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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Children > Superhero > Martial Arts > Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Season 7 (Parts 1-4) + The Complete Season 8 (Lionsgate DVD)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Season 7 (Parts 1-4) + The Complete Season 8 (Lionsgate DVD)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C+/D     Episodes: B/B-



Oh Shellshock!  We are finally coming down the home stretch of the ten season run of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  With only Season 9 and 10 (a total of 16 episodes between the 2 Seasons) Turtles’ fans will be clamoring to complete their animated collection that started over 5 years ago.  The episodes are still not of the best quality in terms of picture and sound for these DVD releases; but the episodes remain fun and continue to deliver the quality turtle action fans have come to expect.


Under review here are Seasons 7 and 8 of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series.  Season 7 is presented in 4 individual volumes (entitled Parts 1-4) and each set features a different TMNT on the cover along with including a TMNT miniature action figure that reflects that same turtle.  The individual volumes are obnoxiously huge (due to having to house the 2.5” TMNT toy) at about the size of three DVD cases stacked on top of one another; though they are very light weight and only hold a single DVD with 6-7 episodes on each disc [Part 1 has 6 episodes and the rest have 7].  Though it is hard to say what order the studio decided to put the season sets in (most likely being aired order father than production order) Season 7 starts off with the fan dubbed “European Vacation” episodes of the TMNT Series.  The episodes were originally produced (and fit into the story arch) of Season 4, but never saw the light of day until Season 7; making the Season 7 box set odd to view as the first 13 Episodes don’t exactly mesh with the next 14 episodes, due to the confusion with air date/production date.


Nevertheless, the episode order is not all so distracting that it detracts from the TMNT experience; in fact it is nice to know that the studio stuck to their guns of using the air date as a marker for what is considered a season.  Season 7 marks the beginning of the end for the TMNT that fans had grown to love over the past 7 seasons; as with Season 8 we would see a darker, less fluffy TMNT than had been viewed in years past.  This is not to say that the TMNT turned into an emo, bloody, gothic series; but some things definitely changed as slapstick humor was out and edgy was in for Saturday morning cartoons.  The episodes of Season 7 are just as great and brilliant as they always were and whereas the TMNTs were certainly never Shakespeare, they certainly did (and do) manage to capture the hearts, minds, and undying devotion of a cavalcade of fans.


Whereas Season 7 had the ever so slightly “darker edge” than we had previously seen from the TMNT; Season 8 completely turned the series in a new direction.  From the first second of viewing Season 8 fans will notice a drastic difference as the classic TMNT theme song has been replaced by an odd and uncreative track that darker and intertwines clips from the 1st TMNT film and the newest episodes (i.e. Season 8).  The change in the theme song was the first of several ill choices that were made for the series in Season 8.  The zaniness that had been the first 7 seasons of TMNT, with pizza chomping and corny jokes reigning supreme, had now for Season 8 been replaced with straight arrow “butt kicking” turtles that had no time to be “party dudes.”  It was almost as if they went from frat boys to investment bankers.


With only 8 episodes in Season 8 fans will be disappointed to find everyone of them lacking the classic turtle elements lifted it to the success it had become.  Bebop and Rocksteady were suddenly competent henchman, Irma was nowhere to be found, and the sky had even turned red (apparently even God knew the show had gone to hell)!  These changes are not to say that Season 8-10 were all bad; they were very different, but not necessarily bad.  The creative team chose to utilize a formula that had not been used since Season 2, as they returned to using the eight episode run to create one huge story arch rather than the very individualized episodes of the previous seasons.  The darker turtle edge was and is a bit hard to get used to and has its merits.  If you loved the TMNT up to this point, now is not the time to slow down.


The technical features have not worsened over the past 8 seasons, but they certainly have not improved either.  The picture is once again presented in a 1.33 x 1 full screen that remains gritty, unclear at times, and overall retains the quality of an analog VHS.  Whereas I may have been a little too kind in rating the picture as a “C+” in the past, now is not the time to change as the picture remains of the same quality (both good and bad) as it always has.  Perhaps one day we will see a remastered release of these brilliantly classic episodes, but for now just be happy that we are on the path to having a full series collection of all 10 seasons.  The sound remains stagnantly adequate in its 2.0 Stereo track minimally gets the job done as it projects solely from the front.  The sound for the most part is clear and concise, but certainly will not add any turtle power to the presentation.


Whereas Season 8 does not feature any bonus features (sadly), the turtle team did manage to (quickly) throw together 4 featurettes for the 25th Anniversary of the TMNTs and the Season 7 release.  Season 7 offers fans 1 bonus featurette per volume (or Part in this case).  The featurettes are as follows; Part 1 A Shellabration with Points of Articulation: A Look Back at the Most Turtletastic Toys; Part 2 New Interviews with TMNT Creator; Part 3 New Interviews with the hit Show’s Creative Team, Devoted and Die-Hard TMNT Fans Speak.  The bonus feature on Part 1 is the most intriguing (at least by the title) as it presumably features one of the biggest and longest running toy series in history; but I am sad to say it is not all it is cracked up to be.  The bonus feature minimally showcases the classic toy series and instead talks with the “new staff” at Playmates to slightly discuss how big the franchise has gotten and the process of developing an action figure.  Other than that the featurette briefly shows some old television ads for the TMNT action figures; personally this reviewer feels it was too short (at ~5minutes) and did not feature enough of the ads.  The other featurettes on Parts 2-4 offer little as the featurettes are way too short and exceedingly drab.  If anything I am happy that some effort toward extras was made for at least one TMNT release.


Eight Seasons down, two to go!  COWABUNGA!!



-   Michael P. Dougherty II


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