TMNT: The Beggining Of The End

Designed To Attack Power Rangers Head On, Red Skies and Lord Dregg Signaled The End Of The Original TMNT Franchise
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February 15, 2006


TMNT had lasted seven years by the time its' fanbase was exposed to what would come next, three movies, and a large expanding toyline had been left in its' dominating wake, but the road to the end was vast approaching, courtesy of Power Rangers, the undisputed king of the 1990s' after the TMNT and prior to Pokemon.


Power Rangers wiped out everything in the early 1990s' (and before anyone starts on it, dont', I LIKE Power Rangers and hold no grudges that it ended TMNT, Biker Mice, Sonic SATAM, even if you may), in an attempt to compete, TMNT switched to a new direction.



A new animation studio, a remix of the famous theme song, and a darker tone to the series transformed the long running comedy/action series into a near reflection of its' MIRAGE comic roots, becoming much, much darker. A perfect, easy solution to competing against Power Rangers, right?

Well...one out of three is'nt bad is it?

The new look, dubbed by TMNT fans as "Red Sky" (due to the sky background now being permanently scarlet red, this would later be repeated in "Batman: Gotham Knights" one year later, take note Bruce Timm, we know where you ripped it off from) gave the series an edge the likes of which had not been seen since at least the famous five part pilot series that started it all (and to an extent, the next two seasons that followed it, then it became far too comedic for its' own good). Shredder and Krang were more than bunglers and had more of an advantage over the Turtles, the first episode of the "Red Sky" era, "Get Shredder", saying it all.

After becoming seperated from The Technodrome, Shredder, Krang, Rocksteady, and Bebop take up residence in the New York Worlds' Fairs' abandoned hall of science exhibition, managing to hold off the Turtles thanks to Krangs' modification of some of the scienntific equipment left behind there.
Krang is, however, soon captured by Drakus, the designer of the Technodrome, whom Krang betrayed, now under the title of Bruticus, Drakus is determined to conquer Earth, in order to retreive Krang, Shredder threatens to destroy the Channel Six building and everyone in it, including April. The TMNT rescue Krang, whilst Splinter attempts to retrieve the hostages held at Channel Six.

The TMNT delivered Krang to Shredder, only to be informed a minute too late, the Turtles are releived to see the Channel Six building still standing, that their nemesis was only bluffing, only for Shredder to remark he NEVER bluffs, the building immediatly erupted in flames behind him.



Fortunatly, Splinter has rescued the hostages, but the building would never reappaear in the series, the line had been firmly drawn, this was no longer the same TMNT cartoon as it had been a year before. The next few episodes would reflect more change, Shredder and Krang made no less than four appearances this season, which was sadly not remotley that long either. The Turtles, in the meantime, fought the mutant organisation H.A.V.O.C, and very nearly joined them after some sweetalking by their leader, Titanous, dividing the group in terms of philosophy and beleif.

The season finale "Turtle Trek", would mark the final appearance of Shredder and Krang, alongside Rocksteady and Bebop, as regular adversaries, and the following season we were introduced to a new enemy for the Turtles: Lord Dregg.



"Mistake Number One"

-Megatron, Transformers "More Than Meets The Eye Part Three"

Lord Dregg was brought in to freshen up the scene, Power Rangers had also coincidently had just changed its' lead villain to Lord ZEDD, so it was more than just a freshing up, it was an attempt to do what PR was doing to truly win the audience, new villains, and like PR, new POWERS.


.

"Mistake Number Two"


-Megatron, Transformers "More Than Meets The Eye Part Three"

The Turtles soon began experiancing mutation problems, and developed new morphing abilities, turning into ferall Turtle snapping variations of their former selves, wild and uncontrollable, but were one of the few defences they had against Dregg, who had turned the whole world against the Turtles and made himself look like a revered and benevolant alien. It would be only through the intervention of the alien Doomquest that Dregg would be shamed and the TMNT exonerated. During this season, the TMNT aqquired a new ally, Carter, a causican male with an incurable mutation disease. April still remained, even if the Channel Six crew quitely never appeared again, but her character role now was to try and make a name for herself away from the TMNT, which, comedicly, would always bring her straight back to them.

For the tenth, short, and final season, Dregg breifly enlisted the aid of Shredder and Krang, the two most popular characters were revived for three episodes to bring in old viewers, nothing of the sort happened.

But it was too late, TMNT was dead, and had been for years, nobody cared that Shredder and Krang had been replaced, or the Turtles had new mutation powers, or that the series had gotten darker, they only cared about what Megazord they would be purchashing for a birthday or chirstmas, or heck, every day of the week at the rate PR was going.

One year later, the TMNT changed from being an animated series to a live action attempted revival, "Next Mutation", ironiclly, under the banner of Saban, the distributer of Power Rangers

Next Mutation died a slow, miserable death, its' run despised, its' female Tutle character Venus De Milo, disavowed.

The franchise would be revived in 2003, to great success whenever original series fans would like to admit it or not, with a new movie on its' way, and an animated series that is receiving large critical praise, but carries a lesser following, let us hope this version does not resort to becoming as gimmicked as the original TMNT did to stay alive.




...Then again...
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Comments
6 years, 6 months ago
I guess kids weren't interested in anthropomorphic animals as super heroes, no, they were more interested in teenage superheroes clad in spandex piloting giant robots to fight evil monsters
    9 years, 7 months ago
    I never knew about the "Next Mutation" series. I looked at some screen shots and thought it looked interesting, I wonder how I could miss something like that.
      13 years, 1 month ago
      Hey, I was kinda pissed when the "Red sky" episodes came.

      I was horribly disappointed in the path they chose.
        13 years, 3 months ago
        I never even liked Power Rangers, it was so dumb. But Ninja Turtles was super rad!
          13 years, 8 months ago
          I never got into the later seasons of the original TMNT. I stopped watching CBS Saturday Mornings during that time anyways since it was mostly crap like Santo Bugito and Hyperman on.
            15 years ago
            Damn Power Rangers killed TMNT. I really have no sympathy for the other shows they killed since I never watched them.
              15 years, 9 months ago
              I understand that not everything has to be completely dark and serious. Heck, two of my favorite comic books from DC were Young Justice and Impulse. They're great comics if you like stuff light and funny.

              However, I didn't think the old TMNT cartoon was funny. I didn't think it seemed all that smart, either. Also, the villians really got on my nerves. Both Shredder and Krang seemed really whiny and Bebop and Rocksteady were more annoying than funny. There's stuff I still like from that series and toyline. Certain characters and stuff. However, I think I'd just rather watch the new show for now.
                15 years, 9 months ago
                Isn't the new version of the Turtles suppose to go through some changes next season?
                  15 years, 9 months ago
                  "I look at the new version now and see great roots, but in a more dramatic tone, with changes to many of the characters and plotlines. I think this makes the show of a lesser quality compared to the original series which, if you see it now, will be surprisingly very funny, and remind you why you liked it in the first place."

                  I don't know, man. I recently watched one of the videos that was given away with the Burger King promotion back in the day. After watching that, I thought it came across as kind of stupid. I mean, I still like the Turtles, it's just I lean more toward the stuff with a slightly darker edge.
                    15 years, 9 months ago
                    I want to thank you for posting this article, because I remember seeing a few of these episodes when the show was airing on CBS, but I never knew if it was a separate, new show or just new seasons.

                    In all honesty, I liked the new turn the animated series took. I was older than when Turtles originally premiered as a cartoon, and preferred the dark characters to the earlier, comedic variety. The new mutations (and Carter's mutant form) were interesting. The group seemed more like superheroes in the vein of the underdog Spider-Man or X-Men (on Fox Kids), than some easy-going adventurers.

                    But, to each his own.
                      15 years, 9 months ago
                      "I would'nt say the appeal is 'wider', because for the most part the new series IS a "sleeper hit" with the demographics and hardcore fanbase."

                      Well, I suppose you could be right. I just figured it would be wider because it would be less centered on kids or adults specifically and more towards both.

                      All I really know is that I can't watch the old cartoon anymore because I realized how stupid it could be. Yet, I'm not really eager to see the Turtles covered in the blood of those they kill while swearing like sailors (swearing in general is kind of a pet peeve of mine). So, the middle ground is for me.
                        15 years, 9 months ago
                        Personally, I prefer the sort of "in-between" depiction of the Turtles that we're getting from the current cartoon and the old movies. Darker than the goofy cartoon from the late '80s and early '90s, yet without the gore or profanity. It has a wider appeal. Though, I think we have to give Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird some credit in creating a group of characters that can be adapted in such a wide variety of ways. The TMNT are quite a flexible cast of characters.

                        As for the article: yeah, the new villian and the mutation problems were kind of stupid.
                          15 years, 9 months ago
                          Yeah, I agree with you there.

                          The closest I've seen is in the new cartoon, the episode where Leonardo gets the crap kicked out of him by the Foot and staggers back to April's house before collapsing. That was a pretty violent episode, and reminiscent of a similar scene in the Mirage comics, although I think it happened when they were living in the water tower.
                            15 years, 9 months ago
                            yeah. wasnt it on dark horse? the org. fan base got mad when it become a children's show.
                              15 years, 9 months ago
                              Actually, he did mention it.

                              I quote: "and a darker tone to the series transformed the long running comedy/action series into a near reflection of its' MIRAGE comic roots".
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