SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron (or, simply, SWAT Kats) was a Hanna-Barbera American animated television series created by Christian and Yvon Tremblay, two brothers from Montreal. The show ran on TBS and in syndication from 1993 to 1995, and it also occasionally airs on Cartoon Network's sister network Boomerang. There were a total of 23 original episodes over two seasons, with one special Clip Show episode capping the series off. The story takes place in a fictional city ("Megakat City") inhabited by Anthromorphic felines (known as "Kats") and chronicles the adventures of two Badass NormalSuperheroBest Friendswho fightsuper-crime under Secret Identities.Chance "T-Bone" Furlong and Jake "Razor" Clawson were once two humble officers of the Enforcers, teaming up as the pilot and Radar Intercept Officer of a fighter jet in the Enforcers' Air Force Squadron—until they accidentally destroyed their command headquarters and caused sizeable amounts of damage while in pursuit of a criminal. Their former superior, Commander Ulysses Feral, stuck them in long-term community service in a military junkyard until Chance and Jake managed to pay off their debt... which, considering their salaries, was likely to be never. (Never mind that the incident was Feral's fault in the first place; see Only I Can Kill Him for more details.)Working at the salvage yard, Jake and Chance realize that people—including the Enforcers—throw a lot of perfectly useable stuff away; using their mechanic skills, they put discarded military equipment and weapons to their own personal use, building a high-tech fighter-jet (named "The Turbokat", which bears a striking resemblance the U.S. Navy F-14 Tomcat, except with three engines and VTOL capabilites) to get back in the air and fight the numerous villains that are plaguing the city. Complete with new uniforms, masks, cool gadgets, codenames, an Elaborate Underground Base, and occasional help from allies (like Deputy Mayor Callie Briggs and Feral's niece Felina), they kick mucho super-villain tail and generally do it with style.The Rogues Gallery includes, but is not limited to: the criminal mastermind Dark Kat, the undead sorcerer Pastmaster, mutated sociopathic Kat-turned-snake Doctor Viper, and robotic mafia gangsters Mac and Molly (better known as the Metallikats).Episodes of the show followed a one-shot format, featuring completely self-contained stories and certain overarching themes and villains. The Status Quo, however, does change every now and then, and only very few of the bad guys get Joker Immunity. On occasion, if the bad guy pushes them too far, our heroes will shoot to kill, and several villains — like Mutilor, The Giant Bacteria, The Red Lynx and The Metallikats (at least for a while) — found this out the hard way.Unfortunately, SWAT Kats' attempts to break out of the Animation Age Ghetto came too soon for many people, and the series took criticism for its violent content. Even before that, the show underwent extensive Executive Meddling during its first season, forcing the creators to insert several inherently silly and "kid-ified" stuff aimed at younger audiences (which clashed horribly with the show's dark premise). This changed in the second season, since the first season's good ratings enabled the series to get an Animation Bump (and a slight makeover) that resulted in a Darker and Edgier style which proved to be a better fit for the show.The show was cancelled after its second season, passed over in favor of Turner's "What A Cartoon!" project (which gave birth to future Cartoon Cartoons such as Dexter's Laboratory, The Powerpuff Girls, and Johnny Bravo). At the time of its cancellation, SWAT Kats was one of Hanna-Barbera's highest rated syndicated shows, and there were three unfinished episodes in production (as well as established outlines for up to seven more episodes), which all got left hanging. While Turner is often quoted as saying that Hanna-Barbera had plenty of other cartoons which didn't "encourage kids to shoot people", it's a leap to deduce that he cancelled SWAT Kats, as he was actually referring to Beavis And Butthead. note "On Beavis and Butt-head 'We have more cartoons than anybody: The Flintstones, The Jetsons, the Smurfs, Scooby-Doo. They're nonviolent. We don't have to worry that we're encouraging kids to kill each other-like some of the other cartoon programs do.'" –Ted's excellent speaking engagement, Albert Kim, Apr 21, 1995, Entertainment Weekly. Christian Tremblay, co-creator of SWAT Kats, denies Turner had anything to do with the cancellation: "We have respect for Ted Turner, because of him, we got the show financed back in 1993, and I like the guy. The decision to stop the show was not his but more executives way below him."The show has a very strong cult following that continues to this day, becoming the source of numerous fan sites, a fair amount of fan fiction, and even online RPGs. What makes SWAT Kats fansites different from other shows' fansites? They developed a good reputation for their interlinking and close cooperation, which means most fansites will provide resource lists/links to most of the other fansites—and almost all of these sites, including a wiki dedicated to the show, are regularly updated to this day. This dedication remains a standing testament to the show's popularity.SWAT Kats suffered from not having any true home video release following its demise (except for a pitiful handful of VHS tapes). Once the series was moved from Cartoon Network to Boomerang, that network's ever-changing schedule made it hard to figure out when/if they were showing it. In December 2010, the Warner Archive program started offering the complete series on DVD as an "on-demand" release, but stopped in 2011 due to unspecified issues (likely the fact that syndication cuts were used for the DVDs). Episodes were—and still are—widely circulated over the Internet, however, so it's not hard to watch the series if you're interested.Although the series was short-lived, it got an official game on the SNES in August 1995.This show has a character sheet.There is currently a campaign to bring the show back into production with both fan based and official initiatives. Most information and history about it can be found at this blog.
In fact, the Turbokat only rarely ever uses normal missiles; there's even a button on Razor's control panel marked "Plain Old Missile".
This actually became a plot point in "Razor's Edge", where Razor believes he blew up a warehouse and injured two innocent bystanders. The first indication that the whole thing is a set-up, is that the missiles were non lethal, yet the warehose clearly blew up.
Here's a list of all the different missiles and such used by the Turbokat over the course of the series.
Acoustic License: Used quite a bit. Sometimes they would avert it, by having aircraft-to-aircraft conversations take place via radio or video comms channels, but oftentimes people would just say things, and the SWAT Kats would be able to somehow hear them inside their active supersonic jet. Really, the noise from the Turbokat was just severely played down or outright eliminated in a lot of circumstances, otherwise talking and sound effects would just be blared out by engine noise.
All There in the Manual: Promotional material made it clear that Dark Kat was actually a judge in Megakat City, who used his position to help protect his criminal side job. This was never explored in the series. For that matter it was never even mentioned. Very little was known about Dark Kat at all save for his status as a criminal mastermind, and his penchant for using odd, demonic looking hench-things he called Creeplings.
All Up To You: Done awesomely with Cybertron in "The Deadly Pyramid". SWAT Kats and The Enforcers are elsewhere, and he is forced to defend Callie from two giant mummies all by himself.
Animation Bump: Season 2. Not only was the animation of much better quality, the style more closely matched the tone and feel of the series. This isn't to say that the animation in the first season is bad (quite to the contrary), it just went from good to great.
Somewhat similarly, four of the episodes in the first seasonlist "The Pastmaster Always Rings Twice", "Night of the Dark Kat", "Metal Urgency" and "Katastrophe" clearly had a lot more money spent on them than the others, with more detail and smoother animation. The same company (Mook DLE) went on to animate the entire second season.
Artifact of Doom: The Pastmaster's Time Travel watch and Tome of Time spellbook ("The Pastmaster Always Rings Twice"), and the Jeweled Headdress of Katchu Piccu in "The Deadly Pyramid".
Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Happens about six times every five seconds. There's the Megasaurus Rex, The Giant Bacteria, The Giant Mummy, The Cyclops in "Bride Of The Pastmaster", Rex Shard the Crystal Giant, The Madkat, The Mutation City Monsters (and a giant Dr. Viper himself), The Giant frikkin' alien mothership, Dark Kat's Giant Black Widow, Turmoil's Giant Airship, The Giant Mutated Scorpions, Volcanus, and that's not even mentioning all the Giant Robots. Whew.
Attack Pattern Alpha In the event they're being followed by a heat-seeking missile, the SWAT Kats have "Plan Z" - which involves shutting down the engines in midair and launching a decoy missile to draw the heat-seeker off. Understandably, Razor hates this plan.
Batman Can Breathe in Space: Averted for the most part. When the Turbokat heads out into space – or when the heroes are engaged in some high-altitude dogfighting – the SWAT Kats are show wearing oxygen masks. Except when they’re not. Presumably the Turbokat cockpit has some level of artificial atmosphere but since the masks have a tendency to appear and disappear between shots, especially in the first few episodes, it’s hard to tell.
Berserk Button: Jake and Chance are this to each other if someone tries to hurt one of them. And if you so much as scratch a single hair on Callie's head, they'll both be on your ass. Also, shooting down Felina's plane with the hi-tech laser in your alien Mothership? Baaaaaad idea. Feral's gonna bring his entire frickin' squadron around for a house call.
For all their bickering and insult-trading, Mac and Molly (the Metallikats) really do care for each other. You hurt one of them, the other will be out for blood.
BFG: Appears here and there in the series, mostly used by the villains. The SWAT Kats themselves use one to make a dramatic entrance in "Night Of The Dark Kat".
Big Bad Ensemble: Dark Kat, Dr. Viper, the Metallikats and the Pastmaster. These villains made repeated appearances and were treated as serious threats each time. Each also tends to have something that makes them stand-out from the one-off villains. (Dark Kat, for example, played a role in the heroes' origin.)
Big Damn Heroes: Guess who? Feral and Felina also get this honour sometimes.
Big "NO!": Callie in "Night of the Dark Kat", while putting Megakat City's money to good use by using a bag of cash to bring down Dark Kat.
Some of the villians (including Dark Kat and the Pastmaster) also do this when defeated by the SWAT Kats.
Hilariously lampshaded in the Mirror Universe episode "The Dark Side of the SWAT Kats" when Mirror!Feral uses the same phrase: "Now there's a statement that transcends dimensions!"
The SNES game adds "Gotcha!" as a catch phrase for T-Bone, so T-Bone can shout something after beating a boss if the player is playing as T-Bone (if the player is playing as Razor, Razor uses the "Bingo!" catch phrase from the show).
The Chosen One: In "Bride of the Pastmaster", Queen Callista believes Razor to be this. Later subverted when she admits that there were not one, but two heroes, so it becomes more of a case of a Chosen Two.
Clark Kenting: The SWAT Kats used to work for Feral, but he can't figure out their identities. This in spite of the fact that the SWAT Kats have the same body types as Chance and Jake, and they're the pilot and gunner of a fighter jet... like Chance and Jake.
Vaguely understandable, seeing as how Feral probably had very little interaction with Chance and Jake ever, except the few minutes discharging them from the service.
Clear My Name: "Night of the Dark Kat". Also "Razor's Edge", even though it's actually T-Bone and Felina who go looking for answers.
Cool Mask: The SWAT Kats' mask covers the entire top of the head and face, and is usually accompanied by a helmet for added protection.
Cool Plane: The Turbo Kat. Even more so because it's based (physically, anyway) on the already cool real-life F-14 Tomcat (of Top Gun fame), with the level of tech turned Up to Eleven. The damn thing can HOVER like a Harrier jumpjet, after all. Even the Falken and Wyvern could legitimately get jealous.
Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Notable in that this trope is in effect on both sides of the law. The Kats' Rogues Gallery has its share of insane geniuses, but its also worth pointing out that all of the Kats' gadgets were built out of junkyard trash. Including the high-performance jet.
Damsel in Distress: Callie sometimes, although she never goes down without a fight. Also Ann Gora once in "Caverns Of Horror".
Darker and Edgier: "The Giant Bacteria" has the highest number of on-screen deaths in a single episode (see Bus Full of Innocents above). This also marks the beginning of T-Bone & Razor's "Kill if everything else fails" policy. Quite a punch, consider this was the show's first completed episode (it was second in broadcast order). Then there's Season 2 compared to Season 1.
Dub Name Change: The Hindi dub of the show, for Indian audiences, had some hilarious name changes. Chance and Jake became Bholu and Billu (child-like, innocent nicknames), while T-Bone and Razor became Bade Meow (Big Meow) and Chote Meow (Small Meow) repsectively, a play on a Bad Boys inspired Bollywood film Bade Miyan Chote Mian. The Pastmaster was called something that meant King of Demons.
Easy Logistics: Unless the Swat Kats' base was a pre-built base lying forgotten under the junkyard, that is an astounding amount of work for only two people using what equipment they can salvage in the junkyard. Even if it's a military-grade junkyard with lots of good stuff, that still means they have to build and keep maintaining their equipment from scratch. Only Rule of Cool can possibly justify how two people do it themselves and still manage to have free time to work, sleep, eat, chill out, train, and go on missions.
Family-Friendly Firearms: Par for the course in this type of show, at least with regular guns (Commander Feral quite clearly has a handgun, and despite ejecting casings when fired, it inexplicably makes laser noises; then again, it has an orange-colored portion (an emitter?) in place of the bullet ejection port); though Felina has a futuristic-looking laser pistol. Enforcer tanks and copters have missiles, and yet fire lasers instead of bullets. However, occasionally Enforcers are seen firing bazookas of some sort, and the SWAT Kats' arsenal is clearly intended to be as non-lethal as possible or have alternate functions (like the Tarpedoes, or the Scrambler missiles), and their Glovatrixes often have scaled down versions of these projectiles; they do fire a regular missile on one occasion (it was lampshaded when it was fired with a button marked Plain Old Missile).
Family-Unfriendly Violence/Family-Unfriendly Death: The series had plenty of both, which presumably led to the Executive Meddling, although both of these tropes got more frequent over time, not the other way round. There's a theory that the creators were going for something closer to their original concept as the series went on, which suggests that the Executive Meddling was at the beginning of the show—probably because HB was skeptical as to how it was going to be received. Its high ratings and popularity, however, may have enabled the Tremblays—and Glenn Leopold, who wrote the majority of the episodes—to wriggle free from some of the meddling, hence the Darker and Edgier Second Season
Foil: All over the place. There's T-Bone and Razor to each other, then there's Felina and Commander Feral, Felina and Callie, Callie and Mayor Manx, and also Mac and Molly (at least when they're not trying to kill each other).
For Science!: Even the non-villainous scientists and engineers in Megakat City seem pretty cavalier about the risks and consequences of their work.
Gory Discretion Shot: In "The Ci-Kat-A", a Giant Bug gets knocked off the Turbokat and is seen plummeting towards the rotorblade on an Enforcer chopper; the camera then cuts back to the other one that's still hanging onto the cool jet.)
In "Chaos in Crystal", Rex Shard turns various people and objects into crystal, including a corrupt prison warden who falls over and shatters. At the end of the episode, everything that's been crystallized is shown turning back to normal—except the warden, whose ultimate fate is never explicitly revealed.
Shadow Discretion Shot from "The Giant Bacteria", which shows the titular bacteria eating a cow and its owner in shadow. Apparently even showing the scene in shadow was too much; the farmer's demise was cut from the episode's broadcasts (but put back in for the DVD).
Honour Before Reason: Feral's response to the Metallikats' offer to give away the identities of the SWAT Kats in exchange for their freedom: "I don't make deals with criminal scum."
That earned Feral the respect of many fans.
In the real world this can be considered the opposite. If he did accept, he would be accepting a bribe from a known criminal, which is a very serious crime. Guess there's no Internal Affairs in Megakat City.
Humanoid Female Animal: Callie and Felina (and to a lesser extent Ann Gora and Dr. Sinnian) look basically like humans with tails, cat ears, and modified noses. Male kats are given much more exagerated proportions and fur.
Humongous Mecha: The bridge robot from "A Bright And Shiny Future", and the two robots piloted by the Metallikats in "Metal Urgency". Zed also turns into this after he goes Evil.
Hurricane of Puns: "The Giant Bacteria" has Viper letting loose a few of these on Morbulus, like "Quite an eyeful, isn't it?" and "We see eye to eye, Morbulus!"
The Hyena: Chop Shop may or may not be a literal one. For all of his 5 minutes in the series.
Though in at least one episode they DO actually run out of missiles.
Another episode implies that they DO restock their missiles between missions.
Not to mention additional vehicles like the bikes, hovercraft, drill-tank and so on.
The bikes are implied to be part of the seats of the Jet as part of their customizations. Also in the episode with the drill-tank, they saw on TV miners needing their help and loaded the drill-tank into their jet.
Lampshaded by Mutilor, when the Turbokat's cool customizations lets them follow him into space.
I Have You Now, My Pretty: The Pastmaster kidnaps Queen Callista (in "Bride of the Pastmaster"), and then her lookalike descendant Callie Briggs (in "The Deadly Pyramid"), in separate attempts to marry them. The SWAT Kats rescue the withered wizard's intended victim both times. Thank God.
"I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Subverted in "Mutation City". Razor immediately realizes that T-Bone is no longer in control of himself and without any hesitation, leaves him pinned to the wall with a spider missile.
Identical Granddaughter: Taken to the extreme - Princess Callista is Callie Briggs' ancestor, but they're both completely identical.
Except for Callie's glasses, which the Pastmaster (who's in love with Callista) doesn't notice until "The Deadly Pyramid".
Improvised Weapon: After getting trapped in the past in "Bride of the Pastmaster", T-Bone and Razor trick out the Turbokat with whatever's at hand, including pepper stew.
Callie also does this during her Action GirlAwesome Moments. In "The Wrath of Dark Kat", she saves the SWAT Kats by hitting the titular villain with one of the money bags he'd stolen. In "The Ci-Kat-A", when alien-possessed scientist Dr. Harley Street is trying to "recruit" her, Callie says "I don't think so!" and smashes him on the head with her briefcase.
Incredibly Lame Pun: From "Bride Of The Pastmaster": "The Hangar. That's just where we... hang out! Heh heh."
I Never Said It Was Poison: The elderly kats Razor accidentally injures in "Razor's Edge" are doing a good job of layering on the guilt and tearing his self-esteem apart when they taunt "You'd never be able to stop Dark Kat." No one up until this point knows that Dark Kat is behind the episode's attacks. This clues Razor in that the two kats are neither injured nor elderly, and the event was not an accident.
In Medias Res: The show goes straight to the action; no backstory, no origin. Until "The Wrath Of Dark Kat" (the third episode broadcast), we don't know how we got there.
In the Back: "A Bright And Shiny Future" had three double-crosses: one by the Metallikats, one by the Pastmaster, and one by the SWAT Kats themselves.
Weird. "Katastrophe" also had three different ones: Dark Kat always planned to screw over everybody, so Viper anticipated that and decided to screw him first, and he recruited the Metallikats to screw Dark Kat with him. Also averted, in the sense that Dark Kat thought he could force the Metallikats to do his dirty work for him and screw Viper first. Please do not take any of these statements literally. If you do, considering we're talking about robots and mutated monsters, keep a bottle of Brain Bleach handy. Thank you for visiting TV Tropes. Have a nice day.
Irony: While the show was allegedly cancelled due to the violence, the classic Hanna-Barbera shows weren't exactly clean either. First, there's the racial and chauvinistic attitudes you'd normally see in cartoons from the 50s through the 70s, and even the 80s. For more specific examples though, you have Yogi Bear stealing peoples' food, Top Cat's mooching, a retcon in an episode of The Jetsons' second season that George and Jane were never actually married due their priest being a Con Man, making Judy and Elroy bastards, and Captain Planet taking on issues way outside of its scope and premise, with more out there. Whereas the SWAT Kats were hard working characters applying their skills to protect innocent people, with equipment they made solely by rebuilding junked machinery, while also helping them in their day jobs.
The worst part is the whole thing is vaguely hypocritical: Violence was cited as one of the main reason the network pulled the plug despite the show's high ratings. However, the violence in SWAT Kats is stylized and largely not imitative (consider how hard it would be to fight a giant bacteria monster with a VTOL-capable jet), compared with other Hanna-Barbera series which feature stunts and slapstick violence that kids could easily recreate on their own.
Well, the real reason it was canceled was because of H-B's focus and resources going towards the "What-A-Cartoon" project. Nowadays, the "violence" on SWAT Kats is fairly mild compared to some of the other stuff on TV.
Doctors Zyme and Hackle have good intentions on their side, but that doesn't help a bit when dealing with the fallout of their attempts to benefit kat-kind, a.k.a. Dr. Viper and the Metallikats.
Kansas City Shuffle: At the end of "A Bright And Shiny Future", Feral and Felina provide a distraction using the Turbokat while the SWAT Kats sneak in to get up close and personal with Mac and Molly.
Killed Off for Real: Surprisingly often for a cartoon. So it's a fair point when, in "The Metallikats", Feral says, quote, "Mac and Molly have been dead for months." To which another guy exclaims, "No, no, they ain't dead!"
Killer Robot: The Metallikats; also, the Mecha-Mooks from "A Bright and Shiny Future" and Zed from "Unlikely Alloys".
Love Triangle: Callie and the SWAT Kats. One of the reasons Felina was introduced in Season 2 was to intentionally avert this on further episodes. It kinda-sorta backfired: now, instead of one triangle, fans started shipping two entirely different ones: One involving the SWAT Kats and Callie, and other involving The SWAT Kats and Felina. What do you even call that? A parallelogram with two sets of boobs?
Nerds Are Sexy: According to some fans, Callie Briggs practically defines this trope.
So does Jake, to a certain extent.
Unsure why. Does any woman with glasses, regardless of profession, count as a nerd, now? Callie's really more management than full-on nerd. Dr. Sinian would seem to fit this description better.
A better example is Callie seeming to fancy Jake, who is unabashedly nerdy, as stated above.
Never My Fault: Feral unfairly blames Jake and Chance for the damage to Enforcer HQ, even though it's his own fault the incident happened (he interfered with their attempt to catch Dark Kat, because he couldn't accept someone else might catch the crook).
The SWAT Kats themselves follow in Feral's footsteps when their goofing around allows Morbulus to easily escape and they (and Callie) blame it on Feral, despite the fact that Feral had not even arrived at the scene when Morbulus made his escape.
In "Mutation City" Razor prepares to go after a sinking T-Bone and growls "If you drown, buddy...I'm gonna kill you!"
In "The Origin of Dr. Viper" a dead Elrod Purvis is stashed in a morgue with a clearly-labled DOA toe-tag (Dead On Arrival, for those who don't know). The morgue is also clearly labeled and referenced as such in dialogue.
"Mac and Molly Mange have been dead for months!"
If you keep count you can find, conservatively, 73 deaths in the first season ALONE. Some of which are pretty brutal. Not counting the casualties when Chance and Jake's Enforcer jet crashes into the headquarters. Additionally, there are 3 or 4 times where Feral should have died—them's some safety equipment. Hot damn. All the deaths, or even the near-fatal injuries are never mentioned.
Non-Indicative Name: Dr. Greenbox. Originally, he was to be a botanist, in which capacity his surname would make sense; his field of expertise was later changed to "generic tinkerer" who works with machines, rendering his pun-tastic surname meaningless.
Not My Driver: How the Metallikats kidanp Manx and Callie in one episode.
Not the Fall That Kills You: In "The Giant Bacteria", Razor and T-Bone drop Morbulus into the ocean from what has to be at least a hundred feet up.
No Waterproofing in the Future: Averted with the Metallikats, at least in their first appearance - Callie tries to defeat them with a fire hose. It didn't work.
Played With in "Razor's Edge" with Dark Kat's Black Widow. The outside was waterproof, but the inside was not.
Averted again in "SWAT Kats Unplugged", where in a fit of improvisational tactics, the SWAT Kats try to knock over a water tower so that it falls onto the pursuing Hard Drive's jet and stalls out his engines, but it doesn't work.
Nuke 'em: Attempted by Dark Kat in "The Wrath of Dark Kat".
Only I Can Kill Him: Played unapologetically straight - the SWAT Kats are the only ones who can win the fight. Everyone else, since, unlike our heroes they don't have gigantic testicles of steel, fails miserably. Every. Single. Time. Without fail.
Also, this trope plays an important role in the SWAT Kats' origin. While they were still Enforcers, Jake and Chance had missile lock on Dark Kat's craft. Unfortunately, Feral insisted on capturing the villain personally, and his interference resulted in Dark Kat escaping, Enforcer headquarters being damaged, and Jake and Chance not only getting thrown off the force, but blamed for the ensuing property damageby Feral and Reassigned As Garbagemen - in the Enforcers' personal junkyard. Two justifiably pissed-off ex-pilots + several dozen acres of abandoned government surplus = SWAT Kats.
The Red Lynx can only die if he's killed by the descendant of the pilot who originally defeated him. Turns out to be Mayor Manx, of all people. Which causes some problems, to say the very least.
Uncle Wolf: Feral may seem harsh and quick-tempered, but he genuinely loves his niece and would do any think to protect her. In fact, he tried to prevent her from joining the Enforcers for just that reason.
Planet Looters: A band of alien pirates came to Earth to steal its waters.
Police Are Useless: Back-and-forth. The Enforcers are a fairly effective police force formed to fight super-terrorists such as Dark Kat. They do a damn fine job in "The Pastmaster Always Rings Twice". Without the SWAT Kats' plane and gear and only conventional gas grenades and a convenient tar pit, they took out a frigging tyrannosaur and were just this side of getting the Pastmaster on their own. But it seems that the show takes place during their "fall from glory";
1). The quality of their equipment is falling - the Turbo Kat is built out of the Enforcers' garbage but easily outperforms their current gear.
2). Its leadership is becoming overconfident - T-Bone and Razor were Enforcers until Feral pulled an absolutely stupidOnly I Can Kill Him on Dark Kat (imagine two nobodies nearly catching bin Laden when some big shot was around) and blamed them for the ensuing property damage. Feral got a bit better, and by the time of the show proper is more professional. But Lt. Commander Steele is an extrapolation of this that nearly screws the entire city.
Put on a Bus: Lt. Commander Steele. Apparently, Steele's ineptitude eventually got him replaced by Feral's more competent and able-bodied niece Felina, and he has not been seen since.
Also, Burke and Murray from season one, despite their apparent stated role as Chance and Jake's "babysitters", disappear completely by the time season two rolls around with no explanation given (then again, given how they are colossal jackasses, them not showing up is pretty good in our books).
Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: In "The Metallikats", when the titular villains show up to the mob they used to run, the mob's current leader tries to get rid of them, but they kill the leader first. Then, they declare that Megakat City belongs to them now, and all the mob goons, out of fear, immediately say they're with the Metallikats. The Metallikats sarcastically thank them for the vote of confidence, but since they were willing to switch sides rather than avenge their leader, the Metallikats tell them that "traitors like you don't fit into our new plan", and the Metallikats kill the goons with an exploding cigar.
Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: In the first episode the two heroes hold a contest on how many g's they can take before passing out, and refer to their records as '10 seconds at mach 5'. Which is meaningless, because how many g's one takes isn't determined by speed but by acceleration. You're probably taking quite a bit of g-forces if you're making a turn at mach 5, but unless you mention how sharp the turn is the g forces could range from non-existant to instantly fatal.
Well, in the writers' defense, it can be pointed out that their centrifuge device or whatever was going around in circles, which means they do have a definite turning angle set, which is their benchmark for testing g's.
There were a few hints that Ann Gora's relationship with her cameraman Jonny was more than just professional.
Then there was that scene where Callie flirtily says "Bye, Jake." right after Chance bragged (out of earshot) about her "obviously" digging him. Rule of Funny, yes, but a tease nonetheless. Callie's nigh-identical ancestor also had a blatant interest in Razor when the Swat Kats were sent back in time by the Pastmaster.
Show Accuracy/Toy Accuracy: The SWAT Kats action figures were all redesigned from the characters' TV versions. Most drastic change: Dark Kat was apparently a cyborg, a revelation the show never even hinted at.
Stab the Scorpion: How Lt. Felina Feral is introduced in "Mutation City". Her helicopter airlifts Callie Briggs away from the dangerous mutant liquid, and the former tells the latter that this isn't a good night for the deputy mayor to be out in the city. Then Lt. Feral seems to point her laser gun at Callie, but actually she fires at a spiky mutant tentacle that was about to grab Callie.
Stealth Pun: The Turbokat has a variable-sweep wing design. The most well-known plane in Real Life with such a design is the F-14 Tomcat. Though it may not exactly be a pun as a Shout-Out, as the Turbokat shares a LOT with the F-14 besides the wings. In fact, the only real differences are the additional engine, the ability to hover, a (ludicrously massive) internal bay, and to a lesser extent, the paint job. Razor's station in the back seat actually looks like a real-life Tomcat RIO console.
Swamps Are Evil: Megakat Swamp, the domain of Dr. Viper, is one seriously disturbing place.
Swiss-Army Weapon: The SWAT Kats' Glovatrixes, metal gauntlets which could fire things like grappling lines, bolas, and scaled-down versions of the missiles used in the Turbo Kat; it was also equipped with attachments like buzzsaws, retractable shields, radars, and other devices depending on the mission.
Take That: Madkat a.k.a. Lenny Ringtail, and his catchphrase, and being cast as a villain who takes David Litterbin hostage, is a not-so-subtle dig at his (real-life counterpart's) rival at the time, Jay Leno.
Unobtainium: Aggresite from "Caverns Of Horror". Also played straight in "When Strikes Mutilor" with water, of all things. Turns out plain old aqua is actually unobtanium for aliens, which is the reason for Mutilor's attack on Earth (Yeah, yeah, "Haven't they heard of ice?").
Viewers Are Morons: While fighting in a tunnel; Razor swipes the Metallikats vehicle and makes off with it. An unaware T-bone sees the vehicle emerge and prepares to fire. Cue Razor spelling out the painfully obvious.
Razor: Uh oh! T-Bone doesn't know that it's me riding their car.
Wham Line: A rare example that's delivered to villains instead of heroes. In "The Metallikats", the titular villains are threatening to assault Mayor Manx because Mayor Manx allegedly turned down their bribe and denied their parole back when they were in prison. But Deputy Mayor Callie Briggs informs the Metallikats, "He didn't turn down your parole, I did!"
Played straight in a few cases. Razor says that a couple of his missiles are diamond-tipped. Who the hell would throw away diamonds, or even diamond dust?!
Unless they're industrial diamonds, which are usually artificial.
What Happened To The Cat: Specifically, the farmer in "The Giant Bacteria". He simply disappeared after an awkward cutaway from him to Dr. Viper. The mystery was finally solved when a scene of him being fed to the creature by Viper was re-added to the episode on the Warner Archive DVD release.
There was this old kat whose car would occasionally be repaired by Chance and Jake, but she was so unsatisfied with their work, that she threatened to report them to the Megakat Autoclub, twice. She appears once a season, but no reason is given for her disappearance.
In "The Giant Bacteria", the SWAT Kats manage to defeat and capture a villain named Morbulus. Instead of holding him until the authorities got there or even going over to said authorities to hand Morbulus over, they decide to just mess around with both Morbulus and Feral and just drop the villain in the water. Of course, Morbulus takes advantage of this and escapes before the enforcers get there. They never get called out on it by anybody other than Feral, who is actually right about the SWAT Kats screwing up this time around. Not only do the SWAT Kats get pissed and act like whiny children by blaming Feral for Morbulus getting away, but to make it worse, even Callie acts like a bitch and tries pinning the blame on Feral for the whole thing.
What makes it even harsher is that it is only the second episode of the series, so it leaves a bad impression on the heroes (as well as Callie) very early in the series. Thankfully, nothing of that level happens afterwards in the series.