Masked turtles return for another generation
Posted: October 4, 2012 at 3:40 a.m.
LITTLE ROCK Somewhere out there is a 30-year-old man who’s going to be a very happy kid again for a half hour every Saturday at 10 a.m.
That would be our son, and Saturday mornings are when the new, re-booted, computer-generated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles return from the sewers to battle evil in New York on Nickelodeon.
Up in the attic is a large dusty box full of TMNT action figures that represent hundreds of hours of creative play and social development. Maybe they come out at night and play with the He-Man action figures.
Our son’s discernment has no doubt improved since he was 8 years old in 1990 and proclaimed the live-action TMNT film “the greatest movie ever made.” His sense of wonder and excitement back then should be the same for a new generation of kids experiencing the turtles for the first time.
I got a little nostalgic myself watching the premiere last Saturday.
For those out of the turtles’ loop, here’s the back story. Use your imagination.
The series is set in present-day New York and follows the adventures of four humanoid turtles and a 6-foot-tall rat, Master Splinter.
Stay with me.
Splinter used to be a human — Hamato Yoshi, one of the world’s greatest ninja masters. He fled to New York after a battle with his nemesis, Shredder.
There, he lived a life in seclusion with his four pet turtles. One day he encountered a mysterious green ooze that covered him and his pets. He was transformed into a rat and the ordinary turtles became humanoids.
Fearing persecution, Splinter took the turtles deep underground and raised them, training them to become ninjas and experts in the art of ninjutsu.
Years passed and the four, Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo, grew to be teenagers, filled with the energy of teens and a burning curiosity about the world above.
Last week’s initial episode found the boys venturing above ground for the first time, where things quickly became complicated.
First, they encountered thugs trying to kidnap 16-year-old April O’Neil and her father. There are also aliens, robot droids containing alien brain creatures (the Kraang), missing scientists and the glowing green mutagen that got the turtles mutated in the first place.
And there was pizza. The turtles discovered they love pizza.
The series stars the voices of Jason Biggs (American Pie) as Leonardo; Sean Astin (Lord of the Rings) as Raphael; Rob Paulsen (Planet Sheen) as Donatello; and Greg Cipes (Teen Titans) as Michelangelo.
Mae Whitman (Parenthood) plays April O’Neil and Hoon Lee (Royal Pains) is Master Splinter.
The turtles wear masks for some reason — as if that would disguise their identities. Here’s a brief guide to which one is which.
Leonardo: The leader. Blue mask. Idolizes Captain Ryan on Space Heroes and fights with two katana, or samurai swords.
Raphael: The muscle. Red mask. Has a sarcastic sense of humor and fights first and asks questions later. Has a pet turtle named Spike. His weapons are a pair of sai — pointed batons with prongs on the handle. He also uses them for pizza forks.
Donatello: The brains. Purple mask. A brilliant inventor and computer expert, he makes all the turtles’ gadgets and weapons. He’s also socially awkward and has a crush on April. His weapon is the naginata, a 6-foot staff with a blade.
Michelangelo: The wild one. Orange mask. The most fun-loving, easy-going and creative. Loves to prank. His weapons are kusarigama (a sickle, chain and weight) and nunchaku (sticks connected by a short chain).
The series is rated Y7 for lots of cartoon pounding and whacking.
Major Crimes. TNT has ordered 15 episodes for a Season 2 of Major Crimes, the spin-off of The Closer that stars Mary McDonnell and features most of The Closer’s cast.
The first season wraps up at 8 p.m. Oct. 15. Look for the return next summer.
End times. Another sign that life as we know it is rapidly ending, TLC has ordered more episodes and three holiday specials of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. The series follows the redneck Georgia adventures of little Alana Thompson and her self-proclaimed crazy family — folks June and Sugar Bear and sisters Pumpkin, Chubbs and Chickadee.
Heaven help us all.
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Weekend, Pages 32 on 10/04/2012