Published on April 11th, 2011 | by Colin Ballsmonkey Hill3
5 Reasons the Future is Bright for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Spongebob and Dora have new corporate cousins in Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, and Donatello. For those not in the know, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise is now owned by Paramount and Nickelodeon. The deal was finalized late 2009, Paramount spent a cool $60 mil for the rights to the franchise, and from the looks of it, the Turtles couldn’t be in better hands. Nickelodeon has massive plans for the TMNT franchise, which includes a new cartoon, toys, comics, and of course, a movie. Nickelodeon is preparing a massive relaunch for the Green Machines, and for a time I saw this as a bad thing.
When I first heard the Turtles were bought by Nick, my initial response was…well….
But once I learned to kill my inner fanboy, I began examining the pros and cons of this and realized the good that can come of this deal. Here are five good reasons Nickelodeon may be the best place for the TMNT.
1. Clear Direction
I’m a big fan and admirer of Peter Laird, the TMNT co-creator and sole owner of the property for about eight years, I think he’s a wonderful storyteller, but a business man he is not. As much as I love the guy, the Turtles were suffering under his ownership. He’d become so set in his ways regarding the franchise’s direction that the property was suffering for limited to zero exposure. Most people didn’t know there were two TMNT comics running, more didn’t know the TMNT had comics at all. The cartoon series that had been running since 2003 had been steadily losing steam, the 2007 movie had failed to make any impact, and Laird had pretty much lost all passion for Turtles entirely. The franchise was going in so many directions and none of them seemed to be working. The 25h anniversary celebration back in 2009 seemed like the last hurrah. Had the buyout not occurred, it’s likely the TMNT would have died by 2011. Now that the franchise is under control of a single, powerful entity like Nickelodeon, it looks as is the characters will survive for another generation. From everything I’ve heard, Nickelodeon and long time TMNT toy manufacturers Playmates toys, have a solid plan. They’re covering all their bases. They’ve got a new cartoon and movie coming out within close proximity of each other, they’ve given the comic book to a major publisher which means more tpbs and hardcover collections, and from the looks of it, a pretty solid toy line coming up, which we’ll get into later.
2. Wider Exposure
Let’s be honest, who hasn’t heard of Nickelodeon. They’ve been around for over 20 years and they’ve had massive hit shows like Rugrats, Ren and Stimpy, and Spongebob Squarepants. They can reach a wide audience and have a lock on the toddler to pre-teen demographic. If the TMNT property hopes to remain viable, they need to appeal not just to the 20 something fanboys and girls that grew up with them, they’re gonna need to reach a younger demographic, and Nickelodeon has the resources to make that happen. Anyone with basic cable has Nickelodeon, and if you have kids, it’s probably on all day, there’s no way to miss it. Back when the cartoon was airing on 4Kids on TV, it was buried by badly dubbed anime , not to mention it’s Saturday morning timeslot wasn’t doing it any favors. On Nickelodeon, the cartoon will have a better chance of finding it’s footing, and with Paramount behind the upcoming movie, there’s good chance this new movie will have ACTUAL MARKETING behind it, unlike a certain previous Turtles flick. With Nick in ownership of both Turtles and Power Rangers franchises, they’ve 5 to 12 year old market cornered.
As I said before, Peter Laird, while in ownership of the franchise, was pretty stuck in his ways. Seeing a Mirage Studios never evolved beyond it’s extremely low-key, indy roots, it was impossible to get any real exposure for the comic, which also mean the TMNT Collected Book they put out wouldn’t be sold in outside comic shops. Plus he seemed adamantly against using characters like Bebop, Rocksteady, and Krang, despite them being popular and well-known characters from the franchise’s history. He wanted to make sure any new TMNT medium would take their cues from the original comic books, which at many times came off as feeling very awkward. He also despised Next Mutation and the infamous Venus DeMilo but you can’t fault him for that. His vision of the Turtles, while not bad, had the unfortunate effect of alienating some fans as well as any curious spectators who were nostalgic for the 80’s/90’s cartoon. From what I understand the new cartoon combines aspects of both the original comics and original cartoon, including making Splinter who transformed into a rat, and referring to the mutagen-creating Utroms as, The Kraang. Will we see Bebop and Rocksteady back too? Time will tell, but they’ve got a better shot now than before. As for the comics, seeing as how IDW now has publishing rights, we can expect to see not just new comics, but collections of the original Mirage and Archie comic series, and they’ll be available to much wider market than before.
4. Solid Toy Line
Playmates has been in control of the TMNT license since the beginning. While their products haven’t always been…good, they’ve put considerable effort into crafting a robust toyline for the Turtles in the past, and when it comes to shows like these, toylines are ESSENTIAL, without a strong and profitable one, show’s can get canceled pretty quick, just look at Sym-Bionic Titan. From what I read, this new toyline is INCREDIBLE! The Turtles will, for the first time, have their own unique head and body sculpt and not just be same sculpt repainted, and trust me, that’s huge. This line will also feature tons of vehicles, a massive sewer playset, and probably the best thing ever, a set Turtles figures with with sculpts accurate to the original cartoon’s. The TMNT Classic line is sure to be hit with the fans, and the new figures I think will definitely be big for the kids, as ell as collectors.
5. Alex Deligiannis
For those who don’t know him, go here
He works for Nickelodeon on the Fairly Oddparents. He’s a phenomenal artist and a massive TMNT fan, so when the word came that he was working on the pilot episode for the cartoon, I was ecstatic. Now, while he only worked on the pilot, that doesn’t rule out the possibility of him working on the the show more. Here’s hoping.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not looking at this through rose colored glasses, there’s a possibility this may not work out. The show could suck, Nick could lose interest in the property, or worse, the Turtles fail to catch on to a new audience, but say the pros outweigh the cons. The Turtles have lasted for 26 years now, much longer than other properties like it. They couldn’t do that if there wasn’t something special to them. Nickelodeon wouldn’t have paid sixty million dollars on a property they thought was a dud. In 2012, Leo, Don, Raph, Mikey, Splinter, April, and the Shredder will bet let loose on a whole new generation of kids on both the big and small screens. With Nick’s marketing and the Turtles natural appeal, and assuming the world doesn’t end, the future looks good for the guys in green.
Oh, and big thanks to Ninja Pizza for the info. Check them out for more news.