Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Season 2 Impressions

This past October, I had the opportunity to attend the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles panel at New York Comic Con for the second year in a row. The panel actually took place the night before the season two premiere so I was expecting the panel to be a big preview of things to come with some insight from the cast and crew thrown in. I also joked with some people around me how everyone with a three day pass wouldn’t be able to watch the new episode the next day.

That’s when they announced that everyone at the panel would be watching the first episode of the new season right then and there with the cast and crew.

Let me tell you something; watching a new episode of a show you like with and auditorium full of fellow fans is an absolutely amazing experienced. Not to mention, the showing was highlighted with Greg Cipes (voice of Michelangelo) dancing on the panel table during the TMNT theme song. The next night, I had the opportunity to talk to Rob Paulsen (voice of Donatello) on the show floor and we discussed the season two premiere of TMNT. I straight up told him “That’s how you do a season two premiere.”

Let me get straight to the point; I think this season has been fantastic so far. So far, the season has been continuing the trend of balancing established TMNT themes with new plots and ideas really well. This season, the show finally debuted Casey Jones onto the scene and he’s a really fun to watch so far. The writers have managed to take the slacker with a heart of gold character (which I’m not the biggest fan of) and make him a pretty interesting person to watch. Not to mention the fight scenes he’s been involved in so far have been really enjoyable to watch. Casey is voiced by Josh Peck and it’s good to see him back with Nickelodeon but in a role that’s nowhere near as goofy as his past Nick roles. He’s plays the character well and I’m looking forward to seeing more from him in the future.

I’m really enjoying the stories for each episode so far. The mutants the Turtles and company had to fight in various episodes so far have been pretty crazy, including an episode parodying the first Alien movie. Based on the panel I went to, things are going to get even crazier this season (Pizza Face is going to be in an episode!). One thing I did notice is how many more dark moments this season has had so far. Between the shocking season opener, to scenes of familiar faces changing (seemingly) forever, it does feel like it’s pushing what it can do in a children’s action cartoon. I guess as long as they don’t cut an actual human being, it can be shown. Heck, the show probably introduced robot Foot soldiers just so the Turtles can cut them up.

If there’s one criticism I can give about the story so far, it’s that the overarching storyline of the containers of Mutagen loose in NYC has taken a bit of a backseat to the various episodic stories. It’s not completely lost in the background, I feel like the Turtles should be looking for the canisters more often, even if the scanner isn’t picking anything up.

That said I’m really glad this season expanded on the relationship between April and the Krang. At the end of last season, the Krang said they needed April specifically for their plan, but never really fully explained why. Well, as of this blog, the show just revealed why the Krang need April, and let’s just say it’s a pretty good reason.

Overall, I think this season has fantastic job picking up where season one left off. The animation and action are still great and the written and comedy has been really fun so far. There hasn’t been a single moment so far this season where I felt like the show has fallen flat. It has been that consistent. At both NYCC panels I went to, the entire cast and crew said that they are big fans of the TMNT franchise and wanted to do the show justice. I definitely say that it shows. You can tell they’re putting a lot of effort into the show and I’m glad the show is experiencing continued success.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles currently airs new episodes on Nickelodeon on Sundays at 11am, EST. You can watch some full episodes on the official TMNT page here. Episode viewing may be restricted in your country.

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