It’s been ten years since the 2012 edition of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles debuted on Nickelodeon. It’s been on my mind lately and I thought I’d share a few thoughts.
In 2012, the Ninja Turtles had been sitting dormant for several years. The 2003 cartoon was a faded memory and Nickelodeon had bought the rights to the characters not too long afterwards. Having stopped watching Nickelodeon sometime in the late 90’s, I didn’t have much hope that the network that seemed all SpongeBob all the time would do right by one of my most beloved franchises.
I was excited for the debut of the cartoon, and I watched it as it aired. However, once the new version of Krang showed up I was pretty sure I wouldn’t watch it anymore. What was this? This wasn’t the Turtles I knew and loved! I could accept the CGI and the anime inspiration, but I just wasn’t a fan of twisting the characters in such a way.
I decided to give the show another chance a week later and I’m so glad that I did. Once I processed that this wasn’t the same Turtles I knew in the 80’s and quite frankly, they were better for it, I fell in love. This version of the Turtles was obviously made by fans of the original series as easter eggs and fan services were delivered at every turn, but the show managed to find a voice of its own. It’s sense of humor was quirky, and the comedy was quicker, and the animation was quite frankly stunning at times.
TMNT (2012) soon replaced the 1983 series as my favorite cartoon version of the Turtles. The toys that were released were just as amazing as the ones in the 80’s, just with more detail. The voice action was top notch and I loved how each season followed various themes that paid homage to different genres. There is a horror season, a sci-fi season, a fantasy season, etc.
The Shredder is much more menacing in the 2012 series and this is made even more abundantly clear in the crossover episodes that see the 1987 Turtles make their way into the 2012 world. It’s that type of detail and respect for the franchise that made this show so special and one of the reasons why I enjoyed it so much.
I read the tie-in comics, bought the toys, and told everyone I could about my love of Ice Cream Kitty.
As life sometimes does, it got in the way as the series ended. I finished up the series a year or two after it aired in bits and pieces at a time. Maybe I was too far removed or maybe the show declined in quality, I’m not so sure, but it ended extremely well and left a wonderful memory for me.
Whether I’m four years old or thirty-eight, I always love the Turtles. Some of the editions aren’t really my cup of tea (the Michael Bay produced movies and Rise of TMNT come to mind), but I respect how they continue to evolve for newer generations. And of course, for us adults, there are always the IDW comic series which is incredible and not kid friendly.
So, happy tenth anniversary TMNT 2012. Thank you for the laughs and excitement. Thank you for waking up the kid that was trapped in a twenty-eight-year-old man and allowing his Turtle love to come out.
It should be noted that recently Netflix added the first season of this cartoon and Walmart is reissuing several of the toys from this incredible toy line. At one point I had every figure released about three years into the run and out of all the action figures I’ve owned over the years, they are the only ones I truly wish I still had.