Wednesday, February 06, 2013

When the Turtles Joined Starfleet

This post was inspired by a comment made during the live recording feed of Radio Free Cybertron this week (the episode should be available for download later this weekend. If you subscribe via iTunes, you can get it automatically). The hosts were talking about the current line of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toys, and remembering the line that came out back in the early '90s. Long before Transformers had launched the "Crossover" line, this figure of Donatello as Mr. Spock came out.

This toy, officially called "First Officer Donatello" ("The Subspace Shelled Science Officer!"), came out as result of serendipitous timing, as Playmates toys decided to capitalize on the fact that they held the licenses to make toys based on two certain popular television series. Thus, the "Star Trek Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" line was born.

The line featured all four Turtles as characters from the original series of Star Trek. Donatello is clearly Mr. Spock, Leonardo was Captain Kirk, Michaelangelo was Scotty, and Raphael was Dr. McCoy. Donatello is the only figure I actually own. Oddly enough, although certain Star Trek concepts are explicitly used on the packaging (The USS Enterprise, pon farr, the communicator, the tricorder, and the phaser, for example), none of the names of the actual characters seem to be used. Thus, while "First Officer Donatello" is said to have been "born on the planet Vulcan," Spock's name never actually shows up, despite the clear intention. I don't pretend to know why.

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