Lets get one thing straight. These are not the turtles of old nor the turtles of 2012 either. These are reimagined characters and if you don’t look at them as just that then you’ll hate this series.
Luckily I have a more open mind about the new series. I loved the turtle designs when I first saw them! I wasn’t wild about the writers changing April’s ethnicity, April is a white character and for those who want to argue Baxter is a black character, nor was I crazy about the inclusion of mystic powers. Yet I set all of that aside and wanted to give the series a chance.
I debated on whether to even watch the early release of the first episode or wait until September. I caved in and that leads us to today.
The first episode titled “Mystic Mayhem” starts off similar to the previous incarnations, turtle-less. We see a mystic looking cat creature being chased by two big goons who have poodles in baby holders around their chests. That’s an indication right off the bat of what type of humor the viewer will receive from this series.
Next up a shot from a rooftop setting is shown during a criminal gathering. This is followed up by silhouettes of the turtles, which we assume are set to break up this gathering. We couldn’t be more wrong. The turtles use a zip line to basically dive into a swimming pool, completely emptying the water all over their bestie April O’Neil. Yes that was not a mistake, April is already best friends with the turtles at this point. Hopefully down the road we see a flashback of how this friendship came to be.
Back to the mystic kitty creature. It shows up and a not so macho Raph and April find the creature to be adorable. As you could predict, the goons show up soon after. However, they are not your average thugs. They turn into these mystic looking warriors on wardogs.
Long story short, the warriors enter a portal into an underground mystic realm after taking the kitty agent creature that was wearing a vile necklace. The turtles, with the help of an item from Splinter’s “do not touch” cabinet, eventually follow due to April chasing the warriors and being trapped in the mystic city after the portal closed.
Speaking of Splinter, I have to say I’m not a fan of the character. The design doesn’t bother me, the personality does. I just like a more serious Splinter who is a master of ninjutsu, not a goofball. Again, here’s to hoping that down the road he becomes a great mentor to the turtles and teaches them how to fight because let’s face it…the turtles are far from being heroes of NYC so far. I mean they would struggle against the Purple Dragons of the 2012 series at this point.
I do love the idea of a new villain to start things off. Baron Draxum is introduced in the Hidden City and seems like an interesting antagonist. I love that ooze will play a prominent role in the series too. The Oozesquitos are an awesome idea so kudos to the writers for that. We see a mutation right away and it looks similar to Fishface. Previously this human ran into the portal while delivering fish on his bike but was bitten by an Oozesquito, thus mutating. It appears that a person will mutate into the creature it last had contact with just like the original TMNT cartoon.
The turtles pretty much get destroyed all episode and lack any sort of fighting skill. In fact they even encounter mystic weapons but still manage to not gain the upper hand on Draxum. I could be dead wrong with this but it sounds like Draxum is responsible for creating the turtles with his reaction to seeing them and talking about experiments he conducted years ago. This would be a pretty cool story if true! Their father is basically their soon to be worst enemy. It could make for some interesting TV.
The lab soon blows up, falling on Draxum, releasing the cat agent who saves the turtles and April, who then escape through the portal that Mikey draws up using the item from Splinter’s collection. Were you able to follow that??
When the turtles return to NYC, they don’t come alone. The Oozesquitos hitched a ride through the portal and swarm NYC! This should be fun. I can only imagine what mutants will spawn from this!
April names the cat agent Mayhem while the turtles ponder a name now that they consider themselves heroes. The episode concludes with the turtles seeking the sewers, due to daylight arriving, followed by An Oozesquito hitting the screen.
OK overall I have to say that I think the new TMNT will grow on me. I certainly didn’t hate what I saw but I didn’t love all of it either. I have my complaints (Splinter’s personality, April’s ethnicity (Kat you are gorgeous and have a great voice, nothing to do with you just the character itself), the turtles lacking ninja skills) but things like the Oozesquitos, Baron Draxum, knowing that Shredder is eventually entering the series, and origami Foot Soldiers have me intrigued. I like that Shredder isn’t starting off as the main villain as it is something to look forward to and new villains are always welcome. I look at it this way, if the new villains flop, you have a backup plan to extend the series with bringing in a well known villain like Shredder. If you start with Shredder, kill him off and bring in new villains that flop, then the series could abruptly end when viewers lose interest.
John Cena voicing Baron Draxum is cool too as I’m a big wrestling fan. The voice cast is great, the designs are fantastic, and being back to 2D puts a smile on my old school face. I love a more serious side of the turtles and feel that less humor would be better, the humor certainly wasn’t bad though, but at the end of the day it’s a kids show. Kids like to laugh and I witnessed a friend of mine’s daughter laughing and telling me “I really like this” after I brought up the episode on my phone for her to watch.
Whether the die hard fans love it or not I believe this series is here to stay for quite some time. Heck it just got renewed for a second season and hasn’t even premiered on Nickelodeon TV yet! We will always have some complaints but I’m willing to sit back and enjoy the ride. At the very least, give the series a chance. You might find something you like and set aside why you previously loved these characters in the first place.
Catch the premiere of Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on Nickelodeon on September 17th!