With the clusterfuck surrounding Michael Bay’s Ninja Turtles as well as cartoons such as Adventure Time, Regular Show, Gravity Falls and Legend of Korra gracing televisions each week it’s easy to overlook that over at Nickelodeon they are currently holding down Saturday mornings with a few familiar faces.
That’s right, the heroes in a half shell are back and as fun as it’s ever been! Currently near the end of it’s second season the show completely respects and stays true to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle mythos while at the same time sprinkling generational Easter eggs for old fans of the comics, cartoons, and movies. The respect shown for the established property allows the creators to make the show their own without angering everyone in the process (sneak diss). From tweaking villains’ looks and story lines to adjusting some main characters’ ages, abilities, and strengths, the new TMNT presents the same characters we fell in love with in our childhood in a refreshing new light.
Unlike past portrayals where each Turtle is distinguished by either their weapons as in the original comic or by the color of their mask; Nickelodeon does what no one else has done to the property before and successfully executes character design. In the new series each Turtle not only has their traditional mask & signature weapon but they all each have their own unique appearance. Mikey is the youngest so it makes sense for him to be the shortest, Raph’s skin tone is a darker shade of green than his brothers and since he’s the strongest out of the clan he has more body mass, Donatello has a tooth gap, and Leonardo’s has a different eye color. This makes the Turtles look as cool as they ever been.
Let’s talk about the cast, in season three and four the voice of Leonardo will switch from Jason Biggs (*sigh* yes I know) to Seth Green (*sigh* YES I KNOW!), Raphael is voiced by Sean Astin aka Samwise Gamgee of LOTR fame, Donatello is voiced by Rob Paulsen who isn’t a stranger to the Turtle having voiced Raphael in the 80’s series & Michelangelo is voiced by Greg Cipes better known as Beast Boy of Teen Titans or Kevin Levin of Ben 10. Of course other members of Turtle lore allies and villains alike are present to help aide/hinder the Turtles in the series. Fan favorites of the franchise return such as Master Splinter who’s voiced by Hoon Lee, April O’Neil voiced by Mae Whitman aka Ann Veal of Arrested Development (Her?) & the Goongala Gawd Casey Jones is voiced by veteran Nickelodeon actor Josh Peck of Drake & Josh.
Of course I can’t leave out the villains, Karai is present and is a huge key player in this adaptation, Baxter Stockman, Kraang (voiced by Nolan North) are present, and Rocksteady and Bebop are making their anticipated debut in season 3. Of course it wouldn’t be a Turtles show with the Shredder, who is as dastardly and manipulative as ever, is voiced by DA GAWD Kevin Michael Richardson (Google him if you ain’t familiar).
What I personally love about the new Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle series is the constant references to 80’s, 90’s, and current pop culture.
Be it pop culture 80′s–90′s art, animation style, games, comics, fighting style, movie genres, etc., the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon references all of them while creating something new and exciting every week. Though the writing, voice acting, and animation, is solid, this borrowing from different pop culture genres, while respecting and poking fun at the same time, is part of the charm and uniqueness of the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series. A charm and uniqueness that has made the show such a hit with kids and parents alike.