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TV Series Review

Saturday morning cartoons were a big deal in my house growing up. We didn't have Netflix back then, so me and my brothers and sisters would eagerly huddle around the TV (while fighting over the remote) and watch our favorite shows. One of our favorites was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

OK, I didn't love the Turtles (Raphael, Donatello, Michaelangelo and Leonardo) and Splinter, their wise, father-like sensei, immediately. But when I had the opportunity to dress up like one, I was sold. Pretty soon, our lives became Ninja Turtle everything—blankets, pillows, costumes. You name it, we probably had it.

I didn't know back then that the Turtles had already made their mark long before I found them. And now, they're influencing a new generation on Nickelodeon with yet another new cartoon.

A Bit O' Teenage Mutants

They may not look it on the new Nick show, Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but they're actually older than me. Well, historically speaking.

The four turtle brothers were created in the early 1980's when Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird jokingly drew a few black-and-white sketches of them. On a whim, they submitted their work to the local paper and the comics took off at ninja-high speeds.

But those first Turtles were pretty rough. When Playmates Toys, Inc., approached Eastman and Laird about creating a television series based on their characters, the Teenage Mutants were not kid friendly. They were violent, occasionally used profanity and were not the best role models. Things needed to change before the Turtles mutated their way onto the screen.

That's when the Turtles I knew and loved began to evolve. Instead of being super violent, swearing ninja machines, they became fun-loving, goofy, pizza fanatics with a human helper, reporter April O'Neil--on a mission to save others from their arch nemesis: Shredder. And through three animated television series' (the third of which was a Nickelodeon staple) and several movies, that's where things more or less stood. And on television, at least, the Turtles remained relatively kid-friendly.


Which is, sort of, how things look right about now. Now, The Turtles are back on Nickelodeon for their fourth 2-D series, Rise of the Teenage Mutant Nina Turtles.

The series still follows the four brothers and their friend, April. But April is no longer in need of constant saving. She's a spunky sidekick who often gives the Turtles a needed dose of common sense—and sometimes she does the saving.

And the brothers? Well, they're not much in to pizza as they used to be. They don't have as much time, given that their world has turned much more magical. Their version of magic isn't all that different from what we might see on any number of kids' shows, but they're always tinkering around with their magical weapons, trying to unlock new powers. And they've got magic-fueled enemies to deal with, too.

And Splinter? He's still there, but the sensei is no longer quite as wise. In fact, he comes across more like a clueless dad that the Turtles try to avoid.

That said, these new Turtles seem to be even sillier than they were back in Nick's first run at the show in 2012, as they concentrate more on making jokes than fighting off their enemies. They still throw out classic lines like "cowabunga!," use a profusion of weapons to fight off foes that can be slightly scary for littles and occasionally say things like "stupid" and "oh my gosh."

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Episode Reviews

Sept. 17, 2018: "Mystic Mayhem"



Readability Age Range



Voices of: John Cena as Baron Draxum; Kay Graham as April O'Neil; Brandon Smith as Michaelangelo; Ben Schwartz as Leonardo; Omar Benson Miller as Raphael; Josh Brenner as Donatello; Eric Bauza as Splinter






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On Video

Year Published



Kristin Smith

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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