Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2003 Cartoon

Continuing the celebration of the 30th anniversary of TMNT, I moved on to re-watching the first season of the 2003 cartoon.  While this cartoon didn’t do all that great on its own, I really liked it.  Staying closer to the Mirage origins, the 2k3 TMNT maintained a bit of a more serious and gritty tone, even bordering into dark territory in some episodes. The first season, however was pretty accessible with a few off base adventures spiritually true to the comic while main stories often were drawn direct from the comic itself.

While I don’t like voice actor for Splinter nearly as much as the original Fred Wolf cartoon, the turtles themselves are good and I actually like Michaelangelo particularly better than the original surfer dude style.  Their personalities are well defined and each turtle does get their share of episodes focused on them through the first season.

April’s back story as Baxter Stockman’s assistant is straight from the Mirage comics as well as Splinter’s origin as a rat pet to Hamato Yoshi.  Shredder and the Foot are the primary nemesis for the first season, though there are a few side stories involving criminals or rarely other mutations with most side stories being more of a sci-fi element.

The one thing I didn’t care for through the first season was the mysterious Guardians watching the turtles and keeping tabs on Oroku Saki.  By the end of the season, Splinter disappears and is found in suspended animation, held by the ones behind the guardians: the utroms.  The season cliffhanger is the turtles being teleported, just like the comics.

I got into the 2k3 series after it had been out a while and was airing the Fast Forward episodes.  I started with the DVDs, which were already a bit pricey and hard to find, but I wasn’t able to pick up anything past Season 1 as the prices have skyrocketed to madness in recent years.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see a complete series box set in August when the movie comes out. I would expect Nick would be more than happy to cash in on as many different releases as possible, though the dark tone of the 2k3 series might be something they don’t particularly want to release with the current series doing so well.

I would be particularly happy if they did release it, though.  I’d like to see more of the series, despite the later, rather confusing, revelations surrounding Shredder as an utrom named Ch’rell, though there was a Tengu Shredder in the past, as well as an Oroku Saki separate from the current Saki-Ch’rell-Shredder, and then the Cyber Shredder, and….well, yeah, it seemed they ran out of ideas outside of “keep using Shredder.”  Still, for the first few seasons at least, the 2k3 series seemed pretty good.

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