On Saturday, September 29th at 11 AM, we got our first official look at the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series crafted by Nickelodeon. Long time fans feared severe changes to the formula, but although we were all nervous, there was also a sense of hope in the air. Thankfully, most of the fans I spoke to didn’t seem too upset by what they got. Sure, there were some pretty big changes to get used to, but for the most part, this is still the TMNT we know and love. That being said, the changes that they made to this series were pretty obvious, and left a lot of fans scratching their heads. Let’s go over some of the biggest things we’ll have to get used to:
Donatello is Raphael – Okay, so most of us probably knew by now that Rob Paulsen was going to be playing the role of Donny this time around, but that didn’t stop us from getting a bit confused from time to time. The differences are particularly noticeable when both Raphael and Donatello are talking with each other, but to be fair, Paulsen approaches the new character with an obvious level of professionalism. Even though long time fans will be saying “that’s totally Raphael,” with the language used and the slight variance in vocal tone, Paulsen owns the new character and makes it work.
Splinter looks Younger – Past representations of splinter have all given the character a certain sense of age and wisdom, but this new Splinter almost seems young and inexperienced. His long beard is also a rather strange choice, and regardless of where you stand on the issue, seeing him as a proper mentor is going to take some getting used to.
The Krang – Well, at least they implemented the story of Krang in some way, right? Actually, while many may cry foul, I like the decision to make these monsters from Dimension X the first big enemy in the series. It makes for a fresh take on the material while still being somewhat respectful of the origins.
Donny Loves April – Okay, so a little puppy love isn’t exactly a foreign aspect in the franchise, but it’s still a little weird to see Donatello pining for a teenage April O’Neil right off the bat. I’m still not sure how I feel about this, and I truly hope they don’t build too much on the notion of Donny falling for April.
Mikey is an Idiot – Michelangelo has always been the fun loving type in the group, and he’s always acted a little goofy. However, he’s never really been a complete and total airhead, either. In the new series, Mikey is portrayed as unwise and unintelligent, with his bandanna inexplicably being the shortest of all four turtles. One has to wonder if Nickelodeon did this to try and reach out to a younger audience, but either way, it’s a strange choice that really does change one of the main characters in a pretty big way. It’s one thing when Donny sounds like Raphael, but when Mikey isn’t even acting like himself, that’s a bit weird.
The Music Sucks – Okay, so maybe it’s not the worst score ever, but it’s definitely not as creative and inspired as the music from the original series. The music is mostly inspired by a hip-hop beat, which seems to be more of an attempt to pander to a certain crowd than to actually make something memorable and interesting.
Most of these probably sound like horrible changes, but they honestly aren’t that bad. In the grand scheme of things, these are minor quibbles that don’t really affect the quality of the show all that much. True, this is a lot different from the TMNT we grew up with, and it’s even quite a bit different from the 2003 series. However, the changes made have been mostly respectful of the origins and haven’t been so disturbing that they might ruin it for a large group of fans. Nickelodeon’s new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series might not be what some of us wanted it to be, but it’s still pretty darn good. Personally, I can’t wait to see what they’re going to do with The Krang and Shredder, but what did you think? Were you impressed or disappointed? What were some of the things you liked or disliked about the show? Let us know in the comments below!