Netflix Pick of the Week: Saban Showdown – Beetles vs Turtles

As a child, I never really got into Power Rangers, but I was a fan of some other live-action Saban Entertainment shows that aired around the same time.  So imagine my delight when I noticed that Big Bad Beetleborgs and Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation showed up on Netflix.  Unable to resist the temptation of nostalgia, I decided to watch both of these 90s shows.

To be clear, I was not expecting a binge-worthy tv watching experience going into this.  I just love watching my old childhood favourites from time to time – and I love the laughs I get when I realize just how hilariously “bad” some of these shows can be.  These two Saban shows are no exception.  I certainly wasn’t able to binge-watch them – I mainly had these on when I was doing my makeup or cooking. Trust me, I didn’t miss a whole lot if I wasn’t actively paying attention to the screen.

So, just for fun, here are my thoughts on Big Bad Beetleborgs and Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation.  

619gOM3q8BL._AC_SY445_Big Bad Beetleborgs Created by Saban Entertainment – Action, Adventure, Comedy, Family, Fantasy:

Pros: Although the monsters of Hillhurst aren’t the main characters, their presence makes the show more fun.  Each episode has it’s own side story featuring the monsters, and whenever the main story of the Beetleborgs is weak, the adventures of the monsters help keep the episodes entertaining and watchable.

Cons: Season 2 is not strong.  Once the Magnavores are defeated at the end of season 1, the stories start to fall flat.  The new bad guys to arrive afterwards, the Crustaceans, are fairly uninteresting villains by comparison. And by the time the Astral Sword comes into play, it really feels like the creative team was scrambling to come up with ideas.

Final Thoughts: I remembered this show being really fun as a kid, and Flabber was the character I remembered the most.  I had totally forgotten about the Hillhurst monsters, but they (and Flabber) were my favourite part of the show when I watched it as an adult. This show was silly and fun.

MV5BNDZiM2IzMWYtMTRmOC00M2NlLTliZmQtYTQ1NzBhODllY2IwXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjMxMDM2NjY@._V1_UY1200_CR48,0,630,1200_AL_Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation Created by Saban Entertainment – Action, Adventure, Comedy, Family, Sci-Fi: 

Pros: The puppetry is pretty impressive for some of the characters (although I find some of the puppets are a little uncomfortable to look at). The villains are wacky and stereotypical, and that makes them pretty fun. For a kids show that can get weirdly dark, the presence of outrageous villains helped.

Cons: There were more than a few uncomfortable elements.  Particularly whenever Venus was involved.  She was treated with sexism, racism, and was often the butt of the joke.  And even though this was supposed be a kids show, there were some moments that were more “teen”.  It’s as if the creative team couldn’t quite decide who the target audience was.

Final Thoughts: I remember really enjoying this show as a kid, and I can of see why it would have been the kind of thing I would have liked back then, but I’m disappointed in younger me.  I didn’t really enjoy re-watching this as an adult and I’m grateful there was only one season to get through (I’m not sure I could have handled another).

Saban Showdown:

Best Costumes: Beetleborgs for sure.  Everything may be a little off-brand Power Rangers in appearance, and the monster’s costumes are cheap/cheesy, but they are fun and way better looking than the turtles.  In Ninja Turtles the costumes are kind of awkward to look at (especially their teeth). That being said, Vam-Mi’s sparkly vampire outfit is better than Fangula’s in Beetleborgs.

Best Story: Based on the recurring tropes, the formulaic stories, and more child-oriented plots, I’m giving the win to Beetleborgs. If I’m thinking of these as kids shows, Ninja Turtles can’t seem to decide if the target audience is kids or teens.  Plus, the story just gets weirder when the Chinese vampires show up.

Best Opening Theme: The original opening theme for Ninja Turtles is fairly similar to Beetleborgs (i.e. the lyrics explain the origin stories of the heroes). And Beetleborgs definitely has the catchier/better theme.  However, on Netflix, Ninja Turtles has an alternate opening theme that was created for DVD release; this one is the best of the bunch!

And the Winner is…

Big Bad Beetleborgs!

Flabber

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