As a child of the '80s, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were one of my obsessions and the cartoon series was an integral part of my Saturday morning routine. Over two decades later, the kids of 2012 will be able to experience the same "heroes in a half shell" craze, as the rebooted animated series will premiere on Nickolodeon this Saturday.
In an exclusive clip from the new show available on EW.com, each Turtle gets to display his signature weapon, followed by a brief lecture from their sensei, Splinter. Although the animation style is markedly different from the popular cartoon that ran from 1987 until 1996, the tone of the show seems to be similar and should be plenty of fun for kids and parents alike. This time around, the Turtles will be voiced by Sean Astin (Raphael), Jason Biggs (Leonardo), Greg Cipes (Michaelangelo), and Rob Paulsen (Donatello).
In the old series, television newswoman April O'Neil was older than the teenage mutants, but the new show has made some changes in that department. "She's younger in this one," says Mae Whitman, who lends her vocal talents to the new and improved April. "She's a teenager, so she's [the Turtles'] age now, which is really cool. And she's sort of the one constant human element in the show."
While the Turtles of the '80s and '90s were marketed primarily to young boys, executive producer Ciro Nieli is making a concerted effort to attract a young female audience as well. "It was really important that I made a show that appealed to boys and girls equally," Neili explained. "So I saw April as this great opportunity to not just do a girl character that's a little bit different and offbeat, but also stronger than she was previously. In the [original] cartoon, she was kind of a damsel-in-distress to a fault. But what I saw her was at the time was an above-ground Splinter: If he was underneath the surface in the sewers teaching them everything they knew about ninjutsu and the Ninja Clan Code, April served as his counterpart to show them around the surface world, and how New York City works. She's at that age where the city's full of promise, and she's got control of it. She’s a powerful young girl."
Man, projects like this make me wish I had kids. Will you be watching the new TMNT with your little ones?