Trash Culture’s Ninja Turtles Rip-Offs, Case Study #2: Street Sharks

by Chad Denton

I really do believe that Biker Mice From Mars was one of the better action cartoons to come out of Saturday mornings in the ’90s, but one of the things that worked in its favor is that most of the other Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-inspired cartoons were total crap. And that brings us to the totally jawsome Street Sharks…

I know it’s not much of an original criticism to say that a cartoon for kids looks like it was written according to a bunch of middle-age peoples’ perceptions of what “the kids are into these days,” but damn, Street Sharks takes it to a Mad Libs level. The heroes are guys with parachutes and rollerblades who were turned into sharks and they like to eat burgers. Their best friend and ally is a surfer and inventor who owns a comic book shop. Really, the only character I found at all interesting was of course the villain, Dr. Paradigm, who I presume was named as the most unexpected reference to The Structure of Scientific Revolutions ever. Admittedly he’s the standard mad scientist seeking to turn human beings into gods, but I love the fact that he’s just a standard university faculty member who happens to be able to afford a high-security mad scientist lab with large aquatic mammals kept in fancy tubes. And he has grad students! We only know this because one of them, an African-American female research assistant named Twofer…er, Lena, ends up helping the heroes, but still I couldn’t help but imagine the whacky hijinks the grad students of the mad scientist who makes Dr. Frank Forrester look respectable would get into. Give us that show!

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