ThunderCats is an American animated television series that was produced by Rankin/Bass Productions debuting in 1985, based on the characters created by Tobin “Ted” Wolf. The series, for which Leonard Starr was the head writer, follows the adventures of a group of cat-like humanoid aliens. The animation was provided by Japanese animation company Pacific Animation Corporation whose artists later went on to join Studio Ghibli. Season 1 of the show aired in 1985, followed by a TV movie entitled ThunderCats – HO! in 1986. Seasons 2, 3, and 4 followed a new format of twenty episodes each, starting with a five-part story.
The series was originally distributed by Rankin-Bass Productions’ then-parent company Telepictures Corporation, which would later merge with Lorimar Productions in 1986. In 1989, Lorimar-Telepictures was purchased by and folded into Warner Bros., whose television syndication arm would eventually assume distribution of the show; Warner Bros. have had the rights to the series from that point on.
There were also several comic book series produced: Marvel Comics’ version, 1984 to 1988; and five series by Wildstorm, an imprint of DC Comics, beginning in 2003. Items of clothing featuring the ThunderCats logo and DVD boxsets of the original series have enjoyed a resurgence in recent years as nostalgia for the former children’s favorite has grown.