In 1984, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic book debuted and it eventually snowballed into a media franchise known the world over. With the comic book gaining a strong following, it was only logical that an animated series followed and it did (though it would be far more child-friendly than the comic). In 1987, TMNT premiered in syndication and it was a huge hit. Saturday mornings were presented with a new animated series that young audiences just ate up.
For those of you unfamiliar with TMNT, the story is quite simple. Four little turtles living in the New York City sewer system are exposed to radioactive waste and become man-sized ku-fu savvy crimefighters. They have a man-sized rat for a sensei and they patrol the streets of New York ridding the city of evil. Oh, and for some reason they seem to really like pizza. They also have a human ally in the form of the voluptuous TV news reporter April O’Neil.
Season three continues chronicling the crimefighting exploits of our four favorite mutated turtles. Each episode has them either chasing or being attacked by the evil Shredder, voiced brilliantly by James Avery (Uncle Phil from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air!) Shredder and his mutated cohort Krang hatch up evil schemes every episode and they are then thwarted by the turtles. You would think they’d learn their lesson by now.
There were four turtles and they each had their own distinct personality and style. Leonardo was the leader and he weld two swords. Donatello was the brains. He would always build elaborate gadgets and vehicles and his weapon of choice was a bo staff. There was Raphael, the comic relief. He was known for his quick wit and sarcasm as well as possessing a strong command over his twin daggers. Lastly, there was Michelangelo, the party animal/surf dude of the group. He was all over the place and was also responsible for some rather amusing catchphrases (“Cowabunga”, etc). His weapon of choice were the nun-chucks.
Though TMNT is a fun, action-packed series, it doesn’t quite hold up when viewing it as an adult. The storylines are silly, the voice-acting over the top, and the dialogue and action just plain zany. Children loved it and they continue to do so with the computer-generated version now airing on Nickelodeon. Kids love the whole good vs. evil theme. It is something that kids have loved, do love and will love for generations to come. TMNT captures that scenario beautifully and children are lucky to have those four crimefighters in their lives.
With 47 episodes spread out over 4 discs, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Season 3 is a DVD set worthy of any fan or budding fan. The animation and music may seem a tad dated but that’s okay. The 80s were a great time for television and TMNT is strong evidence of that. If you have kids or know of people who do, then this is the perfect gift for them. You don’t even have to start with the first season, just give them this set and tell them to just press play.
TMNT was a Saturday morning entity and it continues to be now on Nickelodeon. Saturday mornings to a child are like discovering buried treasure. Each program they watch and each brand of cereal they consume created for them a foundation that is simply full of joy. TMNT supplied joy not only from the show’s entertainment value but the simultaneous activity of playing with TMNT toys. Playmates produced action figures, vehicles and playsets to coincide with the TMNT show. This brilliant combination is what many kids of the late 80s/early 90s grew up on and it was simply heaven. Now, approaching three decades, the turtles are almost as strong as ever and with a new live-action film being released next year, a whole new generation of audiences will be introduced to the franchise. TMNT is a franchise known internationally, having spawned movies, toys and TV series. With such a unique premise and a likable group of characters, TMNT are here to stay.
DVD Bonus Features
Unfortunately, there are no bonus features for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Season 3.