Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003, Seasons 1-5)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a 2003 action, adventure, comedy, drama, superhero, fantasy, science fiction, science fantasy, martial arts, American animated television series. It was the first reboot of the classic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series from 1987, and was later followed up by another reboot in 2012. It was developed by Lloyd Goldfine, musically composed by Norman J. Grossfeld, Russell Velazquez, Rusty Andrews, Ralph Schuckett, John Angier, Mark Breeding, Louis Cortelezzi, Joel Douek, John Petersen, John Siegler, Pete Scaturro, and John Van Tongeren, distributed by Viacom Media Networks, and produced by Gary Richardson, JoEllyn Marlow, Alfred R. Kahn, Frederick U. Fierst, Tom Kenney, Norman F. Grossfeld, Mirage Studios, 4Kids Entertainment, and Dong Woo Animation. It stars the vocal talents of Wayne Grayson, Michael Sinterniklaas, Sam Riegal, Greg Abbey, Darren Dunstan, Veronica Taylor, Marc Thompson, and Scottie Ray. It lasted for 7 seasons, or 156 episodes, and ended with a made for tv animated film in 2009. Reruns would air on the Nicktoons Network from 2014 to 2018.
Why It Rocks
- Excellent animation with very great action and fight scenes.
- The Turtles are still likable and keep their same charm like the 1987 Series.
- It is both the darkest 4Kids program and the darkest incarnation in the franchise as it has the most violence out of the animated TMNT shows.
- The made for TV animated movie released in 2009, titled Turtles Forever, was exciting because it featured a crossover between three different incarnations on the ninja turtles, the 2003 version, the 1987 version, and the version from the comics. This also gave this series an epic conclusion.
- Very appealing art style and character designs, especially that of Shredder.
- This series incarnation of the Shredder, besides being by far the most evil and threatening, has a unique backstory and is a sociopathic alien named Ch'rell instead of an successor to the original or an immortal.
- Out of all of the TV adaptations of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, this one is considered the most faithful to the original comics, and it's creator Peter Laird's favorite adaptation.
- The characters are more complex and interesting than in the original 1987 version. This time, instead of focusing more on comedy until towards the end, the series focuses much more on drama from early on. The biggest example is the turtles having to deal with their appearances, that being the reason that they have to reside in the sewers instead of conversing with common humans.
- Great soundtrack such as the music when the turtles fight the foot clan.
- While the characters are more complex in this version, that doesn't mean that the comedy is neglected. The comedy is just as great as in the previous version. If anything this version manages to balance the comedy with the drama much better.
- Good voice acting, with the main turtles all having great chemistry.
- Another thing that this series does more than the previous incarnation of the turtles is going in depth with the martial arts training, which is immensely important as it shows how the turtles become as strong as they do when it comes to combating evil.
- Outstanding pacing, it lets the viewer know what's going on.
- The theme song in Seasons 1-5 are incredible and is very memorable to listen to.
- Memorable episodes such as Enter the Dragons, Exodus, Same As It Never Was, Things Change, Insane in the Membrane, Legend of the 5 Dragons and other episodes.
- The animation style look's amazing, By 2003 standards. In fact, this redesign also appears in some Mirage TMNT comics.
- Impressive plot twists like the viewer learning that Shredder is actually an Utrom, not Oroku Saki.
- Impressive character development, we see that in the beginning, Casey and April don't really like each other, but as the series progressed, they became more and more closer.
- Elements of the earlier series are retained, such as Michelangelo's goofy demeanor and of course, his catchphrase "Cowabunga".
- Memorable Villains like Hun, Bishop, Stockman, Karai, The Foot Clan, and the Purple Dragons.
- Some of the new characters like Hun and Angel are eventually integrated into the comics, mainly Mirage and IDW.
- The show is like a legacy to Batman: The Animated Series, feeling edgier and darker and even putting that on the imagery of the city at night.
- The series shows that reboots can be done right.
- Excellent Series Finale where the Turtles defeat the Cyber Shredder once and for all.
- It should be noted that all Season Finale's (Including Season 6 and 7), have great endings to each season.
- Tons of emotional moments like the 2012 Series, such as Leo being badly beaten, Baxter Stockman's backstory, Donatello visiting a Hellish Version of New York where almost all of his loved ones (Except April) are killed.
- Great Continuity, certain episodes will show flashbacks for not only the Turtles, but for the Viewer to also remember what happened.
- Though unintentionally, this show at times, can send good morals, such as respecting others and honoring your loved ones.
- Seasons 6 and 7 was not as well received and weren't as dark due to 4KidsTV wanting it to be more lighthearted and to be more marketable and "appropriate" for kids. It is another example of executive meddling. However, these Seasons still have really good episodes. But it is a downgrade to the series.
- Ironically, there is one bad episode, Super Power Struggle.
- While not a bad episode, Reflections is the weakest of Season 2 as it is more of a clip-show episode, and when you really think about it, a filler episode.
- Season 6 had a mediocre opener that tries to stay modern and be hip.
- What the Shell, the line the Turtles use a lot, can be annoying, especially in Turtles Forever is it blasted.
- While well voice acted, Michelangelo can get kind of annoying at times and disgusting for no reason at all. But this was in Season 1.
- Some of the material found from the original comic was removed or altered to tone down it's violent tone.
- Most of the time, only Donnie and Mikey are allowed to hit their enemies with their weapons, whereas Leo and Raph only use hand-to-hand against non-mechanical enemies. This is because, the former two's weapons are blunt, while the latter's are sharp and bladed, and due to censorship, they are not allowed to cut down any non-mechanical foes.
- The Season 5 episode, “Nightmares Recycled” is completely pulled out by 4kids Entertainment because it was too controversial of the idea of Hun and The Garbageman being conjoin into one entity. This is unacceptable as many episodes such as “The Same As Never Was” was green-lit by 4kids and that has dark and disturbing moments as well. Another episode, I'Monster has dark and disturbing moments as well but was also allowed to air back in 2005. Let alone the banned episode “Insane in the Membrane” was banned by 4kids but got aired on Nickelodeon a few years later. The episode wasn’t even released on DVD or on the Internet.
- The series had a whole season aired out of order, Season 5 which is known as the Lost Episodes Season was already produced and was set to air a week after Season 4 ended on a Cliffhanger. 4Kids decided to air Fast Forward (Season 6) before The Lost Episodes (Season 5) had aired. This is unacceptable as Season 4 ended on a huge Cliffhanger and Season 5 would air 2 Years Later. This would cause major confusion to if Season 5 was abandoned for sure.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles received widespread acclaim from critics, audiences and fans alike. Many consider this to be the greatest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles show ever made. The praise went towards the faithfulness to the source material, the storytelling, character development, action, darker tone, humor, the theme song, background musics, voice acting, animation and appeal to all ages. It currently sits at a 8/10 on IMDb and an 8.8/10 on TV.com. It is considered to be one of the greatest Animated TV shows of all-time. It also garnered high ratings for a 4Kids Saturday morning cartoon, being the most viewed show along with Sonic X and shortly after the premiere became the highest-rated and most popular children's television show in the US back in 2003.
Google gave it a 97% user score, indicating a 4.85/5.