...dammit. The new cartoon actually isn't half bad. I had no hope at all for it, and didn't plan on watching it. The two-part premiere was just on, though, and I figured I'd give it a shot. It does a decent job of feeling like an update of the '80s show, being more lighthearted and funny than the '03 one, yet still does a lot of its own stuff. It's aware of the franchise's history and uses that to comedic effect pretty well.
The characters themselves are likeable enough. Michelangelo is surprisingly entertaining, which I didn't expect at all. He can be like nails on a chalkboard if done wrong, but this version works so far. Greg Cipes' voice for him is perfect; it gets Beast Boy's comedic timing, without being as grating as that voice was at times. I'm liking that his nunchuks convert to a kusarigama; that's a cool addition.
I'm glad they're giving Donatello a story from the beginning. He often winds up as 'the other guy' of the group, smart and tech-savvy but gets overshadowed by the strong, loud personalities of the other three. So giving him a key role in the opening arc was a good choice. That said role involves romance with a teenage April I'm less sure about, but we'll see how it goes. Rob Paulsen's voice for him works, but is distracting. I can't help but hear Raphael every time he talks.
Raphael hasn't done enough to get a good feel for him yet. He's obviously the angry, aggressive fighter of the group, but they seem to have toned that down a bit this time in favor of making him more laid back and sarcastic like the '80's version. Seems like a decent balance, so far. I like that he has a pet turtle, too. That shouldn't have taken so long to happen.
And Leonardo... is Leonardo, pretty much. Serious, focused leader-dude as always. Making him a Captain Kirk fan is a funny inclusion, though. And really a believable idea; he's spent his whole life in a sewer, so TV role models are all he has.
Splinter is okay. The writer tried too hard to make him funny, but he seems like he'll fill his role well enough.
Another thing that I like is that the turtles are so inexperienced this time around. They don't understand their roles on the team yet, and don't know how to work together effectively. Unlike the previous shows, they aren't even especially good fighters yet. So we'll really get to see them develop both individually, and as a team. Should be fun to watch.
The villains haven't done enough to make much of an impression. I do like the Kraang nod with the name of their species, though. The Mojo Jojo-esque speech is pretty funny, too.
Another thing I'm surprised by is the animation. The clay-like look of the CGI takes some getting used to, but it really isn't bad. I'm liking all the visual gags, too. It reminds me a lot of Teen Titans,
but (so far) isn't as over-the-top as that show could get.
So, all-in-all, this is showing some real potential. My Saturday mornings just got even more crowded, I guess.