TMNT – The Future of the Television Series
As was announced months ago, the current iteration of the TMNT television series has already been renewed for a fifth season. That means it will likely be on air until at least the middle of 2017, if not all the way through September (judging from when the season finales have occurred the past three years). So there’s still a lot of time to be spent with these characters and the world that has been created. But as season four prepares its return and the story takes another step forward to that ultimate undoing of everything season three built in its finale, what could the show possibly do in later seasons? What would a season six or season seven look like, and, more importantly, should the show be allowed to continue that long?
It’s been no secret that episode reviews here have gotten progressively harsher with each new installment. The stories have become stale, the characters aren’t actually growing and changing, and no plot point seems to be allowed to stick and just exist as it was first introduced. With season four and the voyage into space, it would appear that the show is trying to regenerate some of the initial interest, while still bringing in characters and plot ideas that have existed in the TMNT universe for decades. There’s nothing wrong with that move – if it works.
The problem is that once the space adventures are over, what’s next? Season five seems primed to finally figure out the Karai situation, but it could also see the return of Renet and adventures through time. Both could be plausible stories, and maybe both will be done to extend the life of the show. There could, potentially, even be another invasion storyline, only this time with the threat coming from Lord Dregg (depending heavily on how his character is left at the end of the current season). If that were the case, then the show very much could go on for several more seasons and allow the brand to ride its wave as high as it possibly can before taking a break.
But, the more important question is this: Should the show continue past season five? While no one will say that the 1987 series was the pinnacle of TV writing at any point in its run, the later seasons got to be pretty bad even by the standards of the show (due in large part to waning interest and network problems). Likewise, the 2003 series tried some gimmicks in seasons six and seven to refresh interest in the show, going so far as to skip season five entirely (airing it two years after the end of season four, and four months after season six had finished its run). If history is any indicator, then season five is about the time when this type of show loses its mojo and starts searching for whatever boosts it can find. The 2012 series has been so solid for most of its run that it would be a shame to see it jump the shark, when it should just be allowed to end properly and with the dignity it deserves (whenever that will be). Of course, that’s the biggest issue with American television as a whole, so it’s certainly not limited to the turtles.
All good shows must come to an end at some point, and the current turtle TV show will be no different. Of course, when it ends and how that happens are still up in the air, but most certainly it will come. It would be reasonable to suspect that the show will keep going as long as there are feature films in development (to maintain the multimedia blitz). With any luck, though, the show will have its fun, do what it needs to do, and then go out with a bang, letting fans remember it as the amazing animated show it has been, and guaranteeing it a spot at the top of many media lists about the franchise.