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Thursday, February 01 2018 22:04

Get a Look at Nickelodeon's RISE OF THE TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES

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It seems like everything in entertainment is divisive these days. If you keep things the same, it's too much like what's come before it. Change things up and go in new directions, and you've ruined a franchise. At least, that's what certain very vocal fans tend to say. The TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES franchise to me is a lot like BATMAN (who they've actually teamed-up with before). Since 1984, it's seen constant reinvention with different looks and new takes on familiar characters that sometimes inhabit an unfamiliar form. Most of the time, it works. Now, after running nearly six years in a CGI incarnation on Nickelodeon (which ran parallel to a vastly different-looking live action film series), the TMNT crew is being reinvented once more for RISE OF THE TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES.

From the official announcement: Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reimagines the characters in a fresh new way, featuring jagged-shelled Raphael as a snapping turtle, wielding twin tonfas as his weapons; Leonardo as a red-eared slider, using an ōdachi sword; Donatello as a soft-shell turtle, sporting a tech-bo staff; and Michelangelo as a box turtle, arming himself with a kusari-fundo. Along for the adventure is the Turtles’ most trusted ally, April O’Neil, a street savvy native New Yorker and Splinter, father figure and sensei to the Turtles.

RISE OF THE TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES

The series stars the voice talent of Omar Miller (Ballers) as Raphael, Ben Schwartz (Parks and Recreation) as Leonardo, Josh Brener (Silicon Valley) as Donatello, Brandon Mychal Smith (You’re The Worst) as Michelangelo, Kat Graham (The Vampire Diaries) as April O’Neil and Eric Bauza (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) as Splinter. WWE Superstar John Cena lends his voice as villain, Baron Draxum, an alchemist warrior mutant who seeks to turn all of humanity into mutants.

RISE OF THE TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES - April and Splinter

The Turtles’ hold distinct personality traits and skills, including: Raphael, as the oldest and biggest brother, he is the leader full of enthusiasm and bravado; Leonardo, the self-professed ‘coolest’ brother possesses irreverent charm and a rebel heart; Donatello, a mechanical genius and tech wizard whose ninja skills are second only to his coding; and Michelangelo, the youngest brother, a skateboarder and artist who is wild and imaginative.

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At first, the images are jarring - but when explained, I don't know that we've ever seen the TMNT crew presented in this way before... in that each member is a specific breed of turtle. That's interesting. We also have a completely different take on April and Splinter, along with a new villain - and that, too, is exciting. 

I expect to get a sneak-preview of the new toys at Toy Fair in New York City later this month during an event at Playmates Toys, so stay tuned! RISE OF THE TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES will debut later this year on Nickelodeon.

James Zahn

James Zahn is not a journalist, nor a blogger, though he may be credited as such by others, or even accept the title... depending on the circumstance.  Instead, he considers himself largely to be an "entertainment and lifestyle writer," bringing 25+ years of experience in the entertainment and publishing industries into the family realm as THE ROCK FATHER™.

As a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur, James now finds himself raising a pair young girls - The Rock Daughters™ - along with his wife from their Illinois home.

He is a member of The Toy Insider Parent Advisory Board and regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global.

James and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, BusinessWire, Babble, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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