The 2012 incarnation was one of the best televised incarnations of TMNT that we have had to date. Majority of the various televised versions we have had since the “Turtle Craze” began have been popular. Though they also had their share of problems as well, from how the characters were presented to plotlines that really went nowhere.
The OT aka the 1987 series, AKA the Fred Wolf incarnation brought about the turtle craze when it was first released on tv. But the Turtles themselves acted more like a bunch of kids, not teenagers. This wasn’t a big deal as the show itself had been targeted at a young audience. On the opposite side of the spectrum however, was the 2k3 series AKA the 4Kids era Turtles. This series loosely followed the stories presented in the mirage comics creating a much more serious version of the series, though still stayed true to its target audience. In that version while the Turtle’s did have their childish moments, they more often then not were presented as young adults. The Next Mutation AKA Fox Kids era Turtles was pretty much dead out of the gate and while it did have some fans, it really didn’t have any real following and wasn’t all that missed when it was canceled.
Which brings us to the 2012 version. This is the only version that went out of its way to really present the Turtles as actual teenagers. Many members of the show staff were familiar with the TMNT series creating a very by fans for fans production. The Turtles are for all intents and purposes soldiers, child soldiers, but still soldiers. And they are forced into battles to save the world from the evil terany of beings from outside their worlds dimension. But since they are still considered children, they don’t always grasp the lessons they need to face. They don’t always take situations seriously or sometimes ignore the problems one may be having to focus on their own teenage issues. But at the same time when it really matters, they are there to comfort one another and help guide one that has gone astray back to the arms of their family. In otherwords ‘Ninja that hug’
Blockbuster Buster also gave some interesting insight about the 2012 Turtles series when he gave his review of it. Each season has an overarcing theme to the story.
Season one’s theme was Choices and Concequences. In which each of the characters would make choices over the course of the series and in turn face consequences that begin to shape who they are as individuals.
Season two’s theme was Atonement in the first half of the season the Turtles make a huge mistake that results in April devorcing herself from the Turtles. To which the Turtles are all striving in ways to make up for that mistake. The second half involves Karai learning the truth of her origin and seeking to see the Shredder pay for his crimes.
Season three’s theme is Growing up where the Turtles are on their own without Splinter for the first time in their lives as the recover from the crushing blow that has been dealt to them all. Ultimately returning the Kraang to Dimention X and then facing a new threat for Earth in the form of the Triceratons.
Season Four’s theme is Graduation with the first half consisting of the Turtles dealing with Splinter’s death at the hands of the Shredder and Earth’s distruction at the hands of the Triceratons. They spend their journey in space to find and destroy the pieces of the weapon that would be used to destroy Earth and prevent Splinter’s death. The second half deals with the April becoming a full fledged Kunoichi, and the Turtles themselves graduating to the final level of their ninja training. Which is soon followed by Splinter’s inevitable death and their final defeat of the Shredder.
Season five doesn’t have a centralized theme but rather becomes a collection of different stories refered to as “Tales of the TMNT”.
While each season has a number of awesome episodes. But there are also a number of plots that suffer by having an episodic story line rather then a more serialized plot. Some of this is due to the plot having a story that could have been better told over two maybe three episodes being stuffed into the span of twenty minutes. Other times the stories have plot points or emotional situations that glossed over or ignored because it’s a kids show and kids would have would get bored if there wasn’t action in every single episode.
While action is all well and good, sometimes the greatest battles that one faces in life are the battles you face with your own family and with oneself. And as such there are some moments where it would have been better to have the characters focus on their relationships and the situation around them rather then push in action for actions sake.
With season one, there aren’t many plot points and situations that felt like they could have been focused on more. Though there are a few that are brought up. There are number of plot points with the Turtles relationships with each other and as brothers that are brought up, but are quickly forgotten or resolved with little issue. I may focus more in-depth on how each episode could improved or rewritten later on. Since this post be rather long I’m only going to focus on underused plot lines I wish they had covered in the first season.
With the first season much of the stories were focused on two major villains, the Kraang and the Shredder. The Kraang desired to terraform Earth into the new Dimention X, but needed April to do it. While the Shredder comes to New York to seek vengeance on Splinter for events in their past.
Both are important points to be sure and the moments where the two villains cross paths certainly do add some drama to the situation. However, I feel this chapter should have just focused on the Kraang and then introduced the Shredder midway or at the end of the season and here is why.
The Turtles being ninja live life in the shadows partially because of their life style, and also partially because if humans saw them they would be immediately viewed as freaks and monsters. Dealing with the Kraang has a lot of problems already. Having the Shredder adds to the threat load, but also muddles where the focus should be.
A better way of doing this is having the Kraang abduct April and her father. On this exact same night the Turtles are seeing the serface for the first time in their lives and notice the kidnapping as it takes place. Despite their efforts the Turtles are unable to save the girl and her father. Reporting back to Splinter about the first time on the surface. Spliner is less that happy about this. Mikey mentions he noticed something odd about the one of the guys they were fighting which catches Splinters attention and prompts him to tell them the story of their origin. The Turtles go out again and learn where the girl and her father were taken. They find the family and try to rescue them. During the battle, one of the Kraangs blasters lands close to April’s fathers feet. He grabs the weapon and tells the Turtles to protect his daughter and get her to safety. April protests but the Turtles leave with her while her father is over powered and arrested. The turtles promise they wouldn’t rest until her father was reunited with her once again.
Following episodes would have the Turtles looking for Kirby. During their searches they learn he had been moved to another facility. April has no idea why the Kraang would want her father since he is a psychologist not a scientist. It’s soon discovered that the Kraang weren’t after her father, they were after April. Knowing the Kraang will stop at nothing to capture her, the Turtles and Splinter convince her to live with them until her father is safe and the Kraang are defeated. Eventually April is lured out of the lair and captured by the Kraang.
If the Foot are introduced Half way through the season, an errant shuriken is discovered or maybe the Turtles themselves are spotted (they themselves not actually seen, but their fighting style is recognized)by someone associated with the Shredder. Shredder is informed of this and he takes that as a sign of Hamato Yoshi is in New York. At first he just has his followers look for Splinter and not bother with his students since their style is pathetic and only highlights their inexperience, once Splinter is gone they will fall easily. The Turtles do have encounters with the Ninja and do see the Foot as another problem within the city. But since the encounters are minor they don’t have the same focus as the Kraang. As things progess he learns that Splinter’s students are not human but mutant Turtle’s. Karai points out that perhaps there is more to Splinter’s students then meets the eye and suggests that perhaps they could be turned to the side of the Foot. Towards the season finale, Leo gets fed up with his brothers disregarding his leadership and overall treating it like it’s a joke says they can take on the Kraang without him. While outside fuming about how the others don’t approcicate his role. He suddenly finds himself attacked by a Kunoichi. He draws his sword and is ready for a fight, but the Kunoichi takes off her mask and introduces herself as Karai and she has come to talk with him, not fight. She then uses her skills as a Kunoichi to weave seeds of doubt into his mind about his Sensei. Leo steadfastly refuses to believe Karai’s stories and strongly insists that the Sensei who had raised and trained him was benevolent. But his mind festers with what Karai has told him and begins to wonder if there is truth to what she had said.
If the Foot are introduced at the end of the first season, the same thing with the errant shuriken can be done. Except instead of it being left behind by mistake, one of the Turtles loses it during the boss battle to save the city, April, and Kirby. Then when everyone is watching the news about the events of the invasion and the Kraangs defeat, the News anchor mentions that a Shuriken recovered by police and it’s assumed that it is a weapon belonging to the Kraang. Either that or the News Anchor states it seems that the people who defeated the alien invaders were Ninja. Splinter is uneasy about this and tells his sons this could have vast consequences. The Turtles aren’t concerned about this and feels that it’s not like anyone would be able to trace it back to them. At that same time in Japan, a man is being shown the report and recognizes the Hamato Clan Symbol on the shuriken. The man tells a Kunoichi who he calls Karai to get his private jet ready, he is going to New York to settle a score with an “Old Friend”. Karai responds by saying “Yes, father.” He then stands up and it’s revealed that this is the Shredder.
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