Street Shark Explored – An Edgy Jawsome 90’s Anthromorphic Cartoon That Brought TMNT’S Goodness Back

    In the entertainment industry, rip-offs are a typical occurrence because there are so many variants of any well-known franchise. Rarely do any of these knockoffs succeed in achieving even a fraction of the fame or notoriety of the original concept, but occasionally they do.

    We are here today to discuss one such program. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was practically a staple of every 90s child’s upbringing and has been hugely popular for years. Therefore it is not unexpected to see shows like Biker Mice from Mars or Battletoads that were blatant ripoffs of TMNT.

    Even down to a crime-fighting crew of street-smart lads, Street Sharks borrowed heavily from TMNT, but it was much more than just a knockoff. Even though it did not achieve the same level of popularity as TMNT, the show and the toy line managed to establish a reputation for itself.

    A true child of the 1990s would undoubtedly remember the programme and the fun toys. So let us investigate this buried gem from the 1990s today and what made it unique.

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    The plot of Street Sharks focused on the crime-fighting exploits of four brothers who were half humans and half sharks. As a part of Bohbot’s Amazin’ Adventures programming block, it aired from 1994 to 1997. There were three seasons and a total of forty episodes. DIC Productions, L.P., and Bohbot Entertainment produced it. Even Mattel action figures were featured on the program. David Siegel and Joe Galliani of Mr. Joe’s Really Big Productions were responsible for its creation.

    The story of Street Sharks begins with the antagonist, Dr. Paradigm, conducting various genetic experiments to be able to perfect the human race. He is discovered by Dr. Bolton, the father of the show’s protagonists. Bolton refuses to help Paradigm anymore and tries to stop him, but Paradigm injects Dr. Bolton with some unknown DNA construct, resulting in Dr. Bolton mutating into something dangerous.


    Dr. Bolton manages to wreck the lab and run away, leaving behind only a watch which Dr. Paradigm keeps for himself. The following day, Paradigm converses with their colleague Lena Mack who comments on Bolton’s absence. She mentions they should call his sons to check, and Paradigm gets the idea of using Bolton’s sons as his test subjects. He instructs Lena to contact them and inform them that their father wishes to meet them at a specific location.

    Lena contacts the brothers. While making breakfast, John Bolton receives the call, and Lena tells him their father wants them to meet him at a specific location. He then contacts his younger brothers Bobby, Coop, and Clint, and the brothers rush to the mentioned location. The boys arrive separately and are greeted by Dr. Paradigm. John notices Paradigm wearing his father’s watch, and the boys quickly figure out something is wrong.

    The boys are attacked by the Seaviates, Slash, and Slobster and captured and strapped down on operating tables. Dr. Paradigm begins the DNA process and injects the boys with various strains of shark DNA, but none of the boys show any signs of mutation. Clint manages to break out of his restraints and staggers towards Paradigm but passes out. Paradigm checks over the boys and, believing them all to be dead, he asks the Seaviates to destroy all evidence. Slash and Slobster ditch the boys in a storm drain, but a passing jogger spots them.

    Although before the jogger could come back with some help, the drain carries away the brothers. They come to their senses a while later and stagger out of the drain. They make their way to a nearby burger van as they are extremely hungry. This is the very moment when their mutation kicks in. John becomes a Great white Shark/human hybrid, Bobby becomes a Tiger Shark/Human hybrid, Clint becomes a Hammerhead Shark/Human hybrid, and Coop becomes a Whale Shark/Human hybrid. The boys are shocked by their mutations and appearances.

    They feel extreme rage against Paradigm. But before they do anything else, they realize they are still hungry and proceed to eat the whole burger cart! Soon, the police arrive, and the brothers flee to the nearby waters. While burrowing through the ground using their newfound abilities, they encounter a woman trapped inside a car. They decide to save her life, which showcases their still present human traits.

    The ‘Guy captures their actions in the Sky’ on his helicopter. Lena informs her co-worker Bends about this, who is already at the scene. The Sharks confront Bends, and he grasps the situation pretty quickly. The Sharks fill into his van to evade the police. They even use a billboard to hide from the police.

    Unfortunately, Paradigm had also seen the news and tracked the Sharks down. Paradigm chases the Sharks into an amusement park, where they encounter a young boy who names the team. He calls them ‘The Street Sharks!’ and John exclaims that he likes them a lot. The Sharks then battle Slash and Slobster, who bury the Sharks underground. They manage to break free easily because of their enhanced strength and abilities. Paradigm tries to trick them, but the Sharks attack him and gain victory.

    Unfortunately, their victory is short-lived as the tanks arrive and the Sharks are captured by the government, with Dr. Paradigm as the one appointed to experiment on them. The Sharks struggle and demand the whereabouts of their father. Paradigm twists their words and exclaims to the federal agents that it’s Dr. Bolton who experimented on his own sons and how horrible it is of him to do this to his own family.

    Dr. Paradigm begins the ‘exploratory’ surgery on one of the boys. Lena arrives under the pretense of helping Paradigm; she rings the fire alarm and misdirects the bodyguards to be able to free the rest of the Bolton brothers. The others rush to stop Paradigm with the shout of “Shark Attack!” and manage to stop Paradigm. Paradigm shouts for the guards, but the boys manage to flee by eating through the walls and burying the guards and Paradigm under rubble.

    Lena directs them to Bends, who is waiting outside, but there are more guards after them. The door to the exit gets stuck, and John manages to rip it apart. He is dubbed the “Ripster” by Bends which becomes his shark-name. The boys manage to defeat all the tanks, and they, along with Lena, manage to escape in Bends’ van. The police almost corner them, but Bends helps them escape with his van having jets attached to the wheels.

    The boys and Bends escape through the garbage disposal, which is a secret entry into the steam tunnels running under the university and comic bookstore. This leads to Bends humble abode, which is full of cool gadgets. The group turns on the TV and exclaims in fury against the ‘Guy in the Sky,’ calling them shark monsters. The news shows the picture of the boys as humans and says that it was their father who triggered their genetic mutation, and the boys eat and rip some furniture in Bends home. Bends gives the Sharks new and cool rides so they can show off all their Street Shark swagger.

    Somewhere else, Paradigm tries to modify the brothers’ DNA using his data and tries to figure out a way to manipulate them into serving him. As the Street Sharks go out of the tunnel to test out their new rides, Slash and Slobster attack them, but the Sharks clearly seem to have the upper hand. While the Sharks are distracted, Paradigm manages to kidnap Bends. A mysterious figure is seen in the background, setting off the university alarm, and Paradigm is forced to flee. Still, he demands that the Sharks surrender to him, or he will experiment on Bends and make him into a monstrosity, leaving the scene giving the sharks only an hour.

    The brothers flee the scene, and the police arrive and pursue them. Even bounty hunters are after the sharks, some even managing to bury the sharks in the rubble. But the boys use their new abilities to escape and defeat the bounty hunters. They see a train approaching the broken bridge they are under and manage to save the train and its passengers. They make their way to the plant that Dr. Paradigm had asked them to come to.

    The Sharks venture inside to save Bends and fake their surrender. Dr. Paradigm is seen planning to experiment on Bends to test out a piranha DNA that he intends to add to the Sharks. The Sharks attack Slash and Slobster and manage to arrive at the scene before Bends is injected with the piranha DNA.

    In the ensuing chaos, Dr. Paradigm is the one who gets injected by the piranha DNA and mutates into a piranha/human hybrid, with Coop naming him Dr. Piranoid. Piranoid attacks the Sharks and Bends with lasers. The Sharks manage to run into another room that turns out to be a collider, and Piranoid plans to burst them into chromosomes, and to make them his minions by getting them rid of any human emotions.

    The Sharks try to escape by eating through the collider’s walls, but it’s no use. Bends sneaks up behind Piranoid and attacks him. The Sharks finally manage to rip through the walls, and Coop slams Piranoid into a shelf, with the brothers dubbing him Slammu. Piranoid holds Bends hostage and summons Slash and Slobster, but the Sharks easily defeat them. The group manages to escape and flee on their bikes but is interrupted and provoked by the ‘Guy in the Sky’. The sharks try to break the guy’s helicopter but are stopped by Bends, who tells them they need to save their reputation and not destroy it any further.

    Lena hears the Guy speaking lies about the Sharks and calls him and tells him he’s wrong about them, and they are not who he thinks them to be. Lena tells him that Bolton is not the one who experimented on the brothers, and he should find answers from Paradigm. In his lair, Paradigm manages to transform into his older human self and discovers that the piranha DNA is unstable and that liquid DNA can cause cellular disintegration. He formulates it for a more substantial usage and plans to use it against the Sharks.

    Paradigm holds a press conference and tells everyone that the brothers are in denial and that it indeed is their father who experimented on them, with Dr. Paradigm having no involvement. He paints the Sharks in a bad light, declaring to the public that they are extremely dangerous. Just then, the group sees a piece of news that there has been a bank robbery, and the Street Sharks are responsible for it.

    It turns out its actually Slash and Slobster, imitating to be the Sharks and smearing their name. Simultaneously, other attacks are staged across the city, with the Sharks being framed for all of them. The Sharks follow the news and travel to the plant again and pursue Slash and Slobster, who bury them in the rubble. The Sharks come out and fight Slash and Slobster and easily beat them up.

    A disgruntled Slash begins to shoot lasers at everything and is stopped by John. Still, Slash has already managed to hit a radiation reactor, and the city’s radiation level increases drastically. The boys manage to bury the reactor under a parking lot and stop it from blowing up.

    The guy in the sky arrives and makes them the culprits behind the radiation leak. The police arrive with Dr. Paradigm, and the Sharks are attacked. Lena and Bends find the footage of the first robbery and call the sky guy to tell him it wasn’t the sharks and that they have proof. Bends feeds the video to the sky guy and project the footage to the police. While the police lieutenant is watching the video, Paradigm transforms into Piranoid, attacks the police, and escapes.

    The Sharks manage to tunnel under the road and run to go after Piranoid. Piranoid orders Slash and Slobster to prepare the missile launcher and prep a missile full of unstable DNA to be launched at the city. The Sharks arrive and try to stop Piranoid from launching the rocket into Fission City and destroying the lab. But during the chaos, Piranoid manages to launch the missile.

    The Sharks fight against Piranoid and defeat him. John configures the rocket and gives it a new target, and it returns back to the plant. The Sharks run away as the plant explodes behind them. The Sharks save the world and go on their merry way to fill their stomachs.

    The series further shows episodes with the Sharks foiling Paradigm’s schemes and fun segments of them adapting to their new life as shark/human hybrids. There are even instances of their father making an appearance, but they are never officially reunited with Dr. Bolton. Most of their adventures involve Bends, who gives the Sharks new gadgets all the time.

    Memorable characters of the show

    Memorable characters of the show

    The protagonists of the show are the Bolton brothers, and the series follows their lives and adventures as shark/human hybrids.

    John Bolton, aka Ripster, is the oldest of the four Bolton brothers. He enjoys creating various quirky inventions. Most of the knowledge and skills he has learned from his father. He is an avid pool player and enjoys riding bikes. After the genetic mutation, he becomes a great white shark hybrid, can eat through metal and possesses extrasensory abilities. Lee Tockar voices him.

    Clint Bolton, aka Jab, is the laziest of the brothers and often enjoys boxing. He is talented in mechanics. He was transformed into a hammerhead shark hybrid and used his head as a ram during combat. He is voiced by Matt Hill.

    Bobby Bolton, aka Streex, is one of the level-headed members of the Sharks. He claims himself to be a ladies’ man and brags quite some. He is often shown wearing rollerblades and enjoys snowboarding. He was transformed into a tiger shark hybrid and is named after the purple streaks on his body. Initially, he was called “Blades” for his skills as a rollerblader. Andrew Rannells voices him.

    Coop Bolton, aka Big Slammu, is the youngest of the four brothers. He is also the strongest of the sharks. He is a high school football player. He was transformed into a whale-shark hybrid. His most powerful move is the “Seismic Slam,” in which he shakes or cracks the ground using his fists.

    The brothers are often accompanied by their allies like Lena Mack, Bends, Moby Lick, and others.

    Dr. Luther Paradigm is the main antagonist of the series. He is a professor of biochemistry at Fission City University and was a co-worker of Dr. Bolton, father to the protagonists. He is easily recognizable by his eye patch and later on by the yellow exoskeleton he wears. His exoskeleton is equipped with lasers, which he often uses. He is injected with piranha DNA, which transforms him into a piranha hybrid, earning him the name Dr. Piranoid. He often transforms into Dr. Piranoid when he feels extreme emotions, like anger.

    In episodes featuring the Dino-Vengers, Dr. Paradigm injects himself with iguana DNA (as if being a piranha hybrid wasn’t weird enough), which was given to him by the Raptors gang instead of the Velociraptor DNA, and he was dubbed to be Dr. Iguanazoid. He often helps the Raptors in their plans hoping he might actually receive the actual Velociraptor DNA someday.

    Marvelous Verdict: Jawesome content, even as a TMNT rip-off!

    Marvelous Verdict Jawesome content, even as a TMNT rip-off!

    Street Sharks was fantastic. What kid wouldn’t want to watch a show about fierce sharks fighting criminals? It was simplified for youngsters rather than adults. The animated TV show “Street Sharks” was one of several animal-themed superhero TV shows to air during the 1990s, most likely to capitalize on the craze for such properties created by the massively successful “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” “Street Sharks,” like many other comparable shows, was co-created by Ron Askin and Phil Harnage to capitalize on an already-existing toy line (by Mattel).

    The animation is relatively simple and straightforward, with no underlying themes other than the four heroes’ brotherhood. As a nine or ten-year-old, it’s easy to become lost in a show that offers nothing more than good times and “Jawsome” one-liners. Street Sharks attempts to replicate the formula of anamorphic criminal fighters, but this time with sharks with kickass street-tough attitudes.

    They combat evil characters, especially the wicked Dr. Piranoid, a half-man piranha villain, they drive and fly fancy vehicles, and they sell excellent products. There is no overall plot; new sharks and adversaries are introduced during the series, but nothing really matters, and the stories are pretty predictable for this type of show.

    The characters all appear to voluntarily accept that they will be grotesque strong half-sharks for the rest of their life, with the only thing they care about is defeating evil guys. That’s OK; that’s all they were genuinely required for. It was not culturally noteworthy at the time, but for youngsters who liked sharks and reptiles, this was arguably one of the best shows.

    This show is arguably one of the better “inspired” versions of TNMT. In what universe would crime-fighting sharks not be awesome? Many people might choose to overlook this show due to it being a rip-off, but the show delivers more than that. With fun characters and 4 shark hybrids yelling “Shark Attack!” every few minutes, it’s a fun watch that doesn’t require many brain cells to understand the plot of the story because it is essentially made for just plain enjoyment – watching sharks fight bad guys and eat random things. While it might not be a splendid series, it does deserve some recognition for the stories and writing, and just for the plain enjoyment the series provides.

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