Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is an American animated television series, mainly set in New York City. It first aired on February 8, 2003 and ended on February 28, 2009. The series marked the revival of the franchise as a Saturday morning cartoon on Fox's Fox Box programming block The TMNT 2003 TV series was produced by 4Kids Entertainment, and Mirage Studios, which each owned half of the rights to the show, and animated by Dong Woo Animation. Reruns ran on Cartoon Network's Miguzi block in 2004. The series migrated to The CW4Kids in its final season after 4Kids's contract with Fox ended. Nickelodeon now owns the rights to this and any future Turtles series.
A reboot of an 80s classic, and it was awesome!
*SPOILER REVIEW* Finally, finally, finally! I'm finally done with this 155 episode series! It took me 3 or 4 months of casually watching on Wednesday afternoons, (because that's when I have the most time off). But around the season 4 finale, I decided to just binge the rest of the series just to get it over with and get it off my watchlist. It was good and enjoyable for the majority of the series, but after the season 3 finale, it was clear that 4Kids wasn't gonna let their merchandising cash cow go that easily and started milk the series all it's worth and unfortunately that had an effect on the quality of the series overall and lead to some pretty lackluster seasons. The fact that you can just skip seasons 4-7 and you're still all caught up for Turtles Forever is just the most hilarious thing to me. I guess a good place to start is with the characters, which is probably one of my favorite parts about the show. Leonardo was pretty bland, it's just what you come to expect from this character. I guess they did try to give him an internal conflict in season 4 where he couldn't save his brothers in the season 3 finale and becomes more aggressive and brooding, but he just becomes a worse Raph and his morals are completely out of whack to an insane degree. Like he even at one point cuts open Splinter's head just because "I learned everything", but fortunately he goes back to his bland self during the middle chunk of the season. Donatello was just so boring. It had no personality outside of "the tech wiz" and that's probably the reason why he was the least utilized out of all the turtles. I mean he had also had an internal conflict in season 7 where he blames himself for him and his brothers losing Splinter in cyberspace and starts obsessing over collecting all the bits while distancing his brothers away from him. So basically, its just Leo's arc in season 4 again, but actually relevant to the plot. It wasn't that bad, but he went back to his boring self in the middle of season 7. Raphael was honestly the highlight of all the turtles in this show. I think this type of show really works well with his explosive personality and can lead to fun situations. Raph and Casey have great and natural chemistry together which is something that the other TMNT shows haven't really replicated because of how different his personality and character treats are in those shows compared to Raph. He even says "Joe mama" in season 1, so that's how you know he's the best turtle. Michelangelo is probably the least memorable he's ever been while also being an annoying selfish jerk in the process. Like 60% of his dialog is just pop culture references and it gets really tiring, especially for over 150 episodes. He also takes advantage of Splinter's kindness and constantly slacks off and doesn't take his martial arts seriously, like in the episode "Graduation Day of 2105", he doesn't gradate along side his brothers because of his video game obsession, so he's put to the test to actually graduate and you'd he would learn his lesson after that episode, but NOPE, he just goes to his annoying self afterwards. Where the selfish jerk part of his character comes in is with "Turtle Titan". I'm gonna save how I feel about the superheroes later in this review, but Micky is just a huge jerk to anyone who he thinks is stealing his """thunder""" as Turtle Titan and actually assaults the person that was inspired by Turtle Titan and his own brother Raphael full-on incrediboy style purely fueled by his jealousy. That's just a new level of patheticness that other Mickys from any other piece of TMNT media would never stoop to. Splinter was pretty good in this, but he's probably the weakest out of all the Splinters in the TMNT shows, but I don't think that should be considered an insult, if anything it shows how consistent the quality has been for this character over the years. Splinter in the original 1987 cartoon was just a wise and caring father that helped anchor the show in all it's weirdness. Splinter in the Rise series isn't exactly a great father or teacher, but he makes up for it being 10 times more entertaining than any other Splinter and having such a unique backstory and genuinely heartfelt moments that the series takes its time with. I haven't rewatched the 2012 series yet, so I can't talk about it's Splinter too in-depth, but from what I remember he was the best origin and character drama. But I'd have to rewatch the series to back up that claim. Splinter in this show is still good and serves his purpose to the overall story, but to be quite honest I never liked how in the original comics, Splinter was just a pet rat copying his owner Hamato Yoshi. It made his journey and struggle with the Shredder so much more personal and one of the only things that I think the original cartoon improved over the comics is that they made Splinter and Hamato Yoshi the same person. It makes so much more sense with the whole mutation part of the franchise and two martial artist raised as brothers slowly drift apart because of a love is so much more interesting than a pet rat and a chewing gum. Also yeah, this show tweaked the origin of Hamato Yoshi to fit more in these series continuity and the changes really water down the impact that the story might of had in this show. Also I don't think Splinter's voice in the show is a really naturally fit compared Peter Renaday from the original cartoon. WOW, this review is already this long and I've only talked about the turtles and Splinter. Now for the human character. April is down down-to-earth she's ever been and a great alley to the turtles. Also Casey in this, BEST Casey. He's so entertaining and you can really tell they took a lot of inspiration from Elias Koteas's performance as Casey from the 1990 movie which is cool. Like I said before, Casey and Raph have great chemistry together, but I think he has even better chemistry with April. This might be my favorite part about the whole show, Casey and April are practically made for each other. Their interactions are so wholesome and their relationship grew in a natural and believable way over the course of all 7 seasons. Okay granted, their relationship was put on hold after the season 3 finale, but that didn't ruin the impact that the series sendoff had on me. Imagine growing up on this show over the course of 6 years and seeing Casey and April finally tie the knot and it's no surprise that I got a little misty-eyed because even though I didn't grow up on this show, I had the chance to grow attached to these characters for over 150 episodes. Okay, so on to the bad guys. Shredder being a Utrom in this show is kind of a joke. I mean you can’t just kill off shredder so easily nowadays like in the comics because of how iconic he’s become over the years. So they completely overhaul his origin in this show and turned him into a Utrom. I kind of find it funny that the show actually expects me to take this piece of chewing gum seriously. Krang has always been somewhat of a comedic character in almost every incarnation he’s been in, but I know that making Krang intimidating can be done properly thanks to the Rise movie, but this show's lukewarm 4Kids violence doesn’t really help Shredder’s case. And besides, even without that fact, Shredder is such a boring and one note obstacle for the turtles and he's no where near as memorable or intimidating like other Shredders. Wow, this show has my least favorite Shredder AND my least favorite Karai, HOW NICE!!! Yeah, I'm really a big fan of Karai in this. She acts so oblivious to Shredder's villainy to a ridiculous degree and her refusing to accept basic fact is just plane stupid and a gigantic hypocrite. She becomes the next Shredder for season 4, but it doesn't really change anything because how similar her morals are compared to the original Shredder to make it an interesting swap. Hun is honestly one of my favorite characters in the whole show. It's Hun! HE'S SO EPIC!!! I mean unironically he's a great threat and it's really interesting to the his undying loyalty to the Shredder and seeing how effects him also being the leader The Purple Dragons. Oh, did I mention he's funny? With one exception, I think he's the most enjoyable character in the whole show while also serving as a good threat to the Turtles. I guess you're wondering who's that one exception, well I'm here to tell you that it's FREAKIN' BAXTER STOCKMAN!!! I can't get enough of this absolute legend. I love how self-absorbed he is even after when he's taken apart limb after limb until he's just a brain in a jar. It's also kinda sad that people just won't let him die and constantly manipulating his genius for their own self benefit. He's a mixture of being funny and tragic at the same time. Bishop was such a cool threat. Like at the beginning, I thought he suffered from a really generic design, but I guess the artists caught wind of that and gave him some cool and memorable armor, so it all works out. I like how cunning he is like how he manipulates the government into gaining more funding for his security branch by staging a fake alien invasion which leads to some crucial plot beats for season 4. I'm not a huge fan of what they did to him in season 6, but it's fine I guess. Okay, I'm done with all the regular characters, so now I'm gonna talk about all the seasons individually now. I'm not gonna sit on seasons 1-3 too much because they're all good and I don't have to much to say about them. Season 1 was pretty good overall and a good stepping stone and introduction for the later seasons, but my problem with this season is the filler. This season only adapts the FIRST 4 ISSUES and they pad it out for way too long. I'll only take you about 2 hours at most to read those 4 issues and I'll take about 10 hours to watch this season at least nonstop, so I'll let you decide which is more worth it. But this season did have a really good overarching story that holds up compared to the other seasons and this is the only season where Utrom Shredder is actually intimating Season 2 was slightly better than the first in my opinion. I haven't fully read this part of the comics yet and don't know how faithful it is compared to the original, I liked seeing these two tyrants fight over a portal machine that doesn't even work when the Utroms have working portals right there. I also liked the new Traximus character, the Triceraton leader Zanramon was really fun and memorable, and I liked the gladiator arena and prison episodes. Also this season introduced the Battle Nexus which was pretty fun setup and I liked seeing Usagi cameos every now and then. I guess Honeycutt kinda got on my nerves after awhile, the human tyrant General Blanque was pretty forgettable and lame and is never even brought again when season 6 rolls around. Drako and Ue-Sama aren't really that interesting antagonists and it's kinda weird that a rat is invited to Battle Nexus and not the Ninja Tribunal. But it's still a very enjoyable season regardless of it's problems. Season 3 was still really good just like the last two seasons. I used to think this was the best season, but the more I really think about it, I think season 2 is just might be a smidge better overall. But I don't that should be a detriment to this season, it introduced Bishop! I wasn't that into the alien invasion coming to earth instead of the turtles going into an alien world, Honeycutt is the biggest idiot alive leading the Triceraton army back to earth after the turtles just got rid of them and then trying to surrender, and Honeycutt supposed sacrifice was honestly hilarious. Then the Ultimate Drako patch of anthology episodes came around and there all different in tone which was cool and refreshing. It's kinda weird how Ue-Sama turns into a child and I think Ultimate Daimyo was really nerfed for what happened in this season. Also the finale of this season gets rid of Utrom Shredder, but the writers of this show are definitely gonna regret that later down the line. Okay, here's a mini-ranking for the Ultimate Drako anthology episodes 1. Same As It Never Was: Best episode in the whole show, no question 2. The Real World, Part 1: Really cute art style and it was cool seeing Usagi's world for the first time in animation. But I wish we got to see more Usagi's world more Tomoe Ame would have been nice if you know what I'm sayin' 3. Across the Universe: Pretty standard overall with cool racing moments, but it just feels like the usual shtick we come to know from this show 4. Reality Check: Really lame, I didn't like Splinter becoming evil, I didn't think they utilized the superhero gimmick enough, we didn't really get to explore this new superhero world, and Micky, obviously. Season 4 was still good, but it felt like the beginning of the end for this show. This season does still does have a lot of personality to it. I thought it would be interesting to see the aftermath of Utrom Shredder leaving the show and seeing the repercussions because of that, but nothing really feels like anything changed the trajectory of the story. Like I said earlier in the review, Karai becoming the new Shredder really only feels like a palette swap and Leo just sulks for a bit until he meets The Ancient One. Hun takes a massive step back which was so weird, because you'd think they would utilize the Purple Dragons more sense Utrom Shredder is gone, but no. The main conflict for this season is mutations from the ooze of the fake aliens. Ignoring how the conflict starts in pretty dumb, the show never decided to fully explore all the cool possibilities the concept could of brought until the last few episodes because they needed to end the conflict before the next the next season. This season is more interested in it's filler plot lines than it's central one and while its good and fun filler, its still filler none the less. Also booooooo, the season finale blows tbh. There's no conclusive weight to it and its just a prologue for season 5 and it would be a cool first episode for the Ninja Tribunals, but as a finale to this already lackluster season, it's easily the worst one so far. Not a bad episode, it's pretty average on it's own, but nothing about it properly closes this chapter of this show. Ninja Tribunals (AKA Season 5) was okay. It's just inevitable that a long running series, especially a narrative one, would eventually decline in quality. Nothing about it feels like it naturally flows with the rest of the series and it more so feels like 4Kids trying to keep this show relevant and starts to get more gimmicky with their seasons even though it should of ended of a long time ago. It doesn't even feel like this season is canon for a majority of it and you would think they would at least acknowledge the Ninja Tribunal if their so important in the past 4 seasons. But no, they just shoehorned all these new plot lines and pretended they existed the whole time. The other acolytes are extremely boring characters with no personalities expect for the big guy who has a crush on the lady ninja and that's the extent of his character. I didn't care when the other acolytes supposedly died in episode 5 or when they came for the finale because the show didn't explore their origins or get me invested in their characters to make their fake out deaths feel earned. Also making Shredder in this show a copycat of the "real" Shredder makes him even lamer than he already was. You can tell that the writers regret killing off the Shredder, so they keep introducing different alterations of him that aren't technically Shredder, but he might as well be. And the most funniest aspect of this is that Ancient Shredder is the first passable Shredder in the whole show, which is hilarious seeing just by not making Shredder a piece of chewing gum automatically makes him a better Shredder. Then after episode 5, they make an episode about with the Justice Force and Nano which has almost nothing to do with the Ninja Tribunals at all and you'd think since this is a smallest season, they'd keep together a tighter narrative. The New World Order 2 parter was good and refreshing, but that just makes me think is there a a season finale set piece during the middle of the season, but April finally got the pilot a helicopter just like in the original opening was cool, but why did it take have seasons tho? Also the episode right after is just a prequel to the Ninja Tribunals and I don't really like it. I didn't like the framing device of baby turtles or their designs and them conveniently losing their memory was really dumb. It feels so tone deaf compared to the last 2 episodes, I get having a breather in between more important episodes, but can it not feel out of place? But at least we got to see Splinter tear up a bone monster limb by limb. The last three episodes, however, were pretty good and I wish the rest of the season was like this. Overall this season is decent and has it's moments, specifically with the ancient Shredder, but the Ninja Tribunal stuff itself I didn't really care for and other characters like April and Casey get sidelined pretty heavily. But if this was the series finale, I wouldn't mind. Also WHO THOUGHT CHANGING THE VOICE OF HUN WAS A GOOD IDEA?!?!?!?! Fast Forward (AKA Season 6), I'm just gonna say it, is the sole reason that I gave this series as a whole A 6/10. If this season didn't exist, we would be living in 7/10 territory. But unfortunately, we don't live in that timeline. Like it's so weird. It has an entirely new art style probably just to keep up with modern times. I expectations were that the turtles were gonna travel from different points in time, but no they just go to 100 years into the future. It's like a mish-mash of Transformers: Animated and Spider-Man Unlimited and it was just considered another season for the original Spider-Man (1994) series, it doesn't make sense because of how different it is visually and tonally. Oh yeah, it's tone, they made more light-hearted and more reliant on cringe jokes that made me wanna die and it clashes so hard with the previous seasons that it makes feel like an entirely different show, which it might as well be. Cody was a huge dork and the biggest idiot alive by how it took him 19 episodes to figure out that his uncle was evil. Serling felt like a knock-off version of Drix from Osmosis Jones, but he's managed to grow on me overtime. But his fake-out sacrifice in episode 20 was utterly comical by how the writers thought that was a good and well though out emotional scene. The uncle character was such a lame, one note, and embarrassing antagonist for this season, that I missed the days of Utrom Shredder. There's this British robot cop, and I really need to an emphasis on him being British, and he was just there and he didn't make me feel anything. Starlee was innocent in all this, she is to this season what Babu Frik is to Rise of Skywalker. I guess there were a few cool episodes like "Graduation Day of 2105", "Timing is Everything", and "DNA is Thicker than Water", because those episodes remind me that this show can still put out well thought out stories, I kinda forget that this was evenly remotely related to TMNT and those episodes just the exceptions in this season's overall mediocrity. Also the last episode was just some regular episode with no conclusive weight to it whatsoever. Also what makes Fast Forward even worse is that they don't even resolve all the conflicts. For all we know, the Uncle is still out and about trying to kill his nephew, Cody is still forced to work as the head of his company, and Bizarro Leo is still struggling between good and evil. I think that just goes to show how incompetent this season's storytelling is. This season overall is so tonally jarring compared to the other 6 seasons and that wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing, but it decided it wanted to be another season rather than A completely different entry in the franchise that we could just collectively put in the back of our heads. Back to the Sewers was kind of a good return to form of this series, but i feel I'm tricking myself into liking it more because the new theme song is absolutely fire! I just thought it was gonna be an Wolverine and the X-Men style of intro where it's just orchestrated music, but TMNT had other plans and I'm so glad I was wrong. I like in the first episode it still opens up with Fast Forward intro, because that makes sense because the turtles are still in the future at the beginning, and the episode ends with the new intro. Viral from the last season becoming Cyber Shredder though backup memories in Cyberspace is really dumb because it raises the question of why didn't Karai just activate Cyber Shredder after Utrom Shredder left the show after season 3? It just feels like another example of how desperate the show runners are having Shredder in the show without having the ACTUAL Shredder, so they just make up new variants of him. Master Khan is pretty one note, but he does give off an intimating presents, so I'll give him that. Like I said way before, Donny sulks for a bit thinking its all his fault for losing Splinter in Cyberspace. Speaking of Cyberspace, that part of the season doesn't really feel dated and still holds up probably because it didn't focus on trendy 2008 internet culture which I'm super thankful for. Also they redesigned the art style AGAIN to fit more inline with the 2007 movie, which i didn't really mind that much and was kind of welcome. I loved seeing Casey and April's relationship progress to where it is now, but a part of me wished that the proposal episode didn't didn't have any grand monster, I just wanted to see Casey try to propose to April with no strings attached. Also HUN'S REAL VOICE IS BACK AHHHHHHH!!!. There was an opportunity in episode 149 "Identity Crisis" to reference the events of of episode 72 "Across the Universe", they had the perfect setup of Raph losing his memory and they didn't capitalize on it, so what was that all about? Also HUN IS A HARDCORE GAMER NOW!?!?!? AND EPISODE 151 SAYS "NOOB" AND "GAMER" SO MANY TIMES THAT I'M ABOUT TO HAVE A STROKE!?!?!? But I guess it was all worth it to see that powerhouse of a series finale and I even got a little misty-eyed because i'm finally done with this series. It took months without end and writing this very review took me about 2 days because how much I had say, and while I did enjoy myself, I'm glad that I'm done and I finally see what all the hypes about. Here's my ranking of all the seasons if you're wondering. 1. Season 2 2. Season 3 3. Season 1 4. Back to the Sewers 5. Season 4 6. Ninja Tribunals 7. Fast Forward Edit: Okay I forgot to talk about this because I couldn't figure out where to put this in the review, but don't you think it's a little weird how superheroes exist in this show? Like don't you think the turtles can just go public as superheroes and the Justice Force could back them up and the public would eventually except them? IDK, that's just a weird thing that I thought of watching this. Anyway I'm absolutely done with this review