We all know the story about a boy and his car. Boy buys car. Boy drives car for a good time. Boy is fused with his car in a lab accident and becomes the target of a mysterious driver who wants his “power.” Rev up your engines, J1 fans!! Devildriver1313 is taking on a wild ride with Turbo Teen!
Created by Ruby-Spears Productions, Turbo Teen followed the adventures of Brett Matthews, a teenage boy who crashes into a secret government laboratory where he and his red sports car are accidentally exposed to a molecular beam invented by a scientist named Dr. Chase for a government agent named Cardwell and the two become one. Brett gains the ability to turn into his car whenever he is exposed to heat and revert back to normal when he is exposed to cold. With this new super hero power, Brett and his friends, Patti (a freelance reporter), mechanic Alex (who calls Brett “TT”), and Brett’s dog Rusty, go on crime-fighting adventures together and solve other mysteries while searching for a cure for Brett. A recurring villain is the mysterious, unseen “Dark Rider” who drives a monster truck and seeks to capture Brett Matthews in order to find the secret behind his abilities.
CHEESE FACTOR!! Ruby-Spears Productions created Turbo Teen to ride the coat tails of the growing popularity of Knight Rider. The car that Brett turns into looks like an amalgam of a Third Generation Chevrolet Camaro and its sister car, the Pontiac Trans Am; the later model Knight Rider’s KITT is based on. The cartoon mirrored much of Knight Rider right down the having nearly identical theme music. Turbo Teen’s antagonist Dark Rider is voiced by Frank Welker whom 80s kids know as the voice of Megatron from Transformers. This aspect reflects KITT’s arch enemy KARR who was voiced by Peter Cullen, better known as Optimus Prime. Dark Rider’s voice is similar to Inspector Gadget’s Dr. Claw and when that voice was run through a vocoder, you get Soundwave. Brett’s hot and cold transformations had many plot holes. He turns into his car form when he gets overheated. But what counts as overheated? In one instance, he turned into the car from stress over a test. And forget about falling in love. If a girl were to get him hot and bothered, she is going to catch a wheel to the face. Not to mention that Brett’s transformation was a little disturbing. Plus, the locale of the series appears to be set in the Midwest U.S. where temperatures can fluctuate between hot and cold at a moment’s notice. Furthermore, Knight Rider is not the only show the Turbo Teen borrowed plot ideas from. A group of teenage sleuths driving around with a dog solving mysteries was started by Hanna-Barbera’s Scooby-Doo.
WHY WE WATCHED!! Turbo Teen had promise to be an awesome series. The idea of seeing a teen turn into a vehicle was something that was really cool and set the series apart from others at the time. Brett Matthews was a different kind of hero. He didn’t have some tragic backstory other than being exposed to weird rays that made him into a human Transformer. Also, Turbo Teen was more “mother approved” alternative to Knight Rider when it came to cars that talk. Knight Rider was Father-Son time.
Turbo Teen raced around for just 13 episodes between September 9, 1984 – August 31, 1985 Saturday Morning on ABC. With Knight Rider’s end in 1984, so did Turbo Teen. Unlike Knight Rider, Brett’s adventures became lost in the pages of cartoon history. Not many remember him except for a select few who enjoyed watching him get into awkward situations such as getting hot under the covers causing him to transform while in bed or using ice cream to cool Brett down to turn him back to normal. Turbo Teen is one of those cartoons that borderlines cheesy goodness and awesome adventure.
Turbo Teen gets a cheesy rating of:
Turbo Teen Intro!
Check out all the cheesy goodness with past entries of Cheesy Cartoons!!
Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog
Super Mario Bros Super Show
Police Academy: The Series
Attack of the Killer Tomatoes
Rubix: The Amazing Cube
Captain N: The Game Master