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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
TV Series
This show tells the adventures of four turtles who were transformed into humanoids by a strange ooze and were trained as ninja by a human martial arts master, Hamato Yoshi, who was changed into a humanoid rat, Splinter, by the same substance. Together with the intrepid reporter, April O'Neil, they fight against the threats against the world, like Shredder and Krang.
Casts
Series cast summary:
Cam Clarke Cam Clarke - Leonardo / - 193 episodes, 1987-1996
Townsend Coleman Townsend Coleman - Michelangelo / - 193 episodes, 1987-1996
Renae Jacobs Renae Jacobs - April O'Neil / - 191 episodes, 1987-1996
Barry Gordon Barry Gordon - Donatello / - 186 episodes, 1987-1996
Peter Renaday Peter Renaday - Splinter / - 181 episodes, 1987-1996
Rob Paulsen Rob Paulsen - Raphael / - 170 episodes, 1987-1995
Pat Fraley Pat Fraley - Krang / - 152 episodes, 1987-1996
James Avery James Avery - Shredder / - 106 episodes, 1987-1993
Jennifer Darling Jennifer Darling - Irma Langinstein / - 81 episodes, 1988-1994

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

In the original comics, all four turtles had red bandanas. For the TV show, TMNT creator Peter Laird decided to give each Turtle a different color to make it easier to tell them apart: Leonardo has a blue bandana, Raphael a red bandana, Donatello a purple bandana and Michelangelo an orange bandana. This color scheme became so popular it eventually became a staple of the TMNT saga.

At the time of its final episode, it was the longest running cartoon in American TV history. However this record was beaten two years later by Симпсоны (1989).

Casey Jones never once took off his mask throughout all of the course of the show. Despite that in the comics and other Ninja Turtle adaptations, he's been seen without his mask on.

Begining in Season 4, the show started phasing away Michaelangelo's nunchucks and began having him use the Turtle Line, a turtle shell shaped grappling hook used by all the turtles, as his main weapon. Starting in Season 5, the nunchucks were not even kept on Michelangelo's belt and disappeared without any explanation. This is a direct result of nunchucks being outlawed in many countries and these countries had to edit out any footage of Michelangelo using his nunchucks. Since the show went international, MWS changed it for everyone.

The mutagen ooze was depicted slightly differently in this cartoon; rather than causing its victims to increase in size, it caused them to transform into a hybrid of their original species and whatever creature they have most recently been in contact with. The mutagen ooze also had many color variations through the series, the mutagen seen in Season 1 that mutated the turtles, splinter, and Bebop and Rocksteady had a pinkish glowing color. However starting in Season 3 green mutagen was introduced, which became the most common color in the series. It recanted, and even shown in the 2nd intro sequence, that the mutagen that mutated the turtles was green. Later a rainbow variant of the green mutagen was shown.

In the original Mirage comic books, the Foot Soldiers are real people, not robots. As such, the comics showed the turtles killing Foot Soldiers in fight scenes. Due to issues of violence in children programs, the soldiers were changed to robots and the turtles are never seen killing anyone despite their use of offensive weapons.

All of the voice actors performed their roles together in the same room. This was so important to Fred Wolf that he told the voice actors that the recording session took priority and if someone couldn't make it to the recording session, they would temporarily be replaced. This is why some of the characters had alternative voice actors, who temporarily took on the role when the original was unavailable.

The original comics were very explicit despite the name looking kid friendly. In the comics, the turtles sliced off heads with blood splattering, they said cuss words and they drank alcohol.

April O'Neil's character design on this show is based on her appearance in TMNT issue #2. When developing the show, David Wise was inspired by the outfit worn by heroine Fujiko Mine in Rupan sansei: Part II (1977) decided to make April's jumpsuit yellow .

The producers tried to get the voice actors to be a little more serious in their performance since comic book on which the series is based was serious. But the voice actors would have so much fun recording together that they played up the comedic aspects of their characters. Also, most of the voice cast had children whom they wanted to enjoy the show.

The Turtles were originally hired to write the theme song but they never got around to it. Chuck Lorre and Dennis C. Brown wrote the original theme song in two days and Jim Mandell provided the lead vocals. Neither receive any royalties.

When the show aired on CBS, many Public Service Announcements aired on CBS Saturday Morning line up. These PSA's were called "Turtle Tips" and intended to benefit the public interest, by raising awareness of environmental issues.

When seeing the design of Krang's android body as shown in the storyboards Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman thought it was absolutely dorky. Laird said it resembled a sick Pillsbury dough-boy and called Karl Aaronian at Playmates about it, he said that it shouldn't be a problem and that the actual animated android body would look different, as it is common practice for the storyboard artists to do quick roughs for the purposes of the storyboards. However, Aaronian called Eastman and Laird again and told them that Murakami/Wolf said that they were too far into the production of the fifth episode to change the look of the character. Years later Peter Laird said, in retrospect, this problem was a harbinger of problems to come.

In this series, Splinter and Hamato Yoshi are the same person. In the original comic story, Splinter was Hamato Yoshi's pet rat.

Townsend Coleman said the catch phrase "Cowabunga" was not scripted. He just blurted it out in an ad-lib and the studio liked it so much is became Michealangelos catch phrase.

When production started for CBS the show was aired on an hour block on CBS Kid TV. The first episode consisted of an action-oriented episode and the second episode was more comedic and highlighted one of the four turtles. The latter type of episode was discontinued in Season 6 when the show went to just one episode per week.

When developing this show, it was decided to make April O'Neil a news reporter instead of a lab assistant and part time antique dealer. Writer David Wise made this change so to give the turtles a source to find out information (since the show was made before the world wide web).

The catch phrases during the theme song ("He's a radical rat", "Gimme a break", etc.) is the sped-up voice of theme song writer Chuck Lorre. They were intended for the voice actors but were never re-recorded.

Like other cartoon series built around an action premise, TMNT did not escape criticism by parent groups for its violence. In the case of this series, schools began reporting that children began getting into fights during recess and seriously hurting one another in an attempt to mimic the martial arts moves depicted in the show.

This is the only TMNT cartoon (and adaptation) that doesn't highlight the conflict between Leonardo and Raphael.

This is the only version where Leonardo doesn't have a shoulder strap and scabbards to store his swords in.

Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird originally attended a few of the voice over sessions and seemed uncomfortable with what they heard.

When originally coming up with the concept of the turtles, one of the ideas Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird considered was to give each Turtle a different costume. These costumes were used for the Intergalactic Wrestling Competition in the Archie comics.

Though Casey Jones ended up being a regular in the Mirage comics, he was only an occasional guest in this series. His personality in this series is also drastically different from his comic counterpart.

This is the only animated Teenage Mutant ninja turtles cartoon series where each of the Turtles had their own initialised belt buckle.

Out of the four turtles Raphael is the most radically different from his original comic book counterpart. In the comics, Raphael was the most violent and aggressive turtle of the group and had a tendency to go berserk in battle. In this show, he was more of a laid back, sarcastic, smart alec, other iterations depict him as being closer to his comic counterpart but dial back his violent tendencies.

The episode Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Enter the Rat King (1989) is the very first episode that doesn't feature Shredder.

Cast members Cam Clarke (Leonardo/Rocksteady) and Pat Fraley (Krang/Baxter Stockman) are cousins.

For Season 4, 28 episodes were produced for syndication and 26 episodes were produced for CBS' "Kid TV" Saturday morning line up. However, 13 of the syndicated episodes never aired in 1990. The "European Vacation" episodes were not seen in the United States until USA Network started showing reruns in late 1993, and The Easter themed episodes, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Turtles and the Hare (1991) and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Once Upon a Time Machine (1991) weren't seen until 1991. An easy way to tell that these are Season 4 episodes is: the original intro is used, title cards are used, Michelangelo uses his nunchucks, and the Technodrome is stuck on an asteroid in Dimension X. These episodes were delayed because of animation and schedule problems.

Because of heavy censorship in the United Kingdom, the original intro sequence was heavily edited replacing the word "ninja" with "hero" or "fighting", using a digitally faded logo instead of the animated blob, and removing any scenes in which Michelangelo wields his nunchucks, replacing them with random clips from the show. When the show started airing on CBS, a new more international friendly intro sequence that was produced. The 2nd intro still referenced ninjas, but didn't feature Michelangelo wielding his nunchucks. They were just stored on his belt like in most Season 4 episodes.

The show was re-named "Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles" for its UK transmission, because of controversy surrounding ninjas and ninja related weapons, such as nunchucks, at the time.

CBS decided they wanted the show to be darker after getting beat in the ratings by Люди-Икс (1992), a show featuring the original comic book mutants. Starting in Season 8 the show became darker and more serious, a tone that was a closer match to the original comic books the show was based on.

Besides loosely adapting issues #1-3 for Season 1, this is the only TMNT cartoon that does not adapt any other stories from Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird's original Mirage comic book series.

In their initial January 1987 meeting with Playmates toys to discuss producing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figures, the company told Eastman and Laird that they wouldn't go forward to produce toys without a cartoon series to coincide with the toys. So, Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird drove up to L.A. and, along with the president and v.p. for marketing of Playmates, met with the president of Marvel Productions, the company that Playmates wanted to do the TMNT cartoon. As it turned out, Marvel Productions never got the job to do the TMNT cartoon as it went to another company, Murkami Wolf Swenson.

After the ratings were high, the networks that had previously passed on TMNT began to take notice. Fred Wolf was doing some work with Judy Price at CBS and she was watching the phenomenon of the Turtles' success. Even though this was a network that had turned the show down initially, Price though a deal could be worked out. A few weeks into talking about it , she put in an order for twenty-six shows for Saturday morning. It was unheard of to get an order for twenty-six, as opposed to thirteen. So the Turtles were still in production for syndication and an order to do another twenty-six for CBS.

After the show became an hit, the Turtles became an international merchandising juggernaut. Co-creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird had to leave the Mirage comic book to handle day-to-day administration of the franchise. As a result many guest artists took over the comic and gave it a disjointed anthology feel with a lot of wackiness that resembled the show.

The Rat King was changed for the show to be just a guy who's living in the sewer. Also the cartoon Rat King is more handsome and has a full head of hair as opposed to his hideous Mirage comic counterpart.

The third season, containing 47 episodes, aired daily beginning in the fall of 1989, bringing the total number of episodes at that point up to 65, a magic number for syndication, as that allows a station to run each episode four times throughout the year on a Monday-to-Friday schedule, making it easy for a station to fill a calendar's years' worth of programming. The Turtles' future as an animated property was secure, and even had an additional 28 episodes ready for syndication to air in the fourth season.

For Season 4, Fred Wolf Films partnered with IDDH Groupe, a French animation company, for a co-production of 13 episodes that would have the turtles on a vacation throughout Europe. These episodes were supposed to air with the rest of the syndicated episodes in Season 4, but they only aired on schedule in Ireland and Japan. They were not aired in the U.K. until 1992 and United States in 1993.

Fred Wolf Films, the animation company, that Turtles' co-creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird worked with, hired by Playmates, a work-for-hire animation studio, sued Eastman and Laird for half the royalties that they'd made in the entire history of the property. Fred Wolf Films claimed that they created everything about the Turtles that made them such a big phenomenon. Fred Wolf's deposition had claims such as he put the Turtles in the sewer and he put April O'Neil in a jumpsuit (both of which come from issues #1 and #2 of the original comics respectively).

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creators Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman later admitted that they didn't like this animated series for many reasons, including the change of tone from the comic book (going from serious to more comedic in the animated series), making the characters and story lines more family friendly, the extra characters that were created specifically to sell toys (in particular, they didn't like Rocksteady, Bebop and Krang), and the meddling of network executives on scripts. However, since they didn't own the rights to the TV version of the series, there was little they could do to change it. Later, they would sell all rights to the TMNT franchise to Viacom, who created series that were a hybrid of both the comic book elements and the more family friendly/comedic elements.

Editing was often rushed to get shows out on time for airing, and this caused quite a lot of color mistakes from the animators. It was very common to see a shot of one color bandanna change to another in the next single cut then go back to its correct color in the next switch.

Lotus Blossom bears a resemblance to Karai from the original comics, which led fans to believe that she is an alternate animated counterpart to Karai. Despite popular belief, Lotus actually first appeared on the show three years before Karai was introduced in the comics.

At the time the show was developed only 11 issues of Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird's Mirage comics were published. These were the only issues of volume 1 where they worked together with intense collaborative effort, where both would work together on each bit of story and have to agree to. So after intense deadlines and a rising franchise that required a lot of time, they decided they will be alternating books - (Peter would do #12, Kevin will do #13, and so on).

With a successful television premiere and five episodes that were available for repeats in spot syndication, Playmates shifted their focus toward the planned summer 1988 launch of the action figure line. The company was unwilling to commit funding for additional episodes beyond the miniseries. Fred Wolf wanted to continue the momentum and arranged a deal with Sachs-Finley that would give him ownership of the first five episodes, and then began the long process of trying to secure funding for the additional thirteen. All three major networks passed on the series and Wolf ended up making a deal with Group W, the TV division of Westinghouse. However, the budget was too steep for Group W and Fred Wolf offered to lower cost by a million dollars by offering to subsidize the show himself. It was a crapshoot on Wolf's part as he didn't have the money at the time and depended on one of the job Wolf was bidding on outside of the turtles. The crapshoot worked and the other stuff came through.

The playmates toyline featured characters used on the show, but the show and toy designs usually only loosely resembled each other. The Turtles and Splinter's basic design were more like the Mirage comics and most of the other mutant characters were designed to look gross and disgusting.

The Stan Sakai created character Miyamoto Usagi makes his animated debut in this series However, the show and the Playmates toyline refer to him as Usagi Yojimbo which is actually the title of the characters comic series.

There was originally going to be an episode called "Shredder in Love", but it never got past the script stage. Renae Jacobs even recorded lines for it. Little is known about the plot, but rumours state that the love potions from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Green with Jealousy (1989) might have been reused.

According to theme song writer Chuck Lorre, the song was submitted as a demo but used as the master.

The creators of this show are good friends with creators of the short lived Toxic Crusaders. A kid friendly cartoon version of the R rated Troma films The Toxic Avenger. Many times discussions where made to crossover the TMNT and Toxic Crusaders but as history shows, it never went into action. However the character of Trash-Head was the TMNT nod to their pals creating the Toxic Avengers at the time.

Irma was created for this series to add female friend for April O'Neil to interact with as most of the Channel 6 crew are male.

Rob Paulsen (Raphael) and Cam Clarke (Leonardo) initially auditioned for Michaelangelo.

Writer David Wise admitted that he preferred and always wanted the show to have the serious action oriented tone of the last 3 seasons. He pointed out that Season 1 had a perfect balance of real drama and humour and that Season 2 is when the show started going in a more humour driven direction. However, he did not enjoy working on the final 2 seasons because of network meddling.

In the comics, Shredder was the leader of the Foot Clan. He did not have the goofy sidekick villains Krang, Rocksteady and Bebop which were created for this series to add humor and sell toys.

Baxter Stockman's ethnicity was changed to white for the show. In the comics, Baxter was African American and did not mutate into a human fly.

During recording of the voice acting, all the main cast recorded together. According to Renae Jacobs, working together "was great for camaraderie and relationships. We played off each other...there was a lot of ad libbing."

Jerry Sachs, ad agency executive who assisted in crafting the animated show, referred to the high concept as "Green against brick," referencing the turtles green appearance in an urban environment.

Originally, Rocksteady wore a helmet and had camouflage pants. However, starting in Season 2, he no longer wore the helmet and his pants no longer featured the camouflage pattern.

The show had a spinoff Archie comic based on the show called Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures. Tales of the TMNT ceased production so that Mirage staffers Ryan Brown and Stephen Murphy could focus on the Archie comic. The Mirage staffers immediately abandoned the direct animated series adaptations and took the title in a decidedly different direction with all-new original adventures, including the uniting of several of the series' recurring characters as a separate team, the Mighty Mutanimals.

The 1988 and 1989 waves of figures from Playmates featured characters that appeared on the show in some form or another. Beginning with the 1990 wave of figures, quite a few of the mutant characters, as well as numerous turtle variants, from the toyline weren't featured in the show. Instead the show started to mostly feature their own new villains such as mad scientists and their own mutant characters.

The "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will return after these messages" and "We now return to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" bumpers used going into and coming out of commercial breaks were not voiced by Pat Fraley as some believe. The voice was likely provided by a Murakami-Wolf-Swenson employee as opposed to a professional voice actor.

Michelangelo appeared in the 1990 cartoon "Cartoon All-Stars to the rescue" which featured various popular cartoon characters coming together in aid of teaching kids to stay in school and away from drugs.

Rob Paulson was cast in 1987 and gave voice to Raphael as the original and most popular voice of the character. In 2012 he was cast in the new incarnation of the TMNT series as Donatello and has given voice as Donatello in many various side projects too.

Instead of being an exotic pet flushed down the toilet, Leatherhead was given two new backstories for the archie comics and show respectively. The Archie comics Leatherhead was originally country Cajun man named Jess Harley. The show took the archie comic origin, but changed it to Leatherhead be a mutated albino gator.

In addition to his role as Shredder, James Avery also performed the voices of several minor characters in some episodes, such as Pietro Calzone and the voices of law enforcement officers.

The logo used for this series was created by Playmates toys and is different than the one used in Eastman and Laird's Mirage comics. A logo loosely similar to this was used for Mirage comics from 1992-1995, but did not feature green turtles skinned "TURTLES" letters.

Casting for the show took place in Los Angeles.

The Turtles are the only characters to appear in every single episode.

In the last season, Michael gough replaced Rob Paulsen as the voice of Raphael

Adoranin
Adoranin
Teenage Mutant Nija Turtles is something I will never forget because it touched me in a way no other series did when I was a kid. The Ninja Turtles were fun loving, pizza eating and ninja fighters. And they taught kids lessons along the way. What more can you ask for. Oh yeah, the next best thing.
BlackHaze
BlackHaze
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Heroes in a half shell TURTLE POWER!

Their the worlds most fearsome fighting team.

We're really hip.

Their Heroes in the half and their green.

Hey get a grip.

When the evil shredder attacks, these Turtle four don't cut him no slack.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Splinter taught them to be Ninja teens.

He's a radical rat

Leonardo leads, Donatello does machines.

And that's a fact jack!

Raphael is cool but crude

Gimme a break.

Michaelangelo is a party dude.

PARTY!!!!!!!!!!!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Heroes in a half shell TURTLE POWER!

One of the best show I ever watched.

Growing up as a kid in the UK I had to put up with the show being renamed "Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles" aswell as the theme song being changed to say "Hero" Instead of "Ninja" the start of "P.C." in the UK.

What's wrong with the word Ninja I ask you?

Ninja's are cool and the turtles proved this.

Of course Cam Clarke (Leonardo) now does the voice of Prince Adam / He Man in the new He Man series, and who could forget Will Smith's Uncle Phil from Fresh Prince, James Avery as The Shredder.

A Classic cartoon which should be brought out on DVD.
Phenade
Phenade
As a kid, this was one of the greatest TV series of all time. Everything about it was fresh and original; nowadays, cartoons (and other TV shows) copy other shows. Leonardo was always my favorite because he was the mature, leadership-involved turtle. I miss it not being on the air. This show, the Transformers, G.I. Joe, and X-Men were the best cartoons.
Landarn
Landarn
This was probably the cartoon that saved the animation of the 90s from being really awful. The last of the great, great 80s cartoons.

Great writing, great characters, voice talent, stories, humour. This is only reiterated by its long running air time in syndication, and its slot on CBS Saturday morning.

I remember the syndicated episodes and the CBS episodes being slightly different.

Now for my real beef: Don't be fooled by the remakes and redoings, live-action, animated or otherwise of TMNT that you see now a days. They're all INFERIOR products compared to the original 80s cartoon. If you want to see the quality that was TMNT...you must see the 1987 syndicated and CBS series.
Buridora
Buridora
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series is one of My favorites of the 1980s animated programs. When it was on I watched it as much as I could! It has very good animation, cool characters, some humor, great music, and awesome action. The characters are really neat. All of the the Turtles are great, April is so good, Splinter is so spiritual, and Shredder is excellent. I loved how all of the characters have great personalities. In My opinion I don't think there will be a cartoon like this again because it was one of a kind! If you like the Turtles movies but never saw the series and are able to watch it on television or buy it on tapes then do so because the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon is a classic!
Modred
Modred
I watched this almost all the time when I was a kid. Seeing the Foot Soldiers, Krang, Shredder, and everyone else was great. I can still picture it all. Too bad that it isn't airing anymore. At least videos are made, so you can enjoy the turtles all over again.
Zeueli
Zeueli
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is very cool cartoon with the series about 4 turtles that get covered in ooze and become ninja mutants along with a guy the got turned into a rat. So now they fight crime on the streets of New York City against the evil Shredder and his two goons Rocksteady and Bebop.

Leonardo was the leader of TMNT. Donatello was the expert at machines and mechanical stuff. Raphael was the tuff one and the practical joker and Michaelangelo was the one who is the life of the party. Splinter thought them to become ninja superhero teens and also the turtles would get help from news reporter, April O'Neill. I thought James Avery did a good job at voicing the Shredder and so did Jim Cummings for the final seasons for this show. I also thought Barry Gordon did a good job at Donatello because I also liked Barry Gordon doing Razor from Swat Kats: Radical Squadron and the other voice actors were good too! I hope sooner or later they start making dvds of the complete episodes of every season this show had. I also enjoy the new series on Fox Box

BOTTOM LINE: GOOD SHOW!

User Rating: 9/10
Kieel
Kieel
Many die-hard TMNT fans will tell you that the cartoons are juvenile and overrun with corny jokes, corny plotlines, and references to pizza. They'll proclaim that the original Mirage comics are the "true" incarnation of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

They're mostly right, but the first season of the cartoon (a 5-part miniseries, originally shown in the space of one week on syndicated TV in 1987) knocks the block off the comics and off all other action cartoons ever written. It retains the dark, edgy feel of the comics, but contains enough humor to avoid seeming stern or self-absorbed.

The miniseries details the origins of the TMNT and their master, Splinter the rat--it seems Splinter was originally Hamato Yoshi, an instructor in the Foot Clan of ninjitsu in Japan, until he was double-crossed by one Oroku Saki and banished. Yoshi then fled to New York City and lived in the sewers with the rats and four pet turtles. One day, Yoshi found the turtles covered with a powerful mutagen which turned the turtles into humanoid turtles and Yoshi into a humanoid rat. Knowing that they would be considered freaks by society, Yoshi trained them in ninjitsu. Yoshi named the turtles after his favorite Renaissance painters: Leonardo, Raphael, Michaelangelo and Donatello.

While skulking through the sewers, the turtles rescue April O'Neil, a TV news reporter who has run afoul of an army of street thugs while investigating a series of break-ins committed by ninjas at high-tech scientific equipment companies. Upon meeting her saviors, April promptly faints, and the turtles take her back to their lair. When April comes to, Splinter tells her their origins. April, however, is unimpressed and thinks the turtles are responsible for all the break-ins she's been covering. The turtles persuade April to hold off on any impulse reporting and let them find the crooks for her.

The turtles and April investigate these robberies and discover that they were perpetrated by an army of robots wearing the colors of the Foot Clan, leading Splinter to conclude that Oroku Saki is the leader of the whole operation. Splinter gets captured by Saki's robots and taken away. The turtles hunt down Saki in his base--a mobile underground fortress called the Technodrome--and discover that Saki, who now calls himself the Shredder, is indeed responsible for the crimes the turtles have been investigating. Not only that, it was Saki who dropped the mutagen in the sewers, thinking it would destroy Yoshi. Shredder makes a bid for the turtles to join him, but they refuse, and then proceed to kick the butts of his henchmen.

In later episodes, it is revealed that Shredder is in league with an alien warlord named Krang from dimension X, and that Krang wants to bring his troops from dimension X to conquer Earth. The turtles manage to foil Shredder and Krang's ambitions by causing the Technodrome to suck itself into dimension X. April is able to document the turtles' battles with Shredder and Krang and convince some of the skeptics of the turtles' heroism.

So, there you have it. This is the cartoon origin of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and it's about 100 times better than the comics origin (and the movie origin, which was loosely based upon the comics).

The miniseries is available on laserdisc (extremely rare!) and on a collection of 3 VHS tapes titled "Heroes in a Half Shell," "Hot Rodding Teenages" and "The Shredder is Splintered." A somewhat condensed and edited version is available on the VHS tape "The Epic Begins," but it's worth the extra cash to buy the 3 VHS tapes and get the full, uncut miniseries.
Iriar
Iriar
I am still very fond of Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles. It was a huge favourite of mine when I was little, and re-visiting it again it is still is. yes perhaps not the truest to the comics but on its own terms it is amazing. The animation is amazingly detailed, with the colours smooth and the character designs on target. The music is wonderful, the theme tune is very memorable and the incidental music compliments perfectly, while the writing is humorous, intelligent and smart and the story lines interesting and coherent. The characters are still memorable, all four turtles are immensely likable with unique personalities, Splinter is both wise and kind and April is beautiful and not vapid. I also love Shredder, he is funny and menacing and overall just a really interesting lead villain. And the voice acting from all involved is top notch especially from Barry Gordon and James Avery. In conclusion, wonderful show. On a side note the 2003 series was decent enough, but lacked the charm and heart here in this series. 10/10 Bethany Cox
Haracetys
Haracetys
One of the better cartoons of the 1980s and a pop culture classic, TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES is one of the more brillant series to ever air on Saturday mornings. It may not be as good as other 1980s animated actions shows such as THUNDERCATS, but it still is better than the other 1980s cartoons that dominated the airwaves thanks to the amazing voice talent and surprisingly good animation. The story lines were a tad lame at times, though nobody expects great storytelling from a show about turtles that live in a sewer and eat pizza. Still popular today, TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES returned to television in a new series in 2003 that currently airs on Fox, although it is not nearly as good as the original.
Nilasida
Nilasida
This was a wonderfully done cartoon series. It was inventive and classy. Many stories were original and made sense as opposed to many cartoon series from that era. Animation was great. Nothing compared to today, but for that time it was something. An overall great series, catch the reruns where ever you can.
OTANO
OTANO
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to kids in the late 80s-early 90s were among the most popular toy lines available, as well as one of the most popular cartoons both on syndication and CBS Saturday Morning. They were talking turtles with a rat leader, living in the sewers, using matrial arts to fight bad guys in New York City, eating pizza, cracking jokes, and hanging out with hottie April O'Neil. I mean, as kids, we loved it! Now revisiting this series, the cartoon that started in 1987 and wrapped up in 1996, I can see some significant flaws and how the show went from an action/comedy classic to over the top cheesy to more serious.

The show began in 1987 as a mini-series that played on syndication (mainly new FOX stations). The turtles before this were a little known cult comic book series that was VERY different from what ended up in the cartoon. In the comic, they were violent, wise cracking turtles who cussed, smoked, drank and weren't afraid to cut off heads or other body parts. It was a dark strip, similar to Batman pre and post campy era and Sin City. To make the cartoon more in line with the new toy line and appealing to children, many things were changed and liberties taken. The turtles were given colored masks to tell them apart (in the comic book they all wore red masks). Also, while still wise cracking, their personalities were toned down significantly, in particular Raphael and Michelangelo. Raphael was still "rude" but in a much nicer way and Michelangelo started talking in surfer lingo, popularized by many films in the mid 80s like Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Also, the turtles weren't nearly as violent, rarely using their weapons and instead of fighting humans like the comics, they fought robot foot soldiers and mutants from Dimension X. Pizza, Bebop, Rocksteady, Krang and the Technodrome were all additions to the cartoon series.

The cartoon did a wonderful job appealing to children and changing the attitude from the comic strip. It was funny and fun and kept viewers interested. The first season in particular did a wonderful job of keeping the action and comedy at a great balance. The turtles fought with their weapons, the animation was high quality, and the entire five episode series had an edge to it. That completely changed in the second season were the series started going downhill fast. Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, the creators of the series, were disappointed in this change. They wanted to keep the dark, edgy elements. Instead, the jokes got corny, the fighting scenes silly, the animation poor and the writing atrocious. This continued until the last two seasons, were the show tried going back in a dark direction, but it was too late by that point, as most of the fans had grown up and moved past this series.

Overall, as a kid I couldn't get enough of this show, but as an adult now I see how bad some of the episodes were and how far it strayed from its source of material. If you haven't read the highly underrated comic book series, I recommend it. It's like night and day to what they became by the early 90s. I'd honestly love an adult swim series that goes off the comic book that appeals to young adults and more mature audiences. While the new cartoon is doing great on Nick, us adults who grew up on these guys would more than welcome them back as a show that has more adult themes.
Kajishakar
Kajishakar
In my youth I was looking through a pile of old VHS tapes and I saw the TMNT logo. Intrigued I put it in and I was immediately a fan. I watched every episode. Bought countless toys and even played the video games. I can't help but love the series and I still love to watch it. I have owned the first and second season for about 3 years and haven't stopped watching the cartoon.

Despite this I dislike the middle set of seasons due to the overly comedic and less than creative story. If you want to good set of episodes get seasons 1,2,3,8,9. They may not be connected but they are the best story wise.
Dorilune
Dorilune
I began watching this because my two older cousins got me into it. They also used to collect TMNT trading cards and gave a couple to me. I watched it in the afternoon at 4:30pm Monday thru Friday and various times when it was on CBS Saturday Mornings for as long as I can remember.

I can remember getting home from Rainbow Accademy (where I went to school when I was 2-4 years of age), and had lunch, then 3 hours later, it was time to watch this.

I can remember Michaelangelo's number one catch phrase: "Cowabunga, Dudes"

I can remember the day for my 3rd birthday in 1991 and I saw Raphael at a Hallmark or a party-type shop and he knocked me over.

I can remember going to the shore with my uncle and aunt and two cousins, including my mother and dad and sister, on the boardwalk and seeing billions of children in Turtle clothing on.

I can remember more, but I can't tell ya.

I can remember this thing most:

Sadly it was cancelled in July 1997, after 9 seasons of being brodcasted on television, due to whatever reason, but I think it was that the show only had 8 episodes in its last three seasons. Will always be affiliated with the 80's, and will live on in VHS tapes and re-runs for a long time.
IWAS
IWAS
I used to watch this show when I was growing up. When I remember it very well. If you ask me, it was a good show. Two things I especially remember very well are the opening sequence and theme song. In addition to that, everyone was ideally cast. Also, the writing was very strong. The performances were top-grade, too. I hope some network brings it back so I can see every episode. Before I wrap this up, I'd like to say that I'll always remember this show in my memory forever, even though I'm not sure if I've seen every episode. Now, in conclusion, if some network ever brings it back, I hope that you catch it one day before it goes off the air for good.
HyderCraft
HyderCraft
Great show I fondly look back on it and Ghostbusters as the Davey Crockett's of the eighties babies generation. My favorite character was Leonardo mostly due to him being blue (my favorite color at the time) and our names both begin with "L".

The new TMNT2003 show doesn't do it justice, Also its neat to see the toys go for thousands on eBay. It got me wishing that as a kid I hadn't melted my Shredder and April in the microwave.

For anyone who wants a trip down memory lane you should get the first season of this show and the old SNES or Arcade game to play.

Sometime ago I found all three of the movies bundled for $7 at Sam's club which I recently found time to watch (excellent flicks for those interested).

Be sure to watch the first episode the turtles or you may never really understand how bad the back-story is leading up to the series.
Ceroelyu
Ceroelyu
I loved this show when I was a child! I was such a fan of it back then that I wouldn't miss one episode of it. Plus, I collected stuff from it. For example, as a kid I once bought a mug with the famous hero turtles. And there was one year when I disguised myself as one of the turtles in Carnival. Not to mention that not only I watched this in my house, but also in the house of a neighbor and friend of mine at the time.

This animated TV show brings me very good memories from childhood. Ah, the good old days...

The opening song is spectacular, absolutely unforgettable - as well as its instrumental version which plays during the final credits of each episode.

'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' had most ingredients necessary to capture the attention of most kids of my generation, for it was thrilling, entertaining, packed with action, adventure, darkness, classic humor and... pizza! The turtles are the heroes, they are the ones with the power to save the world from the evil Shredder's schemes and the bizarre Krang. Shredder has two helpers, Bebop and Rocksteady (hilarious names!). But they aren't really evil. They're more stupid and incompetent than evil, so they aren't a major threat for the turtles and the world.

A curious thing is that Shredder has always half of his face covered with an iron mask. I only saw him once without it and my opinion was that he was very Japanese-looking.

Although the turtles (Michelangelo, Raphael, Donatello and Leonardo) are very efficient and intelligent, sometimes they see themselves in sticky situations with the villain Shredder. But they always can count with the help of Master Splinter and reporter April O'Neil.

Cowabunga!
Moswyn
Moswyn
These Turtles were my heores growing up. Fou such polar opposite characters come together to get a job done.

LEONARDO- The leader, the one in charge DONATELLO- The least violent scientist RAPHAEL- The sarcastic"Mouthy" one (MY personal favorite:)) MICHAELANGELO- The "Party dude" the lade back one The teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles seem like a pretty far fetched idea but pretty much formed the era. My sister and I grew up loving the Turtles When I'm old and grey and sitting in my rocker with my grandkids around me they'll ask "Grandme what did you watch when you were young?" and I'll smile and say "The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles of course!"If anyone ever has the chance to see the show they should because it CLEARLY can stand the test of time!
playboy
playboy
I don't care that the original 1987 "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" cartoon was toned down drastically from the Mirage comics first published in 1984 by co-creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. As a die-hard Turtle-fan I grew up while Turtlemania was at its peak, so this cartoon was obviously a must. Sure, it's a wanton commercialization of a once-novel idea, the grit and violence now slapstick rather than graphic. The show basically follows the adventures of our four reptilian mutant heroes (Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, Michaelangelo, and their sensei Splinter) as they continue a never-ending battle with the Shredder and his Foot Clan, and finding allies/foes with aliens, travelers from Dimension X, and even other mutants. Mixing old characters (April O'Neill and Casey Jones, for example) with new and original ones (Krang, Bebop and Rocksteady), "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" succeeds in just being fun entertainment, and is still one of the greatest pieces of animation made within the last 25 years. The new animated movie certainly looks promising in returning the characters to their roots in the real nitty-gritty, even though I'm not too hot on CGI turtles.

10/10
Mr.Savik
Mr.Savik
I remember watching this as often as I could when I was younger. When I was 11-12 years old I would get up early enough in the morning to watch it before I left for school... but I was interested in the show from as far back as I can remember. I collected the action figures(not dolls, no; boys play with action figures... girls play with dolls) from a young age, as well as comics, and I even own two VHS tapes with two episodes each(unfortunately, these were dubbed, as most filmed entertainment geared towards kids are, in Denmark). I write this review right after having watched all four episodes in immediate succession for the first time in more years than I can say for sure. Possibly as much as a full decade. All the fun of them came right back to me even as I thought of them. Sure, the show had its flaws... there are glaring continuity errors aplenty, the dialog(packed with more or less lucky one-liners) and plot lines are often somewhat daft... but when you look at the plus side(as well as keep in mind that this is still a children's show), it's just no contest. The pacing is excellent. Having just watched an hour and a half of it, straight, I can say that I wasn't bored at all, in spite of remembering most of what would happen. The action is exciting, intense and downright cool. And the theme music(which I found myself humming in anticipation before the tape was in the VCR)... I doubt there is or will be anyone, whether kid or adult(who is at least a little in touch with their inner child), especially male, who don't like it. The plots are often simplistic, but as far as I remember, never (too) obvious and usually entertaining as well as gripping. It mostly manages to dodge the Batman-esquire/James Bond-ian cliché of having Donatello produce some gadget from his belt to solve their problems. The humor is silly and somewhat childish, but it fits its audience quite well(and I can't claim that I didn't laugh several times throughout watching the four episodes). The whole level of writing basically does, really. The fights are well-choreographed and fairly frequent. All in all, a pretty solid show, that provides many hours of check-your-brains-at-the-door entertainment. I recommend it to any fan of the four green humanoid heroes, and anyone aspiring to become such a fan. Turtle Power! 8/10
Steelrunner
Steelrunner
This is known to be the "Heros in the Half Shell" 5 parter from 1987.

It's also season 1 of the long ran TV series. Due to the fact that it has the fewest episodes in any season.

I bet there are hardly any series that start with a season with 5 episodes.

But anyways these were made to introduce the TMNT to the kids who are watching it on TV.

I didn't see these episodes till around 2003 because I was too young to remember any at first.

Anyways these first 5 episodes show you how the Turtles first met April and how they encountered Shredder and his Foot Clan. In my opion episode 4 is the best one next to episode 1 and 2.
Trex
Trex
I'm still impress on how much of a success the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have had back then and how much it still is a huge success it is.

I mean Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is one of the best cartoon shows ever made.

Not only was the TV show a huge success, but so were the Merchandise.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had everything from T-shirts, Hats, Cereal, Music CDs, Pencils, Pens, Kids Games, Posters, Video Games, And A lot of Action Firgues.

The show was nothing but good fun, funny, and good entertainment.

All the characters in the show were great and fun to watch.

I enjoy this Verison of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles than I do the New Verison.

This Show Rocks!!!

They're the world's most fearsome fighting team (We're really hip!) They're heroes in a half-shell and they're green (Hey - get a grip!) When the evil Shredder attacks These Turtle boys don't cut him no slack!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Splinter taught them to be ninja teens (He's a radical rat!) Leonardo leads, Donatello does machines (That's a fact, Jack!) Raphael is cool but crude (Gimme a break!) Michaelangelo is a party dude (Party!)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Heroes in a half shell Turtle power!
Ohatollia
Ohatollia
Today there aren't really too many outstanding cartoons around. OK I enjoyed Pokemon, and Earthworm Jim was quite cool, but Ninja Turtles rules over both of those. I'm from the UK, so we got Ninja Turtles (called "Hero Turtles" over here because of our pathetic censorship board) a little later than the US. That said, I can still remember how excited I was when this show first appeared: Everyone at school was talking about it. The series was based on the comic book by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. While the comics were very dark and gloomy in some parts, the series was a little more light hearted. This first series is the closest to the comic books. It has a very anime look to it, and uses quite a few different martial arts weapons (something that upset our censors a great deal). This mini series tells how the turtles were created, and also sets up who their enemy is. The fight scenes are well done, but the real fun part of this series is the dialogue between the characters. Overall this mini series is probably the best of all the turtles cartoons (I'm not even going to mention the 2003 version) and I can definitely recommend it to fans and newcomers alike. One final thing: As of now this mini series is only available on American DVD. Make sure you buy the American version, because looking at the episodes shows just how much was cut out of each episode by the UK censors.
Opimath
Opimath
This is really Season 1 of the tubular TMNT series. And let me tell you, it's wild! You have everything you'd want, all from the first cartoon show of Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird's comic book, although it's been made rather differently, but it's still highly worth it!

In the Heroes in a Halfshell part, there's Turtle Tracks that tells the beginnings of the Turtles and their allies/adversaries and Enter the Shredder as the Turtles begin their conflict with their arch-nemesis- Oroku Saki aka The Shredder from their sensei Hamato Yoshi aka Master Splinter.

In the Hot Rodding Teenagers part, there's A Thing About Rats where the Turtles begin to fight off for justice as Baxter Stockman (un?)cannily works for Shredder by creating an army of Mousers for turtle/rat hunting and Hot Roddin' Teenagers from Dimension X where the Turtles encounter more friends and more foes.

Finally, there's Shreddered and Splintered (also called The Shredder is Splintered) where the Turtles wager out a final(?) battle with an alien brain named Krang who finally wears an android body to take over the world while Splinter takes on the Shredder once more. It may seem like the end after everything's done and one side is victorious, but wait for the next seasons to come up.

Recommended with Turtle Power...see if you can find this great series!!!!