Tuesday, May 1, 2012

BLast from the Past #528: January 10, 2006: Re: TMNT Show 140 ("DNA is Thicker than Water") Second Draft and more thoughts on Ep. 140, January 13, 2006: Re: Show 142 ("The Day of Awakening") Premise

Subj: Re: TMNT Show 140 ("DNA is Thicker than Water") Second Draft
Date: Tuesday, January 10, 2006 7:01:04 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine


Here are my notes on the Ep. 140 second draft.

1.) Re: the following:

Ow!  My achin’ brain!  You sir, will hear from my neurologist!"

This sounds very odd. Would Dark Mikey REALLY say something like "You sir, will hear from my neurologist!"?

2.) Re: the following:

"*ON D. RAPH running with the HAMBONE.  Suddenly he is <SHOCKED> by ELECTRICITY comically.  He stops getting shocked, holds for a BEAT with a shocked face while his CHARRED body smokes, then he falls over - REVEALING D. DON behind him holding an ELECTRO-GUN."

"CHARRED body"? Isn't that more than a little over-the-top? Or am I reading it too literally?

3.) I'm not going to get into details (though there are plenty to get into) about most of the rest of this script because the more important issue is that it is still sorely lacking in the essential logic and reason needed to make Dark Leo's "defection" believable. The bit with DL saving Cody from the laser beam and then later explaining it because he hates to "see innocents come to harm in the crossfire of my battles with the Turtles" is just plain weak. There is NOTHING in any of the Darks' behavior previous to this that would indicate that they have ANY concern for "collateral damage" among bystanders.
I repeat a suggestion from my last set of notes -- the best way (at least as I see it) for DL to get the Turtles to believe he has "come over to the light side" is for them to see him doing SOMETHING decent in a situation where it appears that DL doesn't KNOW that the Turtles are watching (although, in fact, he DOES know it -- that's part of his evil plan). Otherwise, anything he does to look "good"  in front of them wold be immediately suspect.
Another possible addition to enhance the idea that DL could convince Leo is for him to emphasize their genetic connection, i.e. DL thinks he may have ended up with some of Leo's quality of character along with his genes -- something which would appeal to Leo's ego and make him a bit more credulous about DL's transformation.
And the resolution of the plot is even more poorly handled now, with the other three Dark Turtles already IN the penthouse before Dark Leo even BEGINS to talk to Leo to let him know what's going on. And the idea that the other Turtles would just sleep through all of this is beyond dopey.
Sorry, but I think this one needs some major reworking. I wonder if it needs to be a two-parter... it feels really rushed.

-- Pete


Subj: more thoughts on Ep. 140
Date: Tuesday, January 10, 2006 10:42:33 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine


I've given some more thought to the problematic Ep. 140. Here's what I came up with.

1.) I realized that one thing that really bugs me about the episode as currently written is the amount of time wasted with dopey stuff when what we really need is more time to "sell" and explore the whole thing about Dark Leo's turning away from the "dark side". All that stuff with Serling bitching about cleaning up after the Turtles has been done to death, all the goofy nonsense with the Dark Turtles chasing after a piece of meat -- boring and unnecessary.

2.) We need to get clear in our own minds exactly WHAT is going on with Dark Leo, especially at the end. Was he playing our Turtles for fools all along, or was he really learning something from them about being a "good guy"... something he came to see as valuable and/or a viable option for himself and his Dark brothers? The ending SEEMS to imply the latter.

3.) Given point 2, I think we should NOT immediately know what Dark Leo's true story is. Therefore, let's get rid of all that stuff with the Darks and Darius giving them their orders in the beginning. For one thing, when you stop and think about it, the Dark Turtles don't NEED Darius Dun to give them a rationale for wanting the Turtles dead/defeated -- they already want that themselves.
The first time we see Dark Leo in this story, we should immediately start wondering -- is he telling the truth? Has he really turned? Does he really want to be a good guy? And we should set it up so that we (and the Turtles) begin to think he has (and maybe he really has, at least partially).

4.) Here's one example of what I think would be a better opening for this episode:

The Turtles are out having fun/getting exercise by playing Ninja Tag. This is a wild run through some of the futuristic architecture and bizarre alien stuff in future NYC. (They're probably NOT in vehicles, but if it made sense to have them using their Hover Cycles, I'm not opposed to it.) Suddenly, they are alerted to something happening some distance away (if they are on foot, it could be something they see with their naked eyes; if they're hovercycling, maybe it's an alert vid that pops up on a display.
What they are seeing could be any one of a number of things, but I'll just suggest one: In a public park/square area, a large statue of President Bishop is being erected. Crowds of humans and aliens, adults and kids, are watching. Some of them are getting a little too close... and that's made abundantly clear when a machine that is helping to put the statue on its pedestal malfunctions -- and the statue starts to topple over, threatening to land on the bystanders. The Turtles see this and race to help... but they're too far away -- they won't get there in time! (And we know this because one of them says it -- "We'll never get there in time!"). Fade out, end of teaser.

Fade in to Act One: The Turtles are desperately trying to get there in time, but can't... the bystanders look like goners... when suddenly DARK LEO shows up! He leaps in and CATCHES the falling statue, giving the bystanders time to get to safety, just as the Turtles arrive on the scene. They are amazed to see this sworn enemy of theirs doing this unselfish good deed, but before they can question him, he collapses, injured by the falling statue. Biggles and the Peacekeepers arrive, and when they see Dark Leo, they move to put him in custody... but Leo stops them, saying that the Turtles will take responsibility for DL. The other Turtles are various shades of perplexed at Leo's decision, but they go along with him. By this time, Cody has arrived with the HoverShell, and they load DL aboard, taking him back to the penthouse to put him in an O'Neil AutoDoc... which is also in a force-field sealed room.
Once DL comes to, the Turtles question him, and he tells his story -- how he had gotten sick of the gross, evil ways of his brothers, and chafed under the control of Darius Dun and his evil commands. How he wanted something more, and left Darius and his brothers to strike out on his own. How he has wandered around the city, trying to help wherever and whenever he can. 
This leads to the basic middle of the episode as it is now, where the Turtles take him in and give him a chance, and DL appears to be learning from them, even though he is rough around the edges. (Some of the stuff in this part of the episode as it stands now is a bit much -- I'd like to tone it down some.)
(At some point in here -- maybe at the end of the first act -- we get the first indication that DL's conversion may not be all it seems, as we see DL surreptitiously contacting his Dark brothers on a com device, and telling them that he is "in" with the Turtles, and when he has their confidence, he will shut down their security system so the Darks can pull a surprise attack... evil chuckle, etc.. Maybe we should have a SECOND call by DL to the Darks later on where he exposes that part of the plot, instead of doing it all at once... I don't know.) 

Anyway, eventually one night we see DL near the security panel which controls the penthouse's alarm and security systems. DL moves to push the button/pull the lever/whatever which will shut down the security system... but he hesitates. He is obviously torn... he puts his hand on the button/lever/whatever, but still can't make himself do it.
Suddenly, from the darkness, Leo appears. He's been watching DL all along. And even though he has found DL about to commit this treacherous act, Leo is still heartened by the fact that DL is finding it difficult to do it. Leo tries to convince DL that he should stay and complete his transformation... but the tortured DL then deactivates the security system, and the fighting begins. (But this should be an all-out battle between the Darks and the Turtles, NOT the silly "sneak around and tie up the Darks" bit as it stands.) The Darks are routed by the Turtles (and Splinter and Cody/Serling/Turtle X), and take off in their Terrorpin. We have a dramatic moment as the Turtles watch the Darks retreat. Raph or Mike says something about how they KNEW none of Darks could ever change, that they would always be monsters... but we do a close up on a thoughtful Leo as he says something like "I'm not so sure..."

Cut to final scene in the Darks' lair, where we see DL do or say something which makes us think maybe he HAS started to change, for real. Maybe there is hope for the Darks, after all. Fade out.

5.) I can't remember if we have used this before, but maybe sometime during this episode, Raph (who is likely the most suspicious of DL) starts this exchange (DL is in this scene):

"RAPH: (referring to DL) He's like the scorpion...
LEO: Raph --
RAPH: You remember, Leo... like in that story Master Splinter used to tell us...
DARK LEO: What does he mean?
RAPH: Master Splinter, please -- tell that story for our... "guest.
SPLINTER: (sighs) Once a scorpion needed to cross a stream. He asked a frog to take him across the stream on his back. The frog said "How do I know you won't sting me with your poisonous stinger while I have you on my back?" The scorpion promised he wouldn't do such a thing, and eventually the frog agreed to carry him across the stream. Halfway across, the frog felt a burning pain in his back -- the scorpion had stung him. As he succumbed to the poison in the sting, and he and the scorpion began to sink, the frog cried out "Why did you do that? Now we will both perish!" The scorpion said "I did it because... it's my nature."

Then, later, in the scene where Leo confronts DL by the security panel, just before DL pushes the "Off" switch, he could say (in a tortured way) something like "I... AM the scorpion...!"

-- Pete


Subj: Re: Show 142 ("The Day of Awakening") Premise
Date: Friday, January 13, 2006 12:06:22 AM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine


Here are my notes on the Ep. 142 premise. It's pretty good, with a few flaky things.

1.) Re: the following:

"RESUME   MOMENTS LATER: The TURTLES prepare to leave with Bishop, gearing up. Cody wants to go, but Splinter won t have it.   You are brave, Cody, and powerful with Serling, but & It is simply too dangerous.  ( (Cody points out that he s fought Sh okanabo and his drones before   he even turned into one for a while! (Filling out any exposition necessary regarding the last adventure!) He s as qualified for this mission as the Turtles are! Cody reminds them that so long as there's a sun in the sky, there's no worries about the "Day of Awakening" ever coming to fruition &

But the guys won t have it. Not this time."

It might be good to have BISHOP chiming in too with reasons that Cody shouldn't go along.

2.) Re: the following:

"Bishop doles out some experimental SOLAR SIMULATION GRENADES. (**Co-Developed by Don?**) "

I'm not sure if it is too soon for this, but I wonder if it might be cool if these solar grenades were co-developed with BAXTER STOCKMAN?

3.) Re: the following:

"or do they? Bishop and Don are the first to realize that they ve been corralled into a central hub of the station, when all doors open and even greater numbers of Kanabos flood the chamber! They slime Bishop s forces and overwhelm the Turtles!

Things look bad for the guys when Sh Okanabo s voice rings out, calling for the Turtles to be brought to him. As they guys are hauled off "

What happens to Bishop? Maybe he should not be "slimed" and instead be taken prisoner along with the Turtles, and thereafter join in the final battle.

4.) Re: the following:

"BACK AT CODY S   Our boy has been watching the whole thing. (Cody snuck the scannite onto Mikey s back as he said goodbye!) He s horrified, looks to Serling, begging him to help & Serling looks off into the distance, doing his best attempt at heroic soliloquy,   These are the times that try men s souls & and robots souls as well & but, it sounds like he s unwilling to risk Cody' s safety"

If Cody is still on Earth, isn't it going to take him too long to get to the Moon to be in time to help the Turtles? Maybe he should have followed (at a distance) in an O'Neil lunar shuttle, so he's close enough to help.

5.) Re: the following:

"Sh'Okanabo is going to DESTROY Moonbase Bishop, which is home to a massive FUSION REACTOR, terraforming equipment, etc. When it detonates, it will destroy a chunk of the Moon hundreds of miles wide. The DEBRIS and RADIOACTIVE FALLOUT will blanket the Earth's atmosphere, changing its composition for centuries. (A version of Nuclear winter)

As a result, the SOLAR RADIATION filtering through the atmosphere will be changed, it s negative effects nullified (in the same way that light is changed to heat by greenhouse gasses), and then, Sh Okanabo s legion of Kanabo drones will be able to walk the earth."

The science here is pretty weak.
Here's an alternative: The fusion reactor on the Moon is there to power the Earth Atmospheric Protection Grid -- a satellite-based global force field which is weak enough to allow spaceships to pass through with no resistance, but is strong enough to deflect minor space debris AND it can be "tuned" to reduce the negative effects of excessive sunlight (part of how the 21st century conquered global warming and reduced skin cancers).
Viral's plan is to invade the computers controlling the EAPG and use her powers to reset the grid to tune out ALL light, essentially plunging the Earth into total darkness! (This could be a cool visual as the grid starts to block out the light and the darkness spreads across the frightened populace of earth. I'm thinking that one way of visualizing it would be as a grid of hexagons, which fill in one after another. Of course, depending on how close or far away the camera is, this would either look like discrete hexagon shapes or just a spreading blackness.)
Because the EAPG is such an important thing for Earth, its control facility on the Moon is VERY heavily fortified and defended by robot weapons systems, thus giving the Cody a lot to contend with.

6.) Re: the following:

"Things are looking pretty hopeless, but finishing the thought he began during the rooftop meditation, Cody (and even Serling, bless his positronic heart) rallies the guys with a few words on family and friendship, and they hatch a plan "

Incredibly cornball, and I doubt -- especially with Splinter there -- the Turtles need Cody to inspire them.

7.) Re: the following:

"While Sh Oka battles LEO, RAPH, and MIKEY, SPLINTER slinks away and shocks the big baddle by DESTROYING all of the remaining GENESEEDS! Needless to say, this really ticks him off!"

How, exactly, does Splinter accomplish this?

8.) Re: the following:

"His ship takes off! IT S DON, who was playing possum (or, more to the point, playing ninja) and made his way to the ship s controls! As the ship moves towards the light side of the moon, Don opens all of the window panels and isolates the Kanabos in one main chamber, letting the sunlight stream in!"

When did the Kanobo drones get onto Sh'Okanabo's ship?

9.) Re: the following:

"MEANWHILE   CODY busts out Ninja skills of his own! While SERLING (as Turtle X) works the manual shut-down and suffers Viral s full wrath, Cody (who slipped out, unseen) sneaks in and goes to work on the Moonbase Mainframe. Turtle X shuts down the reactor in the nick of time while Cody shuts down Viral, cutting off her means of egress and trapping her inside of the mainframe!"

I was thinking that it might be cool if Cody had a weapon of his own to defeat Viral -- something he might have been working on for a while. It would be a "software bomb" -- maybe carried by some of the O'Neil Tech nanites -- which would infect Viral and cause her to "decompile", reducing her program to random, ineffectual bits and bytes.

-- Pete

1 comment:

  1. I always thought this would have been a better episode for baxter to show that he not only has changed, but also helps don save the day. It'd also have been a funny gag if his new body repelled any attempt at invasion by foreign systems. Therefore if everyone else got changed, he'd be the only one immune and could save the day that way.

    different take on the episode though.