[   1987    |   2003   ]


"Okay, here's what we're gonna do..."

Leo, ready for actionRunning for itThere are a lot of things to be said about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon. It ran for 9 seasons from 1987 to 1995, during which time it introduced a whole new fanverse to the TMNT Universe. Tinkering with the origin of the Mirage Studios TMNT by having Hamato Yoshi be Splinter, having the mutagen mutate creatures/people into whatever they last came into contact with, and turning the Foot Soldiers of the Foot Clan into robots, the cartoon made for a TMNT universe unique in and of itself.

Fifteen year-old teens living out of the sewers in New York City, the Turtles, equipped with a Turtle Van and eventually a blimp, find themselves coming into odds with the enemy of their sensei, Oroku Saki, also known as the Shredder. As it is quickly revealed that Shredder is in league with a sentient, malevolent brain from Dimension X, the Turtles fall into odds with him as well, though both would soon fall into the shadow of the villain Dregg. Partaking on a series of voyages and adventures, meeting new, strange friends, the Turtles faced a great many challenges.

Mike makes his moveKrang, plotting the conquest of EarthOn the negative side, dwelling for several seasons on the seemingly never-ending conflict between the TMNT and Shredder & Krang, somewhere along the line the cartoon made an unwelcome left turn. The fluidity of animation seen early in the series degraded, and it seemed less care was put into the stories. Depending on who you talk to, the cartoon did one or both of the following: 1) Made the TMNT successful, i.e. by introducing a generation to them, 2) Soiled the TMNT’s image, i.e. by confusing people into thinking all TMNT media (like the realistic, gritty comic) was like the family-oriented cartoon.

MIRAGE COMIC NOTES: Not many that aren’t obvious, though Krang and his bodysuit bear more than a passing resemblance to the Utrom T.C.R.I aliens of TMNT Vol. 1, #4, which were brain-like aliens that used metallic exoskeletons with skin to disguise themselves as humans.

Shredder beholds the mutagen The Turtles gear up


Though the cartoon ended in 1995, a theatrical TMNT animated film was scheduled to be released in December of 1997 (right alongside the premiere of Ninja Turtles IV, which had been scheduled for release "Christmas 1997" at that point). When nothing came of that, I queried Molly Bode of Mirage Studios, and she replied: "We were hoping to come out with an animated holiday special but plans have been scraped."

The rumor of an animated version of Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation surfacing is being called "some kind of urban myth" by Mirage.





Since 2003, it's been Turtlemania Round Two when this series premiered, reawakening fan interest in a whole new generation of TMNT fans. There are new action figures from Playmates based on this new cartoon, a new video game line, and the TMNT situation is more or less the same as it was in the early nineties - very green!

This new cartoon, while retaining the different colored bandannas of the original cartoon, does away with the lettered belts. So far, as Peter Laird is heavily involved in this series, this cartoon has stuck fairly close to the source material - the original comics. While differing in certain places, entire story arcs from various points in the Mirage comics have been adapted quite faithfully.

This cartoon remains strong, showing on both the Fox 4Kids network as well as Cartoon Network. Check listings for showtimes.

This new cartoon has resurged interest in TMNT so much there is a new movie due to come out in CGI in 2007. See some information about it here.



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