DVD Review: “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Season 7”

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Season 7 (2009, Lionsgate)

Unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock for the past 25 years, you’ve heard of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or TMNT. You may not know that the turtle with the blue mask is Leonardo, the leader; the turtle wearing the red mask is Raphael, the bad boy; the one in the orange mask is Michelangelo, the party animal; and the turtle donning the purple mask is Donatello, the resident genius. But you should know that they exist, first as a comic book, then as a long running animated television series, then as a series of live action films, then a live action television series, then a new animated series, then a new animated film, and of course, a mother load of merchandising. Ah, the merchandising. If the there is one thing this long running brand has, it’s merchandising. Case in point, the new 7th season of the mid 80’s, early 90’s animated series, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Season 7 includes 27 episodes released for the first time ever as four separate collectible DVDs featuring one of the characters on each cover. Each disc includes different episodes from the season plus a collectible mini Turtles Action Figure. Genius. But of course, the people behind TMNT have always been business savvy.

Created in the mid 80’s by comic book artist Kevin Eastman and his friend Peter Laird, the two men wrote Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as a parody of the big super hero/mutant comics popular at the time (think X-Men and Daredevil). Never in their wildest dreams could they have expected their one self published comic to become a multi-billion dollar empire. By the late 80’s, there were toys, movies, and of course, the long running animated series that sucked in the attention of young kids around the world.

Let me tell you as a father whose son flipped when these DVD’s arrived at the house, the 80’s TMNT series still captures the hearts of little kids everywhere. Together, the two of us sat down and watched almost every episode together. He sang the theme song with me and pointed out the characters I didn’t recognize (by season 7 they had to have more villains than Shredder). Together we laughed at the bad jokes and cheered at the cartoony action. Sure, the stories are a little weak by the 7th season and, like most 80’s animated series, the drawings are a bit clunky and the lip assignment doesn’t always match up. But looking at my boy as he watched with open eyes, and observing how my daughter even got caught up in some of the episodes, I realized that TMNT was quite entertaining for a kids cartoon.

What I like about the packaging of this 7th season of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is that instead of having to purchase the entire season, you have the option to sample several episodes at a time and gradually collect the multiple episodes. The Leonardo DVD includes episodes in which the Turtles save the Eiffel Tower, and they must stop a glacier meltdown. The Michelangelo DVD includes the young ninjas battling monster sheep and putting the freeze on a deadly heat ray. The Donatello DVD features stories in which Shredder and Krang activate the dreaded Technodrome. The Raphael DVD includes episodes in which a vengeful fly who wants to change all humans into insects and a Mutant Hunter who’s targeted the Turtles.

DVD extras include on look back on the Multimillion dollar Turtle toy line; interviews with TMNT creators Laird and Eastman; and a look and the devoted fans of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Whether you want to experience some nostalgia, or you want to share some of what you found exciting in your youth with your own kids, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Season 7 is harmless way to hang out with your young turtle loving children and have some mindless fun.