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Old 07-03-2020, 09:45 AM   #1
MrAustin
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Watching the OG Fred Wolf Series

Hi Everyone! Hope you?re all doing as well as can be.

In a totally un-unique story, I loved TMNT as a kid (I grew up with the 4Kids show) but somewhere around 2011 I lost interest. Flash forward to February of this year and I stumbled upon the IDW comic and my interest in the franchise significantly bloomed; I became pretty obsessed with the idea of reading as many of the comics and watching as many of the shows/movies/ConcertAbominations as possible and to that end, I've accomplished quite a bit.

The other day I finished my marathon of the Fred Wolf cartoon and it was such a rollercoaster. By the end of it, my brain was leaking and my soul felt weak, but I did it! It's interesting, despite the often shameless plot repetition episode-to-episode, despite the lack of narrative momentum or consistency in animation, as a whole, the show just glows.

Of course, it's maybe a double edged sword in how it exploded the franchise's popularity while also keeping its ability to evolve in a bit of limbo, but there's something magnetic about the show, almost in spite of itself?

Well, now on to The Next Mutation and finishing up the Archie comic run.

What do you guys think about the OG show? Especially those who didn't necessarily grow up with it.

Last edited by MrAustin; 07-03-2020 at 04:01 PM.
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Old 07-03-2020, 10:09 AM   #2
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The original TMNT cartoon was basically The Simpsons, Pokemon, or Spongebob of its day where it could have theoretically run forever on the same basic plots like those shows do.

It's the longest lasting cartoon of it's time with 194 episodes and 10 seasons, and still to this day one of the longest lasting non-adult comedy cartoons of all time.
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Old 07-03-2020, 10:51 AM   #3
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I can't come up with too much to say that I haven't already said a million times.

Loved it as a kid, liked the movie better. Liked the Archie comics mostly-better. Kinda lost a little patience for the cartoon around '93 due to how stagnant it was, while the movie and Archie comics seemed to have actual stakes and personal growth for the characters. Kept up with it off-and-on until it was cancelled. Liked Red Sky more than most people do, simply because it at least tried to evolve and was more fitting with what "action" cartoons were doing in that time period, while the previous seasons were all still squarely locked into what was standard for 1989. A change was welcome and long overdue, although Red Sky had its own share of problems which kept me from really embracing it, but I admired the attempt at evolution. Better to aim high and fall short than just keep spinning your wheels forever.

It's all over the place. Some episodes I think hold up very well, and there's a lot where I have to wonder how dumb they thought we were to put up with it. I've seen the entire series more than once but I can't marathon it. So far I just can't push through; after a while, the bad stuff gets SO bad, with a lot of really crappy episodes packed very close together for a significant stretch, that it hits a point where I don't even care that it's not always gonna be that bad, I just can't keep watching it and have to do something else for a long, long time. It's not ALL that bad, not even close, but when this show was bad it was VERY bad. And while the Good Ones are more Good than the Bad Ones are Bad, there are so many Bad-To-Mediocre ones that it drags the entire show's "batting average" down substantially. I wish they'd had about a third as many total episodes and just had them all be as relatively consistent as the first two seasons were; that'd be preferable to almost 200 episodes of "Some Gems, Some Meh, and a Lotta Junk Taking Up Space".

I'm very critical of it, but I don't hate it. There's definitely a lot of episodes I could watch anytime and they'd be entertaining. They're just vastly outnumbered by ones I have to be in the mood for, and ones I need to be drunk for.
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Old 07-03-2020, 11:00 AM   #4
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I posted all my thoughts on the whole series season by season of the Fred wolf tmnt show here

Good show , also didn't really watch it as a kid much so not a lot of bias

Last edited by sdp; 07-03-2020 at 01:39 PM.
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Old 07-03-2020, 11:37 AM   #5
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I grew up with the series. When the first episode aired, I was six years old. When the final episode aired, I was 15 years old. I didn't initially get into the series when it became popular. It wasn't until after the movie came out in 1990 that I started to really enjoy the cartoon. Even as a child though, I wanted the cartoon to be more like the "red sky" era. Unfortunately, that didn't end up coming to be until I was a teenager. I do feel that the original cartoon can be a very entertaining show. Just don't take it too seriously, and enjoy it for what it is.
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Old 07-03-2020, 11:53 AM   #6
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Season one was good. It had a beginning, middle and a kinda satisfying end.

Season two wasn't as good, but still had a beginning, middle and an end, although nowhere near as satisfying or focus

Season 3 completely lost me about 5 episodes in. Haven't seen anything more than that, and I don't plan on ever watching more. The Show just isn't my thing
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Old 07-03-2020, 12:06 PM   #7
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I posted all my thoughts on the whole series season by season of the Fred wolf tmnt show here https://miscrave.com/articles/tmnt-1987/
I always thought Baxter Stockman was arrested for causing destruction of property. His mousers destroyed entire buildings, and leftover pieces from the the mousers were probably found.
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Old 07-03-2020, 12:35 PM   #8
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Raphael is the character to watch for in the original series. Also, Shredder and Krang are very similar to Felix and Oscar from The Odd Couple. It?s hard to forget the over the top episodes (Donatello?s Degree).

I wish there were a series for the original Playmates toyline. Double strapped belts on Donatello and Leonardo, shirtless Shredder, April with a handgun, and Krang with his brain-drain gun. I wouldn?t miss an episode of that.
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Old 07-03-2020, 02:18 PM   #9
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It's a good series for the time and for what it was: simple childish comedy with references to the contemporary stuff.
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Old 07-03-2020, 02:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrAustin View Post
Hi Everyone! Hope you?re all doing as well as can be.

In a totally un-unique story, I loved TMNT as a kid (I grew up with the 4Kids show) but somewhere around 2011 I lost interest. Flash forward to February of this year and I stumbled upon the IDW comic and my interest in the franchise significantly bloomed; I became pretty obsessed with the idea of reading as many of the comics and watching as many of the shows/movies/ConcertAbominations as possible and to that end, I?ve accomplished quite a bit.

The other day I finished my marathon of the Fred Wolf cartoon and it was such a rollercoaster. By the end of it, my brain was leaking and my soul felt weak, but I did it! It?s interesting, despite the often shameless plot repetition episode-to-episode, despite the lack of narrative momentum or consistency in animation, as a whole, the show just glows.

Of course, it?s maybe a double edged sword in how it exploded the franchise?s popularity while also keeping its ability to evolve in a bit of limbo, but there?s something magnetic about the show, almost in spite of itself?

Well, now on to The Next Mutation and finishing up the Archie comic run.

What do you guys think about the OG show? Especially those who didn?t necessarily grow up with it.
Welcome to the forums, friend. Greetings! IDW got me BACK into the TMNT
as well, after a long absence. If you don't mind me asking, what's your age range? Younger audiences seem to be able to handle the FW toon far better than young adults or old near middle aged fogies like myself.

Your path is very similar to mine as after I read IDW I too went on a TMNT binge and watched, read and consumed EVERYTHING.
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Old 07-03-2020, 03:02 PM   #11
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I grew up loving the show and still kinda like it as an adult, but it?s a guilty pleasure with ups and downs. Haven?t watched most of the episodes in years and wouldn?t consider it to be a ?good? series, but I?ve enjoyed most eps I?ve seen recently (primarily from seasons 1, 2 and 7).

It?s one of the shows I have to be in the mood for watching it, though, as the pizza jokes and catchphrases can become tiresome after a while. Best watched in small doses. Could never do a marathon of the entire series.
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Old 07-03-2020, 04:00 PM   #12
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I loved the series, It was the gold standard at the time and i think still is. Many of the current iterations borrowed from it. The characters who were originally from the series appeared in other comics and other media and became canon to the mythology.
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Old 07-03-2020, 05:17 PM   #13
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The Fred Wolf cartoon is the Batman ‘66 to the TMNT universe. It’s the most iconic children’s TV show of the late 1980s and early 1990s.
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Old 07-03-2020, 05:27 PM   #14
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The Fred Wolf cartoon is the Batman ?66 to the TMNT universe. It?s the most iconic children?s TV show of the late 1980s and early 1990s.
That's a good analogy.
Never thought of it in those terms.
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Old 07-03-2020, 07:44 PM   #15
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I think it was probably, or just maybe, "the best" kids' cartoon on the air from the first couple seasons until Batman: TAS showed up, but if we're being honest, what else was going on at that exact moment? He-Man was long in re-runs and "New Adventures" was ignored for being "meh". G.I. Joe was pretty much on the way out, same thing. "Super-Friends" ("Super Powers" by then) was off the air for years and not even in re-runs. There were no really, really "good" cartoons that conveniently enough also had an accompanying toy line. The door was wide open and TMNT slipped right in, but it was definitely a Right Place/Right Time situation.

The only other real "competition" I can think of for the FW TMNT cartoon when it first came out was "The Real Ghostbusters", which was generally a much better show than TMNT, or anything else, really, early on in its run, but by that point was already winding down as well. I'd have to check but I think by the time TMNT came out RGB had already tacked on the abysmal "Slimer and the RGB" stuff that was pretty much the death rattle for the series. And Ghostbusters was always more aimed at boys and didn't have as much cross-over appeal as things like TMNT ended up having, partly by design. The brand got a nice kick in the butt for a minute when Ghostbusters 2 came out, but even with that, all the kids pretty much knew that the party was over. The only people I knew who were still buying RGB toys or watching the cartoon in 1989-ish were very, very fanatical, like me. Keep in mind that kids have very, very short attention spans and are always impatiently waiting to move on to the next thing (and make fun of other kids for still liking The Old Thing), and TMNT was perfectly positioned to be the "Next Thing" after He-Man/RGB/G.I/Joe/etc. all died out.

Point being, I don't say this to disparage the original TMNT cartoon, but timing is everything. And people may not want to admit this, but when TMNT came out and for the first couple seasons until X-Men and Batman, it benefited greatly from being the best of a very, very weak crop of kids cartoons. If it had came on TV two years earlier or two years later, it probably would not have become the phenomenon that it did. They caught fire at exactly the right time and had the market to themselves, briefly. Thus, "Turtlemania". Once Batman:TAS, X-Men, and Spider-Man came along, a lot of the heat died down, and once Power Rangers came along, TMNT was dead in the water. None of the reboot shows have had anywhere near the success the original had, because there's always been a lot of competition when they've come out and they haven't had the whole stage to themselves ever since the very first couple FW seasons. When kids had other things to watch, TMNT became one of many things they watched. When there was nothing else to watch, it was a "phenomenon", but not at any other time in its existence.

It was definitely one of the better kids shows of its era for a while and I'm not saying it wasn't, and I do think that it was always going to be successful, because it was better than a lot of the shows that came before and after it. But it was only ever "huge" when there was absolutely no competition for it, and I feel like that fact shouldn't be overlooked. And that's why people are kind of trapping themselves when they yearn for or aim for recapturing that whole "Turtlemania" thing; that show came along at a time when it almost had to succeed and had an empty stage on which to perform. That's a huge deal.
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Old 07-03-2020, 07:57 PM   #16
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"OG Fred Wolf Series"? Strange way of putting it.

Fred Wolf only produced a single TMNT show and the franchise did not start with them.
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Old 07-03-2020, 09:30 PM   #17
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I posted all my thoughts on the whole series season by season of the Fred wolf tmnt show here

Good show , also didn't really watch it as a kid much so not a lot of bias
Looking forward to reading through that! Thank you for sharing
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Old 07-03-2020, 09:33 PM   #18
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Welcome to the forums, friend. Greetings! IDW got me BACK into the TMNT
as well, after a long absence. If you don't mind me asking, what's your age range? Younger audiences seem to be able to handle the FW toon far better than young adults or old near middle aged fogies like myself.

Your path is very similar to mine as after I read IDW I too went on a TMNT binge and watched, read and consumed EVERYTHING.
Thank you so much for the warm welcome! I'm 26 and it's been about 12-13 years or so since I was *really* into TMNT. It's kind of cool to binge 'everything' isn't it?

What would you say the highlights and lowlights were for you?

So far, the IDW comics are my absolute favorite version of the mythos and characters with the 4kids show not too far behind. I'm super excited to watch the 2012 Nick show though and to finish up the Archie comics!
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Old 07-03-2020, 09:34 PM   #19
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"OG Fred Wolf Series"? Strange way of putting it.

Fred Wolf only produced a single TMNT show and the franchise did not start with them.
That's true, but my post was about the Fred Wolf TMNT show.
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Old 07-04-2020, 12:21 PM   #20
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Thank you so much for the warm welcome! I'm 26 and it's been about 12-13 years or so since I was *really* into TMNT. It's kind of cool to binge 'everything' isn't it?

What would you say the highlights and lowlights were for you?

So far, the IDW comics are my absolute favorite version of the mythos and characters with the 4kids show not too far behind. I'm super excited to watch the 2012 Nick show though and to finish up the Archie comics!
For me, the absolute pinnacle of TMNT is the 1990 movie. I'm in my 30s and grew up on it. Love that so much. But my preferred media is comics so I love the IDW books as a close second to the 1st movie. After that I love the 4Kids show and Mirage comic books about equally as well. Great stuff. Also a big fan of the pilot season (Season 1) of the 87 cartoon, mainly for nostalgia. I'm simply too old for the 2012 show. I like the Archie books a lot, but it's not a favorite. I really enjoy playing the old arcade games tho. And there's a lot of TMNT paintings and artwork that captures my imagination also.
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