Fred Wolf's Ninja Turtles series lasted ten years and one-hundred and ninety-three episodes. 4Kids' Ninja Turtles lasted seven years, one-hundred and fifty-six episodes, a TV movie and countless shorts.
Neither one of these series had a colossal juggernaut like Nickelodeon backing them up.
So, imagine my surprise this month, when it was announced that the 2012 CGI Ninja Turtles series is coming to an end after the upcoming fifth season, to make way for a brand new 2D series dubbed "Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles".
I won't be commenting a great deal on the fifth season, "Tales of the TMNT", though I will say that what I've heard about it so far makes me somewhat apprehensive with episode titles like "Crypt of Dracula", but I'll reserve judgment until after I watch the season.
I have to be honest, part of me was not surprised that there will be no sixth season. For one reason, the fifth season only got twenty episodes, not twenty-four like the previous four seasons. At this year's ToyFair, PlayMates Toys announced only one new figure, Usagi Yojimbo, and a whole bunch of retooled and recoloured figures.
The 2012 Ninja Turtles felt like it's lost a lot of steam over the year, and not being able to focus on many stories other than the feud between Splinter and Shredder did it no favours. (Mutagen Man anyone?) But to cancel it just outright and replace it feels like such a waste. Yes, the show is broken, but not to the point where it couldn't be fixed. But no, we're getting a new series within a year, as if this is Power Rangers all of a sudden.
It's so strange to me. We had eight long years between the Fred Wolf series and the 4Kids series (not counting Next Mutation, because...it's Next Mutation), but less than a year between Nickelodeon titles.
Plus, 2D doesn't mean what it used to. 2D could mean classical frame-by-frame animation, on paper or more likely on a Cintiq. Or it could be done in Flash or Toonboom, which is not a bad thing, if done in the right hands. The producers of this series are Andy Suriano, who did character designs for Samurai Jack, and Ant Ward, producer of the current TMNT series, so, on the visual front, I think we'll be fine. It's the story to Rise of that has me wary. A lighter tone? Mystical powers? Hidden realms?
(And hasn't the word 'Rise' been overused enough in fiction the past decade?)
Reinvention is the buzzword being thrown around in regards to Rise. Yes, we have had many incarnations of this beloved franchise, but there's still life in the current one. The well isn't completely dry. I guess all us fans can do is hope that both Tales will end and Rise will begin on high notes. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles wasn't just apart of my childhood, it practically was my childhood. And when I'm an old man, I still want to see it around.