When the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series came out on DVD, they decided to go the 12 episodes on one disk Volume approach. Sure it was only $10, but when you are looking at near 200 episodes and realized that it would 16+ volumes to make it complete, it was a bit overwhelming. Add that to the fact they were only releasing a new volume every 4-6 months, you were looking at well over 5 years to get all of the episodes. Plus some major shelf space. Thank …goodness after 6 volumes, they finally realized their error (took them long enough) and released Season 4 in one nice gulp. All 40 episodes spread over 5 discs. Less compression and a higher production value all around.
Season Four was an interesting landmark for the TMNT franchise. It was the move to CBS Networks. This would mark for many the start of losing creative control. A more scripted environment and less ad-libing which is something was crucial to the success of the Turtles. Despite the show’s action tendencies there was a lot of very funny humor. Especially when any of the characters made a fourth dimension stab (jokes that were about the fact they were on a cartoon show). These were certainly still present in the 4th season and beyond (the show would last roughly half a dozen more seasons) but they were more structured and less frequent. Some of the plots also suffered from being very child like and having no adult (or teen) interest value. Still a great show, but sometimes when you have amazing voices & writing talents; you have to let them go. Despite this, this was still my favorite superhero series growing up, second only to the original Batman Animated Series.
The video is the standard tv definition 1:33 to 1. There does look like there was some restoration work done but not too much. Good stuff for 15 year old material. Especially 15 year old tv material that might or might not have been well preserved. The colors are good, and there is some grain and fuzz but nothing that is too hard on the eyes.
English 2.0 Dolby Surround is all we get for audio. It’s certainly decent, but nothing special to be found here. I’m always secretly wishing for a Transformers 5.1 enhancement but I feel good that all of my front speakers will be used well with a little bass to boot. The dialog is clear and action sequences sound about right so nothing I can complain about.
Automatic Trailers: Put on each disc, the same trailers. They are TMNT Fast Forward (looks to be the worst TMNT series yet and completely kid friendly), Invincible Iron Man (produced like the Ultimate Avengers films which I found both to be pretty good), and something called the Amazing Screw on Head which bizarre doesn’t even begin to explain this one. (One of these things is not like the other *whistle*).
Under the Shell with Krang and Slash (Pat Fraley)4:49: A pretty cool interview with Pat Fraley who lends his voice most importantly to the mutant brain known as Krang. Pat goes into detail about he came up with the voices (acting them out as he talks about them) and how he was a hit at birthday parties for his kids. (Even a villain boys and girls can be loads of fun when interacting with today’s youth)
Under the Shell with the Shredder (James Avery)4:43: Another good interview, this time with the guy who you might know as the father in the The Fresh Prince. He is a little more reserved as you might expect, but still very funny. He talks about how Season 4 started to change things. As with the first interview I do wish it would have went 5 to 10 minutes longer.
Fresh from the Oven: A Recipe for a Cowabunga Cheese Pizza Fit for a Ninja Turtle: *scratches head*, while the idea in theory is a good one, this recipe just makes me laugh. First of all it suggests a ready made pizza crust and pizza sauce with some parmesan and mozzarella. That’s not a recipe. That’s on the back of the ready made pizza crust. I’ve made real pizza before, it’s hard work. To be honest, they should have included the recipe on back of the Jiffy’s pizza dough box. At least there you have to put some elbow grease into it. Seriously though, what kid (or adult) is going to follow this? This is what they are going to follow; either a)preheat oven b)open up frozen pizza box; take out frozen pizza and c)cook for 10 to 20 minutes depending on size and type of pizza OR a)call your favorite pizza place, b)wait 20 to 45 minutes and c)open up the door, pay for your pizza (or flirt with the delivery person if they happen to be female), and eat. Not to mention, the special ingredient they suggest is asparagus. Now the turtles made bizarre pizza, but never did I hear them suggest anything about disgusting leafy green vegetables.
If you ever take time to read the old Eastman and Laird comic books about the Turtles, it wasn’t exactly all about pizza and funny escapades. It was dark, it was gritty, it was really interesting and not your typical superhero comic book. The cartoon series and any of the movies (though I haven’t seen the last one so I can’t elaborate too much on that) are a different animal. They are still interesting and fun to watch and had some adult humor nods. However with the start of Season 4, some of this became watered down. Ad-libs were far less frequent and the plots often became down right cheesy. Despite all of this, the TMNT series was one of the best on television. Good plots involving Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michaelangelo against the Shredder/Krang alliance with touches of humor and excellent story telling. This dvd delivers and will give you 40 episodes of turtle goodness. This would be a good show to start out your young boy (or girl) on if you want to introduce them to the world of good superhero cartoons. Personal question I wish to ask however, is it wrong that I had a crush on April O’Neil the reporter with short red hair and a very shapely fitting yellow outfit? Just checking…just checking.
“Plan 6 from Outer Space”
“Turtles Of The Jungle”
“Michaelangelo Toys Around”
“Four Turtles And A Baby”
“Rondo In New York”
“Planet Of The Turtles”
“Name That Toon”
“Menace, Maestro Please”
“Super Hero For A Day”
“Back To The Egg”
“Son Of Return Of The Fly”
“Raphael Knocks ‘Em Dead”
“Bebop and Rocksteady Conquer The Universe”
“Raphael Meets His Match”
“Slash – The Evil Turtle From Dimension X”
“Leonardo Lightens Up”
“Were-Rats from Channel 6”
“Funny, They Shrunk Michaelangelo”
“The Big Zipp Attack”
“Donatello Makes Time”
“Farewell, Lotus Blossom”
“Rebel Without A Fin”
“Michaelangelo Meets Bugman”
“Poor Little Rich Turtle”
“What’s Michaelangelo Good For?”
“The Dimension X Story”
“The Bug Cufflink Caper”
“Leonardo Versus Tempestra”
“Raphael Drives ‘Em Wild”
“Beyond The Donatello Nebula”
“Big Bug Blunder”
“The Foot Soldiers Are Revolting”
“Unidentified Flying Leonardo”
“Turtles And The Hare”
Special Features List
- Under the Shell with Krang and Slash (Pat Fraley)
- Under the Shell with the Shredder (James Avery)
- Fresh from the Oven: A Recipe for a Cowabunga Cheese Pizza Fit for a Ninja Turtle