Many of us grew up watching shows like He-Man, Thundercats, and G.I. Joe during the 1980s, which were a golden era for animated science fiction and fantasy cartoon series. While we have happy memories of these programmes, other 80s animated series have fallen by the wayside over time.
One such programme was “Tiger Sharks,” an action-packed science fiction programme that chronicled the life of a group of heroic hybrids that battled evil on the remote planet “Water-O.” We will go over every facet of this underappreciated television programme today, as well as all there is to know about the Tiger Sharks.
What was the show all about?
The Tiger Sharks arrive on a brief assignment on the imaginary planet “Water-O,” where the show is set. Here, they encounter the villainous “T-Ray” and his Mantanas, and the Tiger Sharks resolve to remain on Water-O for a considerable amount of time in order to safeguard the populace from T-mischief. Ray’s Tiger Sharks was first shown in 1987 and had 26 episodes in one season.
The famed team of “Arthur Rankin and Jules Bass,” who previously produced classic shows like Thundercats and Silver Hawks, was responsible for its creation. Since the idea of human-animal hybrids in cartoons was highly popular at the time, they followed the success of these two shows with Tiger Sharks.
The Comic Strip, an American comic book series with four animated cartoon parts, including Tiger Sharks as one of its later releases. One of the main goals behind the production of Tiger Sharks, which was released by Lorimar-Telepictures, was to increase the sales of the toy figurines that came with the majority of 1980s animated television shows. Let us now thoroughly examine each episode of this show to obtain a sense of its overall plot.
Exploring a few episodes and the overall story arc
Kicking off with a catchy intro theme, the first episode of the Tiger Shark series titled ‘Voyage to Water-O’ explores the origins of this team of hybrid superheroes. The episode begins with a glimpse of the infamous villain ‘T-Ray,’ as he commands ‘Wall-Eye’ to land their ship on the planet of Water-O. Wall-Eye wonders if this is a good idea, and T-Ray shuts him up by asking if he has a better suggestion.
We learn that their home planet has dried up, and T-Ray intends to settle down on Water-O and make this planet their new home base. He asks Wall-Eye to land the ship on the icy island of Seaberia when they spot a bunch of beings frozen in ice. Wall-Eye observes that these beings seem alive, and T-Ray asks him to shoot a bunch of heat blasts to confirm that they are alive. Wall-Eye shoots these blasts, which causes the ice prison to melt away. The imprisoned beings turn out to be Captain Bizzarly, a pirate, and his pet sea dragon, who had been imprisoned by the ancient Waterians as a punishment for their crimes.
On the other side, Dolph enters the Tiger Shark’s spaceship ‘SARC,’ where all the group members except Lorca have gathered together. It appears that Lorca was sent to Water-O for a mission, and there has been no news of him for the past few hours.
The Tiger Sharks expected to hear from him sooner, and they are especially worried about the planet of ‘Water-O ‘since Lorca was there on a mission to retrieve a cargo spaceship. The mission was especially dangerous since the cargo shipped contained two tons of the explosive ‘X-400’, and it was imperative that this explosive did not fall into the wrong hands. One of the Tiger Sharks, Octavia, commands their ship, SARC, to give them a report on Water-O.
We then learn that Water-O is a planet that is over 90% covered with water when the ship’s signal goes out. Just then, the Tiger Sharks receive a distress signal from Lorca. It appears that T-Ray landed in the water on Water-O and ran into Lorca, who now finds himself cornered by this villain.
The Tiger Sharks prepare for an emergency visit to Water-O, and their spaceship tells them that they can prepare for take-off in just four minutes. Without wasting any time, Walro reveals that he had been dreaming of working underwater for many years and that he had come up with technology that can help men breathe underwater like a fish. He invented the ‘Fish Tank,’ a water tank with special settings that transforms them into hybrids of sea animals.
Walro then jumps into the Tank, and he grows some features that resemble a walrus. He now has the ability to breathe underwater, and the rest of the Tiger Sharks soon join him in the Tank and transform into unique hybrids. Walro has even figured out a way to return to their regular bodies, and the Fish Tank is equipped to turn them into hybrids as well as help them return to their original form.
The Tiger Sharks then prepare to leave for Water-O, while Lorca is taken captive by T-Ray. T-Ray interrogates him, but Lorca refuses to divulge the secret details of his mission. In the meantime, Captain Bizzarly and his pet sea dragon escape from Seaberia and locate T-Ray’s spaceship.
Bizzarly invites him to his ship for a friendly chat, and T-Ray accepts this offer. T-Ray is quite confident that Bizzarly is one of the bad guys, and he tells Bizzarly that he shares the same intention of destroying the Waterians. He even proposes that they join hands and work together to take over the planet of Water-O.
While T-Ray and Bizzarly meet up, the SARC reaches Water-O, and the Tiger Sharks spot the two ships. They decide to investigate, and the Tiger Sharks quickly use the Fish Tank to transform into their hybrid forms in order to breathe underwater.
However, they soon find themselves cornered by T-Ray and Bizzarly, who are intent on destroying the SARC spaceship. The Tiger Sharks prepare to deflect all blasts and weapons that are aiming at the SARC, while Octavia and some of the others stay in the ship and strengthen their defenses against the attack. Together, they succeed in deflecting all the attacks, and the SARC remains unharmed.
On a different side of Water-O, Captain Bizzarly comes up with a plan to trick T-Ray into thinking that he is siding with him to destroy the Waterians. Bizzarly does not intend on keeping this alliance for long, and he talks to his pet dragon about his future plans. Meanwhile, the Tiger Sharks, Bronc and Angel, follow T-Ray’s spaceship to find out where it’s headed. The rest of the group decides to contact the Waterians and ask them if they know Lorca’s whereabouts.
The ruling council of Water-O told the Tiger Sharks that Lorca could be in a lot of trouble since they had reports of an invasion. They also tell the Tiger Sharks that these invaders freed Captain Bizzarly and his ‘Dragonstein.’ The Waterians are worried that if T-Ray and Captain Bizzarly start working together, it could mean a lot of trouble for Water-O.
In the meantime, Bizzarly returns to his snake-shaped castle, and T-Ray visits him to make a formal introduction. The two Tiger Sharks, Bronc and Angel, end up at the same place and are convinced that Lorca has been held captive here. While T-Ray and Bizzarly converse, T-Ray promises that he will unfreeze the rest of Bizzarly’s crew.
He also points to Lorca and tells Bizzarly that they must work together to find out who he is. Bronc and Angel spy on them from afar, while Bizzarly plans to leave for Seaberia to unfreeze the rest of his followers. Bronc uses their technology to inform the Tiger Sharks about their whereabouts, and the rest of them soon reach the castle to free Lorca.
They locate him just when Bizzarly orders his dragon to incinerate Lorca, and Dolph frees him from his chains and gets ready to leave together. Lorca does not trust him in this new hybrid avatar, but Dolph insists that they must leave right now and asks Lorca to just trust him. Dolph brings Lorca back to their ship, where Lorca finally learns about the Fish Tank and takes on a hybrid avatar.
In the next episode, titled ‘SARK to the rescue,’ the Waterians come to the Tiger Sharks for help while dealing with T-Ray. The Waterians will also never be able to recapture Captain Bizzarly on their own, and they don’t want the Tiger Sharks to leave their planet so soon.
However, the Tiger Sharks tell them that they only came here to retrieve the cargo ship that has the X-400 explosive, and they first need to locate the ship before turning their attention to T-Ray or Bizzarly. In the meantime, Bronc and Angel get their hands on one of T-Ray’s motor vehicles, ‘Saw Bill,’ and set out to explore the planet. When T-Ray finds out that the Tiger Sharks have stolen their Saw Bill, he gets furious and scolds the Mantanas, who are fish-like minions that serve him. T-Ray needs the Saw Bill in order to go to Seaberia, and he orders the Mantanas to look for the vehicle.
T-Ray then leaves with Wall-Eye to visit Captain Bizzarly, as they have made a plan to unfreeze his pirate followers together and then attack the Tiger Sharks as allies. In the meantime, two twin Mantanas named ‘Carper’ and ‘Weakfish’ locate the SARC and get ready to break into the Tiger Shark’s headquarters to steal back the ‘Saw Bill .’However, they are unaware that the Tiger Sharks have parked the SARC right above the ship with the X-400, and that they are in the middle of retrieving the explosives.
The Mantanas overhear Bronc and Angel talking about the X-400, and they learn all about the explosive’s ability to destroy the whole place. Carper also spots the Fish Tank, and they are excited at the possibility of being able to breathe underwater with the help of the Tank. They steal the Saw Bill, and decide to tell T-Ray all about the X-400 and the Fish Tank as they return to their own ship.
As they escape, Octavia picks up signals of the Saw Bill, and the Tiger Sharks send Angel and Bronc to follow the Mantanas. The two of them follow the Saw Bill’s signals and learn that the Mantanas are on their way to Seaberia. The other Tiger Sharks keep an eye on Angel and Bronc through their monitors and decide to follow them to Seaberia after securing the X-400.
Meanwhile, Captain Bizzarly reaches Seaberia and starts freeing his pirate crew one by one. He asks his pet dragon to blow hot flames at the ice prisons in order to melt them, thereby unfreezing the members of his crew. He first frees ‘Grunt’ and then sends Grunt to help the Mantanas free other pirates.
In the meantime, one of the Mantanas tells T-Ray that it is not a good idea to free so many of Bizzarly’s followers as it will only make it more difficult for them to defeat Bizzarly later. However, T-Ray does not see them as a threat, and he wants to free more of the pirates as this means they will have more help in defeating the Tiger Sharks. Carper and Weakfish also reach Seaberia on the ‘Saw Bill,’ while Angel and Bronc follow them there.
While the Tiger Sharks leave for Seaberia, Grunt spots Angel and Bronc, and he labels them as spies. He even starts stomping his legs, causing the land beneath them to shake as icy rocks fall everywhere. Angel and Bronc start running away to protect themselves from huge rocks when Bronc loses balance, and the two end up getting trapped in a huge sphere of ice. The Tiger Sharks reach Seaberia just as the Mantanas are freeing ‘Soulmate,’ the only female warrior on Captain Bizzarly’s team.
Captain Bizzarly gears up for an attack, while Octavia and the Tiger Sharks also prepare to defend the SARC from T-Ray and Bizzarly. Soon, a whole fight breaks out as the villains start targeting SARC and the Tiger Sharks. Dolph sets out to find Angel and Bronc while the rest of the Sharks defend themselves. Captain Bizzarly’s ship ends up sinking in the water, and his fear of water makes him give up on the fight as he escapes on his dragon.
The Tiger Sharks then turn their attention to T-Ray and his Mantanas and decide to sabotage their ship, which will cause the Mantanas to drown. Since the Mantanas could not breathe underwater, damaging their ship was the easiest way to get rid of them. In the meantime, Angel and Bronc manage to break free from their spherical ice prison, and Dolph soon comes to their rescue. They safely get back to the SARC when Captain Bizzarly’s dragon starts shooting fire at them. The Tiger Sharks use the SARC’s water cannons to shoot water at Bizzarly and Dragonstein, and they soon leave them alone too.
The Tiger Sharks return to the X-400 ship and safely secure the rest of the explosives. They decide to return the X-400 to Earth quickly before T-Ray or Captain Bizzarly can get their hands on the dangerous explosive.
The show mostly revolved around such incidents where the Tiger Sharks protected the Waterians from T-Ray and Captain Bizzarly.
Some of the memorable characters from the show
The Tiger Sharks were the show’s protagonists, and they protected the planet of Water-O from villains such as T-Ray, his group of followers, and Captain Bizzarly.
The Tiger Sharks included Walro, Lorca, Dolph, Octavia, and Gupp, among other members who worked under the leadership of ‘Mako.’
Mako was a strong, level-headed member of the group, and he was a hybrid between a human and a mako shark. Mako had both brains and brawn, as he was both intelligent as well as a gifted fighter. He was also a good mediator within the group and looked out for the Tiger Sharks. Mako was an excellent scuba diver and possessed great speed in his mako shark avatar. He used his forearm fins and head fins to slice through any obstacles, and these fins were sharp enough to even cut through metal.
Walro was the mathematical genius of the group who was also responsible for creating the ‘Fish Tank.’He could turn into a human/walrus hybrid and wielded a cane that had many in-built weapons.
Lorca often helped Walro create his machines and was considered to be the mechanic of the group. He was also the strongest of the Tiger Sharks and was a hybrid between a human and an orca, which is a mighty killer whale.
Dolph, also known as ‘Rodolfo,’ was a cheerful human and dolphin hybrid. He was the group’s second-in-command and an easy-going member who made jokes and often fooled around. Dolph was quite a skilled Tiger Shark and had a lot of experience as a scuba diver. Since he was a dolphin hybrid, he could easily move around and breathe underwater. He could also shoot strong jets of water from his blowhole in this hybrid form.
Octavia was a human and octopus hybrid, and she had octopus tentacles instead of her. She was the group’s main communication technician, as well as the head planner when it came to strategizing new plans. Octavia was also the main captain of the SARK ship and had some help from the teenage pair of siblings ‘Bronc’ and ‘Angel’ who worked as assistants on the SARK crew. Bronc was an adventurous human and seahorse hybrid, while Angela was a more serious and responsible being. She could turn into a human/angel bird hybrid, which is why she was named ‘Angel.’
The Tiger Sharks had a pet cocker spaniel named ‘Gupp,’ who could turn into a hybrid with features such as flipper-shaped legs and pin teeth that resembled a seal.
T-Ray was the show’s main villain, and he was a hybrid between a human and a ‘manta ray.’He had arrived on Water-O with his group of Mantanas after their home planet ran out of water. Now, T-Ray wished to conquer Water-O, and he sought some help from Captain Bizzarly with this mission. Besides his desire to take over the Waterians, T-Ray also wanted to destroy the Tiger Sharks, and he often stirred up trouble for them.
He wielded a whip as his choice of weapon and commanded the ‘Mantanas,’ who were fish-like minions that helped T-Ray execute his plans. T-Ray and his group of Mantanas could survive underwater for some time, but the Mantanas mostly had to return to their ship in order to be able to breathe properly underwater. Some of these Mantanas were Wall-Eye, Shad, Dredge, Carper, and Weakfish.
Wall-Eye was a hybrid between a frog and a human and was sort of a personal secretary to T-Ray. Wall-Eye had the unique ability to hypnotize people by spinning his eyes at a fast speed. Shad was a human and ‘grouper’ hybrid, and he had a special belt that shot electric blasts at his opponents.
Dredge was a fish mutant, and he always carried around a pet purple eel on his back. Carper and Weakfish were twin mermen, and they had certain frog-like features. The two mostly kept complaining and whining about their situation on Water-o, and one could tell them apart based on their skin. While they looked identical, Carper had green skin; on the other hand, Weakfish had purple skin.
Captain Bizzarly was a pirate who wandered the oceans on Water-O and carried out many criminal activities. However, he was captured by the Waterians, who had put him and his entire crew in an ice prison at ‘Seaberia.’Later on, T-Ray freed Captain Bizzarly and his crew in the hopes that he would serve as an ally while defeating the Tiger Sharks. Though Captain Bizzarly initially agreed to join forces, he soon betrayed T-Ray and set out to get rid of the Tiger Sharks on his own.
Most importantly, he wanted to regain control over the oceans of Water-O and once again spread terror among the Waterians. Ironically, Captain Bizzarly had aquaphobia, and he held an irrational fear of water. Bizzarly had a pet sea dragon named ‘Dragonstein,’ which could produce fire and fly around the skies, which helped Bizzarly in staying away from water as much as possible. Captain Bizzarly had many followers who helped him in his crimes; some of them were Long John Silverfish, Spike Marlin, Soulmate, Lump, and Grunt.
Long John Silverfish was a humanoid with rat-like features, and he used an electrical whip to attack his opponents. Spike Marlin was a human, and he was Captain Bizzarly’s most trusted member of the group. He was also the first person to join Bizzarly’s crew and wielded a pole arm as a weapon. ‘Soulmate’ was the only woman on Bizzarly’s team, and she was supposedly a samurai. Soulmate was skilled in combat and could use a variety of weapons, but her choice of weapon was a sword. Other members of Bizzarly’s crew included ‘Lump,’ a slimy creature who could shape shift, and ‘Grunt,’ a humanoid with ape-like features who was regarded as the strongest member of the group.
Marvelous Verdict – brilliance that you wouldn’t find today!
Though Tiger Sharks was a sister series to the more well-known Thundercats and Silver Hawks series, it has its own charm that makes it stand out on its own. The show was packed with adventures that ranged from flying spaceships to underwater fights between pirates and hybrids. The show was well-paced, and the writers did a fantastic job at creating a universe packed with exciting characters and intriguing storylines.
Viewers loved the creative character designs and the vast list of characters with their unique hybrid animals and special powers. These characters were voiced by popular actors such as Peter Newman and Earl Hammond, who have also voiced various characters on the Thundercats and Silver Hawks.
Viewers liked the familiarity of the show’s voice actors, as they did a marvelous job of bringing some life into these animated characters. The toy figurines collection that was released along with the show was also a massive hit with the viewers, even though it contained only a few limited characters. Viewers also loved the catchy introduction theme, as well as the overall soundtrack of the show. While Tiger Sharks is sadly not remembered as much as the other series produced by Rankin and Bass, it is undoubtedly a brilliant show that deserved more hype.
Though Tiger Sharks was not the most popular cartoon series of the 80s, it was still a well-written and thoroughly enjoyable show. With elements of science fiction, fantasy, and adventure combined in an underwater setting, this show was a pretty refreshing change from the usual run-of-the-mill superhero shows. Tiger Sharks has been forgotten over time, and it can most definitely be considered as an underrated gem of a series!