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Scrooge's OAO Ninja Turtles Series Thread

Scrooge McSuck
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Joined: December 8th, 2004, 2:32 am

June 6th, 2014, 4:37 am #1

Growing up at the tail end of the 1980's and the early 90's, there's probably nothing that sticks out in my mind more than a little something called the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. As a kid, I was oblivious to their origins, only familiar with them via the syndicated animated series that ran for nearly a decade, spawned hundreds of action figures and accessories from Playmates, countless video games, both in the arcades and the home consoles, three live action movies (two worth remembering), comic books, and everything else you could imagine. As the 90's came to an end, the Turtles were all but extinct, especially after a questionable decision at producing a live-action series that introduces a new, female Turtle character.

When the Ninja Turtles returned in 2003, I was both shocked and over-joyed, but at the same time, I was 18 and figured it was going to be kid friendly. It wasn't. Sure, it was aimed at adults, but the characters looked and acted more mature, and there was more character development than "Donatello wears Purple." I lost touch with that series after the second season, but again, the machine was in working order: Video games and countless toys were produced. The TMNT name popped up again in 2007, when a CGI animated movie hit theaters, mostly to lukewarm responses. Character development was almost a non-factor, meaning new viewers had no idea what to make of anything, and the plot was all over the place. An epic showdown (FINALLY) between Raphael and Leonardo disappointed like their last names were "Hardy." TMNT again became dormant, until news broke that Peter Laird sold his rights to the Turtles to Nickelodeon. In the Fall of 2012, a new series premiered yet again, and I had feared the worst, only to find that I'm enjoying the hell out of the series. The animation style is different from any other version, there's even more emphasis on character development, there's adult themes and consequences slipped into what is advertised as a show for children under 10 (new episodes air SUNDAY at 11 A.M), and hey... more toys!

With that said, I've been around for all four television series' based on the license, seen all four movies countless times, discovered and fell in love with the original comics and have spent more money on the video games and action figures (among other things) than I'd care to remember. It's been nearly a decade since the Turtle DVD's have found themselves in the player, but it's time go back and relive them all over again. Knowing my record of keeping up with something, I might get to Episode #10 before I give up.




EPISODE #1: TURTLE TRACKS

(Characters introduced: The Turtles (Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello, Mich(a)elangelo), Splinter/Hamato Yoshi, April O'Neil, Burn Thompson (April's boss), Vernon (April's rival at Channel 6 TV), Shredder/Oroku Saki, Bebop (Human Form), Rocksteady (Human Form), and the Foot Soldiers.)

We are quickly introduced to April O'Neil, a news reporter for Channel 6 News. A recent crime wave has struck New York City, but not just any kind of a crime wave: This one is revolving around the theft of high-tech equipment that even the people getting ripped off don't even know what their use is for. A scientist scientifically concludes that the break ins have been done by Ninja's. The Samurai sword marks? Screw that for evidence, rope that is conveniently labeled "Made In Japan" is enough for this Outstanding Achiever In The Field of Excellence to pass this off as FACT. Lucky for him, he's a good guesser, as Ninja's ARE behind it.

April's snooping around leads to a confrontation with a group of Punk's, none of them named "C.M.", unfortunately. Two of them are humanoid versions of Bebop and Rocksteady (looking like Barney Rubble grew up on the wrong side of the tracks). They chase into the sewer, only to have their asses handed to them by a bunch of black and white colored renditions of the Ninja Turtles. April is shocked at the revelation, but not as shocked as I was to hear Raphael being a sarcastic wise-ass than the ass-kicking hot head THAT EVERY OTHER TELLING OF THE TURTLES HAS STUCK WITH. The Turtles bring April to their "Turtle Lair" (not to be confused with Dragon's Lair), where she meets Splinter, a giant talking rat. He gives us our first and probably longest bit of exposition as he tells her of his past in human form as "Hamato Yoshi" and naming the four mutated turtles after his favorite renaissance artists: Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello, and Mich(a)elangelo. He then throws out the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" name, ensuring European broadcasts needing to edit out the line for using the word "Ninja."

The Turtles return with April to the "surface", with a running joke being April poorly identifying the Turtles every time they ask a silly question about human behavior. You know, the joke WOULD work if they all wore red masks. They visit the "Ninja District", which includes Ninja Pizza and Ninja Dentist. Could you imagine Isaac Yankem as a Ninja? The Turtles disguise themselves with trench-coats and fedora's, thus making every single person in this show tied for the biggest moron in the history of the world. For the first of about 190 times, April is kidnapped and the Turtles have to rescue her. This leads to a fight with the "Foot Clan", a bunch of "Ninja's" who happen to be robots, allowing the Turtles to gratuitously use their weapons. Just wait until season 2. Weapon attacks will be replaced with one-liners. All throughout the episode, a masked man that sounds suspiciously like Uncle Phil (minus the black), but goes unnamed (Spoiler Alert: It's Shredder) is playing Big Brother. He tries to flood the building, but doesn't realize Turtles can swim. The same can be said for the people at Konami responsible for TMNT on the NES. The Turtles (and April) escape the building before it collapses, possibly killing several hundred people. The episode ends with Splinter identifying the Foot Soldier's uniform as "men" working under his former nemesis, Oroku Saki... and then they eat Pizza.
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Scrooge McSuck
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Joined: December 8th, 2004, 2:32 am

June 6th, 2014, 5:08 am #2


(It's easy to complain about the horrible error made here, but considering the Turtles were only identified with the color red before this series, it's understandable that the idea was there to make Leonardo the one with Orange, before deciding on Blue. I don't know if this episode screen was recycled in the later seasons, so we'll give them the benefit of doubt)


EPISODE #2: ENTER THE SHREDDER

I'll just get the joke out of the way now... damn, is that a suggestive episode title to someone who has a filthy mind. We pick up immediately where Episode #1 ended, probably because the five episode of "Season 1" is just one really long special broken down into 22-minute blocks. During a sparring session, Mich(a)elangelo demonstrates a lack of patience... COME ON, THE STONER TURTLE?! It's a shame no other turtle has ever shown a characteristic of a short temper and having zero patience (cough:Raphael:cough). Somewhere near the center of the earth, "Oroku Saki" is demonstrating road rage as he guides the Technodrome. We're introduced to a giant brain called Krang, who apparently is the one pulling all the strings. Saki insists he be called "The Shredder" while Krang complains about wanting a body, as Shredder agreed to make him in exchange for his technology from Dimension X.

Short rant: Krang is loosely based on a species known as the Utrom's, brain-like creature that got around using humanoid shells as a means of transportation and communication. I say "loosely" because Krang is strictly a villain while the Utrom's were more of a neutral species (and in the 2012 Nickelodeon series, become a regular species known as the Kraang, but demonstrating all the previous described attributes and behavior of the Utrom's.)

After some robots you fight in most in the TMNT video games steal a Warthog and Rhinoceros from the local Zoo, Shredder enlists the service of two of his Punk's to go through the mutation process. Shredder's one-liner "you'll probably have a hard time getting a date for Saturday Night" still gets a laugh out of me. One scene later, and we have our first mutated enemies of the Turtles: Bebop (the Warthog) and Rocksteady (the Rhino). It would be more of a revelation had I not already listed them in the first episode. Meanwhile, the Turtles discover the Technodrome in their search for Splinter, who was rat-napped earlier in the episode. What follows is a pretty bad ass fight scene between the Turtles and a bunch of robots. Mich(a)elangelo uses his nunchukus more in this scene than probably the entire series combined, and does some heavy duty damage, as well.

Despite their successful efforts in destroying a bunch of laser shooting robots and rescuing their beloved Sensei, Shredder continues to force the Turtles to run the Gauntlet (abusing powers, the staple of all villain decision-making skills) and reveals it was HIM who was responsible for mutating Hamato Yoshi and the Turtles. If 10 GIANT ROBOTS can't stop the Turtles, then maybe two easily defeated Punks with laser blasters will succeed... right? In the first of probably 250 battles, Bebop and Rocksteady are defeated by the Turtles and easily trapped inside a cage at the Zoo. Lucky for them, Shredder helps them escape as we close out the episode. As you can tell by the description, there was more emphasis on the Foot Clan/Villains than the Turtles.

(Characters Introduced This Episode: Mutated Form of Bebop and Rocksteady, Krang; the Brain-Like Alien from Dimension X)
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Scrooge McSuck
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Joined: December 8th, 2004, 2:32 am

June 7th, 2014, 2:01 am #3

EPISODE #3: A THING ABOUT RATS


The episode starts with the Technodrome drilling through a weird slanted house on a hill. I guess that explains how they're able to travel from underneath the city and find themselves above ground. Elsewhere in the City, a weird little man known as Baxter Stockman is pitching his invention to a seedy looking man: an invention designed to terminate all the rats in the city: The Mouser (in other versions of the TMNT, it's an acronym). The man in charge of Ajax Pest Control passes. I think the slogan on their billboard says "We Have No Interest In Solving Your Rat Problems". Shredder, on the other hand, has been spying on Stockman and picks him up on his offer to mass produce the Mousers. Stockman quips, and I quote "he must have a thing about rats." Har har, slipping the episode title into the dialogue.

Side Rant #2: Baxter Stockman is presented here as a short, nerdy, spineless wimp (and white). The Stockman character seems to jump around a lot with the characteristics, but the character was originally designed as not only African-American, but very confident in his work. The 2003 TMNT series followed this mold, while the 2012 Nickelodeon series has kind of mashed the two of them together, as he's bumbling confident (and African-American).

The Turtles save Splinter from the first wave of attacking Mousers, and go to see April to find out more about who Baxter Stockman is, hoping her abilities as a Journalist will help find the answers. April seems to be unsure of how to follow up on a lead by only having a name. I guess this is before the Internet, but what did she expect, his finger prints and Social Security Number, too? All four Turtles go through great effort in trashing April's apartment: Mich(a)elangelo almost starts a fire cooking a frozen pizza, Raphael for reasons unknown draws a bath and adds a SHOWER CAP filled with bubble-bath suds to it, and Leonardo is throwing food at the wall. I guess Donatello was busy checking April out in her robe and waxing his Turtle head.

Shredder unleashes a second wave of Mousers, this time roughly 100 of them in comparison to the dozen or so first sent to destroy Splinter. Meanwhile, the Turtles find Stockman, threaten to shove a Sai up his ass, and find out where the master controls to the Mousers is located. The Turtles, to the shock of NO ONE, manage to save Splinter and April from being eaten alive by the Mousers, thus confirming this G-rated children's show is in fact G-rated (or TV-Y, in the modern age of lame ass ratings). Yet ANOTHER building collapses from under the Turtles, Splinter, and April, killing even more innocent people, assuming April isn't the only person at home in what looked like a 20-story building. Mich(a)elangelo finds himself trapped, but finds assistance from an unlikely source: Krang. I guess Krang is desperate enough for a body that he's willing to fuck with Shredder's plans until he gets what he wants. Mich(a)elangelo suckers Shredder into accidentally blasting the master controls, giving us our first over-the-top Uncle Phil reaction out of Shredder. The Mousers go rogue and eat away at the abandoned building, forcing Shredder to retreat. And that's the end of that chapter... oh wait, Michelangelo. He died and is never heard from again. Just kidding, he survives.

Characters Introduced: Baxter Stockman (Human Form)
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Scrooge McSuck
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Joined: December 8th, 2004, 2:32 am

June 7th, 2014, 2:27 am #4

EPISODE #4: HOT RODDING TEENAGERS FROM DIMENSION X

Quite a mouthful for an episode title, huh? The Turtles are recovering from their latest encounter with Shredder's Mousers and PUSH THE TURTLE WAGON UP STAIS into what's allegedly Baxter Stockman's old work area. 10-seconds worth of exposition explains Stockman is now in Jail. I'm sure it won't last longer than another 4 episodes. Meanwhile, Krang refuses to give Shredder more technology, Shredder's newest mutations look like duds, and knuckleheads and Glass Joe's of the TMNT Universe Bebop and Rocksteady remain employed. Shredder decides to open up a transporter linking the Technodrome with Dimension X. While the portal is open, one of Krang's former henchmen, General Traag, and a group of Neutrino's, "juvenile delinquents" who hate war and refuse to join the Army, coming passing through. I'm pretty sure they wouldn't be invited for Christmas at Archie Bunker's house.

The Neutrino's (get it, neutral) quickly befriend the Turtles and are introduced as Zak, Dask, and Kala (voiced by Tress MacNeille, using a hybrid of her Babs Bunny and Gadget voice). Short and sweet, they just want to have fun. Cyndi Lauper would be proud. The two male Neutrino's have ZERO character development (other than being annoying), while Kala's claim to being developed is a possible crush on Michelangelo, who obviously has a crush on her. I'd hit it. Traag sets up a device that controls the local weather. He sets it to "Total Chaos!", and yes, that's what the label actually says. That's almost as ridiculous as ludicrous speed. The local law enforcement and MILITARY show up and open fire on Traag and his unnamed Lieutenant, but they no-sell it like a Samoan no-sells blows to the head.


The Turtles casually infiltrate the Technodrome, make Bebop and Rocksteady look like goofs (bringing their total record against them to 3-0), and avoid laser blasts like they were being shot at by the Stormtroopers. The Turtles knock Traag and That Other Guy(tm) through the Portal, and the Neutrino's aren't far behind. The epic battle between the Turtles and Shredder is avoided with the Weather Ball creating too much chaos. SWERVE! The Turtles save the city by destroying the device (they still were in possession of one of the Neutrino's flying cars, or maybe 2015 Doc Brown left his Delorean unattended. That seems to happen every now and then). Shredder snaps and offers to finally keep his word by building the body he promised Krang back in Episode 0. As you can see, not the most exciting episode, but it ends with a cliffhanger for the 5th and final episode of the "season."

Characters Introduced: The Neutrino's (Zak, Dask, and Kala), General Traag and the Stone Soldiers
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Scrooge McSuck
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Joined: December 8th, 2004, 2:32 am

June 7th, 2014, 3:38 am #5

EPISODE #5: SHREDDER AND SPLINTERED

It's the Season 1 FINALE, and it's Showdown Time! After Shredder teases them with a Retro-Mutagen Gun, The Turtles plan to find the Technodrome (AGAIN) by flying the Delorean, but alas, they're out of Plutonium, and the local Shell Station doesn't start selling it until 2014. After a better than usual showing, Bebop and Rocksteady drop another quick fight to the Turtles by way of a Garbage Truck. 3 years later, and that finish would be recycled for the exciting conclussion to the TMNT live-action movie's Main Event. Meanwhile, Shredder has completed Krang's body, but Krang demands Shredder install a computer chip for reasons unexplained. The body strikes a fair resemblance to the Utrom's humanoid shells, except a bit more over the top and goofy. With Rocksteady and Bebop already defeated, the Turtles easily dispatch of a wave of Foot Soldiers. I guess that's Shredder's versions of Tito Santana and Koko B. Ware.

Back at Channel Six News, April threatens her boss with the Turtle Phone, passed along as an alien doomsday device. Back in the Technodrome, Krang awakens from surgery and demonstrates that his body suit is capable of shape shifting. He contacts General Traag and informs him to prepare the Stone Warriors to infiltrate Earth. Somewhere else in the Technodrome, a Hologram Shredder dicks around with Splinter, and even then can't get the upperhand. Splinter must be playing the role of John Cena. The Turtles Sans Donatello confront Krang, only for him to grow about 100 feet. He threatens them with "The Wrath of Krang", complete with one-liner from Michelangelo ("isn't that the name of a movie?").

Back at Stockman's old Lab (a.k.a a dirty room on the top floor of a dank building), Donatello is putting together what turns out to be the Turtle Blimp. Back in the Streets, Krang is running amuck, trying to steal King Kong's thunder. Back in the Technodrome, Splinter and Shredder continue to fight slower than Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader's Episode IV Battle. That duel made the Geriatric Match at WrestleMania XII look like a 5-Star Classic. Leonardo and Donatello find themselves inside of Krang's body and destroy the Molecular Calibration Device, shrinking him back to normal size. Yes, we DO see Leo and Donnie escape before it happens. Shredder drops the line "tonight I dine on Turtle Soup" before Splinter interrupts and destroys the Retro-Mutagen Gun. Since we're scheduled for another decade worth of episodes, Krang and Shredder run from their respective fights like a pair of wussies. The Turtles engage them in another fight, Donatello rigs the teleporter inside the Technodrome, and the entire Technodrome gets sucked into Dimension X. Krang is over joyed while Shredder throws another classic 8-year olds hissy fit. That voice is TOO perfect for such a whining little bitch. The Turtles want to celebrate, but Splinter has a feeling we haven't seen the last of Shredder and Krang.

End of Season 1

Characters Introduced (either playing a major or recurring role or eventually turned into a figure)
The Turtles (Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello, Michelangelo)
Splinter/Hamato Yoshi
April O'Neil
The Shredder/Oroku Saki
Krang
Bebop
Rocksteady
General Traag
Baxter Stockman
The Foot Soldiers
The Stone Warriors
The Neutrino's (Zak, Dask, and Kala)
Burne Thompson (April's Boss)
Vernon (April's Rival)
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Scrooge McSuck
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Joined: December 8th, 2004, 2:32 am

June 7th, 2014, 4:06 am #6

EPISODE #6: RETURN OF THE SHREDDER

Season TWO Debuts! When we last left our heroes, they just celebrated sending the Technodrome (as well as Shredder and Company) back to Dimension X, but mourned over losing the chance of converting Splinter back into his human form with the retro-mutagen gun. Season 2 tones down the violence almost INSTANTLY. The opening scene features Leonardo and Michelangelo preventing a robbery at the Food Jobber using comical techniques rather than bludgeoning the criminals with their own weapons. for the record, yes, I've already stopped doing the mock spelling of Michelangelo's name, where it was incorrectly spelled with two A's.

Back in the Technodrome, Krang opens a portal for Shredder to return to Earth by himself, along with a communicating device. We're introduced to April's co-worker Irma, who is a bangable nerd without a boyfriend. That's basically her entire character development: She's a nerd who can't find a boyfriend. Her boss, Burne Thompson, HATES the Turtles because his main squeeze despises Turtles. That's basically all of his character development, too. Oh, and Vernon is a pretentious ass kisser, so that covers everyone that April deals with above the surface. I hope their layers aren't too much for everyone to grasp in just one reading.

Shredder finds himself in the middle of Central Park and fights off two muggers by doing a back-flip 15 feet into the air and karate chopping a large tree branch onto their heads. Stop giving us mixed signals! Are we supposed to boo Shredder, or cheer him because he does cool moves like that? Damn 50/50 booking. Shredder infiltrates the "Slash For Cash" Dojo and turns them into Turtle Imitators (The Crooked Ninja Turtle Gang, complete with business cards) in an effort to lure the Turtles into another fight. Only the densest of marks (cough:TNAfans:cough) could believe that these buffoons could be Turtles. Somewhere in a padded room is Baxter Stockman and a guy who thinks he is Napoleon Bonaparte. Shredder breaks in to free Stockman since his usual lackeys are still stuck in the Technodrome. When in doubt, scrape the bottom of the barrel. That's the only logical conclusion to Nikolai Volkoff's involvement with Ted Dibiase's Million Dollar Corporation.

Could you believe all that's happened in this episode and we're only entering Act Three right now? Stockman builds a "rat trapping machine" which is basically a bulldozer with fangs, and traps Splinter like a .... uh... carrot. Instead of crushing him to death, he's just kidnapped for the second time. The Turtles easily hand The Crooked Ninja Turtle Gang(tm) their asses, using more comical fighting techniques like using sofa springs, barrels, and tire stacking. The Turtles head to the Slash For Cash Dojo (after all, that's what the note on a brick wall reads) to save Splinter (again). Shredder has a giant battering ram with the Smackdown Fist connected to it, but I'm pretty sure it was built by Acme, so it's doomed to start with. The Turtles save Splinter, but Shredder, with his hand firmly grasping Stockman's ass, makes a quick exit. The episode ends with a horrible fourth wall joke via April over the Turtles television.

Character Introduced: Irma (she plays a decent role in a handful of episodes. Yay us.)
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Erick Von Erich
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June 9th, 2014, 4:29 pm #7

"TMNT" was just a little after my time. In 1984 to 1987, the original comics were still "direct only" and incredibly hard to find. I had one or two issues, but they were too late in the series and I was confused. Still, I remember a Samoan kid who got me into the art-style in late 1986 (who also showed me how to headbutt, naturally). The gritted teeth scowl is something I still use to this day when drawing.

I steered clear of the toys and merchandise, but TMNT was an influence on me and helped me to start my own comic. Loved their mix of humor with action. There was such an energy that showed in the whole TMNT franchise. When TMNT hit TV the next fall, it helped the popularity of my crappy little comic. "Cool! This is kinda' like Ninja Turtles" was a common reply. But I was still too hung up on trying to work in super hero parodies (a la "Captain Carrot") and didn't really hit the vibe of my comic until late in 8th grade. Within 3 months, high school and daily football practices had arrived, my comic collaborator had moved and, TMNT had been ingrained as a little kids' franchise.

-Does your overall count include a short-lived 1994/1995 animated series? I coulda' swore CBS had a relaunched Saturday morning Turtles show around that time. Like "EXTREME Turtles" or some shit?
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Scrooge McSuck
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June 9th, 2014, 5:04 pm #8

I'll have to look into that. I know the original series had a "mini-season" that was treated as it's own (called the "European Vacation" season or something like that), despite being in production as part of the normal run of episodes.

It's funny how by Season 3, it goes from trying to be a TV show that has a strong influence in the toy department to "BUY THE FUCKING TOYS!" to the point you want to gag with a spoon. There's absolutely no transition.
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Erick Von Erich
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June 9th, 2014, 6:52 pm #9

Here's the one I'm thinking of:



You know more than I do, but it looks like it was just the regular/original series... still running in Fall 1994 with a new intro. I had always thought the show ended around 1992, when it stopped airing in syndication around here.

Only reason I remember the 1994 thing is because I used to set the VCR timer to record blocks of Saturday morning cartoons at the time. Not to watch TMNT, but I wanted to catch "WildCATs" which aired right before or after it. I remember FF'ing through Turtles...then hating WildCATs.

I always had to work on Saturday mornings, but my inner comic nerd was dying to see all the stuff that was airing. I think I did it up through mid-1995; usually taping FOX instead of CBS. I re-used the same tape to watch X-Men, The Tick, Batman and...maybe something else (Spider-Man?).
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Erick Von Erich
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June 9th, 2014, 7:02 pm #10

Y'know... I'm a little jealous/impressed that TMNT ran for as long as it did in its original incarnation (Wikipedia says 1987 to 1996 or 10 seasons). Even though I wasn't a huge fan of the GI Joe cartoon, I would've loved to have seen them run that many consecutive seasons. Instead they had 2 good mini-seasons, 2 mind-numbingly silly full seasons, then after a 3 year break: 2 crappy DIC seasons in the early 90's.

I remember watching the 1987 mini-season 5-parter of TMNT and kinda' thinking that the torch had been passed/time was up. Younger kids were into this and my stuff (GI Joe) had been put out to pasture. The popularity of TMNT and Ghostbusters led to the decline of GI Joe and Transformers from their 1984-1986 primes.
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