From Disney Television Animation, Titmouse and the creators of Megas XLR, Motorcity is a Disney XD series.The series is set in a fictional, futuristic Detroit owned by Corrupt Corporate Executive Abraham Kane (Mark Hamill). Having banned personal freedoms including automobile transportation, Kane now faces one last obstacle: a group of hot-rod wielding rebels who call themselves The Burners. Led by Mike Chilton (Reid Scott), The Burners rise to stop Kane from conquering Detroit’s last oasis of freedom—an underground refuge dubbed Motorcity.Despite being well received by critics and fans, the show was unfortunately Screwed by the Network, and received the axe before the first season was even finished. Much like their previous series, Megas XLR though, the staff was able to give their last (and in this case only) season a heck of a Grand Finale.A staff-run blog, People of Motorcity, has released the series bible, which sadly means that there will not be a second season.
After the End: Maybe... there's a lot of ambiguity about just what's outside the city. In "Vega", it's mentioned that everything outside Detroit has supposedly been reduced to uninhabitable wasteland. When Vega arrives and claims to be from Cleveland, it's speculated by the characters that Kane just made up everything about the wasteland so that nobody would try to leave. Then it turns out that Vega is really Kane in disguise, luring the Burners into a trap, so who knows whether there really is a wasteland or not?
Animal Motifs: The four main cars are named and designed after animals. For example, Mike's car Mutt not only has dog designs but the engine often literally snarls and growls. Subverted with Jacob's car, if you don't count cryptids.
Cool Shades: "Kane Shades" are advertised in "Off the Rack".
Crapsaccharine World: Detroit Deluxe is a spotless, clean, utopian city with the latest technology used for everyday needs, but beneath that veneer is an oppressive regime that bans individual freedoms as simple as car ownership, or even the choice of clothing colours and styles. They have to start each activity by tapping a secret code. And their faces are hardly happy.
A World Half Full: Old Detroit, a.k.a. Motorcity, is exactly the opposite- run-down, dingy and dark, but everyone lives free and the landscape has a lot more variety. They even have a theme park with a bobsled ride, and have such events as Halloween costume parties.
Cut Short: Sorry Burners, it just wasn't meant to be.
Darkest Hour: At the end of "Vega," Mike gets captured by Kane and is detained and beaten for three days before Kane tells him that he's to be executed. Motorcity in the meanwhile has been under constant attack, and thanks to the Duke, Kane will be able to complete the Genesis Pod that will wipe the city off the map.
Frame-Up: "Julie and the Amazons" has the Burners framed by an unknown gang using an explosive compound in attacking other gangs. It would seem the titular Amazons are responsible for the False Flag Operation since they have access to and use the same compound. Turns out it was actually the Duke of Detroit who was responsible, as he created the fake Burner vehicles as well as purchasing the compound from the Amazons.
The Duke's little easily-missed comment while watching the Burners fight the Terror Dome, "Someone, pinch me quick, or else I'm gonna need new shorts."
In episode 5, most of the paintings in the Duke's mansion are of him posing dramatically. However, in one of the shots while Julie is sneaking through the mansion, we get this◊ picture with two Dukes doing something together.
Generic Graffiti: Totally averted, the backgrounds will often feature unique graffiti reminiscent of actual tags in Detroit. Most noticably averted in "Going Dutch."
Good News, Bad News: In the "Both News are the Same" variant. Julie manages to get the Kane Safety Suit off, unfortunately, that happens when she's confronted by a Kane Bot.
The Greatest Story Never Told: Is how the Burners defeated The Terror Dome of Destruction, we even get teased about it at the end of the episode.
Julie: And [Kane] said- ready?- he wants to obliterate all of us and all of our cars.
Mike: Our cars? But we love our cars.
Involuntary Dance: This is one of the first things Tooley does with the people wearing Kane Safety Suits. Later, this happens to him when he's in a suit that was hacked by the Burners.
Irony: Mike claims that he knows Kane best to Julie, whom he doesn't know is Kane's daughter. Though he may be partly right, considering Kane's never manipulated Julie to destroy a building with innocents inside.
Istanbul Not Constantinople: The remains of old Detroit are known as Motorcity. The Motor City is one of the most common nicknames of Detroit.
It's Raining Men: In "Off the Rack", one of Kane's tactics with the Kane Safety Suits.
Moment Killer: Julie is about to tell Mike that she's Kane's daughter, but is interrupted by Chuck relaying that the suit can be deactivated by overloading its safety threshold.
Mood Whiplash: Due to Disney XD's hectic order of airing episodes, we get "Threat Level Texas" which is just a barrel of laughs and then the following week, we get "Vega" (ouch).
Three notable instances in "A Better Tomorrow":
The very beginning, when a cheesy KaneCo commercial plays as Motorcity is under siege.
After a rather sweet and intimate moment between Mike and Julie in Mike's prison cell, Tooley walks in on them, leading Julie to comedically slap Mike to keep her cover up.
After an extremely tense fist fight with Kane, Mike drops from the War Pod, falling to his death and peacefully resigning to it... and then the Duke drives in with Mutt to pick him up mid-air. He's even turned on elevator music for the occasion, which makes it all the more hilarious.
Opening Narration: Subverted with the first episode, where Mike narrates the state of affairs at Old Detroit and Deluxe. No narration was used since.
Out of Order: For whatever reason Disney XD chose to air the episodes of production order after the third episode. To make matters more confusing, iTunes accidentally put "Fearless" up for purchase several weeks before it was due to air, leading to some fans catching it early.
Painting the Medium: The theme song is metal, as is most of the soundtrack. Which would make sense given that this is a show about cars, but the term "Detroit metal" specifically refers to its auto industry.
Rule of Cool: Seems to be what the show runs on. Look at the climax of the second episode: see the boys use a bomb that could blow up the state to power a car into a jump across the canyon, ending with them ejecting the engine midair!
Rule of Perception: During "Power Trip" (1x02) "ERROR" comes up on a screen Chuck is viewing, but given the angle the camera is at, it would be backwards to him.
When the Duke's Reality TV show featuring the Burners (The Duke of Detroit presents) goes off, amongst several characters watching the show are a group of four, which includes Expys of Jamie and a very thin Coop from Megas XLR.
The Burners' logo is EXTREMELY similar to the flaming 8 ball on Megas' right arm.
Episode 1 has Dutch suggest modifications to Mike's car, one such modification being the addition of "Magmortars".
The giant monster fight in "Ride Of The Fantasy Vans" seems to be a reference to Shadow of the Colossus. Mike climbs around on it a bit in the same fashion Wander does, the creature's faceplates brings the colossi to mind, and it's defeated by attacking one spot on its body.
Motorcity has been described as Redline every week, and Redline has been confirmed as inspiration for the show by a staff member. To quote a staff member that may or not be the same guy:
"If you ever wonder, “Was this scene inspired by Redline?” the answer is most likely yes."
The tactics with the Kane Safety Suits in "Off the Rack" look a lot like action sequences from the Indian version of Terminator. See for yourself here.
Spoiler Opening: Kaia and the people of Terra are introduced as allies in the show proper, but the fact that they appear alongside Kane in the opening sequence makes it easy to deduce that they end up being foes of the Burners. Somewhat averted with the Duke of Detroit, he seems to be a Friendly Enemy at worst. As of "Vega", he is a full blown enemy. But later he double crosses Kane after he was double crossed.
Tractor Beam: The Burner's vehicles have them so they can tow each others' cars. Kane's Warpod also has one.
Tempting Fate: Tooley works with a bunch of snow-trooper mooks on one mission and they leave him to guard Mike. One protests this because of Tooley's lack of intelligence, but the commander basically says "He's Kane's right-hand man, how dumb can he be?" Tooley of course is tricked by Mike and knocks out the four soldiers in a scuffle, trying to punch him.
Tricked-Out Shoes: The Electroblades have rocket-powered skates, tying in with their hockey theme.
Troperiffic: The show takes many plot and character archetypes common in kids' action cartoons and gives them a twist, subversion, or just plain amps them Up to Eleven, both for drama and for Rule of Cool. For some basic examples, the team leader wielding the chainsaw spark-staff doubles as the Team Mom and even has a Mook-Face Turn for his backstory, and the Five-Man Band has technically two people to act as The Smart Guy (and realistically, each of them handle very different areas of technicalexpertise).
Arguably Kane as well. He truly wants to provide the best society possible for the people of Deluxe. His methods in order to get to that point, however, are what causes him to cross the moral event horizon.
Wham Episode: "Vega." And according to one staff member, it's "child's play" compared to the final part of the season finale.
What Happened to the Mouse?: Doctor Hudson is nowhere to be seen after "Power Trip," despite him presumably still being with the Burners. He does, however, reappear in "Threat Level: Texas" as part of Texas's Unreliable Narrator flashbacks, detailing the events of "Powertrip", his dialogue is... Totally Radical as per Texas's story.
World Half Empty: Entire sections of old Detroit appear to be completely abandoned, and even the inhabited areas aren't that crowded.