This is a show I have many fond memories of. Cartoons have grown considerably more sophisticated since the turtles first aired in the mid 1980s, so it can be difficult to appreciate today just how ground-breaking this series really was. It's only when you compare it to the old Hanna Barbera horrors of the 70s, or to the almost equally banal early 80s cartoons that preceded the arrival of the turtles, that you get a sense of just how much this show achieved. By comparison with very nearly every single mainstream English language cartoon made in the 20, arguably even 30 years prior, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was an astonishingly smart, edgy, even streetwise piece of work.
But... With great sadness in my heart, even I have to admit that season five doesn't exactly catch the turtles at their best. The fundamental problem at this stage in the series was that our heroes could only defeat Krang and Shredder so many times before the old villains no longer represented a credible threat. The evil duo still make memorable appearances, but they no longer dominate the turtles' lives in the way they did in earlier seasons.
New blood was desperately needed on the supervillain front. Unfortunately, the new villains the writers were coming up with at this stage in the game were all entirely forgettable throwaway characters. As much as I hate to say it, they wouldn't have been out of place in those old 70s horrors I alluded to earlier. In fact, if there's one thing we can say about this season, it's that it gives us a new appreciation for just how much of the show's charisma came from Krang and Shredder (and yes, even Bebop and Rocksteady) rather than the turtles themselves.
I wish I could have been more positive, because this really is a show that has given me a great deal of enjoyment over the years. But... well, there you have it. The episodes you get on these disks are still all quite watchable. They just don't have that spark of something truly exceptional that fueled the ealier seasons.