When “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” first hit airwaves in 1987, is spawned a franchise. In 1990 a live action film kicked off a trilogy of films, with “Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation” following in 1997. 2003 saw a more anime-inspired TMNT show, with a 2009 animated flick featuring voice acting from the likes of Chris Evans. While some TMNT faithful might care to forget the Michael Bay iterations, the Ninja Turtles returned in 2011 and again in 2016. And in 2012 Nickelodeon debuted a CG series.
Initially I was pretty skeptical of the Nick 2012 TMNT series. I grew up watching the 87 show, and even had a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles birthday party when I was three. But the 2012 Nick iteration won me over with its throwbacks. Peppered throughout the show are references to 80s and 90s pop culture. An entire episode recreates “Big Trouble in Little China,” even featuring the vocal talents of James Wong reprising his character (under the name Ho Chan instead of Lo Pan). There’s an ongoing reference to “Thundarr the Barbarian,” and season three featured loads of horror references including a particularly enjoyable and random homage to “Halloween III: Season of the Witch.” 2009 Made for TV movie “TMNT: Turtles Forever” pulled in the various Ninja Turtles versions into a mashup.
Nickelodeon announced a forthcoming 2D animated TMNT series slated for a 2018 release. After five seasons, the 2012 Nick show will wrap up.
“The Turtles is a property that has reinvention in its DNA, which keeps it fresh and relevant to every new generation while satisfying the demand from its adult fans. ‘Turtles’ has been an incredibly important franchise for us since we reignited it five years ago, and we’re excited for the new series to take the characters in a different direction with more humor, a younger and lighter feel and all-new dimensions to explore.”
— Cyma Zarghami, president, Nickelodeon Group
Andy Suriano, character designer for “Samurai Jack,” and Ant Ward, supervising producer for the 2o12 Nick “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” series are set to co-executive produce. The final season of the CG Nickelodeon series will begin airing on Mar. 19, 2017. Nickelodeon has ordered 26 episodes of the forthcoming “Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” series. It follows Michelangelo, Raphael, Donatello, and Leonardo on a quest ot discover the mystical secrets of New York City.
How do you feel about the upcoming 2D TMNT series “Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?” What’s your favorite TMNT media so far?