As I did with the TMNT 2k3 cartoon and later I did the same for the original Teenage Mutant Ninja turtles animated series so now it’s time to watch the Nick show for the “first time”, technically the other shows I wasn’t watching for the first time either, only first time watching them completely and that’s the case here as well. I watched the first 2 seasons but the constant hiatuses made me stop after the first or second episode of season 3 and decided to wait until the show finished before watching it all and remained spoiler free for the most part. I wasn’t crazy about it when it aired, I didn’t hate it but I didn’t like it as much as most people online, but here is my journey going through every season of the 2012 Nick CG TMNT Cartoon and my thoughts & rambles on each one.
The first episodes are called Rise of the TMNT which is funny in a way the next show turned out that way. We begin featuring the turtles which is not how it was done in the other two shows, I guess it works ok since we get to have a lot of turtle action from the beginning but I prefer the classic April finding them first. I forgot they changed the origin to having Splinter buying the turtles and meeting the Kraang, seems like a pointless change in the origin, hopefully it makes more sense later if not then yeah it was pointless.
I forgot how empty the City feels, and how lifeless some characters look, when it’s the Kraang it makes sense since it gives them this creepy look but having April’s dad reek of uncanny valley isn’t good. The theme song is awesome, especially counting that these days most shows at best get a 20 second intro. Snakeweed is such a boring/lame villain to begin with though, I’ve chuckled a few times at the jokes, enjoying it so far.
The Kraang used to bother me since I expected Utroms or the real Krang and not this but I guess they solved that problem later. I forgot how the show almost always takes place at night, it’s kind of cool that despite the cartoony style that it keep a dark tone in the setting at least. The first episodes are not good in telling you what the show will be about since its mutant after mutant and it would let you think the whole show would be mutant of the week and boy did spiderbytez and snakeweed suck as mutants.
The change between Foot and Krang is cool and keeps it fun. I loved Bradford and Xever, I was bummed that and it sucked that Xever never got an episode alone being the ultimate badass before teaming up with Bradford. I also hated that they mutated them so quickly but I liked their mutated forms as well as Dogpound and Fishface. What I forgot is how this show suffers from Villain decay, one episode Bradford is the ultimate bad guy and then the turtles can defeat him easily later and so on, this includes Dogpound after his first appearance. Dogpound becoming so useless so quickly was such a horrible decision to make.
I forgot the turtles had double weapons and that this was a controversy before the show started, it seems only Mikey uses the bladed chains though, I can’t recall what other special weapons the others have. Don’t care for Shredder being burnt, always felt cliche. Splinter is not great so far, he’s ok and I don’t think he ever gets great. April is handled poorly so far, I mean she doesn’t have as big of a role in the origin as in other incarnations and then she disappears and is magically their best friend when she shows up again. We never saw that relationship get to that point, it felt very odd and April doesn’t get much better in the show.
I remember hating Baxter Stockman in this incarnation but while not great he’s fine. I loved the Ratking, they could’ve been a bit more subtle with his origin but I liked him plenty. I love the Teen Titans-esque things they do and they don’t overdo them so its cool. The CG looks awful though, some things look fine like the turtles but some other character models look really bad, and there’s no excuse since Clone Wars was already miles better as were other shows on TV, it seems odd Nick didn’t invest more on the CG when it was their flagship franchise to show off.
I liked the Shredder/Kraang alliance, its something we never got to see how it formed in the OT. I like that the turtles eyes turn white, that’s something that the 2007 TMNT film did in the teaser trailer but then didn’t in the film and I think it’s an awesome compromise between both looks which have their merits.
I liked most of the original characters they came up with, the only exceptions were Snakeweed and Spiderbites. Snakeweed’s second appearance didn’t make me like him more, but all other mutants were cool, I especially loved the Newtralizer and the cockroach was cool as well. Filler episodes like the one where the mutant hornet or whatever infects everyone was cool as well. Karai is a huge let down for the most part and the most interesting parts about her where things that 2k3 had already done better. The Splinter/Shredder relationship is new and interesting but so far not handled excellent. April is a horrible character and the reason for the Kraang needing her was dumb and a cheap way to make her relevant to the plot. I would’ve preferred the route of Kraang only wanting smart scientists. I do like that Splinter was training her but even then how did she beat Karai on her first fight?
The season 2 opener is a bit generic but the idea of the mutagen being everywhere sets up the season just fine. The April subplot of being mad is so dumb and barely even lasted to have wasted so much time on it. Still not a fan of April at all, she’s only gotten more annoying with her psychic powers. I kind of liked that the foot soldiers became robots but at the same time I didn’t want all the foot to be robots. The squirrels episode was really lame, I liked the similar one they had in season 1 with the wasps but here I just felt no tension eliminating the point of it, the fungus episode was that same type of show but done much better.
Seeing Chrome Drome was cool even if they just re-used Bradford’s design, mutagen man was cool and tragic. Slash’s origin was fine but I feel like Spike was only mutated to make fans happy since people had mentioned since the first season how spike should be mutated. Making Dogpound into Rahzar gives me mixed feelings, I liked Rahzar but he feels weird without Tokka and also that he is a ninja since he’s Bradford and such a radical change to a zombie like creature, makes me not a fan. Especially since him being a threat didn’t last too long as he was replaced by Tiger Claw not long after, sorry for the run-on sentence.
Casey Jones is such a let down, he has a different mask and he’s just some punk kid, which makes no sense for him to be able to take out all these ninjas and what not. Also in his episode they finally mention where the turtles names came from, they messed up not having that since the first episode. this season was definitely inferior to the first, it has a few stronger episodes but it also has plenty more horrible ones. The finale is a rehash of the first one and even though it was done much better and was more enjoyable it still feels like we’ve already done this.
Irma as a hipster was neat but her being Kraang Subprime was a bit lame, April having psychic powers is not cool though her being resistant to the mutagen is a neat enough story as to why the Kraang want them. The mecha turtle was awesome, I didn’t remember this had happened. Leo’s new voice actor isn’t that good albeit decent, I miss Jason Biggs. Casey Jones was never amazing though he did get a little less annoying in his other appearances.
I already miss the human foot soldiers. I loved the episode of the Chinese spirit and granting mystic foot ninja powers to the Purple Dragons. Speaking of which the purple dragons are only those 3 members? And wasn’t one of those the one who helped the turtles in one episode? Why hasn’t that been followed up on? NY still looks rather empty even with the second invasion and all it had was a minor Earth Defense Force appearance? The pizza episode has to be one of the worst ones the show has made, it was also the third horror themed episode this season and this will only get worse. The LARP episode was ok.
Season 3 starts with a lot of horror stories and I didn’t hate the horror stories but man do the writers have an obsession for the horror genre, not sure I like it too much. The Jason Vorhees / weed story was kind of cool but odd, especially as the first episode and the Freddy Krueger / Dream Beavers episode was also cool. I wouldn’t consider the other episodes really “horror” themed though the others have some roots but not really straight out homages. I wish they’d had more episodes in the daylight, almost all took place at night, that makes sense in NYC but not in the woods, that’s the one place it made sense for it to have been earlier in the day.
I liked the appearance of the Punk Frogs but not a fan that there were so many mutated frogs, in fact that’s one of my problems with the show, there are too many mutants, this show is literally what people thought the original show was, the OT didn’t really introduce that many villains, at least not at first and relied on other villains like mobsters and aliens and yet this show makes everyone a mutant, it gets tiring even though I like most of the mutants created. The Kraang mutated the early humans but later they retcon that I’m guessing accidentally, maybe in the bigfoot episode but now I can’t remember in which one they did it.
Didn’t like Rocksteady & Beebop in this show, Beebop’s human form was cool in his appearance last season but as a mutant he just doesn’t feel like Beebop at all. Rocksteady being the Russian guy was also a dumb idea and I liked the Russian guy, I wanted to see more of him and become another main villain, all we have is Kraang/Shredder or mutant episodes with the mutant usually working for Kraang and Shredder. I feel this show needs more diversity in villains.
I liked the Mighty Mutanimals finally becoming a real team in a cartoon, hope newer incarnations keep them since IDW is also using them. The Mutanimals also redeemed Pidgeon Pete and the professor who before I thought were bad characters. I’m not a big fan of Leo’s new voice, the original voice was definitely the best for him, I don’t hate the new voice but it doesn’t fit this incarnation. April’s psychic powers are still dumb. Too many mutants complain again, but I don’t necessarily hate it, I just hope its only unique to this one show. Other shows need a better balance that 2k3 and even the OT had.
If time passed slower in dimension X then didn’t the few seconds the Mutanimals were keeping the gate open mean were months? Did they forget their own rules? That also means Mikey is older than the others, then again this show throws “months have passed” every other episode which I’m guessing doesn’t make much sense. Seth Green isn’t a bad Leo, I just think Jason Biggs fit this version of Leo so much better. While watching the Renet episode I remembered it was debated if there was only one “Renet” in the TMNT multiverse but it doesn’t make sense as I was watching this, it creates too many inconsistencies. The new intro sucks, they should’ve kept the original one and only changed the Shredder villains part.
April/Karai are still uninteresting to me and feel forced, the mutation angle had potential but not a fan of how they’re dealing with it. The time travel episode made me both like the Shredder/Splinter rivalry less and more, kind of odd. Only Donnie and Mikey got upgraded weapons right? Shame, the bladed weapons are ok, they’re not overused. Hell I guess most of their weapons aren’t used that much. Have I mentioned I really liked Casey Jones this season, I hated him last season but he’s gotten better.
Bruce Lee looking Hun I have mixed feelings on, it was awesome seeing a Bruce Lee character in TMNT but making him Hun who was this beefy gang leader was not the perfect choice. Wish we had seen more of him. Russian Rocksteady is indeed awesome and I now like him and Beebop’s dynamic, but I still feel the Russian guy was more interesting and had a way different role than just making him another goon of Shredder.
Speaking of Shredder’s goons, the Villain Decay we saw the first two seasons finally got balanced, well as balanced as an action show like TMNT can make it but yeah those first two seasons the villains felt like DBZ where the other character was just made useless as soon as the other arrived but they balanced that off. Bishop being a Kraang is an interesting twist but also an Utrom? Awesome, finally my fanon theory of Kraang being Utroms is canon. The Triceraton’s invasion was pretty cool.
Season 4 changes things up and I loved that the turtles went to space and we spent some time there, it feels like TMNT, I love ‘grounded’ “NY foot clan stories” the best but TMNT is not TMNT if it doesn’t have crazy sci-fi and other things like magic. I liked it when they fought all three versions of Bradford, I’m a sucker for stuff like that. Also the fact that we got a Bradford show this season is great, I haven’t mentioned it but the cartoons they watch each season are so awesome. April is still annoying, I did like they gave her the yellow space suit that resembles the jump suit, even if it looks horrible on her. I prefer her original outfit tho. The horror crap continued even in space and that’s a damn shame, even if its not super annoying, it’s distracting since every other episode is done as a love letter to horror films and that’s just too much.
The crossover is amazing and better than turtles forever. It creates continuity problems with Krang being a Kraang and other stuff like Donatello not knowing earth prime but that’s another discussion. Talking about continuity problems that one episode where they mentioned a few seconds were months in Dimension X is sure causing continuity problems through out the show, since it would mean anytime they go there that would happen and in this case they only went back in time 6 months.
Some changes that the show has made have been horrible to characters but others like monalisa are pretty great. I was so happy to finally see Armaggon and he was a threat so props. Seeing Lord Dregg was great and he was used very well through out the space arc, too bad he went out like a chump in the end. The intro sucks since they added the annoying dialog of them being stuck in space right after the theme begins. It was fine the first episode but no need to hear that every single episode even if a bit nostalgic when old cartoons did it. I liked the wyrm episode, just find it annoying that every other episode begins or is themed on a horror movie, it’s too much as mentioned already.
The end of Season 4 is amazing, easily the best season so far, I love Tokka, having a giant turtle Gamera homage was so cool and makes me wish we had a kaiju cg show like that. Did they leave Fishface to die in the finale? When did they de-age Leatherhead? He went from old gray to ambiguously gray in a few episodes but he was definitely green in his last appearance.
The show got pretty gruesome the last few episodes, I was surprised with how much they were getting away with, besides all the obvious ones it also seemed Shredder broke his arm on-screen though he was shown using it fine a few seconds later a la Mortal Kombat X. Splinter dying didn’t have a lot of emotion since the had just done that for feels last season, it’s cool they had the balls to do it, I always thought 2k3 would do it but they never did but yeah the impact was lessened because of the last finale.
Super Shredder being featured for so long was really neat, I was always a fan of him. However pre mutated Shredder was beaten in a bit anti-climatic way after saving the world from the triceraton invasion, 2k3 had the same problem with Ch’rell in my opinion. When did Shredder’s mutants become so loyal? Especially Baxter, I mean Shredder obviously hated them and just off-screen he now becomes the most loyal member?
Poor Tiger Claw was de-clawed, it’s hard to take him seriously after Alopex, not only do we see his origins which was rather weak, I would’ve preferred it remain a mystery, but in his origin we see that it’s Alopex who kicked his tail, and then in the episode he kicks his ass again and maims him, I don’t know if I”ll be able to take him seriously again, in the finale with the cool cybernetic hand since he was used as fodder.
The black ninja outfits were cool but I don’t know if they should’ve used them, they all looked like Slash. Really cool to see Casey use his real mask tho. Dark Phoenix Saga April reached the epitome of annoying, those psychic powers were the worst thing to happen to her, why couldn’t they just let her be a kunoichi and leave it at that?
Tales of the TMNT is such a great name for a show, too bad it was wasted on just being the Season 5 subtitle though. The new intro sucks but I’m glad it finally got a totally new intro, it’s something TMNT shows have to do. Tatsu was brought back? So awesome, I remember people here in the drome speculated and was the firm believe that Mirage didn’t own the character, guess that’s wrong. Too bad they killed him off, after making Tiger Claw into a chump last season they should’ve let him be the new head of the foot.
So Bradford was killed last season? I had no idea. Zombie Shredder was not a great idea, it lessened the last season since here he wasn’t even a threat. Bringing hothead was cool but making him a demon? ugh. He should’ve looked somewhat like a dragon at least. I forgot to mention before that I loved the Stallone mobster, too bad they killed him here, but goes to show this show had plenty of awesome characters were not used enough so there was no excuse for the show not to be more diverse. I forgot his name but I did really like the Italian mobster and that he had an Original Toon like gimmick, he also should’ve been used more.
The monster arc sucked, I went in with an open mind but really screw the writers and their horror stories, what could’ve been an amazing 4 episode Renet arc we got instead more god damn horror tributes, and four episodes of them. Dracula for godsake, vampires are no strangers to TMNT but even the OT found Dracula too silly to actually exist in their universe his appearance there was a quick tv character brought to life. I doubt the writers will ever read this but screw you and your horror plots in so many episodes, get a different job.
The origin episode was quite nice and I think when I watch this show I will make this “episode 0” and watch it first, since it gives us what was missing in the first episode, though I guess it causes some continuity problems with Splinter knowing the Kraang exist and having the turtles know about the kraang even if not by name.
I also watched the Newtrilizer & Lord Dregg episodes; Man I forgot we hadn’t seen the Newtrilizer for a while, he was an awesome character and needed more appearances. It was nice seeing Lord Dregg again, since I hated him going out like a chump and this invasion even if the episodes were just ok, they gave Dregg the final battle he deserved. Sadly Newtrilizer died, he needed to survive. I hate that the tv show this time is just another star trek parody, I liked to see Leo geek out again since that was missing since Season 1 but I did enjoy the different shows being parodied. The second crossover episode was a disappointment, not bad but didn’t leave me super hyped like the original crossover did. I go into detail in the crossover another time.
The Usagi arc was a bit boring, I wanted to love it but meh, it wasn’t bad either but it felt so dull. I did like that it felt as a Usagi / TMNT crossover and not TMNT / Usaji crossover if that makes any sense. Not only were the turtles in Usaji’s world but also it was a plot of Usaji and not the TMNT they were dealing with.
Finally the road warrior arc was so awesome, easily one of my favorites in the show. I’m a sucker for post-apocalyptic futures and it was all well done. As much as I love the episodes, I don’t like that this apocalyptic future is the actual future of these turtles, it’s bittersweet and I prefer my happy ending in my TMNT cartoons. Maybe I can think of it as an alternate universe the turtles travel to eventually or something but it’s still likely my favorite episode.
The zombie shredder arc definitely had more of a finale feel, especially with the “wait I want to look at the sky a little more”. Only reason zombie shredder can’t be the final episode is they pretty much reference it in the universal monsters arc that they’ve battled “demons & zombies” so while not explicit they haven’t done either of those things before that arc. I still want to discuss the final episode but I’ll do that in another article, man what a bittersweet ending, not one that I wanted for the show but whatever.
Some final thoughts, I realized how both Kraang and non-super Shredder were defeated in a lackluster way. I mean yeah they were defeated but I never expected those to be their final defeats, especially the Kraang since they had been defeated similarly before and the Triceratons were the main focus.
Overall I enjoyed the series as I mentioned, many of the problems I had before I stopped watching after season 2 were no longer big problems though I did find plenty of new ones. April/Karai were just characters that I never liked in the show, the horror stuff as you guys know by now also sucked, a few of their changes I was not a fan.
Overall I would rate it as my least favorite after 2k3 and the OT, but that doesn’t mean I think it sucks or that 2k3/OT are flawless, those two shows have plenty of annoying things for me, I just have more problems with the Nick show. Still an awesome cartoon and worthy of the TMNT name.
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