Final Thoughts on TMNT 1987

A couple weeks ago, I finished watching seasons nine and ten of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon. I probably should have been keeping notes on my thoughts, because I knew I’d want to write about them. But I figured I’d get around to doing this sooner, while said thoughts were still in my brain. Alas, now we have some cobbled-together half-memories instead of… you know what, that’s probably about the usual quality level of my writing anyway. It’s fine.

  • Season nine begins where eight left off: with the Technodrome destroyed forever, and Shredder and Krang trapped in Dimension X. Ostensibly, they are stuck there for good. I don’t know how this time is any different from the last time they were stuck there. The Technodrome isn’t host to the only interdimensional portal in existence.
  • So a new recurring villain is introduced: Dregg. He is a spaceman from far off in space and I don’t really recall his origin. The same as Krang, I think; some sort of displaced warlord. It doesn’t matter. He’s dumb-looking and sounds like someone doing a bad Tim Curry impression.
  • The twist for season nine is that Dregg appeals to the people of Earth as a saviour come from space to grant them fantastical technology and rocket them into a glorious future. Only the Turtles know that he’s a no-goodnik, so of course he tells the dumb-dumb humans that the Turtles are the bad guys, and we’ve got that whole X-Men thing from season eight happening again.

  • Twice in the season, April films Dregg admitting his plan to fool the idiots of Earth to build his power and conquer them. The first time she takes this footage to her news producer, he shoos her away, saying that nobody will ever believe it. The second time, he gaps in disbelief and says it’s the story of the century, running the footage immediately. Wut?
  • Also, April’s role is severely diminished in these seasons. It almost seems like she’s trying to break ties with the Turtles to avoid being captured by villains all the time.
  • The rest of the Channel 6 staff is completely gone.
  • The TMNT have a new human fried, Carter. He is also a mutant, but only sometimes. In the beginning, he Hulks Out when in danger or angry, but later learns to control the mutation He vanished forever at the end of season nine when he travelled to the future.
  • Speaking of mutations, the Turtles themselves also get to Hulk Out in season nine, when their genes begin to destabilize. The second mutation idea is kind of neat, and each turtle gets a distinct look when they transform, which would have been nice to have from the beginning (see TMNT 2012). Leo eventually achieves Hyper Mutation, a third stage where he completely loses control and simply becomes a monster. It’s fixed pretty swiftly, of course. It would be hard to write out Cam Clarke for more than half an episode.
  • After doing a little research, it seems like only three turtles get distinguishing traits during second mutation: Leo gets a fancy, almost robotic plastron. Don gets a weird bionic-looking eye. Raph’s claws grow longer, and his plastron gets spikes along the edge. Mikey… I don’t think he gets anything that sets him apart. Maybe his carapace is spikier? Google image search is not being much help.
  • When Dregg returns for season ten, he makes no play at being a good guy. His plans include teleporting pieces of the Sun onto the surface of the Earth to torch cities, and also to suck the Earth into a black hole. Needless to say, both plans fail, but he’s really upped the ante. Conquering the planet is so last year. Complete obliteration is the new hotness.
  • Eventually, Dregg decides to rescue Shredder and Krang to “team up” with them. I had no idea this was a thing, and figured the original villains had been written out for good. Of course, both villain teams double-cross each other, and they all end up blasted into Dimension X as a result.
  • Rob Paulsen stops voicing Raphael in season ten. His replacement doesn’t sound nearly as bad as the guy who started doing Shredder when James Avery left.
  • The animation/voice flubs are still happening. Maybe even more often than ever? And now they seem to happen the most when the Turtles are split up, so suddenly Leonardo is in two places at once. It’s super jarring. Possibly because I’m actively watching more of these episodes than having them on in the background while I play Picross.
  • Dregg is pretty much invincible. I don’t know how many times he gets blown up, but he just kept coming back. I think the only reason he stayed gone is because the series ended.
  • There is a Lord Dregg in the 2012 series, but he’s… not really the same.
  • The cool thing about Dregg is that he totally loses his mind over the course of the two seasons he’s in. At the beginning, he’s in control and cunning, but by the end he’s perfectly happy to blow himself up if it means exploding the Turtles as well. Shredder showed shades of this from time to time, but he kept it together pretty well considering that the Turtles foiled his plans way more times than they did Dregg’s.
  • The last three seasons are also very short, at a scant eight episodes apiece. However, they are much more serialized than all the previous seasons, making each one feel more like a mini-series than the other seasons. It kind of brings the series around full circle, as the first season is legitimately a five-episode mini-series.

And that’s about that. I don’t have anything else to say about Old Ninja Turtles. Though I have started re-watching the 2003 series now. I don’t know if I’ll bother doing write-ups on it, but there’s always the possibility…

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