Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Blast from the Past #488: August 17, 2005: notes on TMNT Show 120 ("Home Invasion") Second Draft, notes on TMNT Shows 124 ("Night of Sh'Okanabo") and 125 ("Clash of the Turtle Titans") Premises, and Re: TMNT Show 123 ("Bishop to Knight") Outline

Subj: notes on TMNT Show 120 ("Home Invasion") Second Draft
Date: Wednesday, August 17, 2005 2:05:41 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine


Here are my notes on the ep120 second draft.

1.) Re: the following:

It is, as they say, totally awesome. "

Perhaps it would be better if Splinter said:

It is, as my sons would say, totally awesome. "

2.) Re: the following:

""19. donatello
Don’t bust a servo, Serling.  I’m just tweaking this bad boy so it’ll make the chicken fries crispier."

"Bad boy" is slang that, in a pinch, Don MIGHT use, but it seems inappropriate here -- not only because it's Don (not Raph or Mike), but because he's referring to a kitchen appliance... hardly deserving the appellation "bad boy".

3.) Re: the following:

"* As he twists a screw, a LASER TORCH suddenly shoots out.  ZAP! Mikey reacts startled, as Donny quickly dials it back. 
Whoa! A little too crispy! 
* After laser shuts off, we see that Serling was seared by the beam. As steam rises off his body, he looks pissed! 
You soft-shelled idiot! You nearly fried my circuits! "

I.m happy that the jet of flame has been replaced with a "laser torch", but -- as we are looking to make this new series funnier -- I think we are missing an opportunity here. As I mentioned in my last notes:

"Perhaps a better scenario -- if we must keep the "jet of flame" -- would be to have Serling holding something flammable (or "char"-able) which could be set on fire/charred/melted by the "jet of flame"."

Obviously the jet of flame is gone, but what's a funnier scenario:

-- Serling is "seared by the beam" and "steam (?) rises off his body", or

-- Serling is carrying (a) a priceless silver serving tray with Cody's lunch on it, or (b) a stack of towels he's about to put in the bathroom, or (c) a Jones family heirloom which he is polishing, or (d) something of that sort -- and the laser torch melts/burns/cuts in half/drills a hole through one of the above

I would vote for the latter. It's hijinky!

4.) Re: the following:

Hey, if you can’t stand the heat…Stay out of the kitchen bot! 
Donny and Mikey merrily high-five each other."

This may be a little too subtle, but -- given that Mike's jokey riff on the famous phrase here only marginally makes sense (Serling's in the kitchen, but he's not in the kitchen bot) -- maybe Mike could go to give Don the high-five, but Don ignores him, or just gives him the "Lame gag, Mikey" raised eyebrow.

5.) Re: the following:

"* A SCANNER BEAM passes over Raph, and like a Swiss Army knife, arms flip out various options – dental floss, Q-Tips, tweezers. 
Select an option… Floss your teeth? Pluck your nose hairs? Wax your shell?"

Thank you for adding the "scanner beam", but -- as funny as the idea of plucking nose hairs is -- it should probably be clear to this robot that Raph (like all the Turtles) has no nose to have hairs in. Perhaps we could substitute a spinning polishing pad for the tweezers and "Buff your beak?" for "Pluck your nose hairs"?

6.) Re: the following:

"* On a HOLO-CONTROL PANEL, the gauges fluctuate, then suddenly shoot up into the red. TWO TECHNICIANS view the gauges with alarm. 
I’m getting a spike on grid ten. 
Clamp it down. 
* They rush to throw a series of virtual switches, but the spike continues to grow! <SPARKS> shoot out of the control panel. 
The suppressors can’t hold it! 
* As they frantically try to control the surge, a strange HELIX SPIRAL of SPARKS whirls up. For a brief instant, it transforms the holo-panel into a scary VIRTUAL FEMALE FACE. This is VIRAL! "

I appreciate the inclusion of my suggestion for the holographic display, but the "strange HELIX SPIRAL of SPARKS" still seems a bit off to me, as my understanding of Viral is that she is SOFTWARE -- lines of code in a malicious program -- and NOT some kind of physical entity which can control random physical processes or phenomena like sparks. As such, I think Viral's face should form solely within the holo-panel.
This is NOT to say that Viral's infection of the machinery cannot cause them to PRODUCE sparks -- just that Viral should not be able to CONTROL those sparks in any way.

7.) Re: the following:

Something’s moving physically through the wiring, like a power surge would…
* DON AND CODY – share a glance as Serling moves past them, MOPPING the floor with one of his many attachments. 
…But it’s registering as program by the system software.
How can a program move through power lines?"

I think we need to come to some kind of agreement about WHAT Viral is, as this exchange between Cody and Don seems to muddy the waters. Also, Don and Cody (as fellow brainiacs)  should know that it IS possible to send data signals up and down power lines -- that's something I've been reading about for years.

8.) Re: the following:

Master Splinter! 
Leo rushes to Splinter who wobbles unsteadily on his feet. His fur is comically frizzed out. 
*(dazed & wobbly)
Perhaps it would be wise to sit this one out. (groaning FAINT!)"

Splinter's line is STILL dopey and un-Splinterlike. And inappropriate. And unnecessary.

9.) Re: the following:

*Guys, open up! We got *trouble out here! "

Don would say "we've got", not "we got".

10.) Re: the following:

I am Viral, a quanti-platform digital overconstruct of infinite subtlety and power.
Donny glances at Cody. 
Modest, isn’t she? 
No, EXACT, so that you understand who holds the power here, PET. I have been uploaded here to extract information from O’Neil Tech’s mainframe. "

Viral's line "No, EXACT, so that you understand who holds the power here, PET" reads EXTREMELY awkwardly. It could be taken out in its entirety.  And I don't see why she would refer to Don as "PET".

11.) Re: the following:

SILENCE! Your is the only remote location in the city with a hardwired direct connection into the central banks--"

I think "your" should be "yours".

12.) Re: the following:

*A useless gesture, reptile. Unless you can punch out an entire building, you cannot win. "

This last one is a weird line. First, that Viral uses the phrase "punch out" seems odd, and second, that Viral would say that (if Raph could only do it)  "punching out an entire building" would defeat her -- which, obviously, it WOULDN'T. I would eliminate that second line.

13.) Re: the following:

I love punchin’ cattle! "

It's a minor point, and I'm not going to dwell on it, but if you do a Google search for "punching cattle" and "cow punching", you will get almost exactly twice as many hits for the latter as for the former. Which, to me, is anecdotal evidence that my suggestion (in my last set of notes) of "cow punchin'" for the phrase Raph uses would be better that "punchin' cattle", as it would seem to be the more common usage and thus more easily understood by our audience.

14.) Re: the following:

You dare to mock me? 
We’re mock turtles. Deal with it!"

This still bugs me. Mike's gag really makes no sense. There are no such things as "mock turtles" (outside of Lewis Carroll's work) -- it's my understanding that that phrase comes from a type of soup made without turtle meat as an ingredient (a type of soup Carroll was referencing when he created his "Mock Turtle" in "Alice in Wonderland"). So what Mike is actually saying here is that they are FAKE turtles -- does that make sense in context?
I get that the writer wants to play on the famous phrase, which is all well and good, but I think it could be done better. I reiterate my previous suggestion:

"I appreciate the Lewis Carroll reference, but why not make it a double-layered gag by having Mikey say instead:

"We’re mockin' turtles.  Deal with it! "

15.) Re: the following:

Your master is no longer in play. Therefore, you are no longer necessary.
When the image resolves, the Turtles find themselves in a new holo-simulation that looks very familiar. Their old SEWER HIDEOUT. 
What does she mean? If you hurt Cody-! "

I'm just as confused as Raph. "Your master is no longer in play"...? What's that about? And how does Raph translate that into the idea that she means Cody? Wouldn't he think (like I did) that she means Splinter?

16.) Re: the following:

We’re going to systematically shut down the power grid around the building. 
Because without power, she can’t function? But can’t she just jump out? 
I don’t think so. Viral said she needed a hardwire connection to get the mainframe. And she got serling when he was plugged in. If we shut down the power around the building, she won’t have anywhere to jump to can’t jump into another system."

There's an odd stutter at the end of that last line, but that's the least of the problems here. It is INANE to suggest that Viral can only get into hardwired devices. I mean, we're only living in the primitive very early 21st century and already we're surrounded by millions of wireless devices and networks. SURELY the world of 2015 will be even more so.
It's also kind or boring, visually, for Don to hack into the system and shut down the power the way he does. I will reiterate a few of my previous suggestions:

"1.) Instead of remotely shutting off the city's power grid, maybe Don can remotely link to the Hovershell -- something he figures Viral wouldn't be interested in at the moment -- and have it do something (ram, shoot missiles or lasers) to a nearby power junction which would turn the power off to Cody's building.

2.) Have Don's plan of shutting down the building's power APPEAR to have worked. But then, when Cody says something about how lucky they are that BATTERY-POWERED things like his pockettab kept working even when the power to the building was shut off, Don could immediately go "Uh-oh..." as he realizes that there are OTHER battery-powered things in the building -- like freakin' battle robots!"

17.) Re: the following:

I’m gonna lose my linguini! "

As I've already said (twice):

"NOT a Leo line. This is more of a Raph or Mikey line."

18.) Re: the following:

*Yeah, I cut off the power to shut Viral down. "

Don doesn't say "yeah".

19.) Re: the following:

*That glitch sucks a lot of juice. I don’t know where’s she’d find a battery that’s big enough--? "

This bit of technobabble makes NO sense to me. Didn't Don already observe Viral taking over Serling's body? And isn't Serling "battery powered"?

20.) Re: the following:

You just made a big mistake, lady…"

Raph would add the "lady" at the end of this line. Mike might do it also. But Don would not.

21.) Re: the following:

Cause it ain’t us against your overgrown toys no more."

I don't get this. Aren't they right now fighting one of her "overgrown toys"?

22.) Re: the following:

"Leonardo steps in and <SLICES> the buzz saw arm off with his swords. 
Buzz off! "

Ugh. I like snappy banter as much as the next guy, but this is DUMB banter, especially coming out of Leo's mouth.

23.) Re: the following:

Dude! The place is totally trashed. In our day, that meant you know how to party! "

Grammatically speaking, should that be "knew" instead of "know"?

24.) Re: the following:

""They turn and see Splinter entering.  His fur is still frizzed from the Taser shock.  Leonardo rushes up to him with concern. 
210. leonardo
Master, are you all right? 
211. michaelangelo
He’s just having a bad hair day. 
Splinter raises one finger as he philosophizes.  
212. splinter
It is not the outward appearance that matters, Michaelangelo.  It is what comes from the inside.  
Then, he touches Mikey’s arm with the finger.  ZAP!  Mikey is shocked with a jolt of residual energy.  
213. michaelangelo
Ouch!  You did that on purpose! 
As Mikey scowls and rubs his arm, Serling suppresses a laugh.  Ignoring Mikey’s protests, Splinter turns to Cody."

As I said in my last notes:

"I really don't like any of this. It's very silly and pointless, and all apparently to continue the "Splinter's frizzy hair" gag (which wasn't all that hilarious to begin with).

Let's lose it, please. If we REALLY want to continue the hilarity which is "Splinter's frizzy hair", maybe it would be funny to see Serling combing him out in this scene as the others discuss what happened.

25.) Re: the following:

"Inside, the vault is crammed with computer equipment. Viral Bot sits amidst the gear and welds one of the joints on her broken robot body. 
Trapped in this twisted form! Please, master… please repair me so I can- "

As I said in my last notes:

"There is nothing that I can see in this script which even remotely explains why VIral would be or COULD be trapped inside this robot body. Remember, Viral is SOFTWARE -- he (or I guess now she) is a PROGRAM. All Viral needs to get out of this body is some kind of link, hardwired or wireless. More thought is needed. One POSSIBLE explanation could be that SOMETHING that the Turtles do or casue to happen to Viral during the battle causes a snippet of his program to be erased or garbled -- and it's THAT piece of code which allows Viral to jump from one system to another."

-- Pete


Subj: notes on TMNT Shows 124 ("Night of Sh'Okanabo") and 125  ("Clash of the Turtle Titans") Premises
Date: Wednesday, August 17, 2005 2:43:18 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine


Here are my notes on the two premises.


notes on ep124 premise

1.) Re: the following:

"The guys train against SERLING, whom Don has begun reprogramming as a battle bot “for his own protection”. Serling isn’t liking it one bit, and they joke about how he’d feel if he knew Cody had rebuilt him into body armor!  Someone makes a comment about Serling becoming a “robot Jekyl and Hyde.”"

As I have commented previously, I think it's a HUGE mistake to turn this version of Serling into Cody's "Turtle Bot Armor". Thus, I can't approve this and any of the other stuff in this premise which has Serling acting as a "battle bot". It also makes little or no sense to me that, with the holographic simulator at their disposal, the Turtles would bother to "train against Serling".
This MIGHT work for me is we go with the idea that I suggested in a previous email -- that Cody has an earlier, less sophisticated version of Serling which he is "tricking out" as a suit of battle armor.

2.) The rest of this is pretty good, except for (as noted above) Serling turning into Cody's battle bot armor.


notes on ep125 premise

1.) I really don't have much to say about this one, other than that it seems like it could be a lot of fun. The one thing that seems a little weak -- and it's important, as it is a part of the central thread of the episode -- is WHO this new "Turtle Titan" really is. As written, when he finally takes of the mask at the end of the episode, it reveals "a plain old human underneath". This is a little disappointing. (Also, there is an odd line earlier about how "the Turtle Titan mantle has been passed down for generations to worthy successors" -- but hasn't it only been two -- or three at most -- generations since Mikey started the whole "Turtle Titan" thing?)
Though it is not TOTALLY necessary, I would prefer that we think of some more interesting connection for this new Turtle Titan, to make him (or her) more than just "a plain old human underneath". Here are a few suggestions:

1.) A descendant of Angel (the friend of Casey's/street kid the Turtles met in the first season)

2.) Metalhead (the ageless android who was part of the "Justice Force") -- maybe after all of the other Justice Force members died off, he took on this new identity to carry on their good works

3.) A descendant of Silver Sentry (perhaps without all of the Sentry's superpowers)

4.) An Utrom!

-- Pete


Subj: Re: TMNT Show 123  ("Bishop to Knight") Outline
Date: Wednesday, August 17, 2005 3:37:37 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine


Here are my notes on the ep123 outline.

1.) Re: the following:

"LOGLINE: Mikey, who’s been jonesin’ for some good old bad-for-you junk food convinces his brothers to join him in his quest for said delicacies by heading down to New Manhattan’s retro region – Downtown."

Minor point, but I wonder if "Downtown" is too bland and generic a term for this area of the city. Maybe "LowDownTown" or "Old Downtown" "DownDownTown" or "RetroTown" or "VintageVale" (yeah, that one sucks, I know) or somesuch.

2.) Re: the following:

"The boys land in MANSFIELD PARK, stow the speeders (park them at a metered spot or in a parking lot?), and hit the streets of DOWNTOWN. There is an obvious “old world” feel to the place, as it is largely unchanged from today. (And therefore hopefully including some REUSE of older sets!) The main difference is with its citizens – immigrants not only from all over the world but also from all over the universe!"

It would be cool if we could do some stuff like they did in the old "Magnus, Robot Fighter" comics where the extremely tall future buildings had correspondingly large, thick foundation "roots" at the bottom level, sometimes portrayed as gigantic foundations straddling or paralleling the smaller vintage buildings.

3.) Re: the following:

"Raph: “I’ve waited one hundred years to give you a smackdown, Bishop!”"

I get the idea behind this gag, but when you think about it -- Raph has only waited a few days/weeks/months. Remember, he SKIPPED that hundred years when he came to the future.

4.) Re: the following:

"To prove his altruism, he gives them directions to an ALIEN ALLEY underworld dive called “Brakko’s Abyss” where a notorious mercenary named TORBIN ZIIXX will be showing up soon."

A VERY minor point -- but for some reason when I read "Brakko's Abyss", I thought for a moment "Brakko" was some variant of "cobra" spelled backwards (which I quickly realized it WASN'T). Then I thought "Maybe it SHOULD be!" So -- how about "Abroc's Abyss"? Get some alliteration in there, too.

5.) Re: the following:

"Bishop: “Ziixx will be at the Abyss tomorrow. You have until then to decide whether or not you believe me….”"

As I pointed out in my previous notes:

"I don't understand the logic of this scene. Why do the Turtles have "until then" to decide whether to believe Bishop?"

I mean, what's going to happen "then" -- to them or anyone else -- if they DON'T believe him?

6.) Re: the following:

"NIGHT. ALIEN ALLEY, OUTSIDE BRAKKO’S ABYSS. Brakko’s is a tough underworld joint. Even the rats hanging out on the garbage outside the club look tough! Four dark backlit figures approach the entrance. They are dressed like “long riders” – with long flowing overcoats and wide brimmed cowboy hats that cast shadows across their faces. The four enter the club and take their seats at a table in the back, a good spot for observing the scene and clientele. And what a clientele it is: a crowded mix of every bad ass-looking alien you can imagine; all of them drinking, plotting, networking, cutting deals."

Might be fun for the fans -- of which I am one -- if we threw in a line from one of the Turtles about how this place reminds them of the bar on D'Hoonib (from Season 2). Also might be fun if we had a brief cameo of the "Turtle Master with Rat Students" from one of those "Turtles in Space" episodes.

7.) Re: the following:

"Cut back to Ziixx’s Hover Craft as it lands in a darkened area of Downtown, its lights off."

Unless I missed something, at this point in the story Zixx was piloting the Hovershell, NOT his own craft.

8.) Re: the following:

"Ziixx: “See you around. Oh, and don’t try to follow me this time. I’ve hidden an energy transmitter on one of you guys that copies the exact energy signature of the bomb that just blew up. You have about ten seconds to haul your green butts out of here before every Peacekeeper with a bomb-sniffer in on you for blowing up a government transport! Bye!”"

Is Zixx telling the truth here, or is he just blowing smoke? If he IS telling the truth, wouldn't the Peacekeepers be able to find the Turtles regardless of how well they hide? And if he's NOT telling the truth, shouldn't we somehow SHOW that?

-- Pete


  1. I find the turtle titan episodes fun, and really loved the future one. it was a rather uniquely fun twist on the whole 'super hero kids' thing.

    it could have been even more amusing if it was Mr.Mortu. Who after finally deciding to live on earth, decided to explore the city and have some fun in it, now that he isn't fighting for survival :).

    It's always a shame that we didn't see him in the future. It's not like the turtles had a chance of meeting him again in the past that much, to wreck the timeline much with future knowledge, after all :)

  2. hell, the new turtle titan could even have been a decendant of Karai, who wanted to make up for all the evil karai did ;o)