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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Season 7, AKA Hackers 4 Review
guest starring Ted Stevens
A nonsensical take on computers and cyberspace, about 15 years late.
Fuck these assholes.
A while back we reviewed TMNT: Fast Forward, decrying the decision to shelve the true successor season to the show in favor of half baked future crap. Sure, the "lost season" eventually received release, but the very idea of Fast Forward still angers me as it represented the 'established characters now in the future' subgenre's pathetic last volley for relevance. It's why I stopped paying attention to the otherwise very good revitalization of the Ninja Turtles franchise, which probably was good for furthering my overall maturity. Rest assured though, Jazz is still pissed off about it. And if Jazz were here and not in No Man's Land (Madison), he'd likely join me in condemning the newest iteration of the now gimmicky bullshit that is TMNT 2003. This one takes the Ninja Turtles back to the present and back to their old supporting cast (April, Casey) so that's good. What's bad is its gimmick: using the notion of cyberspace to an inanity level not seen since, yes, Hackers. Even though it's like a decade late to be jumping into the inaccurate conception of the Internet market. Jesus fucking Christ, people. I thought this shit died out when film and TV realized computers didn't run on magic?
Looking into those soulless eyes, you see the face of God.
This show apparently picks up where Fast Forward ended since it still uses the opening sequence of that show. Apparently they've expanded it since I last watched to include the TMNT's new rogues gallery. Did you know Teddy Roosevelt is a villain in 2105? (Well, he was a villain in 1905 too...). This first episode shows the Turtles and Splinter returning to their home time period, but before that can happen the villain Viral (who's basically Inque from Batman Beyond made of data) infects the gay robot and joins them in their time journey. She sends them into various time periods in order to finish them off, because just killing them herself is apparently too difficult. These time periods include the time of the dinosaurs and the time of the knights. What the fuck? Total ripoff of the greatest video game ever made, TMNT 4: Turtles in Time. Shame. Then they're brought slightly in the future in order for the program to show off the bevy of new Shredder-related villains TMNT: Hack the Gibson will have. The newest looks like what would've happened had Rob Liefeld or Todd McFarlane designed the character.
See! World dictator Teddy Roosevelt in action.
The tension-filled cliffhanger of the three Shredders gets resolved shittily as the three predictably fight over who gets to murder the Turtles. Somehow the circuitry of the robot Shredder can be patched into Gay Robot's circuitry and fix him without any discrepancies. So the gang eventually return to their own time, with a rather large caveat: Viral fires the decompiler program on Splinter, dispersing his data throughout the time stream. Or something. You'll have to excuse me, I'm not versed in the hard sci-fi TMNT Season 7 employs. I expect in subsequent episodes the Turtles will try to collect all of Splinter's data to bring him back to physical existence. How? Well, the final scene of "Tempus Fugit" (quite a unique title) shows Viral entering into the Internet, which much resembles either a cyberpunk city on a shit budget or the insides of a computer as interpreted in Hackers. Worst yet, she deems this fantastical land to be our primitive 'Internet'. What? She enters into a black something or other with the Foot Clan logo above it and is transformed into Cyber Shredder. Great, so now the Shredder lives inside the Internet and will try to bedevil the Turtles by IMing Donatello and calling him a fag. Although that is relevant to today's youth.
As the premiere episode adopts the last season's intro so as not to spoil the audience of plot developments, the end features the new opening title sequence that gives viewers a look at what to expect in future episodes. They shouldn't have. They really, really, really shouldn't have. For one thing, the theme song is godawful, worse than Fast Forward's. Listen to it here if you so desire. The opening titles show a few scenes of the Turtles riding around on scooters and with rollerblades and shit, wearing helmets and all the other proper safety gear. It looks so fucking lame it hurt me to see it. But the worst part of it is the sequence in which the Turtles fight Cyber Shredder inside the Internet. They wear special costumes because apparently you need special suits if you're going to spend time inside the Internet, beating the shit out of electronic data. I'm glad I only watched the premiere; watching the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Internet fighting in ridiculous costumes would tax my liver more than it's already taxed, and I probably wouldn't be able to find a donor, given the many enemies I've made over the years.
I need some Delsym if I'm gonna enjoy/understand this shit.
Viral is a terrible fucking villain. She exposits everything she intends to do or as she does it, the voice is annoying and a sentient computer virus just doesn't feel threatening anymore (if it ever did feel threatening). The design rips off several previously existing characters to boot. All in all, a terrible villain thankfully obliterated at the end of the premiere. Still, her idiocy rankles. I don't get why Viral didn't just use her temporal stream control to send them to the beginning of time and then just leave them there to die. For a bit I thought she couldn't do something like send them to a volcano, as it'd require control of space in addition to time, but the fact that the second timewarp is in the Dark Ages (clearly England, too) negates that explanation. So many children's programs would end a lot sooner if the villains acted logically and fucking killed the heroes instead of setting them up in death traps and toying with their prey. In the end, she was a fucking dumbass whose insults sucked. In one instance, she calls them organic insects...as opposed to what, insects made of plastic? Wooden insects? Insects which are just calligraphy? You don't have to be a competent writer to do children's television, but it would be appreciated. At least if that fuckface William Safire wrote for TMNT, the insults would be unique AND alliterative.
I hope Cyber Shredder's antics are similar to those of Ghost in the Machine's Machine Ghost Address Book Killer.
TMNT resembles Hackers in the respect that both seemingly have no idea as to how computers work, how the Internet works, and what either of those two are. The Internet doesn't resemble a goddamn William Gibson novel, nor are programs strewn around the Internet with logos on them. It takes visceral visual representation to instill interest in Internet/computers, I agree (otherwise it's some dipshit typing and looking for porn); but the visual representations in these are so fantastical it becomes unintentionally humorous and impossible to take seriously. Yet TMNT cannot manage to live up to Hackers' hilarity, as that film went far over the top and had a skateboarding grown man villain who demanded everyone call him The Plague. The worst thing? No Matthew Lillard. His crack cocaine-fueled delivery and his freakish dress habits made Hackers even funnier than it was without him. In programs with horribly incorrect depictions of computers and technology, you need a stone cold psycho killer like Matthew Lillard to lighten things up while also making you fear for your life. I like to imagine Mikey's voice actor being replaced with Matthew Lillard. Far more interesting than the present one, who too often sounds like he's really fucking constipated.
For more on the Internet and TMNT's inaccuracy, let's turn to Internet presentation inaccuracy expert Senator Ted Stevens (Piece of Shit - Fucking Worthless State):
Haha, haha! Y'see, you see, now I'm not the most inaccurate person to talk about the Internet. These talking turtle men know less about it than I do! Now you Internet peoples can't make fun of me for my inaccuracy. Now, I may not know a lot about the Internet, but one thing I do know is there aren't any Shredders in the Internet. How could there be? Shredder would shred up all those tubes and then the Internet wouldn't be anything. All the contents of the tubes would be spraying everywhere! Who would pick everything up? I certainly ain't gonna make the taxpayers do it! Federal taxpayers should only pay for Alaska infrastructure projects and my lunch. Where was I? Oh yes, these 'Ninja' 'Turtles'. I also highly doubt Turtles could be in the Internet because look at the size of those things! They're huge. How would they fit in any of the tubes? You may not believe me to know a lot about the Internet, but ol' Ted Stevens knows more than these Ninja Turtles do. One question, though: what is this 'television' everyone speaks of?
The animation lacks polish and defers to shitty cartooniness when possible. I don't remember if Fast Forward introduced it, but the Turtles now have pupils, whereas in the rest of the 2003 they lacked them. Pupils/no pupils has varied over the various adaptations, but I got used to the designs not having them. All in all, it's a disconcerting change and it appears as though some lazy designer slapped eyes of another character onto the Turtles (theirs look the same as that shitspawn of April and Casey). Dialogue's similarly horrible, a mixture of pipe laying awkward exposition and failed humor. Yet the best thing this show gives are unintentionally funny one-liners that are only funny if you're steeped in site in-jokes and have a really fucking sick mind. When Michelangelo is trying to get everyone else's attention when in prehistoric times, he continually says "guys" and then later "guys, seriously!". DAMN YOU, TMNT WRITERS, YOU'VE STOLEN MY TODD HOWARD BIT!! I demand compensation. At another time, Michelangelo laments "why do I always have to be on the bottom?". I refuse to give context for that because doing so would limit its comedic implications. It says much about the other aspects of a TV show when gay subtext provokes the most interest.
What the fuck?
Perhaps the Back to the Sewers season will pick up in quality once the Splinter Internet storyline is resolved (hopefully it only lasts for a few episodes) and it can get back to Shredder fucking shit up and the return of popular supporting characters (April, Casey, Baxter Stockman), but I remain doubtful. The writing's slipped off the past couple seasons with the program becoming more of a toy commercial for new iterations of the Turtles than anything. I mean, fucking look at those Internet Turtles in the screenshot above. Those are toys, not logical designs of characters. Given the prior season was filled with gimmicks to distract from shitty storytelling, I doubt this will be much of an improvement if one at all. This is what happens when you write television based on toys: one ends up with incomprehensible bullshit. It really only makes sense if you're stoned as fuck.