Season 7, Pt. 1 - The Leonardo SliceOver the last several years, fans of the original “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”  television cartoon – now mostly in their 20’s - have been in a constant state of anticipation awaiting the release of each season. And Lions Gate hasn’t disappointed, putting out a new collection of episodes each year since 2004, typically in the spring time. This time around – in honor of the 25th anniversary of TMNT (yes it HAS been that long), they’ve gone a bit beyond the standard release by splitting the season into four separate parts (called “slices”) – each with its own packaging prominently featuring one of our favorite shelled heroes on the cover. Along with the DVD in each set comes an undeniably cool mini-action figure matching the turtle on the cover, complete with the turtle’s weapon of choice. And, though it’s admittedly gimmicky, there’s an added bonus: the four covers match up to create a connected cityscape backdrop Season 7, Pt. 2 - The Michelangelo Slicefeaturing all four turtles. Yes, the packaging is overkill, and yes all four DVDs could have fit into one singularly compact set… but they definitely look cool laid out side-by-side, and as the TMNT branders know, turtle fans are nothing if not obsessive.

That being said, this collection of 27 episodes isn’t the cream of the crop – or the cheese on the pizza, for that matter. But let’s be honest, what children’s cartoon really lives up to the expectations of a reminiscent adult? And only the first two seasons of this particular cartoon were of high enough quality for anyone besides a true turtle fan to enjoy over a decade after airing – thankfully, this reviewer happens to be just such a fan. In 1993, TMNT was in its seventh season, and it’s clear that the writers were looking for a way to give the turtles a little twist, and sending them on a world tour isn’t a bad choice. Spending a good deal of time traversing the globe – mostly in Europe – the turtles are constantly confronted with the evil plots of Krang (at this point in the series Shredder is mostly just Krang’s right-hand servant rather than an outright menace to the turtles on his own). As they drive from Paris to Portugal to the Alps to Ireland to Rome (in the Turtle Mobile, natch), the turtles, with Splinter in tow, are just looking for a good time. What they get are various chances to save the world from massive destruction. And somehow April, Irma, and that overtly hateable and effeminate Vernon manage to be covering a story in the general vicinity of the turtle’s travels – just to round out the cast. In addition to their world travels, the turtles are faced with a surprising amount of alien activity – from the standard Krang attacks to uppity aliens attempting to rob Earthlings of their most treasured artifacts.

Like the pizza the turtles are constantly craving, the jokes here are incredibly cheesy. But if you grew up watching the Season 7, Pt. 4 - The Raphael Sliceturtles every Saturday morning it’s hard not to get sucked into the general absurdity of the story lines: April is being transformed into the lost queen of Atlantis!, the metal in the Eiffel Tower is being used to draw the Technodrome out of Dimension X!, an evil Mutant Hunter wants to see the Turtles dead!… the list goes on. Overall, there’s almost 10 hours of turtle action in this 4-DVD set and most of it ends with the requisite collective laughter following a groan-worthy one-liner. Each 22-minute episode is classic nostalgia pouring out of your television set. Season 7, Pt. 3 - The Donatello SliceHowever, the special features included on each disc are a little lackluster. For example, there’s one called “A Look Back at the Most Turtle-tastic Toys” that’s really just a 4-minute collection of short interviews with creators Eastman and Laird, and a few higher-ups at Playmate toys. The teasing shots of toy commercials from the ’80s leave viewers wishing that this special feature lived up to its title.

The fact that the complete collection has to be purchased one disc at a time rather than as a complete collection can be either positive or negative, depending on what you’re looking for. It’s nice to be able to pick and choose which episodes you want, but it would also be nice to be able to get them all at once in a box set. However you feel about it, the new release is at least innovative, and feeds directly into the TMNT fan base. After the recent announcement that a new live-action turtle film is in the work, now is the perfect time to revisit the original cartoon.

Zach’s Rating: 8 (out of 10) - Points taken away because though the 4-disc release is cool, a single collection featuring all 27 episodes and the four mini action figures would not only be more eco-friendly, but would give fans the ability to own the entire 7th season as a single entity.

To purchase any (or more likely ALL) of the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” Season 7 DVDs in the new collection, visit Amazon

For more information on the Turtle’s 25th Anniversary, visit the 25th Anniversary homepage

And for a collection of “totally tubular” turtle sounds, check out this soundboard widget

Be Sociable, Share!