Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Season 2 (1988)

DVD Cover (Lions Gate)
Genres: Animated Action, Animated Comedy, Animated Television, Animation, Children's / Family, Sci-Fi Adventure, Superhero Show, TV Sci-Fi & Fantasy
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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
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7.9 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Crispy
Added: December 20, 2014
In my review for Season One, I mentioned how I was nervous to reopen such a huge part of my childhood, afraid to ruin my nostalgia with the realization that the show actually sucks. While I did enjoy the series' opener, that was just a quick miniseries to build some momentum for the action figures. The thirteen episodes that make up Season Two would be much more telling.

In the fiery wastelands of Dimension X, Shredder is absolutely seething at his defeat at the hands of the four turtles. He begs Krang to send him back to Earth to wreak his vengeance and finally conquer Earth. The warlord brain obliges but with a caveat: Shredder has to best his enemies by himself. He's sent back to Earth alone. No foot soldiers, no alien technology, no Bebop, no Rocksteady. Working with what he has, Shredder breaks Baxter Stockman out of prison and resumes his war against the turtles. Along the way, he's able to persuade Krang to send him bits of aid. A vital piece of information here, a can of mutagen there. America's favorite reptiles had better gear up, they've got a fight on their hands!

This early in the game, I should have expected the show to still bring some high quality entertainment to the table. After all, it didn't earn its reputation with its first five episodes. Sure, there's still a few technical errors of the wrong voice speaking for the wrong turtle, and the straight-forward violence is being replaced with less direct ways of dealing with their enemies (for example, using a stack of tires to "tie up" foot soldiers, or tricking the robot ninjas into falling into an open manhole), but the entertainment they provide is still through the roof. This original series was known more for its comedy than its action, so that wasn't a problem in the slightest. Besides, it's not like the fighting was completely nixed, it just has more of an adventure feel than an action feel; and with killer plants, meatball monsters and Shredder acquiring a reality-bending crystal, that adventure doesn't stop. Sure, there's a few dud episodes here and there. The one where April is accidentally turned into a cat fell short, and for some reason they brought back those damned Neutrinos, but overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the past four hours. As an added bonus, both the voice actors and their respective characters have begun to warm up to their places in the show and reminded me why I loved it so much growing up. April isn't nearly as whiny, Shredder's ambition and megalomania have come to the forefront (I can't believe I forgot to mention that he's voiced by James Avery, AKA Uncle Phil of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in the last review!), and even Townsend Coleman's Michelangelo has moved beyond the stoner slur that annoyed me in season one to the thrill-seeking fun-lover that made him every kid's favorite turtle. This is where you can begin to understand just why it exploded the way it did.

Going in, I knew that this cartoon didn't have much in the way of season-arching plot lines. This didn't bother me for the most part, but I didn't expect them to add so many elements that should have carried over throughout the season, but are mysteriously dropped after a single episode. For example, the police chief sets up the Anti-Turtle Task Force at one point. This should have been a secondary annoyance that could have presented itself to make the turtles' situations even more precarious, adding to the threat of whatever Shredder's scheme may be. Instead, they're forgotten as soon as they appear. Likewise, Shredder gets his hands on more mutagen and makes four mutant frogs and later, the police build a robot cop to fight the growing crime wave. These could have been fun reoccurring characters to bring back every now and then, but they're also completely given the axe after their sole episodes. Perhaps the biggest grievance is writing Baxter off the show in the very episode where he's transformed into a human fly. Now, given he's known more as an insect than a man, I have to assume he pops back up later in the series, but what a waste. This was even more of a shot after opening the season with a four-episode arc that planted a seed of hope that I'd been mistaken.

Turns out I had nothing to worry about. While I'm sure after ten seasons they'll inevitably jump the shark somewhere, this franchise didn't completely conquer kids' lives the way it did for nothing. As an added bonus, I couldn't help but smile as I caught a few episodes I actually remembered from way back when. 8/10.
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