Accidental Innuendo: "Omens Part One" sees Lion-O and Tygra act out a longstanding Sibling Rivalry by competing in a racing Chase Fight game, the object of which is to climb a tree and ring a bell while fighting off one's competitor. Lion-O announces that he'll ring the bell, whereupon Tygra replies "And I'm gonna ring yours," smiling and tipping a wink. The series' fans, unaware of the phrase's usage in sport (Tygra has threatened to beat Lion-O into a concussion), and remembering that Tygra has previously smiled and winked to explicitly flirt, seized on the exchange's oddly sexual undertone to launch a Not Blood SiblingsHo Yay ship.
"The Duelist and the Drifter": "Don't depend on the awesomeness of your sword, depend on your spontaneously generated superpowers."
"The Forest of Magi Oar": "Greed will almost always lead to self-destruction."
"Ramlak Rising": "Don't let obsession drag your friends down with you."
Alternative Character Interpretation: Is the Duelist really a true master swordsman, or is he just a hustler who preys on overconfident amateur swordsmen, using cheap tactics and overwhelming his opponents for a quick win, and not as skilled as his reputation or ego makes him out to be?
By Word Of God the show is broken up into mini-arcs (of roughly seven episodes apiece, give or take) within the overarching season arc. Of particular note, the episodes "The Pit," "Curse of Ratilla," and "Birth of the Blades" were conceived and written as one single narrative.
Cargo Ship: Panthro's only love interest is the Thundertank.
The Wood Forgers. They first make their appearance rescuing the Thunder Cats, only to be revealed as being villainous because they aren't re-planting the trees they use in their paper magic. While that IS a mark against them, they do show themselves to be genuinely heroic, rescuing people and doing good, while Viragor tries to eat the shows heroes and aggressively attacks anyone he considers and outsider. This could have been a good opportunity to show both sides had merit, with Viragor convincing the Wood Forgers to replace the trees they cut down and use their resources more sparingly, while Viragor could have learned not to be such an openly hostile and possessive about 'his' forest. But nope, the Wood Forgers are just evil and need to be beaten up and driven from the forest, all the good they've done be damned.
Draco in Leather Pants: Pumyra. Despite her poor treatment of Lion-O including beating Lion-O to a pulp on their first meeting, ridiculing his deepest held values of mercy and kindness, manipulating him into falling into traps that cost him both the Sword of Plun-Darr and the Tech stone, betraying him to Mumm-Ra, trying to kill him again, and otherwise breaking his heart, many in the fandom believe she is a perfect match for Lion-O and that more screen time should be spent bringing her character back from the dead, redeeming her, and exploring her anger so that she can potentially be rehabilitated and refashioned as a love interest and connecting her with Lion-O again. On the other hand, many fans believe that Pumyra is under a form of mind control, a legitimate theory since she was brought back from the dead, meaning it wouldn't technically be her fault. Besides that, the above statement also ignores that Pumyra easily comes around to accept Lion-O's values each time, or at least seems to, depending how much mind control one believes she's under.
The Thunderkittens are well liked by initial reviewers, and are already popular with fans just from the previews and leaks. One review even called them the Breakout Characters of the show.
Holding Panthro back for a few episodes only served to make an already popular character a clear fan-favorite.
Lynx-O became this as soon as he appeared. One of the most asked questions on Crew of Omens is "When is Lynx-O coming back?"
Certain characters who haven't even been confirmed to exist yet in this version are inexplicably popular, like Bengali.
The hype surrounding the appearance of Pumyra was insane, and within hours of her design being revealed (in preview clips and concept art released by the production team) fanart and fanfiction started coming in. Not bad for someone who was all but dropped from the original's cast. She's even starting to edge out Cheetara as the fans favorite female.
The Cats from the flashback in "Legacy," Leo, Panthera, and Tygus, have a strong following and get lots of fan art.
Dobo is well regarded by many for being cool and surprisingly developed.
Family-Unfriendly Aesop: "Song of the Petalars": You might still have a chance of escaping your pursuers and attaining a noble goal when the fate of your people, perhaps even your planet hangs in the balance? Don't feel like it. We're Tired of Running! ThunderCats never retreat! Let's make our Last Stand for glory! Never mind the cowering eight-year-old refugees!
Fabulously lampshaded the very next episode by Panthro dryly noting how miraculous it is they've survived this long "without adult supervision."
"The defeat of your enemy is worth any sacrifice". Granted, we probably aren't meant to completely agree with this, but Panthro does subscribe to this line of thinking when he sacrifices both his arms to trap Grune in the astral plane.
"The Forest of Magi Oar". Technology is bad, nature is good. The Wood Forgers ARE causing damage to forest by not replacing the trees they cut down, but that's something could potentially be fixed by pointing out the need to replenish what you take from nature and manage your resources wisely enough to where you don't harm the world around you. Instead, rather than learning how to make technology and nature co-exist, it becomes a 'technology is bad' story where the giant owl that eats people is proven right and the genuinely good work the Wood Forgers had done is ignored.
Faux Symbolism: Tygra's backstory has distinctly biblical elements. His father was ordered to sacrifice him by a higher power, but didn't go through with it (Abraham and Isaac) and he was sent away for his own safety to be found and raised by the royal family (Moses).
Harsher in Hindsight: After Tygra/Cheetara became official in episode 13, a lot of angry fans bashed Cheetara and eagerly awaited Pumrya to appear on the show because she deserved him more. Whoops.
After the reveal in the series finale, Pumyra's lines take on a disturbing tone. In The Pit, Pumyra's declaration, "I cannot kill my king," comes off more like an order than an expression of loyalty. It would seem that any "mind control" she was under might have been suppressing her anger, and forcing her to be nice, rather than the other way around.
Early in the second season of the original '80s show, Lynx-O tells Lion-O that his voice sounds just like his father's. In the 2011 remake, Larry Kenny, Lion-O's original VA, will be the VA for Lion-O's father, Claudus.
The cleric Jaga's seeming death during "Omens Part Two" comes as no surprise to anyone who's seen the original as he spent most of his time there as a ghostly apparition after dying at the start of the series.
And now subverted in "Ramlak Rising".
And played straight in "Journey to the Tower of Omens" as he sacrifices himself for real to protect Lion-O from Mumm-Ra and get the Book of Omens.
Same thing to Claudus's death. Arguably subverted with Grune, who survives the first two episodes.
Most of the dialogue in "Into the Astral Plane" and "Between Brothers" comes off as detatched, stock dialogue
Older Than They Think: Some younger fans were shocked that Tygra and Cheetara ended up becoming the Official Couple instead of Lion-O and Cheetara. Tygra and Cheetara were canon back in the Wildstorm comics, which had Cheetara and Tygra having children very late in the series (though most fans consider these comics non-canon). The original series had her waffle on the subject.
One-Scene Wonder: Lynx-O has a small cameo in "Omens Part Two". Fans are already placing bets on when he returns (possibly with Bengali and Pumyra in tow).
Snarf. Being a less-sentient non-speaking creature means that he's not a nagging whiner this time around. Fan response has been much more positive. Also WilyKit and WilyKat, for those who found them annoying in the original.
Although there are the few fans who enjoyed Snarf's voice in the original, and are actually upset he doesn't talk.
Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: The theme of seeing the big picture and having a wider perspective. A lot of the conflict in the series ultimately stems from people being too narrow sighted to see the consequences of their actions in the long run. It ties into the themes of kindness and mercy being the cure to hatred exploited by evil. Also, never compromising your morals in spite of what's normal or what's logical in the short term.
Squick: Pumyra kisses Mumm-Ra's hand (okay, gauntlet, but close enough) when she reveals her allegiance to him, and he, the guy who brought her back to life just to serve as his puppet, calls her "beloved." Ewwwww!
Strawman Has a Point: While it doesn't really justify siding with Mumm-Ra, Pumyra does have legitimate grievances with Lion-O. He did abandon his people in their time of need, and he did try to force integration between his people and their mortal enemies, the Lizards.
However the show has received near-unanimous praise on Thundercats.ws, one of the largest ThunderCats fan-boards out there.
One review did suggest that most of those already denouncing the new show have not seen the original since they were children.
When a clip revealed that Mumm-Ra has his own tank in episode 6, some people flat out stated the show may be ruined because of it. Talk about jumping the gun.
The Latin American Spanish dub received lots of flak, due of the fact it was dubbed in Venezuela (due to WB's internal politics about Spanish voice acting in Latin America and also for cost reasons) and not in Mexico like the original one.
Villain Decay: The Lizards have certainly taken a big hit from "overwhelmingly terrifying badasses" to "typical redshirt fodder." Unusually, losing their motivating racial pathos (whatever happened to the Merciful Minion?) is a contributing factor.
Lampshaded in the season 2 opener, where Slithe tells Mumm-Ra that his minions are under strict (and correct) impressions that he thinks of them as expendable drones.
Wangst: Tygra and Lion-O's angst over their competition for Cheetara's attention revolves around their need for her to confirm that she's "chosen" one of them without directly telling her their feelings, (and risking her explicit rejection), their Sibling Rivalry and mutual jealousy of one another, and Cheetara herself not being clear on where her affections lie. Passive-aggressive teenagers!
What an Idiot: the guy who had just bumped into somebody carelessly thinks he should scream "robbers" when two kids in rags reveal themselves trying to give back his bag of money.
Okay Pumyra, go ahead and sell out your entire race just to get petty revenge on Lion-O if you like, but blowing your own cover just to give Mumm-Ra one power stone is beyond stupid when you could have poisoned the cats in their sleep and taken all three stones any time you wanted.
On the other hand, Pumyra was probably only ordered to tag along until the last stone was found. Also, her outbursts of anger were making it really hard to mesh well with the others (Cheetara even called her out on it at one point). Mumm-Ra probably figured that now that he knows where all the stones are it's safe for her to reveal herself. Also, at that point they thought the fight was easily theirs.
Only one problem with that, there's one more stone out there to find.
What Measure Is a Non-Badass?: The series more or less deconstructs this, especially in regards to Lion-O. Many of his own people show disdain towards his values of kindess and mercy towards his enemies, but their warrior culture attitudes are what ultimately led to their home being destroyed in the first place. Lion-O tries to be the badass king everyone wants, like Tygra, but over time he learns that this is not the right path for victory, and learns to rely more on his cunning, his leadership, and his mercy. Ironically, many fans miss this point, and dislike Lion-O for not being the best fighter. That said, Lion-O does indeed become a much better warrior by the season's end.
Lion-O, let's recap. So far Lion-O has lost his father, his mentor, his surrogate father Captain Tunar. Also, his surrogate little brother Emrick the Petalar. The latest being that he Did Not Get the Girl, and to top it all off now he's dead! MAN! the poor guy might as well be wearing "Kick Me" on his back or something!
Now it's gotten worse for him because Pumyra is actually working for Mumm-Ra.
Tygra too - his birth mother presumably dies, his birth father sends him away from home to protect him, his adopted mother dies in childbirth, and then his adopted father dies. He grows up knowing he will lose his kingdom to his little brother and feeling like he doesn't belong, and when he finally finds his real home, everyone in it dies, including his birth father, leaving him the last tiger. In his own words: "Tell me, Lion-O, is it my destiny to lose everything I care most about?"
Lion-O assures him that Tygra won't lose him at least. Nevermind that in the previous episode Tygra nearly did lose Lion-O.
The thunder kittens Wily-Kit and Wily-Kat considering that they watched their father die saving them and their mother from a tornado and also the fact that the reason they left home was to find a way to provide for their mother and their younger siblings to have resources to live on. Keep in mind that they're children that have to endure these burdens as well.
Pumyra, who wasn't always a fighter. She was sold into slavery after the fall of Thundera first in a mine and later as a gladiator under Dobo in The Pit. When she chews Lion-O out over everything that's happened and how she holds him responsible for her and the other refugees suffering she almost breaks down in tears (and in the next episode we get to see firsthand the hell she lived in). There's been plenty of Manly Tears in the show, but seeing a strong, independent woman break down like that is a first.
Stoic Woobie: That poor Swordmaker, so very heartwrenching to see his dreams so mercilessly crushed. That awful purple man made the cute bunny sad!