Western Animation: SilverHawks

"Wings of silver, nerves of steel... Silverrrhawwwwks!"

SilverHawks is sort of a mashup of ThunderCats (1985) (IN SPACE!) and Science Ninja Team Gatchaman. It's a Rankin/Bass Animated Series from 1986 that shares most of its producers, creative teamsnote  and Voice Actors with its predecessor.

The SilverHawks, the "partly metal, partly real" space law-enforcement for the Limbo Galaxy (which wasn't much bigger than a solar system) oppose The Mob, run by the evil Mon*Star. The show wasn't as bad as you might have thought (with a few exceptions), despite its total lack of astronomy, physics, or really any sort of science. However the character designs are interesting, the characters themselves are engaging, and most of the stories are fun.

Now has a character page, currently under construction.

SilverHawks provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Action-Hogging Opening
  • And Knowing Is Half the Battle: A subversion. While it does occur at the end of each episode, it's neither a "moral of the story", nor a "public service announcement". Instead, it's a short astronomy lesson, mostly about the solar system and its nine planets (the show was produced before Pluto's demotion to dwarf planet) presented within the context of Bluegrass training the Copper Kidd as a pilot.
  • Animesque
  • Artistic License Physics: Where to begin!?
    • Well, okay, for starters, in this show, space has air. And also a "down." A few harmless insectoid workers get thrown off a ship in one episode and this is as close to an on-screen death as we usually get.
      • Not only it has "down," but down apparently means Earth. One episode had the good guys in peril of falling all the way down to Earth and going splat (since people got cyborged so they could survive the long journey from there, it would probably take a while).
    • There's a hero (Bluegrass) and a villain (Melodia) who both use sound-powered weapons.
  • Bad-Guy Bar: The Sinistar Saloon. 100% alcohol-free.
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: Yeah, it's by the people who did ThunderCats (1985), alright.
    • Of course it says something that this was one of the least ridiculous things about the way the cartoon treated how space works.
  • Cardboard Prison: The Silverhawks are pretty good at getting the Mob sent to jail. Now if only the Mob was just as good as getting out of jail...
  • Cool Starship: The Maraj. Aesthetically pleasing design, it also contains compartments to launch each of the SilverHawks from, and the main cockpit can detach into a fighter-like mode while the rest of the craft goes invisible.
  • Environment Specific Action Figures: The action figure line included Quicksilver, Steelwill and Bluegrass in "ultrasonic suits" as well as their regular outfits.
  • Episode Title Card
  • Everything's Squishier with Cephalopods: Mon*Star's mode of transportation and battle mount is the Sky-Runner, a five-tentacled space squid clad in armor.
  • Expository Theme Tune
  • Expy:The Big Bad is a gravelly voiced villain who has his own transformation phrase and can transform into a much more powerful form. Hmm, on what show was there also a character like that?
  • Film Noir: Although the series was entirely in color there's trace elements of noir here and there, like Stargazer's old school office, or Mon*Star being basically a mob kingpin with his own gang. Later addition Condor was explicitly a detective in the film noir style, with somewhat obsolete tech and a two-fisted attitude to make up for it. (At least, as much of a two-fisted attitude that you could get away with in a 1980s cartoon.)
  • Five-Man Band
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Seymour and Zeek.
  • Hollywood Cyborg: The SilverHawks.
  • Humans Are Warriors: One episode featured a plan to move in and take over organized crime on earth. However, since "Those Chicago boys are pretty tough", Mon*Star and his gang weren't willing to just try to land and take over. Instead, they attempted a Colony Drop. Human gangsters are so terrifying that even Mon*star is terrified of trying to fight them face to face.
  • Instrument of Murder: Bluegrass's guitar and Melodia's keytar.
  • Leit Motif: All over the place (a big-band "sleazy" number for the casino and bar, a noir-esque piano piece for Stargazer and scenes within his office, Theme Music Power-Up for when the Silverhawks move into action, etc).
  • Male Gaze: Steelheart gets quite the pan up on her body in the opening credits.
  • Merchandise-Driven
  • Methuselah Syndrome: People apparently measure their lifespans in the millennia.
  • Mirror Morality Machine
  • Never Recycle Your Schemes: Played with in the episode "Magnetic Attraction"; when Commander Stargazer gives Steel Will a polarity reverser to deal with the bad guys' gimmick of the episode, Will asks how he had one handy. Stargazer replies it's not the first time they've tried it, it's just the first time since the SilverHawks were around.
  • Nice Hat: Bluegrass' cowboy hat. The gold armor plating that covers half of Stargazer's head (complete with telescopic left-eye implant) also qualifies.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Condor's voice is an imitation of Humphrey Bogart.
  • Rogues Gallery: Mon*Star and his mob fill this role for the SilverHawks, fittingly enough. The specific members of Mon*Star's mob are Yes-Man, Hardware, Melodia, Windhammer, Molec-U-lar, Mumbo Jumbo, Poker-Face, Buzz-Saw and Timestopper. Other villains include Zero the Memory-thief (who worked occasionally with Mon*Star's mob), the Rhino, the Cyclops, the Space Bandit and the Bounty Hunter.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: Again, where to begin?!
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sixth Ranger: The original SilverHawks got four new teammates (Hotwing, Flashback, Condor and Moonstryker) midway through the series.
  • 65-Episode Cartoon
  • The Smurfette Principle: Occurs on both sides with Steelheart (good guys) and Melodia (bad guys).
  • Somewhere, an Ornithologist Is Crying: Very weirdly averted. Tallyhawk not only looks like a classic Red-tailed Hawk, he calls like one and often acts like one, too, albeit one with a wired-in controller.
  • Space Police: The premise of the show.
  • Superheroes in Space: They were a team of cyborg superheroes protecting the Limbo Galaxy from the villainous Mon*Star.
  • Surfer Dude: Moon Stryker.
  • Team Pet:
    • Tallyhawk, Quicksilver's cyborg hawk. The rest of the team got their own Fighting Hawks later on: Sideman (Bluegrass), Rayzor (Steelheart), Stronghold (Steelwill) and Mayday (the Copper Kid).
    • Sky Shadow, for Mon*Star and the mob.
    • The first wave of the toy line had a robotic bird sidekick for every member of both the Silverhawks and Mon*Star's Mob, but only a few of them made it into the show. In addition to the ones mentioned above, Flashback had Backlash, Hotwing had Gyro, Stargazer had Sly-Bird, Condor had Jet Stream, Moonstryker had Tail-Spin, Buzz-Saw had Shredator, Mumbo-Jumbo had Airshock, and Mo-Lec-U-Lar had Volt-ure.
  • Team Title
  • The Teaser: Each episode opened with clips from that day's story, accompanied by a narrator giving a brief plot synopsis.
  • Those Two Guys: Seymour and Zeek.
  • Transformation Sequence: Combined with By the Power of Grayskull! and Added Alliterative Appeal. Different in that the bad guy does it.
    • Subverted in the episode "No More Mr. Nice Guy", where Yes-Man entered the transformation chamber with Mon*Star. Visually, he got all the same camera angles and dramatic poses that Mon*Star got, but he didn't actually physically change. (Seen in the above video link, starting at about 8:30) Then double-subverted when it was shown that he underwent a mental change.
  • Weird Sun: The Artificial Sun, a titanic flashlight at the edge of the sector.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Implied in the pilot, where Mon*Star begs the guards to release him. They state they remember what happened to the last guy who fell for that.