I meant to do this as a response to the following comment...
"63d11238-744c-11e1-b864-000bcdcb471e Mar 22, 2012 11:26 AM
What a cop out. Whether or not you could legally do something to prevent such a bastardization, Peter, I expected more of you as a godfather and originator of the legacy. Your voice is an important one, and you seem to be saying to all those who've grown up with TMNT, that the Turtles origin and history shouldn't really matter."
... which was posted in the comment section of my first "Musings..." post, but the limit of comment length was bugging me, and rather than break up my comment on this comment into several smaller separate comments, I decided to turn it into a whole new blog post. So what follows is my response to "63d11238-744c-11e1-b864-000bcdcb471e"'s comment. -- PL
63d11238-744c-11e1-b864-000bcdcb471e, I fail to see where -- in anything I have written about this issue -- I have said anything close to "…the Turtles origin and history shouldn't really matter." I think it's clear that most people -- and I count myself one of them -- don't have any idea of what the true intentions of the new TMNT film's makers are regarding the origin story of the TMNT in the film. All we have to go one, really, is an off-the-cuff comment by Michael Bay which SEEMS to be somewhat ridiculous. But as I wrote earlier, though my gut feeling is that this is NOT a good direction in which to head, it is POSSIBLE -- if not necessarily LIKELY -- that some incredibly talented creative team might take this goofy idea and turn it into something really good. I am not sanguine about that possibility... but who knows? Not me, and certainly not you.
Let me digress for a moment, 63d11238-744c-11e1-b864-000bcdcb471e. Years ago -- in 1987, I believe it was -- Kevin Eastman and I agreed to sign a contract allowing our TMNT property (at that time only represented by the original TMNT comics, a role-playing game, and a few licensed goodies like miniature metal figures) to be adapted into a Saturday morning animated cartoon series. We knew going in that there would have to be changes made to "soften" the property a bit, to make it more "kid friendly" and palatable to advertisers and parents.
The show that resulted from that process was not exactly what we would have wanted, had we been granted the kind of creative control I was able to have on the later 4Kids TMNT series. I probably shouldn't speak for Kevin, even though I think his feelings about this are similar to mine, so I will just say that I found the series to be too silly, repetitive, and lacking in much to hold my interest. In fact, I stopped watching it after the first few years. But…
… it was wildly successful. It was incredibly well-received by millions of viewers -- people who to this day remember it fondly, and many of whom who would have preferred that the live-action movies as well as the 4Kids animated series had served merely as continuations of that iteration of the TMNT. Who can say why, exactly, that the show was so successful? Was it the power of the central concept of the property? Was it the execution of the show? A combination of both? There are solid arguments to be made for each of those options.
The point I am trying to make here, 63d11238-744c-11e1-b864-000bcdcb471e, is that had I (again, speaking solely for myself and not for Kevin) been making the key creative decisions for that first animated series, it would have been VERY different. Among other things, there would likely have been no moronic henchmen like Bebop and Rocksteady. The Shredder would have been seriously malevolent. April would not have been a reporter and constantly need to be rescued by the Turtles. The Turtles would not have been so ridiculously obsessed with pizza, and the Shredder would not have had as one of his businesses a restaurant called "Ninja Pizza". There might have been something that sort of looked like Krang, but it would have been an Utrom in a cool robotic exoskeleton. And the show would not have had a joke or gag every five seconds.
And so on.
And it might have worked. Then again…
… it's possible that it would have never reached the heights of popularity that the show as produced DID reach.
Was the show that did make it onto the airwaves back then BETTER than the one which I would have preferred to have seen? I don't know. I strongly suspect that a lot of the devoted fans of that original show would answer that hypothetical question with a resounding "YES!!!" -- something I have seen evidence of many times in such fans' responses to the 4Kids TMNT series, which is, in almost every conceivable way, the show I WANTED to see back in 1987.
I've always felt that even though I have a very solid notion of how to keep the original spirit of the comic book TMNT alive in various media -- something I tried really hard to do with the 4Kids series, especially -- I don't have, and never did have, and never claimed to have, any kind of monopoly on good ideas for what can and should be done with the Turtles. I know from past experience that there can be a wealth of really interesting, fun, creative "takes" on these characters. It's possible that there are many other very cool alternative treatments of the Turtles waiting in the wings.
Is "Turtles as members of an alien race" one such treatment? At this point, I would think not…
… but I am certainly open to being convinced otherwise.
Truth be told, though, it would take a LOT of convincing. -- PL