Friday, July 15, 2011

Blast from the Past #372: More notes from the development of the 4Kids TMNT series: Feb. 1, 2004: Ep. 63 third draft, 68 premise, etc.

Feb. 1, 2004: Ep. 63 third draft, 68 premise, etc.

From: Peter Laird
To: Lloyd Goldfine


As always, great to see you and to work with you in person. Though I wish we had had a little more time to talk stuff out, I think we accomplished some significant things.

I read the third draft of 63 and the premise for 68, and have a few comments on them. I'm also going to include in this email the notes I made about the alternate 65 premise, and a few on the Entity, the Shredder, and Karai.

-- Pete


notes on EP. 63 third draft script

Wow! Much, MUCH better! I have only two minor comments:

1.) Re: the following:

You really shouldn’t sneak up on us like that.

I thought it might be neat to emphasize here the fact that Nobody WAS able to sneak up on our ninja heroes, who have been trained by Splinter so that they CAN'T be snuck up on (not sure if that is grammatical!). Leo -- or Mike -- should express surprise that Nobody has such stealth. Maybe something like this:

You really shouldn’t sneak up on us like that.
No, what Leo means is that you really shouldn't be ABLE to sneak up on US like that."

2.) Re: the following:

"DRAMATIC ANGLE ON THE CRATES – as Nobody lifts a TRICERATON CANNON from it, Leo and Michelangelo appearing next to him.
What the heck is this thing?!
A Triceraton Cannon... but it looks like Ruffington’s company made a few modifications."

I don't remember a "Triceraton Cannon" ever appearing in past episodes. I wonder if it might be better to refer to it as a "Triceraton blaster".


notes on Ep. 68 premise / "The Entity Below"

1.) Re: the pendant that the Entity wore -- am I imagining it, or was that pendant a crystal that Don used (destroyed, actually) to cure the humans trapped as monsters in "Return to the Underground"?

2.) What is this "red crystal"? I don't remember it from before. Also, wasn't one of the problems faced by Don in "Return to the Underground" the fact that it was really hard to find enough crystals for his "cure"? How then do we have all these NEW crystals?

3.) As we discussed when you were up here, I think we should really work out -- at least for ourselves -- roughly WHERE the underground city is, geographically speaking. Is it literally under New York City? Or is it actually farther out, under the ocean? The reason I ask this is that I find the whole "Lava heating up the lair" thing a little goofy, and would prefer some other means of getting the Turtles to go back to the underground city. Perhaps there are strange things happening just offshore, like water bubbling and steaming... from which news the Turtles realize that something is going on in the underground city. It might even be cool to bring back one of the cured humans (who used to be one of the monsters in the underground) who is now in some kind of position/job where he or she would observe this strange phenomenon and recognize what it might portend... and then tell the Turtles.


(premise/outline proposal for #65)
by Bob Forward

This is somewhat better, though not nearly as much fun as the "young Turtle/young Arnold (Casey Jones)" idea we were playing around with.

The major problem (aside from the overused "Karate Kid" plotline) is the casual reveal of ALL the Turtles later in the story, AND the equally casual reveal of the connection between April and the Turtles. This is something that I think we should reserve only for those situations which either REALLY require it, or those in which it is UNAVOIDABLE -- and this tale is neither of those things. I'm also not really loving the idea that this Roberto kid is living in the back of April's store. In fact, why involve April in this at all? Why can't Roberto find a job somewhere else? We seem to trash April's store on a regular basis... maybe too often.

What if Raph hooks up Roberto with his new friend Mrs. Morrison (?), the old lady who Raph met and befriended in a recent episode (can't remember which one)? She could give him a job as a handyman -- maybe convince her landlord that this kid should be given the job, and he could get a small living space in her building. And maybe there is a shop or two or three in this building and we could have the climactic scene where the gang attacks the store be one of these establishments. (I really want to get away from always using April's store.)

I must say that I'm still not really excited by this story. It just seems so trite. There's really nothing here we haven't seen before. And the whole "Raph is angry" bit is getting tiresome. It's not that I don't think that, of the four of the Turtles, Raph is the one with the hair-trigger temper and is more often pissed-off, but here his anger doesn't seem to have any "raison d'etre". It's just a gimmick to get the story rolling.

As it stands right now, this is an episode that I see as being totally forgettable. Unless there is something that we can do to make it significantly better, I'd prefer to try something else.

One thing just occurred to me -- and while I know it's possible, it would require a lot of cleverness and work to pull it off. (Something I know our team can do!) It involves a twist on this "classic" "Karate Kid"-type story. What if we combined this tale with the "young Turtle/young Casey" story? My rough concept is this: We begin with some young person being hassled by bullies. Pull back to reveal that the Turtles are watching this and getting pissed off at the injustice. One of them -- Raph? -- is about to leap in and kick ass, but suddenly the cops show up and disperse the bullies. Mike starts talking about how they should do a "Mr. Miyagi" and teach this kid how to defend himself, stand up for himself. Raph and Don agree, but Leo is oddly reluctant. The others don't understand his reluctance, and finally Leo starts telling them a story -- a kind of embarrassing story -- from their youth.

It seems that when Leo was five (or however old he would have to be to fit in with our continuity and Casey's age), he had disobeyed Splinter's orders and gone out to explore the outside world. And he had come upon a situation much like the one they had just been observing -- a young boy being hassled by bullies. Leo is outraged and in his youthful naiveté thinks he can help this kid, much like Master Splinter has helped him and his brothers. He can show this kid some martial arts techniques and help him to be able to defend himself, give him some self-confidence.

But it won't do to reveal himself as a Turtle, so Leo puts together a somewhat goofy costume to disguise his mutant turtle nature (consisting of something like a hooded robe, big socks or floppy boots to hid his feet, etc.), and presents himself to the kid, who is reasonably wary of this weird person. In fact, at first he thinks Leo is just another bully come to pester him and he responds angrily, but Leo deflects the kid's attack with a couple of simple ninjitsu moves.


notes with Lloyd 01/28/04

possible fate of Shredder Utrom (after being tried by Utroms):

-- sentenced to bleak lifeless world (like Mars)
-- sentenced to jungle planet where he has to constantly run to avoid being eaten
-- sentenced to solitary life sentence in a self-contained spaceship which tumbles through the cosmos -- and it's cloaked so no one can rescue him

Karai becomes the new Shredder... she sees or somehow becomes aware of the hand the Turtles have in his demise/downfall and comes to hate them (even though the Shredder had done many evil things and had not always treated her fairly or well, she still loves him, like an abused kid will love the abusive parent). Her Shredder "look" would retain the traditional iconic elements, but have a different treatment.


idea about the Entity (from "Notes from the Underground") -- these notes were made BEFORE I got the Ep. 68 premise:

-- The Entity is one of a group of the last survivors of Atlantis (maybe we should come up with a different name for it, an "original" name which the "Atlanteans" themselves called it, which has become distorted and blurred through the centuries -- Hondolas, Y'Lyntias, etc.) which perished -- as the ancient legends have it -- in some kind of cataclysm. We postulate that the cataclysm was the result of a revolt of the three classes/races/species of Atlantean slaves, which included the sea slaves (ancestors of the fishfolk as seen in "Sons of the Silent Age" Mirage comic), land slaves (Bigfoot/Sasquatch/Yeti types, maybe ancestors of the "Green Man" creature from the new TV show), and air slaves (some kind of winged, avian creature). These oppressed beings banded together and revolted for their freedom and turned the Atlanteans' advanced technology on them, resulting in the ruin/submergence of the island empire.
Some of the higher-ups -- maybe the best scientists -- fled to the North American continent, where they were pursued and harried by the avians. To escape this, they went underground, delving deep and building a new civilization (the remnants of which we see in "Notes From the Underground").
Yet to be figured out -- how and why the only Entity is awake and the rest of his kindred are in suspended animation.

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