Friday, September 7, 2012

Daytime Heroes: Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation (1997)

One of the dumbest moves Mirage Studios co-founder Peter Laird ever made was a licensing deal turning TV rights to his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to Haim Saban. Instead of Saban producing a new animated series, the Turtles, after 3 live-action movies earlier in the 90's, were tried out in a weekly live-action series, Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation, which aired Friday afternoons instead of Saturday mornings on Fox for one season of 26 episodes in 1997-8.

There were two significant things about this series. One, the Turtles met one incarnation of the Power Rangers, which at the time was Saban's #1 franchise for Fox, appearing on Power Rangers in Space. The other was the addition of a 5th turtle, a female, christened Venus di Milo, after the famous statue. Ever since Next Mutation was cancelled, Venus has been retconned out of the Turtles' canon. Laird, it is said, wasn't fond of her, and the perception is that she was forced onto the franchise by either Saban or Fox suits, the latter looking to hook female viewers since April O'Neil, the Turtles' human aide, was missing from this series.

We have seen before how Saban has fumbled other companies properties (i.e. Avengers: United We Stand), and so it would appear that Next Mutation was just such an example.

Here's the intro:

The Turtles have always been more successful in animated form, as evidenced by the latest series, currently airing on Nicktoons. This was exhibit A as to why this show should've also been a cartoon.

Rating: C-.

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