Episode 1: “Rise of the Turtles”
For the most part I think we can all agree that watching cartoons was a beloved past time when we were children. I know it was for me, so I love the idea of my favorite cartoons being retooled for newer generations. Unfortunately most of the time something is lost in the translation and the shows just don’t feel the same, so when I heard that Nickelodeon was doing a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle show I was skeptical. The cast choices were a bit of head scratchers and the animation just didn’t sit well with me, but after watching the pilot episode all I can say is…Go ninja, go ninja, go!
The pilot episode, cleverly titled “Rise of the Turtles,” is very much an origin story for the turtles. The turtles have hit their 15th mutation year and to celebrate the quartet wants to venture up to the surface world. A hesitant Master Splinter agrees to their request and the adventure begins for the Turtles.
What I really liked about this origin story is that it successfully balanced between the original mythos while adding a few new touches. The turtles were still mutated by sludge, April O’Neil is a part of the group (though she’s now a 15 year old version of the character), Master Splinter is still around and the turtles’ affinity for pizza is still strongly intact. It’s apparent that the writers of the show want to include older generations in the show as well as the younger ones, but as an older fan I found it a little weird that Splinter was a man before getting hit with the goo. So, why were the turtles only made bigger and not into some other weird or weirder creatures?
The biggest thing that I loved about this new series is the one thing that initially turned me off to the series, the animation. I think the CGI gives a distinct style to the show. They also seamlessly blend different styles together. When the turtles talk normally they have pupils but those disappear when they go into fight mode. I also like the Anime style given to the turtles to exaggerate their emotions. Sean Astin, Jason Biggs, Greg Cipes and Rob Paulsen all do a phenomenal job as the turtles. Greg Cipes in particular does a great job at catching the spirit of Michelangelo.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was a pleasant surprise and it’s really exciting to be able to share this piece of my childhood with my son. We watched the pilot together and now all he asks for is turtles. If you’re a fan of TMNT then I highly suggest giving this show a shot. If you don’t believe me then check out this article at IGN.com because it says it all.
Make sure to tune in to Nickelodeon Saturday mornings for all new episodes and don’t forget to sign up for nerdy updates in the box on the right and follow Nerd Says What? on Facebook and Twitter.
– Joe D.