TMNT is coming, words that very literally send joy and fear down my spine in equal measure. I’m not talking about the Michael Bay fiasco; vulgarity does not belong on this site. What I’m referring to is the third animated series of the everlastingly popular heroes in a half-shell. Nickelodeon have released their trailers and after a few months, I can’t contain myself any longer. The little glimpses of the upcoming 2012 TMNT series have done nothing but whet my appetite; but fear, oh the fear, I just can’t escape it.
In the world of TV cartoons, very few things are original. Even the enormously popular BEN 10 was a rather unsubtle homage to Marvel Comics, X-Men in particular. But we live in 2012, it’s hard to be original these days and as the record smashing ratings for BEN 10 prove, no-one really minds.
This year has seen three cartoon franchises revisited. The Legend of Korra, my beloved new show, was a sequel to the Avatar : The Last Airbender series. Transformers Prime, which seems to have just vanished off of my screen, is the latest in a long line of series in the Transformers franchise. The CG series is currently in its second season and has some of the sweetest action sequences I’ve ever seen in children’s programming. Not forgetting, the Cartoon Network re-make of the 80’s classic ThunderCats. Given a proper story and a season long arc, ThunderCats was finally given the treatment the beloved idea deserved. (Lord knows the 80’s series is one of the worst ever committed; don’t agree, go watch it.)
Nickelodeon is currently priming the latest franchise re-launch, and TMNT is something that I cannot handle them getting wrong. I’m biased, I know, but I love TMNT. I have since I was a kid and even now as I write this, I’m wearing my excessively large Raphael T-shirt. I never grew up, and TMNT has been there the entire time helping me feel better about that.
In the eighties, TMNT was produced , in typical 80’s fashion, as a toy advert with words. Whilst I love it I re-watched it in my older years and couldn’t help but think it wasn’t as good as I remember. Maybe I did grow up, or maybe like ThunderCats, maybe it just wasn’t that good and I remember it with my rose-tinted glasses on.
Never mind; in 2003, the cartoon was rebooted on Fox and the resulting series is my favourite cartoon of all time. Yes, biased, but nevertheless, it was awesome. At least the first five seasons were, then it all went a bit strange. But that’s not important. What is, was and always will be is the fact that I love TMNT, and it has had two animated series before it. Nickelodeon will have to produce something special to top the 2003 series, and be very wary of repeating the 80’s series.
I am worried. I’m worried that people won’t give it a chance. That in a few of the trailers it looks like a Power Puff Girls version of TMNT (Power Puff Girls was awesome however), I’m worried that Michelangelo will continue to use the phrase ‘BOOYAKASHA!’. I’m worried that a whole new generation of kids will like Leonardo, as all I have in my evidence locker on that subject is that kids who grew up loving Leonardo are now tragically dull adults, but maybe that’s just my hometown. I’m worried that Don and Mikey will have blades on their weapons; not because of any traditional beliefs, just because it’s very hard for characters to use blades in children’s cartoons. The 2003 TMNT series handled it well but if you want any proof, watch the early 90’s series of X-Men. Despite being bad-ass, Wolverine only ever sliced Sentinels. He didn’t stab or slice people unless they wouldn’t bleed. Those pesky yet necessary censorship rules concerning children’s cartoons.
It’s weird to think about it, considering it’s a kids cartoon, but TMNT, franchise and all, defines my life as much as the town I was raised in, the friends I’ve made and the beliefs I hold dear. I was raised watching the Turtles beat Shredder with pizza. I struck out with girls whilst watching the Turtles fight Mystic Ninja’s. I fully intend to spend hours in work, replacing Facebook with whatever the new Turtles get up to. So long as Nickelodeon keep TMNT towards the comics instead of the 80’s show, whilst retaining a child like atmosphere for the large portion of their audience, they can’t go wrong. TMNT has a mighty built in audience and with fear growing over the evil Mr Bay’s sinister plans for re-launching (see what he did to the Transformers Franchise), Nickelodeon should capitalize on being the savior TMNT needs. I can’t wait to see how it goes, fear or no fear.
Coming to Nickelodeon at the end of September (start of October for UK fans :-( )
As always, feel free to agree, disagree, correct or comment on firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @CikkiMikk