Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987, Seasons 1-8)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is an American animated television series. It was based on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics created by Mirage Studios, and later spawned a toyline, two reboots of the series (one in 2003 and the other in 2012) and several live action movies. The series was developed by David Wise and Patti Howeth, directed by Yoshikatsu Kasai for season 1, Fred Wolf for seasons 2-7, and Tony Love for seasons 8-10, and lasted for 193 episodes or 10 seasons.
Why These Seasons Rock
- This was the first animated series which spawned a franchise which is immensely popular, even to this day.
- The theme song is incredibly catchy.
- Great animation for its time.
- Michelangelo is an funny hero.
- The comedy implemented is funny and always leaves audiences laughing.
- Catchy one-liners such as "Cowabunga" and "Go green machine", the former of which has become Mikey's catchphrase, and is carried on in the later three animated series.
- Despite deviating from the source material, the show stands out because of the colourful concepts, new characters not seen in the comics and light-hearted comedy. Also, Raphael has been changed to be more sarcastic, funny and crude instead of brash and angry as in the usual appearances.
- Memorable characters
- Good voice acting, including Cam Clarke as Leonardo, Barry Gordon as Donatello, Rob Paulsen as Raphael, Townsend Coleman as Michelangelo, Peter Renaday as Master Splinter, Renae Jacobs as April O'Neil, James Avery as The Shredder, and Pat Fraley as Casey Jones and Krang, among many others.
- Excellent pacing.
- Outstanding soundtrack.
- Very appealing art style and character designs.
- Amazing villains such as Shredder, Krang, Bebop and Rocksteady and many others.
- Tones of well-done comedy, one example being Shredder and Krang arguing with each other.
- This series ran for the longest out of all four of the TMNT series, and it managed to remain consistently great all throughout the show.
- Action-packed and entertaining fight scenes.
- The first season was done by Toei Animation who is well known for animating Dragon Ball, Sailor Moon, Digimon, and One Piece.
- Many of the new characters are well-recognized enough that they've ultimately landed in the Eastman-written IDW comics, such as Krang and Bebop and Rocksteady.
- While the animation is mostly good, there are some animation flubs here and there. This mainly consists of the occasional choppiness and inconsistencies. Still, it's hardly noticeable if you're just a casual viewer.
- Especially the later seasons, the animation in the action scenes are rather bland and lethargical, as if the characters barely hit each other at all.
- In fact, most of the episodes in the later seasons have more emphasis on talking and comedy rather than actual fighting.
- While most of the series is great, there is an episode here and there which isn't that good or interesting.
- The Turtles refer to themselves by their full names rather than their nicknames, which can feel unnatural.
- Cam Clarke's portrayal of Leonardo in the second season onwards was goofed down, compared to the first season where he was more serious and had a low-pitched voice. Even in the Red Sky episodes, his voice never changed.
- While good, the voice acting can be slow-paced, limited and cringy, often never matching lip movements, especially April O' Neil, who barely does any facial emotions when she talks loud, and her voice actress sounded like she's trying too hard to pull a convincing or dramatic portrayal only to end up falling flat and sounding like she came from an educational cartoon.
- Out of the 4 animated TMNT incarnations, this one is by far considered to be the weakest of the bunch as it was often mocked about it being too kid friendly and light hearted compared to the other TMNT incarnations.
- In Turtles Forever, the 2003 Turtles criticized the 80's Turtles for being to goofy and moronic and not being mature in serious moments.
- Due to censorship, Michelangelo's trademark nunchakus were seen less often in Season 4, till they were replaced entirely in Season 5 with a grappling hook called the "Turtle Line".
- Most of the time in the later seasons, the Turtles act less like ninjas and more like open brawlers. For example, when they run, they run like normal people.
- Some characters introduced are forgettable, such as Lord Dregg or Carter.
- Due to its increasingly kid-friendly themes, there is hardly any real action in the later episodes at all, as it just consists of the Turtles talking, running, throwing, and catching objects. They also seldom ever use their weapons in combat, let alone destroying objects, which is vastly different from the first season.
- In fact, this was acknowledged in the 2012 series crossover, where the 2012 Turtles criticize the 1987 Turtles' way of fighting. Thankfully, the crossovers restored the 1987 Turtles' original fighting styles and violence from the first season.
- The series would gradually decline in quality during Season 8. It would then experience massive decline in quality in Seasons 9-10, mostly due to ditching Shredder and Krang as the main villains in favor of the far less memorable Lord Dregg. That caused the series to Jump the Shark in Season 9. Even worse than the 2003 Series did.
- Despite the edgy themes such as the dark red skies and the Turtles sporting a rather menacing look, the action and fight scenes are still lethargic at best.
- In the final season, Raphael was voiced by Michael Gough, replacing Rob Paulsen.
- The opening song is no better. Instead of an original animated sequence, it's a cheaply made one consisting of clips from the seasons and the live-action TMNT films, very similar to that of early 2000s anime show openings.
- In the original comic, Splinter was Hamato Yoshi's pet. The two characters would be merged together for this cartoon.
- TMNT 1987 was not only popular in the United States of America, it was also popular in Europe (especially in Italy), too.
- Vanessa Coffey, the known executive producer of Doug, Rugrats, The Ren & Stimpy Show and Rocko's Modern Life, both from Nickelodeon, worked in this show as production manager back in 1987-1988.