Thursday, June 20, 2019

How to End A Series: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987-1996)

Ironically, this Segment about the end of something is actually returning after nearly a Decade!

I will be open- I was a HUGE fan of the Ninja Turtles as a kid.  I don't remember which one was my favorite, but it was probably Michelangelo.

What I also don't remember well is how the Show ended.  There's a reason: it died a long, slow death.

Fun Fact: the last Episode aired in 1996.  No, really.

Like most kids, I had moved on by that point, so I finally saw the last Episode of the Series in 2019.
Long story short: found a DVD at a Thrift Store and watched all of the Episodes (all 8).

Let's begin, shall we?
Some quick info...
- This is the infamous 'red sky' run of the Series.  Basically, they were told to be darker like Batman, so it was always night and the sky was red.
- Shredder and Krang were replaced with Lord Dregg, an evil alien guy who wanted to conquer the Universe.

This one begins right in the action with the team battling a random alien.  He talks about 'lasting 90 seconds' and then teleports away.
It's all part of Dregg's latest (and last) plan.  He was testing the aliens to find the best ones...
...for him to absorb the powers of.

At this point, he abandons his 'conquer the Universe plans' and just wants to kill the Turtles.
The suit gives more power than ever, making him nigh unstoppable.

Weirdly though, the physics here are bonkers.  He's giant, but a burst water pipe shoots him back like 100 feet and the gang escapes.
The only solution to stop him: retrieve Krang's robot body to battle Dregg.

It's actually a nice call back, even if they ruin it a bit later.  You see...
Their plan involves fighting Dregg until the suit will explode from using its power (the one Krang used 100s of times).

They use the super move of 'jump on his back' and toss him into a portal, seemingly killing him (for the 3rd time in 8 Episodes).
The only thing to signify that this is the end: Splinter declaring that they are now his equals.

Aw, that's...it?  That's the final Episode?  The f--k?!?
What a letdown.  To note, half of this Season- assuming that the DVD Set is accurate- was taken up by one big Story.  After that, they just give you a few one-off Stories and...that's it.  Why not do it the other way around?  That Story involved big battles, giant robots, the return of villains like Krang and Shredder, time travel and two sets of Turtles.  That's not your Series Finale?  Instead, you just have the villain go extra-mental and try to kill them with one last scheme.  With no clear proof that he's dead, Splinter just decides that they are fully-trained and he's their equal now.  As noted, Dregg escaped seeming death twice already this Season alone, so why does this one seem final to them?  It's probably not the most anti-climactic ending to a Show like this- as you could maybe argue that the threat is over-, but it has to be up there.  This is the culmination of 10 Seasons!  For contrast, Justice League Unlimited ended with a two-part battle for Earth against Darkseid, a threat so big that they teamed up with the villains!  Now imagine if that was the culmination of the first four Episodes and they ended with a random one-off (for instance, The Great Brain Robbery).  What a letdown, right?  The Show had been on a bit of a downward slide, to be fair, as it faced a changing market- with Batman and others- and tried to change too much to match it.  There's more silliness that I'll cover in a separate Post, but, trust me, this is a weird and dumb Season.  To cap things off, they end with...an exploding popcorn bag!
What a sudden, abrupt end.  Considering that this was Season 10, this sure is...well, anti-climactic.  Cowabunga?

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