Thursday, September 12, 2013

TMNT (1987) Season 4, Part 1: Review


After getting a few requests, I decided to carry on with reviewing the Fred Wolf Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon from 1987.  Here, I make my way into the quality-challenged fourth season, which is even more of a slog than season 3.  Luckily, the episodes improve once I get out of the syndicated batch and into the CBS batch... but I ain't there yet.

Check out my review of TMNT (1987) Season 4, Part 1 at Adventures in Poor Taste.

I know I said I'd start reviewing the 2012 Nickelodeon TMNT cartoon and I wasn't lying.  I'll be doing that one, too!  My Nick TMNT reviews will be published over at Mind of the Geek (while my Fred Wolf TMNT reviews will be at AiPT, as always).  I'll be doing season 1 in batches, but I'll also be keeping up with season 2 as it airs, devoting full reviews to each individual episode.

So by the looks of it, I've got my comic reviews here at TMNT Entity, my Fred Wolf reviews over at Adventures in Poor Taste, my upcoming Nickelodeon reviews over at Mind of the Geek, and my manga translations over at the Optical Internet Translation Gang (and chapter 3 of the TMNT III adaptation is coming soon, I swear!).  Looks like I won't be writing anything but Ninja Turtles stuff for the foreseeable future.  Hey, it's always nice to be wanted!


Rowerowe Fightthepower said...

Great to hear you're busy and wanted! I love your reviews, you are the authority on TMNT comics for me. I'd love to have as much attention for my Batman blog as you get for TMNT. Are you getting paid for any of these writing gigs for other sites or is it all in good fun?

Ioannes Paulus said...

I too am very pleased to see you getting in on all the TMNT action. Reading your reviews will always be something I look forward to.

Chris Arndt said...

I never said you were wanted.

I said you were appreciated.


Adam Winters said...

"If this episode blew all of season 4′s budget then we are in for some serious Roger Ramjet-looking $#*! for the next seven articles."

Best line of the whole piece.

Mark Pellegrini said...


Hey, thanks for the shout out, man! I'll take being appreciated over being wanted.

Though what I really yearn for is to be loved. Someday...

Killer Moth said...

I always have a watershed feeling about the early Season 4 syndicated episodes, as I would miss whatever watered down edge that remained right before the shift to CBS (but then, they were very much hit or miss, let's be honest). In some ways, it was the end of an era, before the series got even more insanely popular and endless episodes and became even more diluted for a long while. (Until Season 6, IMO.)

As for Plan 6 and what happened with the Technodrome, considering how the syndicated season finales worked as actual series finales (as you remarked in "Return of Technodrome"), it was likely Wise writing Blow Out as yet another series finale and decided to go out and destroy the Technodrome. And then, "we got another season commissioned? Dang, better do a retcon." Of all the re-writing that would occur in the episode, at least that one I understood.

And Plan 6 is probably one of the very few times I found Bebop/Rocksteady legitimately amusing (and Wise was weirdly prescient with "who thought of planning the 6:00 news at noon?" as per the rise of 10:00 PM news). And got to love the "My Mother the Car" reference.

Most of the other episode assessments I'd agree with, especially with Peking, as the Shredder/Krang banter really enhanced everything.

One issue:

"I mean, why would Krang want to take control of General Chang’s marble warriors? He has his own army of rock soldiers right there in Dimension X."

Good question, though, technically, couldn't that because he didn't have his Rock Soldiers on board the Technodrome, like he did in most of Season 3? And wasn't the whole point of Plan 6 was to get Channel 6 equipment, since the villains couldn't radio the Rock Soldiers for assistance, anyway? Had to get a back-up army somewhere (though, the Foot Soldiers do eventually pop up in an episode or two later). I need to re-watch my Season 4 DVD, but I don't think Rock Soldiers were seen in the Technodrome until the Big Zipp Attack episode? I haven't seen Season 4 in a while, so refresh my memory?

And it's late for me, I'll comment about Shredder's Mom and anything else after some sleep.

Mark Pellegrini said...

@Killer Moth

You raise a good point about the Rock Soldiers not being in the Technodrome. I haven't watched the European Tour episodes yet, which take place sequentially right after "Plan 6", so I don't know if the Rock Soldiers show up in those episodes or not.

However, by "Four Turtles and a Baby", Krang seems to have gotten his communications tech working just fine and is shown keeping in touch with General Traag who is attacking Zott. So I guess even though he could contact the Rock Soliers, Krang was content to dispatch them on different missions across Dimension X rather than help with Earth conquest. For some reason.

Honestly, I'm probably overthinking it.

Ioannes Paulus said...

I just started watching Peking Turtle. I can't stop laughing at the news report scene where suddenly human hands are holding the perl instead of the jade dragon. :)

Anonymous said...

What I noticed about these early Season 4 episodes is that while the actual plots aren't the most exciting, they're fun episodes mainly because of the humor and banter between the main characters. There's a lot of subtle and not so subtle humor and funny dialogue between the Turtles and Shredder/Krang/Bebop/Rocksteady in these episodes.

I think this is where the show started to shift more towards humor over action, and the funny moments really do save these episodes.

Killer Moth said...

As I recall (and I haven't seen the European Vacation arc in a while, either), the Rock Soldiers did appear in at least one mission with Shredder. I think it was the one where April got an amulet and was mistaken for an Atlantis goddess or got body-jacked by one (I forget which). I was surprised, given how rare the Rock Soldiers were used for Earth missions.

(And while I'm thinking about it, they weren't in the Technodrome when the TMNT stormed it in the Big Trilogy, either. Huh.)

But, yes, as you said, "Four Turtles and a Baby," Krang got the communications issue resolved and got the Foot Soldiers up and running, so. Either way, we're overthinking things on a show that did things for the most part, because "we felt like it" or by whim (as far as the Rock Soldiers were concerned, among other things).

As for Shredder's Mom, I particularly enjoyed it for the character-of-the-day, General Yogurt (srsly, writers?). In a series where authority figures are incompetent at best or antagonistic at worse (until Red Sky came along), he was a well-needed change of pace. And I overall enjoyed the episode despite those legit flaws you pointed out. (Why Miyoko didn't make more appearances, that's rather disappointing.)

Anyway, good reviews, and I'll be looking forward to the next ones. I'll definitely be interested in your review of "Turtlemaniac," as I didn't care for it as a child. Yet, as an adult, it's becoming one of my favorites, in its unique poke of the Turtle-mania fandom (and weirdly enough, of Citizen Kane).

Anonymous said...

Why do you post your reviews on different sites? Also what about Next Mutation and the 2003 cartoon?

Mark Pellegrini said...


I do TMNT-related features for other sites to diversify a bit and get my name and content out to a wider audience. I index all my articles here, so everything Turtle-related I work on can be reached through TMNT Entity.

I do plan on doing both shows, but not any time soon. I'm stretched out a little thin at the moment.

A Wells said...

Yep, there's a whoooole lot of "meh" in these "early" parts of season four. Episodes that are a chore to sit through as an adult, so you might not even bother once.

For me, I did love "Plan 6" because it hit that sweet spot of "So stupid it's funny". Even kidnapping April can be made funny if potato suits are involved.

"Shredder's Mom" also comes close to having the same appeal, but is not *quite* as fun.