REVIEW: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (1987) – SEASON 1

MAIN CAST

Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Linda Hamilton (The Terminator)
Roy Dotrice (Game of Thrones)
Jay Acovone (Stargate SG.1)
Renn Woods (Church)

Ron Perlman and Roy Dotrice in Beauty and the Beast (1987)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

John McMartin (No Reservations)
Don Stark (That 70s Show)
Ray Wise (Robocop)
Michael Bacall (Gangster Squad)
Dorian Harewood (Earth: Final Conflict)
Delroy Lindo (Get Shorty)
Edward Albert (Elliot Burch)
Richard Biggs (Babylon 5)
Mayim Balik (The Big Bang Theory)
Jeffrey Combs (The Frighteners)
Nancy Lenehan (Catch Me If You Can)
Ellen Albertini Dow (Wedding Crashers)
Christian Clemenson (Apollo 13)
Paul Gleason (Die Hard)
Cliff De Young (The Craft)
Vito D’Ambrosio (The Flash)
Richard Herd (V)
Jason Bernard (Liar Liar)
John M. Jackson (Bones)
John Franklin (Children of The Corn)
Rutanya Alda (The Deer Hunter)
James Avery (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air)
Rosalind Chao (Star Trek: DS9)
James Hong (Blade Runner)
Tony Jay (Lois & Clark)
Jeffrey Nordling (Flight 93)
Bruce Abbott (The Net)
Raymond Cruz (Breaking Bad)
Alan Blumenfeld (Heroes)
Armin Shimerman (Buffy: TVS)
David Greenlee (Fame)
Mimi Craven (Vampire Clan)
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Back during Beauty and the Beast’s brief three season run, there were numerous letter writing and phone call campaigns by rabid fans who tried desperately to keep the show from getting the axe. Never a top ratings winner, its fate on the network schedule was always at risk, and yet, the fans made it known how they felt, and they may have indeed saved the show on more than one occasion.batman-ninjaBeautiful corporate lawyer Catherine Chandler (Linda Hamilton) chafes at the restrictions imposed on her life. She works for her father Charles (John McMartin), a highly successful New York City lawyer, but doesn’t feel what she does is necessary or that she’s achieving anything independent of his influence. In a relationship with ambitious, self-centered Tom (Ray Wise), Catherine balks at the insensitive demands of her boyfriend during a dinner party, and leaves to go home. Outside, a couple of thugs kidnap her in a van, and horribly disfigure her face; we later learn that she was a victim of mistaken identity, and that the criminals thought she was someone else. Left for dead in Central Park, Cathy is rescued by a mysterious, hulking figure who carries her below the streets of New York City to a fabulously appointed underground lair. Her eyes and face bandaged, she can’t see the person who is caring for her, but — rather rapidly and with almost no set-up — she comes to love her care giver, Vincent (Ron Perlman).26aefdfe75e396171a91adf55d86b177Vincent resides below the city for what he believes is a very good reason: he apparently is half-lion  and doesn’t want to be the object of pity and terror because of the way he looks. Hiding a beautiful, tortured soul behind his mutation, Vincent strides among the many other residents of the “Tunnel World” as their unofficial leader and protector. Naturally, Cathy is taken aback when she sees Vincent for the first time, but she longs to stay his friend. Vincent, tortured by his impossible love for Cathy, tells her that he has developed a psychic bond with her: her pain is his pain. Taking her back to the “real” world, he tells her he will always be there for her, if she needs him.26aefdfe75e396171a91adf55d86b177After perfect plastic surgery, Catherine decides that she must do something worthwhile with her life, and takes a job as an assistant D.A. with the city. Tracking down the thugs who assaulted her, she finds outs they’re part of a bigger corruption scandal involving prostitution, and decides to go after them. Catherine, hearing Vincent outside on her terrace, goes to him and shares one momentof impossible love with him. Cornered in a house with her attackers ready to kill her, Cathy’s psychic pain reaches Vincent, who immediately hops on top of a speeding subway car, and, bursting through the house’s door like either the Incredible Hulk or the Kool-Aid pitcher, literally rips apart her assailants with his razor-sharp claws, and saves her life.BEAUTYBEAST-0004It was a new take on the old classic. Hamilton is a compelling heroine. She has enough femininity to be romantic but also enough power to fight. Ron Perlam as the Beast was on his most famouse roles before Hellboy and he showed even back then just how good an actor he was. The show is a must see for fans of the 2012 series and fans of  Ron Perlman.

 

REVIEW: IRON MAN (1994)

CAST (VOICES)

Robert Hays (Airplane)
James Avery (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air)
Ed Gilbert (Transformers)
Robert Ito (Batman: TAS)
Dorian Harewood (Sparkle)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Sarah Douglas (Superman 1 & 2)
Matt Frewer (Taken)
Neal McDonough (Arrow)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Efrem Zimbalist Jr. (Batman: TAS)
David Warner (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II)
Lisa Zane (Monkeybone)

Although only lasting two seasons, Iron Man was the subject of a major overhaul between seasons when its production studio was changed. The result was a massively changed premise, tone, and general approach, which left the disparate seasons scarcely recognizable as being two halves of the same series.

Iron_Man_Squared_Part_TwoThe first season of Iron Man featured little more than a Masters of the Universe-style battle of “good against evil”, as billionaire industrialist Tony Stark battled the evil forces of the world-conquering Mandarin as the armored superhero, Iron Man. In his evil endeavors to steal Stark’s technology and Iron Man’s armor, the Mandarin led a group of villains consisting of Dreadknight, Blizzard, Blacklash, Grey Gargoyle (when it comes to fighting Iron Man and his team, he has a tendency to accidentally turn his fellow villains to stone), Hypnotia (Dreadknight and Blacklash were rivals for the affections of Hypnotia), Whirlwind, Living Laser, MODOK, Fin Fang Foom and Justin Hammer. To combat these villains, Iron Man had the help of his own team (based on Force Works, a then-current comic book team which has since faded into obscurity), including Century, War Machine, Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye (replacing U.S. Agent from the comics) and Spider Woman.iron-manThe season consisted mostly of single-episode open-and-shut-case adventures, with two two-part stories late towards the end. Unlike many other Marvel animated series, despite featuring over-the-top titles that paid homage to the early Stan Lee written Marvel comics of the 1960s (for example, “The Grim Reaper Wears a Teflon Coat”, and “Rejoice, I am Ultimo, Thy Deliverer”), almost none of the episodes were adaptations of comic book stories, consisting instead of original stories penned by Ron Friedman, occasionally collaborated on by Stan Lee himself. The closest the season came to adapting a comic book tale was in the two-part “The Origin of Iron Man”, which recounted a (modified and modernized) version of the character’s comic book origin  just before the season concluded.This late-run recounting of the title character’s origin is symptomatic of what is generally thought of as the season’s greatest weakness – despite (or perhaps because of) having such a large cast of characters, very few of the show’s heroes and villains were actually developed in any way, leaving viewers unaware of their personal stories and powers. The show is generally held to have been at its best when filling in these origin blanks (MODOK in “Enemy Without, Enemy Within,” Iron Man and the Mandarin in their self-titled “The Origin of…” episodes), but these were rare occasions, with virtually every other plot simply consisting of the Mandarin attempting to steal Stark’s newest invention and being bested, often through very strange and illogical means (with the nadir perhaps being Iron Man somehow using the energy of a small tape-player to restore his armor to full power in “Silence My Companion, Death My Destination”).qNXTnWdDura71AHfSu1Cf3VXupAA small sub-plot in the first season revolves around Mandarin secretly spying on Force Works. It culminates in “The Wedding of Iron Man” when Stark realizes they have been spied on by reviewing events from previous episodes (and explaining how Mandarin’s forces always knew where they would be), realising that Mandarin has acquired enough information to potentially deduce the true identity of Iron Man. The entire episode’s plot is dedicated to resolving the problem, culminating in Iron Man and his team setting up an elaborate deception where Mandarin sees Iron Man and Tony Stark in the same place with the intention being to convince him that the two men are not the same person (The ‘Tony’ in the situation was an android).

In 1995, Marvel switched The Marvel Action Hour to a new animation studio (as previously mentioned, the animation in Season 1 was provided by the Rainbow Animation Group, while the animation in Season 2 was provided by Koko Enterprises), and with it came new writers (Ron Friedman was replaced by Tom Tataranowicz for Season 2) and new music for each sequence, coupled with a new direction for the series. The first season’s subtle keyboard theme music for Iron Man (composed by progressive rock artist Keith Emerson) was replaced by an intense electric guitar theme featuring the repeated refrain of “I am Iron Man!”, while showing Tony Stark beating red-hot iron plates into shape with a blacksmith’s hammer (possibly to mimic the Black Sabbath song “Iron Man”). Tony Stark’s longer hair style in the second season was based upon the artist Mark Bright’s depiction of Stark from the late 1980s, which is where most of the episodes from Season 2 were based upon.

The new story lines spanned multiple episodes and were no longer “open and shut” cases. They formed a linking narrative, featuring themes of duplicity, consequence, and phobias. Also, the stories were no longer centered on the Mandarin, whose rings had been scattered and whose power had been depleted. While the Mandarin did appear in these episodes, his appearances were reduced to cameos in the cliffhangers at the end of the story, as he tried to retrieve each ring.

Another change was that Force Works was mostly written out of the series, parting ways with Stark after he deceives them in order to work in secret with the Mandarin when Fin Fang Foom and his fellow Dragons were plotting to eliminate Earth. When Stark’s counter plan against Justin Hammer, which includes faking his death without the knowledge of his teammates, leads to a disbanding of Force Works, Julia Carpenter and James Rhodes are the only ones who continue to work with Stark. This split would be revisited with Stark’s ensuing conflicts with Hawkeye over the course of several episodes.

Also, War Machine develops a phobia of being trapped inside his armor (also based on a then-current comic storyline), but this is resolved before the final episode. While Rhodes was active as War Machine in Season 1, he remained out of armor for the majority of Season 2 due to reliving a tragic drowning experience while being trapped underwater in the War Machine armor in the Season 2 episode “Fire And Rain”. Rhodes eventually overcomes his fear and dons the War Machine armor once again in the episode “Distant Boundaries”.

Prior to finding his last two rings, the Mandarin claims his eighth ring from MODOK in the episode “Empowered”. “Empowered” was the clip show of the season, the purpose being that the Mandarin wanted to learn of Iron Man’s recent activities. In the finale,[9][10] the Mandarin, having regained all of his rings, unleashes a mist using the Heart of Darkness to render everything technological useless. Iron Man reunites with Force Works in order to stop him. The Mandarin unmasks Iron Man before their final showdown ends in his death. More specifically, Iron Man manages to reflect the power of Mandarin’s rings, destroying them, and ultimately leaving the Mandarin with amnesia and helpless before a band of desert bandits who likely killed him, or at least cut off his hand/fingers for the rings. After Mandarin was killed, MODOK and the rest of Mandarin’s henchmen were sent to jail. After disappointing ratings, the series was canceled.

After twenty six episodes, Iron Man the animated series remains a very mixed bag. Blame for this shows disappointing quality can be attributed to constrictions placed upon the writers to feature as many Iron Man suits as possible in each episode as free publicity for the toys. On the bright side, it got better, allowing the audience at least 13 episodes of decent animated entertainment.

REVIEW: TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (1987) – SEASON 6-10

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MAIN CAST

Cam Clarke (He-Man 2002)
Barry Gordon (Fish)
Rob Paulsen (Animaniacs)
Townsend Coleman (The Tick)
Pat Fraley (Monsters, Inc.)
James Avery (That 70s Show)
Renae Jacobs (Rose petal Place)
Peter Renaday (General Hospital)
Greg Berg (Transformers)
Hal Rayle (Bionic 6)
Jennifer Darling (Aladdin)

Image result for teenage mutant ninja turtles DREGG

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Tress MacNeille (The Simpsons)
Susan Blu (Transformers)
Tony Jay (Lois & Clark)
Bumper Robinson (Sabrina: TTW)
Robbie Rist (iron Eagle)
Maurice LaMarche (Futurama)

Season Six  features just 16 episodes of comedy relief, slightly less action and plenty of fourth-wall breaking. Highlights include “Adventures in Turtle-Sitting” (in which a reverse-aging ray turns three of the four Turtles into tykes), “Krangenstein Lives” (the malfunctioning Krang’s body goes on a rampage) and “Nightmare in the Lair” (Michaelangelo messes with Donatello’s dream machine). A few clunkers don’t work quite as well: “Too Hot to Handle”, for example, revolves around a snot-nosed brat’s science experiment gone awry. TMNT usually works best when kids watch it…instead of star in it.

Season Seven  sounds big on paper at 27 total episodes, but roughly half of them were taken from the “Vacation in Europe” side-season that originally aired on USA Network’s Cartoon Express. This also marked the series’ final year in its most recognizable form, as a relatively big shift in tone was just around the corner. The original DVD release for this season was equally frustrating, as it was split into four “slices” (named after our four heroes) with a collectible action figure packed in each one.

Seasons Eight, Nine & Ten  might as well be grouped together; not only are they known as the “black sheep” years, but each one contains only eight episodes. The series underwent a number of changes after most of the original fanbase graduated to darker comic pastures like Batman: The Animated Series and Gargoyles, which included a new theme song (complete with live action clips), a red sky and a more serious tone. Minor human characters like Casey Jones, The Rat King and the Channel 6 crew were abandoned, though April stuck around and got a new wardrobe. A teenager named Carter (who acquires a seemingly incurable mutant power and studies martial arts under Splinter’s direction) also joined the team in Season Nine, while a major new villain arrives in the form of Lord Dregg. Overall, these are another step down from the repetitive years before them, but anyone who abandoned the show just before this point might enjoy seeing how things have changed. Proceed at your own risk, though.

REVIEW: TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (1987) PLANET OF THE TURTLELOIDS

CAST

Cam Clarke (He-Man 2002)
Barry Gordon (Fish)
Rob Paulsen (Animaniacs)
Townsend Coleman (The Tick)
Pat Fraley (Monsters, Inc.)
James Avery (That 70s Show)
Renae Jacobs (Rose petal Place)
Peter Renaday (General Hospital)

Image result for teenage mutant ninja turtles planet of the turtleoids

Our story opens with our heroes prowling the street in fedora’s and trenchcoats searching for an all-night pizzeria when they come across a sumo wrestler, named Tattoo, breaking into a pet shop and saying something about looking “for home.” But when the TMNT try to subdue the gigantic wrestler, he electrocutes himself and transforms into a hamster and quickly walks into a cage with other hamsters.

Donatello deducts that this could be the work of Shredder and Krang… that the deadly duo are once again messing around with the Mutagen. Donatello reflects on the incident at the pet shop and wonders if maybe they would all be better off if they were still just ordinary turtles. Meanwhile, Shredder and Krang are indeed fooling around with the Mutagen, as they prepare to create more Mutants so that they can break into a museum and steal a giant ruby. The villains hope that they can use the gem to refocus Krang’e new heat ray and finally free the Technodrome.

Back at the lair, the effects of being shunned by human society at large have gotten to Donatello, who wonders if there is a place where the Turtles can be accepted for who they are.Later, that same night, at the City Wild Animal Park, Shredder orders Bebop and Rocksteady to abduct one lion and one gorilla to prepare for mutation. Meanwhile, while drowning his sorrows in a root beer float and lamenting his status at Channel 6 News, vis a vis April O’Neil’s, Vernon encounters a humanoid Turtle named Kerma, wearing a trenchcoat and fedora, and runs screaming into the night.

Nonplused, Kerma arrives at the City Wild Animal Park and sets free Shredder’s lion and gorilla before they have been mutated and, thanks to Bebop and Rocksteady’s bumbling, a bull and a mole are mutated instead. Shredder decides that these two new mutants will have to do and gives them their outfits. Back at Channel 6, Vernon tells April about his encounter with what he believes to be one of the Turtles — only the Turtle he met was three feet tall. April is sure that Vernon did not meet one of the Turtles and contacts them. At the Zoo he new mutants name themselves Groundchuck and Dirtbag. Shredder orders them to steal the giant ruby from the museum but the two would rather just rip the zoo apart.

The Turtles meet April, Irma and Vernon at the news station where Michelangelo explains that whoever Vernon did see it was not one of them. But the Raphael is concerned that someone is “ripping off their style” and the Turtles set out to investigate. As soon as the Turtles leave the Channel 6 News Building, not only do they encounter Groundchuck and Dirtbag, who are itching for a fight, but Kerma as well, who captures all six of them and takes them back to his space ship — which is designed to look not unlike the Chrysler Building. April arrives down on the street with her mini-cam, but the Chrysler Building/Rocket Ship has blasted into space. On the flight to his home planet, Kerma explains that he and his fellow Turtleoids have a “problem” and he was seeking typical Earth people for advice. Unfortunately, he had no idea that Groundchuck and Dirtbag are not humans – as for the Turtles, he thought that they had honest faces.

Meanwhile, Bebop and Rocksteady kidnap April, along with her Turtlecom, and bring her back to Shredder and Krang at the City Wild Animal Park. Rocksteady informs Shredder that the Turtles have not responded to the TurtleCom signal and Bebop suggests that maybe the Turtles are indeed gone. Meanwhile, the Turtles, along with Groundchug and Dirtbag, arrive on the planet Shell-ri-la. Donatello is ecstatic! This is exactly what he was dreaming about in the first act — a world where Turtles can live free! Back at the Technodrome, Shredder, convinced that the Turtles are history and acknowledging defeat in the giant ruby caper, declares that he will build a super intelligent and utterly invincible robot to pull off his latest scheme. On Shell-ri-la the Turtles see one of the Turtleoid’s alchemy machines — you know the ones that turn lead into gold. And, as Kerma explains to the TMNT, the reflection of the gold light provides the Turtleoids with their energy just like food. But before the Turtles can enjoy anymore of their vacation, Groundchuck and Dirtbag escape. Meanwhile, April escapes and Shredder has completed work on his new robot, known as Chrome Dome who quickly captures April.As Kerma takes the Turtles to the high council chambers of Shell-Ri-La, they soon are approached by the Turtleoid’s “small problem” a large two headed dragon.

Herman the Horrible along with recruits Groundchuck and Dirtbag destroy the power source to the force dome shield leaving the city vulnerable. The Turtleoids accuse the TMNT of sabotage and throw them in prison. Despite all this, Donatello still appreciates Shellri-La for being a turtle planet, whereas Michaelangelo says Shellri-La has none of the things that the Turtles appreciate on Earth, such as rock & roll, video games or pizza, and Raphael chimes in that the Turtleoids have proven themselves just as biased towards the TMNT as have humans back on Earth. Leonardo protests that they must escape and confront the two-headed monster Herman the Horrible, which all agree on that. Kerma helps the TMNT escape by giving them standard Turtleoid attire. As Donatello dons a Turtleoid robe he remarks at the irony; he could understand sneaking around disguised on Earth; a human planet, but here they were on a planet of turtles and they must once again sneak around disguised!

The turtles decide to end Herman the Horrible’s reign of terror once and for all. After Leonardo discovers Herman is no more than a machine, Donatello blasts him with a Pulverizer Ray and Herman the Horrible is soon revealed to be no more than two corrupt Turtleoid leaders who are sick of just using gold for energy and want real gold things. They attempted to overthrow Shellri-La’s government. After capturing Shredder’s mutants as well the turtle teens decide to return home, but are at least thanked by Kerma for saving Shellri-La and says he may return to see them one day. Meanwhile Shredder’s newly created Chrome Dome leads an army of Foot Soldiers to build a smaller version of the Technodrome named the Mini Technodrome. Once the turtles have returned they destroy both the new Technodrome and Chrome Dome. Raphael is sorry Donatello had to leave Shellri-La, but Don remarks he is glad to be back on Earth, for Shellri-La had no video games, and worst of all, no pizza

This feature length adventure was excellent and it was nice to see a bunch of new characters introduced that would appear later in the series, even the turtleoids return for a follow-up .

REVIEW: TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (1987) – SEASON 3-5

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MAIN CAST

Cam Clarke (He-Man 2002)
Barry Gordon (Fish)
Rob Paulsen (Animaniacs)
Townsend Coleman (The Tick)
Pat Fraley (Monsters, Inc.)
James Avery (That 70s Show)
Renae Jacobs (Rose petal Place)
Peter Renaday (General Hospital)
Greg Berg (Transformers)
Hal Rayle (Bionic 6)
Jennifer Darling (Aladdin)
Image result for teenage mutant ninja turtles 80sRECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Alan Oppenheimer (Transformers)
Jack Angel (A.I.)
Susan Blu (Transformers)

Season Three  maintained the series’ annual October-December lifespan but marked a major turning point in its level of exposure: new episodes were now broadcast daily instead of weekly, bringing this season’s count up to a whopping 47. 1989 also saw the series approaching its first major height of popularity: a live-action film was right around the corner, merchandising was in full effect and more new characters were introduced to broaden the series’ scope (and profitability). First appearances include The Rat King, Casey Jones, Metalhead, Usagi Yojimbo, Don Turtelli, Lotus, Leatherhead and more.

Season Four*  runs for 39 episodes and also marked the show’s transition to CBS’ Saturday Morning lineup in addition to weekday syndication. Familiar faces like Shredder and Krang are pushed further into the background—and for those hoping that change is good, you’ll beg for their return once you’re re-introduced to characters like Wilbur Weazell (evil toy mastermind) and Mona Lisa (a mutated female creature who pairs off with Raphael). As for Shredder and Krang, they’ve been re-banished to Dimension X—so along with Bebop and Rocksteady, we don’t see them as often this time around.

Season Five*  scales back with 22 episodes that aired from September-December of 1991, when the series’ impact had started to weaken. By now, TMNT leaned towards a younger demographic, as evidenced by a rotating cast of goofy, one-off villains and less focus on fighting.

Whilst the show was still good, it was with these seasons that they targeted younger and would remain that way for  a while. We also saw a wide ranger of new mutants which was due to the toyline.

REVIEW: TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (1987) – SEASON 1-2

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MAIN CAST

Cam Clarke (He-Man 2002)
Barry Gordon (Fish)
Rob Paulsen (Animaniacs)
Townsend Coleman (The Tick)
Pat Fraley (Monsters, Inc.)
James Avery (That 70s Show)
Renae Jacobs (Rose petal Place)
Peter Renaday (General Hospital)
Jennifer Darling (Aladdin)
Image result for teenage mutant ninja turtles 80s
RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Tress MacNeille (The Simpsons)
Peter Cullen (Transformers)
Jack Angel (A.I.)

If you were alive at any time between 1987 and now, chances are you’ve heard of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Even before that, the popular characters starred in their own comic book series created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. Essentially, it was a kitchen table project; two independent creators having fun, unaware that their creations would grow beyond their wildest dreams. Spawning an endless supply of merchandise, a video game series and several feature films, the TMNT was one of the most successful franchises of the late 80s-early 90s. It’s still going fairly strong today.

Of course, the most well-known adaptation of the Ninja Turtles’ adventures came in the form of their first animated series. Premiering in December of 1987, it was quite a success: it became one of the longest-running kids’ shows in television history, clocking in at nearly 200 episodes over a span of 10 seasons. Sure, each passing year saw the show get a little more ridiculous—eventually causing the show to collapse under its own weight—but the first few years were chock full of classic moments.

This first season (which only includes five episodes that aired during one week) was one of my first vivid memories of 80s pop culture. What made this show so popular were the main characters, who need no introduction but are getting one anyway. Named after four Renaissance-era painters, they are as follows: Leonardo (the sword-wielding leader of the group), Donatello (the tech wizard and all-around geek), Raphael (undisputed master of sarcasm), and Michelangelo (cowabunga, nunchakus, and all that). Master Splinter is their mentor and father figure, cursed to live life as a rat-like human ever since falling victim to the same mutation as his four students. Also on their side is April O’Neil, a local reporter whose journalistic connections prove to be invaluable…if only to help the public see them as the good guys. In later episodes, there would be many more characters that would assist the Turtles, but these are the core heroes of the story for now.

Of course, what successful show would be complete without a line-up of interesting villains? At the heart of the bad guys is Shredder, who remained a fierce adversary of Master Splinter while he was still human. Shredder’s boss, Krang, is a hideous pink brain-like creature from Dimension X, and eventually gets a robotic body so he can run around and cause more trouble. There’s also two goofball henchmen named Rocksteady and Bebop (two street thugs mutated into rhinoceros and warthog-like creatures), as well as an endless supply of robotic Foot Soldiers. Once again, there would be many more adversaries for the Turtles to face, but these are the central baddies.

Season two’s thirteen episodes are lighter in tone and far less violent; the show went international that year, changing from ninja turtles to hero turtles in England, where words like ninja are unaccountably banned from children’s television. A lot of new characters are introduced, such as Irma and Tiffany, the new girlfriend of April O’Neil’s boss Burnes. New monster characters, like a human fly version of Baxter Stockman and a mutated amphibian named Napoleon Bonafrog, appeared first as toys.

The second season arc starts with Krang dispatching Shredder to eliminate the turtles alone. Aliens set him in search of the Eye of Sarnoth, a three-piece crystal that provided the source of several shows’ worth of monsters – rampaging machines, overgrown vines, etc. They shrink the turtles down to a tiny size as well.

The shows do takeoffs on science fiction movies and play with a variety of fresh ideas within the concept. Splinter becomes Hamato Yoshi again in one episode. Giant meatball monsters resemble the frightening creature from the Alien movies, and Shredder’s nerdy henchman Baxter Stockman is reconfigured by one of Krang’s molecular force fields into a lookalike of the original 1958 The Fly.

When the writers borrow, they do a reasonable job of it. In one episode Shredder uses a Pizza bake-off to trap the turtles in the same way that Prince John used an archery tournament to catch Errol Flynn in The Adventures of Robin Hood. The beginning of one episode will now have a different feeling – Shredder tests a new weapon atop the World Trade Center. Finally, the densely plotted final episode has Krang return with the Technodrome through a giant portal at Niagara Falls, while the turtles scramble once again to save the world.

It was a nice show on the road toward more involving entertainment.