Silverhawks was a sleek science-fiction action cartoon of the 80s filled with great characters, lots of fun and excitement, and great rock n roll music.
On the surface, Silverhawks has a few similarities with Thundercats. Both were produced by Rankin/Bass Productions, so the company was likely trying to exploit the success of Thundercats by continuing with a similar formula. Maybe because of this, or the fact that they generally aired back to back, Silverhawks is most often mentioned in connection to Thundercats.
However, the only real parallel between the two shows was the way both Mumm-Ra of Thundercats and Mon Star of Silverhawks would dramatically morph into bigger, stronger versions of themselves prior to going into battle with the eponymous heroes of their shows.
Unlike Thundercats, Silverhawks has yet to experience a revival of any sort. Again, this is because the show is severely underrated. Also, it unfortunately didn’t last long during its initial run. However, an updated show with a potential new audience? Maybe they’d embrace the show as never before. As they should.
Set in space in the 29th century, the Silverhawks were cyborg policemen of the galaxy in an area named Limbo. The galactic mob boss named Mon Star escaped from a prison planet and gathers his gang of criminals back together. His crew included a guy with saws all over his body, named Buzzsaw, a shapeshifter named Molecular, a bull-headed beast, named Mumbo Jumbo, and a slithery snake man, named Yes Man. The Silverhawks are brought together to take him down for good.
The heroes operate like a police force, even having a police chief that commands them. The chief, named Commander Stargazer, recruited the “partly metal, partly real police” to keep the galaxy safe from Mon Star’s gang. The team itself is led by Quicksilver, aka Jonathan Quick. The rest of the team consists of twins Steelheart and Steelwill, the team’s tech and strong guy, respectively, as well as Bluegrass, the team’s pilot, and the Copper Kid, who is a young genius.
The Copper Kid came from the “Planet of Mimes”, so of course he never spoke. Instead, he communicated through whistling. Bluegrass always had a guitar with his that doubled as his musical entertainment as well as his weapon. When played defensively, the musical notes could be shot as a force blast against his enemies. Even though Bluegrass wore a cowboy hat, his music, and the soundtrack of the show, was always more rock n roll heavy which was a great addition to the show. While every other Hawk could fly on their own, Bluegrass could not, so he piloted their ship, the Maraj in which they all flew for long distances.
The show ran for just one season in 1986. However, it ran daily after school let out, so even that one season left us with a total of 65 episodes. During that season, other Silverhawks appeared midway through the season. Hotwing, a gold Hawk came in as an addition to the team. He was a magician. Next came Flashback, a green time-traveling Hawk from even further in the future.
The premise reads like a police procedural you’d find on the Syfy channel, and that’s pretty much what it was except animated. It was fun and always exciting with edge of your seat action and space battles. Additionally, there wasn’t any one horribly goofy character serving as comic relief only. Rather, the comic dynamic between team members was sufficient without making any one member overly buffoonish. Even the PSA style, out of plot, segments of the show were done interestingly with Copper learning some lesson, usually from Bluegrass.
He wasn’t learning a moral because of some goofy mistake. Instead he was learning information about space because he was young and inquisitive. Being a child at the time, those segments stuck with me longer than some from other shows because they seemed more genuine.
Though the show had a cool premise that the Syfy channel could truly run with, the 80s show runners kept the story light. The team members of the Silverhawks who volunteered to become cyborgs never thought twice about completely upending their lives and even their biology. While a more mature version of this plot surely would have delved into those decisions and their aftermath, this was kept as a kids show and only focused on the fun and action that the cyborg police team got into against the shows villains.
The cliched-filled action shows were prevalent throughout the 80s. Seemingly every 80s cartoon had a squad of heroes battling evil goons in every episode. Silverhawks falls right into that genre very nicely. The animation, to me, often seemed better than other shows. This could be due to the fact that the setting was almost always in space and so, the scenery is sparse. With less to draw, the artists doubled down on the parts they had to draw. It could also be because everything was silver and shiny. It really popped. The writing, also, was an improvement over some of the others, even the more popular shows. The concept of cyborg space police taking down an intergalactic mob boss is something any fan of sci-fi can get behind.
To this day, Silverhawks is an underrated cartoon that doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. It was much better than a one-season show. Most who remember it do so fondly. Those that haven’t heard of it and haven’t seen it should take the time to get to know Silverhawks. It’s exciting and fun. For its day, it was kind of an animated sci-fi masterpiece.
Silverhawks: An Underrated Sci-Fi Masterpiece of the 80s
- Writing - 8.5/108.5/10
- Storyline - 8.5/108.5/10
- Acting - 8.5/108.5/10
- Music - 9/109/10
- Production - 8.5/108.5/10
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