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INTERVIEW: Rise of the TMNT Is A Comic-Styled Reverential Reinvention

Bauza himself is a franchise veteran having appeared as Tiger Claw in the last Nickelodeon series. But taking on Splinter was a new challenge for him. "I remember what I loved about the character in the original, and so you'd be a moron to mess that up," he laughed. "How man versions have we seen? Having watched the pilot for this one, it's so familiar. It absolutely is the characters you grew up with, but they're giving it new dimensions and you accept it. We know there are multiple dimensions in this universe."

Paulsen is settling into his new role after starring as Raphael in the '80s version and as Donatello in the last series. But he credits the new series' ability to connect with the franchise on the fact that most of the creators and cast grew up with the TMNT.

"Everybody that works on the show grew up watching it. That's a big deal. When you're talking about something that comes from literally a clean sheet of paper to what it has become and everybody knows that story, you better turn it over to somebody that loves it. And as the franchise has grown over the years, you can argue that it's kept adding layers – even things that Peter and Kevin never would have thought of. They obviously created it, but what it's turned into has becoming something so much bigger than two guys sitting in Maine. You have people who have utter respect for the franchise, but they're also bringing a new take on it. It's not dissimilar from Doctor Who."

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One of the areas in which the show has marked itself out is in the visual style – a distinctly "2D" series in an era where almost all animation is done completely with computers. "Animation-wise we have to bring our A-game," Suriano said. "Kids today are so savvy that they know the difference between CGI or Flash Animation. We decided to go 2D, but we're really pushing the envelope of the visuals."

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"I'm just an actor. To be able to bring these things to life with your computer is amazing," Paulsen said. "I'm old enough that I saw Bambi and was transfixed by it, but these guys are 50 or 60 years down the road. My son is 34, and he was thrilled there would be a 2D version because his kids have see so much CGI stuff that they're going, 'I like The Lion King!' It was very smart to go back to that style."

Bauza noted that eagle eyed fans will be able to see the depth of detail in this series like none that have come before. "It's like a moving comic book. Andy is an established comic artist and publisher, and it has really translated to this."

Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles debuts tonight on Nickelodeon.

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