Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: What We Know So Far

It's been a verylong time since we've written anything in here, mostly because there has been nothing of interest to really talk about. The Michael Bay movies came and went (while acknowledging that the turtles being aliens was a very stupid idea, I like to think the initial leak had something to do with it), they weren't really anything to write home about, and I really saw no reason to give a review to either (CASEY JONES IS A COP, SERIOUSLY!?!).

But now, we have a new iteration of the Ninja Turtles coming out: Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. And, wow... it does not look good.

There's been a lot of heavy criticism coming out based on the information that has been provided. The criticism rages from Raphael being the leader, Donatello being the “cool turtle”, April being a black teenager, and their overall design.

First off, let's look at their overall design; it does not look good.

Just... that art style...
Just coming from a visual perspective, it already looks way too different. And are they in the future? Also notice, Raphael and Mikey both have different weapons. Was this move to make the property a little less violent, seeing as how it's on Nickelodeon?

Then we have the Raphael and Donatello role changes. Now... it would make sense at some point in time, Raphael would take a leadership role, even just temporarily. Raphael has the general attitude and mannerisms of someone who would become a leader, and a true leader knows when to lead and when to follow, which would fit Donatello's character. However, Donatello as the “cool” turtle? Where does that leave Mikey, seeing as how that was his main character attribute?

Then we have probably the most controversial of the changes: April O'Neil being changed into a black teenager.

Let's get this out of the way right now: It's always a pandering, useless gesture when franchises change the race of a character. It's never to enhance the story or give them another perspective; no, it's always done in the name of “progress” so they can win those brownie points from HuffPost readers. It usually never yields positive results.

However, changing April to a black person isn't really that much of a stretch, since April, in the beginning, was a black woman.

She was either a black woman with a white father, or a Latina with a white father.
Now, of course, Nickelodeon probably didn't know this at the time, so this pandering change could be completely coincidental, but by changing her to a black person, they're really not changing her character since at one point in time, she was (especially since it was in her first appearance). The real gripe I have, personally, is that she's a teenager. What, exactly, will be her role in the dynamic? Are they just making her a teenager just so she happens to be their age? April was their lifeline to the world above; I can't really see what a teenager could do to help them in their exploits. She's not a news reporter, she's not a lab assistant, she's not... whatever she was in the CG TMNT movie; she's not even an adult with a place where the turtles can lay low when shit goes down. She's just a kid (that doesn't know martial arts).

These changes are stupid, but I am happy that they didn't go with one direction that some were urging Nickelodeon to go: Making the turtles vegan. PETA wrote a letter explaining why the turtles should be vegan, claiming that more and more people are becoming vegan and pizza joints in NYC are adding vegan options to follow suit. Only thing is, the number of vegans/vegetarians in the country is debatable: Some say it's 8%, some say it's 6% and some say it's less than 1%. That's not a lot. Not to mention, a high concentration, of course, would most likely be in New York, with popular pizza joints adding a vegan choice after being scolded for not having a vegan choice, and folding so that they don't get further bad Yelp reviews. Cities like New York and Chicago are generally considered big pizza cities, and the turtles are considered pizza lovers. And I personally think mutated turtles that spend most of their time living in the sewer would likely care very little about political topics like the Animal Agriculture industry. Why change what's already been established to placate a very small minority that more than likely won't even watch your show in the first place?  I'm glad that at least Nickelodeon (probably) saw that.

Not to mention, have you ever actually tried vegan pizza? Spoiler alert: You're still hungry after.

However, there's one silver lining in this: There will be a villain voiced by John Cena. So, there's at least one good thing going on from what's been announced.

Bottom line: Will the series be good or bad? It's too early to tell. But from what we got so far, it doesn't look good. It seems like they're trying to market to a small, young, left-leaning audience that might not even have cable (let alone, watch Nickelodeon), with a nostalgic property that they've more than likely never heard of (or really even cared about in the first place). So really, the show is targeted to nobody. I don't know why they just didn't continue the show they had going on before; it really wasn't all that bad. It wasn't great, but it wasn't terrible.

If you haven't already, Like our Facebook to keep up to date (now that this show has come about, I got stuff to write about again). Also, since the whole “turtles as aliens” angle has pretty much been squashed, the blog is probably due for a new nickname. Give your thoughts on what that should be.

Also, make sure to check out the initial leak of the original Teenage Alien Turtles script that we did way back when that caused all that trouble, and get ready to cringe.

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