Wednesday, September 12, 2018

SepTMNTber - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation


After the success of the live-action TMNT movie, there was a whole slew of other live-action Turtle projects floating around.  One of the biggest (and definitely worst) was the Coming out of their Shell Tour rock show, which I will not be covering this month because I prefer to keep my sanity.  Another one came from the minds behind the Mighty Morphing Power Rangers, Haim Saban, and if you’ve ever seen a Power Ranger show, you still wouldn’t have a clue what was awaiting you.


Before I get into the show, I have to give some credit to the Turtle suits.  Obviously, they’re not going to be one the same level of quality as the movies. Their heads aren’t full of the servos and transceivers and mechanics to move their eyes or lips, but their mouths still move correctly.  The Turtles each wear different styles of bandannas and wraps to differentiate themselves more. Overall, these costumes look way better than those singing monstrosities.

Of course, the main thing anyone would notice when seeing anything about the show is Venus De Milo.  Yes, they made a fifth turtle and this one is female.  Frankly, I’m all for it.  I have no problem with them trying something new, and it made for some real interesting material instead of the same dynamic playing over and over again. 

The story starts with her and her master talking about an evil in another dimension trying to break into ours.  She’s inexperienced but when her master is killed, she finds the next master capable of combating this evil – Master Splinter.  When she meets the Turtles, they’re amazed that there’s another one of them alive, and besides being female, there’s one other difference between them and her.  She’s a Shinobi, a master of the mystic arts.

The Turtles find themselves in a position they had never been in before – rivals for a love interest.  Granted there was some competition for April’s attention, but it was never treated seriously in previous works.  We find out that Turtles aren’t actually related, brothers in the social sense but not biological.  It’s a new way to look at them that the creators go even further with in a later series.  Since they’re not related, none of them are related to Venus either, so she’s fair game, which is a terrible view on life, but whatever, at least it isn’t interspecies.

Of course, being an early Haim Saban series, being released around the same time as Power Rangers Turbo, the series was full of special effects but light on budget for them.  Venus’s shinobi powers were full of blurry sparkles and other effects that were just there to take up space.  It had its share of cheesy costumed monsters, as the Shredder (who looked pretty cool) is put out of commission early on and replaced with the Dragonlord, your typical Power Ranger-style monster.  There’s also plenty of new vehicles, with the Turtles receiving motorcycles and a flashy Turtle-themed Hummer.  I still miss the van though.

Speaking of Power Rangers, there’s a crossover with them!  I don’t think I need to watch it, but it’s interesting seeing the two series together.  Totally makes me wish for other crossovers.

Overall, from the handful of episodes I watched, I didn’t see any major problem with what they were doing.  It could have been loads better, of course, but there are so many ways it could have been worse as well.  I’d check it out for the novelty of it, but it’s not worth going through the whole series.

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