There’s something very special and unique about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and director Ciro Nieli understands that quite well. As the director of Nickelodeon’s TMNT series, he has presided over the creation of three seasons and over 75 episodes of Ninja Turtles action. In addition to his work on Nick’s series, he has over a decade of experience working in the industry on shows like Teen Titans and Transformers: Animated.
If anyone knows what it’s like to work with dynamic characters like our famed heroes in a half shell, it’s Ciro. Perhaps that’s why his recent comments on the turtles weren’t very shocking, even if they were quite poignant. During an interview with Pop-Break at NYCC, Nieli was asked why these characters have endured for so long, and his answer was absolutely on point:
“Unlike anything else, I can ask anyone in this room and everyone could draw a Ninja Turtle. I mean, the design is genius. The idea of a turtle wearing a bandana and carrying a weapon is genius. You can’t top that.
I get asked this all the time and it’s always in the vein of, “Oh, we need you to do the next Turtles for us!” And it’s never going to happen. It’s not going to happen, sorry. It has nothing to do with my ability or anyone else’s ability. It hasn’t happened in thirty plus years. The Turtles magically hit this nerve and it’s never going to repeat. They’ve tried it: Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters, Samurai Pizza Cats, Biker Mice From Mars, Street Sharks, and Battletoads. Get in line; it’s never going to happen. The Turtles are awesome.”
It’s interesting to hear Nieli talk about his experiences in the industry here, because they truly reveal how much of an impact the turtles have had. As he points out, several television shows have attempted to replicate the design of the Ninja Turtles, but few have actually been successful in their attempts to strike gold twice. With the amount of success he has seen in television, I can only imagine how many times he’s been asked to work on a project that unabashedly attempts to recreate that success.
The TMNT are truly one in a million, and they have something special that you simply won’t find anywhere else. It’s nice to know that the director of Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series understands the unique nature of the turtles in popular culture. Of course, if you’ve been watching the show, chances are that you’re well aware of Nieli’s love for the franchise. Here’s hoping he can keep up the good work for several years to come. Thanks for the kind and appropriate words, Ciro!