uhm . . .all he wants to do is like, rob casinos and shit? The Mob is a big problem with this show--for all that they're hellaciously powerful and could easily roll over the whole galaxy, but they set their sights so low that it means precious little that the Silverhawks bust up their plans.
So let's meet the Mob, shall we?
BUZZ-SAW--Buzz-Saw, as you'd guess, is made up entirely of dildos. Oh, wait, no--he's made of saws. He has no personality and yells a lot and I remember I had the toy of Buzz-Saw one time. He came with an attack bird called Shredator, which needs to be my new band name, I think.
MUMBO-JUMBO--The Mob's brick, Mumbo Jumbo is a bull who walks like a man. Yes, this is where the WWE got the idea for Mantaur:
Well, actually, I don't know that they did, but there is so little to say about the guys, one has to do something.
HARDWARE--Is this where Rob Liefeld got the idea that everyone needed like 90 dozen pouches? I don't know. Hardware is the gadget genius of the Mob, and can somehow dream up intricate technology which works just long enough to fill 20 minutes, allow, the Mob to get defeated narrowly by the Silverhawks, and then never think of trying it again, because this is just how cartoon villains roll.
MELODIA--I have no idea what one of the Misfits is doing working for an intergalactic crime boss, but there it is. Meldoia has two jobs on this show--be the opposite number to Bluegrass and also be annoying. Melodia fires blasts of evil music from her keytar, which she has because it was the 80s
WINDHAMMER--In addition to being the name of a 1970s progressive rock group, Windhammer is also ridiculously powerful, and, if this show had any kind of relationship with actual science, utterly useless. Because Windhammer controls weather, which means jack shit when half your battles take place in space. Of course, because this is Silverhawks, Space has air and they wave any concerns about it away by claiming her creates "space tornadoes." To which I say "bullshit."
MO-LEC-U-LAR--Speaking of being mind-bustingly powerful and underachieving all the same, Mo (I am not typing that crap out again) can transform himself into any person place or thing, and he can be like, a perfect replica of it. Naturally, he uses this ability to rob banks.
YES-MAN-If Peter Lorre was a rattlesnake, he would be Yes-man. Essentially, he's just Mon-Star's simpering lackey. This is all I have to say about fucking Yes-Man.
Well, you bloody well walked right into that one, didn't you?
Anyways, Stargazer is all like "Oooh, shit just got real," and so asks earth to send him a squad of agents who can fight the mob and allow him to sit on his lazy ass and yell at them for being lazy. Earth complies because anything to shut Crazy Cyborg Grandpa up and send in our heroes, the Silverhawks:
QUICKSILVER--Quicksilver is the leader of the Silverhawks, which means he gets suckered in and captured by the bad guys most often. Quicksilver is the straight-arrow leader of the group and is honest and fearless, which would make him the core member of the team . . .er, if 90% of the rest of the Silverhawks didn't have the same damn character trait.
STEELHEART--The team chick, and the character who you'd have hoped most would break out. Steelheart is the straight-arrow second in command of the group and partner to her brother Steelwill, who is an idiot, which in this case actually counts as character development. This is all I really have to say about Steelheart.
STEELWILL--Steelwill is a former football player, and as I said before, an idiot. He's also a mechanical genius whenever the team needs gadgets and the people writing the show have forgotten than Copper Kidd was supposed to be the mechanical genius. Steelwill is nominally the team brick. It really doesn't matter.
COPPER KIDD--Copper Kidd comes from The Planet of Mimes, which needs to be exploded with a Black Egg if you ask me. Also, no one will get that reference, ever. The Copper Kidd is the resident gadget genius of the show except when they forget and make Steelwill the gadget guy. He talks in irritating musical whistles because that is something space mimes do, I guess.
There are times I wonder aloud which fictional character was more annoying--Snarf, Scott Trakker, or Copper Kidd. Then I reach for the loaded pistol I keep in my desk, stare off into the middle distance, and wonder what have I done with my life, really?
BLUEGRASS--Groups of cyborg intergalactic cops consisting of former football players and space mimes need only one thing to become unbeatable--a ridiculous hillbilly with a magic guitar. Bluegrass pilots the Maraj, which is actually a slick-looking spaceship. Bluegrass can't fly, but can detach the forward part of the Maraj and fly around shooting things with his guitar with the cockpit door open because there is air in the galaxy of Limbo and Silverhawks does nothing more consistently than piss in the eye of Science.
Even more ironically, the little "it's not just a toy ad, look we're teaching you about astronomy!" bumpers feature Bluegrass training Copper Kidd to fly the Maraj. Or, well, that's the conceit. He really just annoys him with questions about planets in the solar system, which goes about as well as, oh, let's say, the science in Gamera Vs. Guiron.
Later on, it's discovered that the core five are. . .well, pretty bland, as you've probably twigged on given how hard it was to make jokes about them. So they rolled in 4 more Silverhawks, who ended up taking over the show (seriously--near the end you barely even see the core five do anything) Not that the new Silverhawks were any great shakes (they were better than the New Thundercats, but that's like saying for a midget, someone is awfully tall) but they seemed like complex multi-layered characters compared to the core five:
HOTWING--Hotwing is pretty cool, as he's got magic powers which are so ill-defined that he could, conceivably, wipe out the mob and solve every problem before the first commercial break. So to prevent that, they really just seem to forget about him completely for dozens of episodes at a time. Hotwing has no real personality either, and I wish I could make that into a keyboard macro, as I am so very tired of typing that now.
FLASHBACK--Flashback is big and green and has an accent that seems to wander all over the continent of Europe. Flashback can time travel, and while the series seems to recognise this is one hell of a plot-wrecking power, not unlike Hotwing's, their inability to keep anything consistent really undermines it. It's kind of cool when Flashback's first introduced and he has to work against the Silverhawks in order to save them, and gives things a unique tension, but no one really seems to give a shit after awhile.
CONDOR--Condor's actually kind of cool, even if the voice actor has a heck of a time keep him Humphrey Bogart-esque voice consistent. Condor is a former partner of Stargazer, but unlike Stargazer, who just sits behind a desk and bitches all the time, Condor actually gets to step out and kick some ass. He has little depth as a character, which I know is hard for you to believe on a show with a complex and multilayered as a cast as this. But at least he's cool. That goes a long way with me.
MOON-STRYKER--Moon-Stryker is supposed to be the hot new rookie of the Silverhawks, and the only reason given for this is that he is able to remember that he can shoot lasers out of his shoulder (the core five seem to have forgotten it's even a thing) and, unlike the core five, can hit what he aims for. Moon-Stryker also has a turbine fan at his waist which is supposed to make him more capable of directed flight than the Silverhawks otherwise are (as they tend to glide. In sapce. Where there are no air currents.) However, it really looks like he has a waist mounted band saw at groin level.
I have to admit, the idea of a crotch saw probably easily makes him the most dangerous Silverhawk in an extremely ridiculous way. However, as he has no personality to speak of, and never dry-humps one of the mob to death, it's terribly difficult to care about it one way or the other, but he's the last of the Silverhawks, which makes me very happy because my soul is trying to escape--talking about them is that deadly dull.
Not least of which because this show has nowhere to go, and doesn't even bother disguising it. Is the goal to put Mon-Starr back in prison? Well, they do that two or three times, as I remember. In fact, all of the Mob at some time or another get throwing back in prison, only to escape, because Limbo's prison system is like Arkham Asylum. Even Thundercats, which had much the same problems as this show (except I could probably pick out the Thundercats in terms of character traits way easier and I had to struggle for the Silverhawks) occasionally did something to up the stakes or mildly change up the status quo and managed to run for about 90 some episodes as a result.
This? Kinda just goes on. And on.
So there you have it, our inaugural Turkey Shoot, wherein I prove to you that nostalgia isn't what it used to be. Join us next time, as I'm sure I have something else lying around here that is in need of deconstruction.