Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Based on
Chief directorsYoshikatsu Kasai (seasons 1–2)
Bill Wolf (season 3)
Fred Wolf (seasons 4–7)
Tony Love (seasons 8–10)
Creative directorsPeter Chung (seasons 1–3)
Gary Selvaggio (seasons 4–5)
Frank Rocco (seasons 6–7)
George Goodchild (seasons 8–9)
Kyle Menke (season 10)
Voices ofCam Clarke
Barry Gordon
Rob Paulsen
Townsend Coleman
Peter Renaday
Renae Jacobs
James Avery
Pat Fraley
Jennifer Darling
Tony Jay
Theme music composerChuck Lorre
Dennis C. Brown
Country of originUnited States
No. of seasons10
No. of episodes193 (list of episodes)
Executive producersMark Freedman
Sung Chul Ha (seasons 4–5)
ProducersWalt Kubiak
Fred Wolf
Osamu Yoshioka (seasons 1–3)
Rudy Zamora (seasons 1–2)
Andy Luckey (seasons 3–7)
Bill Wolf (season 8)
Kara Vallow (seasons 8–10)
Running time22 minutes
Production companiesFred Wolf Films[1]
Original networkSyndication (1987–90)
CBS (1990–96)[2]
Picture formatNTSC
Audio formatStereo (1987–90)
CBS StereoSound (1990–95)
Dolby Surround (1995–96)
Original releaseDecember 14, 1987 (1987-12-14) –
November 2, 1996 (1996-11-02)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (initially known as Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles in some European countries) is an American animated television series produced by Fred Wolf Films, and based on the comic book characters created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. Set in New York City, the series follows the adventures of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and their allies as they battle the Shredder, Krang, and numerous other villains and criminals. The property was changed considerably from the darker-toned comics, to make it more suitable for children and the family.

The pilot was shown during the week of December 14, 1987 in syndication as a five-part miniseries, and the show began its full-time run on October 1, 1988. The series ran until November 2, 1996, when it aired its final episode. The show was the first television appearance of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and helped launch the characters into mainstream popularity, becoming one of the most popular animated series in television history. Action figures, breakfast cereals, plush toys, and other merchandise featuring the characters appeared on the market during the late-1980s and early-1990s, and became top-sellers worldwide.[3] By 1990, the series was being shown daily on more than 125 television stations.

Characters from the show have been included in crossovers with later entries of the franchise, including the 2009 film Turtles Forever and cameos in the 2012 TV series.


Seasons 1–7

The origins story in the 1987 television series deviates significantly from the original Mirage Studios comics. In this version, Splinter was formerly human, an honorable ninja master named Hamato Yoshi who studied art history as a hobby. He was banished from the Foot Clan (a Japanese dynasty of ninjas founded by one of his distant ancestors[4]) after one of his students, the power-hungry and seditious Oroku Saki (who resented Yoshi's leadership within the clan and aspired to usurp him), set him up for an offense against a visiting master sensei. Disgraced, Yoshi was forced to leave his native Japan and relocate to New York City, where he began living in the sewers with the rats as his only friends. Saki was given command of the Foot Clan, which he corrupted and transformed into a criminal organization.

Sometime later, Yoshi adopted four turtles after they were accidentally dropped into the sewers by an unnamed boy. He returned from his explorations around New York City one day to find the turtles covered with a strange glowing ooze. This substance caused the turtles, who were most recently exposed to Yoshi, to become humanoid, while Yoshi, who was most recently exposed to sewer rats, became a humanoid rat, and was given the name "Splinter" by the turtles. Yoshi raises the four turtles as his sons and trains them in the art of ninjitsu. He names them Donatello, Leonardo, Michaelangelo, and Raphael, after his favorite Italian renaissance artists.[5]

Oroku Saki eventually leaves Japan and tracks Yoshi to New York City, where he intends to destroy him once and for all. It is also around this time that he begins working with Krang, a disembodied alien brain from Dimension X who ruled his native realm with an iron fist until he was stripped of his body and banished to Earth. Saki takes on a new pseudonym, "The Shredder", donning a suit covered with razor spikes, and complemented by a long purple cape, a metal samurai helmet, and a metal mask over his mouth.[6] Since leaving Japan, his ambitions have grown from usurping leadership of the Foot Clan to world domination. To this end, Krang provides the Shredder with a vast array of powerful technology from Dimension X, including the Technodrome, and funds most of his schemes throughout the series.

It becomes clear early on in the series that the mutagen which transformed the Turtles and Splinter into their new forms was dumped into the sewers by Shredder in an effort to murder Yoshi, as he had mistakenly believed it to be a deadly poison rather than a transformative agent. After several years of training under Splinter, the Turtles set out to find whoever is responsible for their transformation, and upon learning that Shredder was behind it, they vow to put an end to his ongoing criminal career and restore Splinter back to his human form. Along the way, they rescue and befriend Channel 6 news reporter April O'Neil, who becomes one of their strongest allies. The Turtles, who had rarely left the sewers prior to meeting April, also began to take on the role of semi-vigilante crime fighters. Despite this, they frequently have to deal with citizens misunderstanding them, largely due to the efforts of Channel 6 newsmen Burne Thompson and Vernon Fenwick, who both distrust the Turtles and frequently and wrongfully blame them for the trouble that Shredder and Krang cause. As a result, they mainly have to rely on April (either via Turtle-com, or Channel 6 news reports) to inform them of crimes in the city, and to counteract Burne and Vernon's smear and bad-tempered campaigns against them with her own news coverage of the Turtles, portraying them as a force for good. Reluctant to expose themselves to the outside world, the Turtles initially wear disguises whenever they leave the sewers, although this is slowly relaxed as the series progresses and they gain the trust of the broader populace, whom they have saved from Shredder and other villains on many occasions.

Shredder, Krang, Bebop & Rocksteady, Baxter Stockman, and their legions of Foot soldiers repeatedly try to destroy the Turtles and take over the world. Much of their quest for world domination hinges on repowering Krang's mobile fortress, the Technodrome, and bringing it to the Earth's surface, as it was either buried deep under New York City (season 1), stuck in Dimension X (seasons 2 and 4), embedded in the Earth's core (season 3), stranded in the Arctic (season 5), or at the bottom of the Arctic Ocean (seasons 6 and 7). However, their plans always fail, often landing the villains in humorous predicaments. Some episodes feature other minor villains, such as the Rat King, Leatherhead, Slash, General Traag and Granitor, and many others, or involve the TMNT getting themselves and the city out of a mess that they had inadvertently caused.

Seasons 8–10

In the last three seasons, the show went through dramatic changes. The humor was toned down significantly, the animation became darker, the color of the sky in each episode was changed to a continuous, ominous dark-red sky (commonplace with newer action-oriented children's programming at the time), the theme song was changed, the introduction sequence added in clips from the first live-action film, and the show took on a darker, more action-oriented atmosphere.[7] The Turtles' demeanor evolved into a more serious and determined one than in prior seasons, and they devoted most of their time to tracking down villains.[8] The series' main antagonists—Shredder, Krang, Bebop, and Rocksteady—who had previously been depicted as dangerous but comically inept villains, were now portrayed as a more menacing, unified threat. Additionally, Krang was revealed to have seized power in Dimension X through numerous betrayals and widespread destruction, resulting in old enemies seeking vengeance.[8] Many recurring characters and villains were written out of the show by this point, with more focus placed on the main cast. The season was also noted for the destruction of the Channel 6 building, which led to April working freelance.[8]

At the end of the seventh season, the Turtles sent the Technodrome through a portal into Dimension X, but without Shredder, Krang, Bebop, and Rocksteady. As a result, the villains were stranded on Earth without any weapons or power, and were forced to work out of an old science building until they can find a way back into Dimension X and retrieve the Technodrome. The Turtles, taking advantage of the situation, relentlessly pursue their arch enemies in an effort to put an end to their schemes once and for all. Eventually, Shredder and Krang, along with Bebop and Rocksteady, build a new portal into Dimension X and reclaim the Technodrome, although the Turtles manage to track them down with the help of Gargon, a mutated resident of Dimension X who was being held prisoner by Shredder and Krang. At the end of season 8, the TMNT finally banish Shredder, Krang, Bebop, and Rocksteady to Dimension X by destroying the Technodrome's engines and trans-dimensional portal, preventing them from returning to Earth.[9]

From season 9 onwards, Lord Dregg, an evil alien warlord from Dimension X, appeared as the new lead villain. He begins a propaganda campaign against the Turtles, turning the general population against them and in favor of him and his forces. Although Dregg is outed as a villain at the end of season 9,[10] the Turtles are never able to regain the trust of the broader population, due to an earlier smear campaign by Burne and Vernon that wrongfully blamed the Turtles for the destruction of the Channel 6 building. Additionally, the Turtles began to suffer from mutations that temporarily transformed them into monstrous hulks with diminished intelligence, a problem that would not be completely resolved until season 10. The TMNT also gain a new ally in the form of Carter, a brash African American male who initially sought out Master Splinter for training in ninjitsu, but is eventually exposed to mutagen and contracts an incurable mutation disease.

In the final season of the series, Dregg's sycophantic henchman Mung encounters Shredder and Krang, who are still stranded in Dimension X. They told him that they had battled the Turtles for years, but even though Shredder claimed to have destroyed them, Mung knew that he was lying. Soon afterward, Mung returns to Dregg's ship and informs him of their encounter, and Dregg decides to bring both Shredder and Krang back from Dimension X to help him fight the Turtles. However, the pair immediately rebel against Dregg and leave, continuing on where they left off before they were banished at the end of season 8. Back on Earth, Shredder and Krang kidnap April O'Neil and do battle with the Turtles once more, although they are all soon transported back to Dregg's lair. The Turtles initially have the upper hand in the fight, but Shredder and Krang are able to subdue them after reluctantly agreeing to work with Dregg. As he prepares to drain the Turtles of their life energies, Shredder and Krang betray Lord Dregg and force him onto one of the operating tables, intending to drain both him and the Turtles of their power. Dregg, however, manages to escape and uses his microbots to capture Shredder and Krang. Although he successfully drains the Turtles and Krang of their life energies, Shredder breaks free before Dregg is able to take anything from him.[11] Shredder spends the next two episodes finding a way to heal Krang and dispose of Dregg so that they may take control of his armies and conquer the Earth, but in the ensuing confrontation they are permanently transported back to Dimension X. Carter also bids farewell to the Turtles as he travels to the future to look for a cure for his mutation.[12] In the final episode of the series, Michaelangelo and Donatello travel to Dimension X to retrieve Krang's mechanical body from the (now abandoned and completely destroyed) Technodrome, which is sitting on a hill standing upright (whereas at the end of season 8, an alien plant had dragged it down into a deep pit), suggesting that Shredder and Krang initially tried to repair the Technodrome before declaring it a lost cause. Shredder, Krang, Bebop, and Rocksteady are nowhere to be seen. The Turtles eventually find Krang's suit and use it in a final confrontation with Dregg, which ends with the Turtles banishing Dregg to Dimension X. Splinter congratulates the Turtles on their victory and, now that all of their enemies have been vanquished, states that he has nothing more to teach them, calling them his equals.[13]

Subsequent works

In 2009, the Turtles, Shredder, Krang, and various other characters from the 1987 series returned for the 25th-anniversary crossover movie Turtles Forever, in which they meet up with their counterparts from the 2003 TV series. Due to financial restrictions, none of the original voice actors were able to reprise their roles, and replacement actors were used instead.

In April 2013, Ciro Nieli, the executive producer of the 2012 Turtles series, confirmed in an interview that the 1987 Turtles would cameo in a one-hour special in season 2. Cam Clarke, Townsend Coleman, Barry Gordon, and Rob Paulsen (who voiced Donatello in the 2012 series) reprise their roles as Leonardo, Michaelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael, respectively, in the closing of the episode "Wormquake!".[14] The 1987 turtles also had a crossover with the 2012 turtles in the season 4 episode, "Trans-Dimensional Turtles". In addition with the lead cast members reprising their roles from the episode, Pat Fraley also reprised his role as Krang[15] who is depicted as a relative of Kraang Subprime that was banished to Earth in the 1980s reality for being incompetent. The 1987 turtles also returned during season five of the 2012 series for a three-part special, "Wanted: Bebop and Rocksteady", along with the original Shredder, Foot soldiers, Krang, Technodrome, and both Bebop and Rocksteady.[16] Both Gordon and Clarke reprised their roles as Bebop and Rocksteady, while the Shredder is voiced by the 2012 incarnation's voice actor Kevin Michael Richardson, due to James Avery's passing in 2013.


Main article: List of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987 TV series) episodes

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
15December 14, 1987 (1987-12-14)December 19, 1987 (1987-12-19)
213October 1, 1988 (1988-10-01)December 24, 1988 (1988-12-24)
347September 25, 1989 (1989-09-25)December 15, 1989 (1989-12-15)
441September 8, 1990 (1990-09-08)March 29, 1991 (1991-03-29)
520September 14, 1991 (1991-09-14)December 25, 1991 (1991-12-25)
616September 12, 1992 (1992-09-12)December 26, 1992 (1992-12-26)
727September 13, 1993 (1993-09-13)December 18, 1993 (1993-12-18)
88September 17, 1994 (1994-09-17)November 5, 1994 (1994-11-05)
98September 16, 1995 (1995-09-16)November 4, 1995 (1995-11-04)
108September 14, 1996 (1996-09-14)November 2, 1996 (1996-11-02)
Specials7April 21, 1990 (1990-04-21)November 12, 2017 (2017-11-12)


Development and writing

By 1986, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic series by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird had experienced two years of success. At that time, New York-based licensing agent Mark Freedman – who had previously handled Hanna-Barbera's library of characters and was establishing his own licensing company – was contacted by a connection in the toy industry and introduced to the property. Though initially in disbelief at the title, he found it growing onto him and decided to approach California toy manufacturer Playmates Toys to pitch a toy line based on the property. The uncertain company requested that a television deal be acquired first, and after the initial five-episode series debuted, they released their first series of Ninja Turtles action figures in the summer of 1988.[17][18] The two media would correspond in marketing and popularity for many years to come.

David Wise and Patti Howeth wrote the screenplay for the first 5-part miniseries.[1] When the series continued in the second season, comic artist Jack Mendelsohn joined the show as the executive story editor. Wise went on to write over seventy episodes of the series, and was executive story editor for four later seasons as well. Wise left the series partway through the ninth season, and Jeffrey Scott took over as the story editor and chief writer for the rest of the show's run.

The animation work for the early episodes of the series were handled by Japanese anime studio Toei Animation.[19] The budget for the first five episodes of the series was almost $2 million.[20]

Voice acting

Casting for the show took place in Los Angeles. During recording of the voice acting, all the main cast recorded together. According to Renae Jacobs, voice-actress of the reporter April O'Neil, working together "was great for camaraderie and relationships. We played off each other...there was a lot of ad libbing".[21]

Also according to Jacobs, the actors frequently undermined the efforts of the show's creators to make the show grittier and more serious, instead embracing silliness and jokes for both children and adults.[21]

"They [the Turtle voice actors] were kind of like the Marx Brothers, The Stooges, Laurel & Hardy, Burns and Allen and all of those wonderful, fabulous old radio personalities and early movie personalities all rolled up into one. Those guys put the heart and soul into those turtles and came up with those personalities".

— Renae Jacobs, Interview[21]


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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Allies and friends


The Shredder, as seen in the series' opening theme sequence, and some Foot soldiers.
The Shredder, as seen in the series' opening theme sequence, and some Foot soldiers.

Other characters


Through most of the series, the episodes featured a recurring background music which reflected the mood of the situation, as well as ID music for settings such as the Technodrome, the New York City sewers, Channel 6, etc.. The soundtrack was composed by Dennis Challen Brown (credited as "D.C. Brown" and later as "Dennis C. Brown") and Chuck Lorre. Lorre recorded the theme song (and performed the spoken parts) and later became a successful television producer. The performer of the song was James Mandell (aka Miles Doppler).[22] To date the soundtrack has never been released for retail.

The Channel 6 News theme music also appeared in the Turtles in Time video game.

Broadcast and release


The show was in Saturday morning syndication from October 1, 1988, to September 9, 1989, and became an instant hit. The show was expanded to five days a week and aired weekday afternoons in syndication in most markets from September 25, 1989, to March 29, 1991, with reruns airing until September 17, 1993.[2] Starting on September 8, 1990 (with a different opening sequence), the show began its secondary run on CBS's Saturday morning lineup, beginning as a 60-minute block from 1990 to 1993, initially airing a couple of Saturday exclusive episodes back to back. There would also be a brief "Turtle Tips" segment in between the two episodes which served as public service announcements about the environment or other issues. There were at least 20 "Turtle Tips" segments that were produced and aired. Beginning in 1994, the show began airing as a 30-minute block until the series ended.


Reruns of the series were broadcast weekly on Teletoon Retro in Canada until the channel was shutdown on September 1, 2015. Although the last episode broadcast on CBS on November 2, 1996, reruns of Seasons 8, 9 and 10 continued to air until August 30, 1997.[23] The series previously reran in North America in Quebec on Super Écran, who rebroadcast the entire series from 2006 to 2008. Episodes from Seasons 1–7 were rerun on the USA Network's USA Cartoon Express from September 13, 1993, to September 15, 1996 (which was the last time to date any episode from prior to Seasons 8-10 aired on television in the United States). Fred Wolf Films, owners of the rights to the show, have licensed the series to Lionsgate Home Entertainment, who have been responsible for the DVD and retail streaming releases.

In the Republic of Ireland, the series ended its original run on August 9, 1998,[24] but the show was regularly rerun on RTÉ Two until 2008.[25] In Yugoslavia the series was broadcast on RTS from 1991 to 1994 and on RTV Pink from 1998 to 2002. In Denmark, the show is aired every weekday at 6.00 am on TV 2.

In the Republic of Ireland, the series was initially known as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles just like the US version and the intro sequence was unedited when it debuted on RTÉ Two as part of the Irish TV strand The Den with the airing of the second season in September 1990.[26] After the first two episodes were broadcast, the name was changed to the Hero Turtles version and the intro was edited, except for season one. Scenes with Mikey's nunchucks and the word ‘ninja’ were always edited out in the actual episodes, though. Episodes were also cut a bit midway through at the point where there would be a commercial break, perhaps because there were no ad breaks during shows on The Den. The show was very popular in Ireland and aired a lot on weekday afternoons on RTÉ in the mid 90s with season 1 being placed between 3 and 4. The European Vacation eps first aired in Ireland in December 1990.[27] In 2007–2008, episodes were aired in their original US unedited form.

In the UK, the series premiered on Children's BBC in January 1990, initially airing on Wednesday afternoons before moving to Tuesday afternoons. Airings continued throughout most of the 90s, ending in 1997. The programme resurfaced from 2002 to 2004 on the CBBC Channel and CBBC Two. The program also gained airings on 90s Saturday morning kids show Going Live!. It was also once aired on Nickelodeon in the United Kingdom and Ireland between 1993 and 1997.

The logo in the edited UK opening sequence, which was also used in a few other countries.[28]
The logo in the edited UK opening sequence, which was also used in a few other countries.[28]

In the United Kingdom, the series was originally released under the name Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles (TMHT). This was due to the controversy surrounding ninjas and related weapons such as nunchaku at the time.[29] The intro sequence was heavily edited because of this, replacing the word ninja with hero or fighting, using a digitally faded logo instead of the animated blob, and removing any scenes in which Michaelangelo wields his nunchaku, replacing them with clips from the show.[30] Scenes of Michaelangelo using his nunchaku were likewise edited out of the episodes themselves, which led the American show runners to drop the weapons from the series entirely in the fourth season in order to make the show more appropriate for the international airings. The weapons were replaced with a grappling hook called the "Turtle Line" that served as Mikey's signature weapon for the rest of the show's run. The word 'ninja' was also edited out of any speech within the show, often leading to some awkward sounding dialogue.

When shown on the BBC, phrases such as "Let's kick some shell!" and "Bummer!" were removed from the episodes (the latter may relate to a British slang term for anal sex). The series Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation was also referred to as Hero Turtles, possibly using the term hero to separate the television series from the live action movies. The 2003 television series, however, remained intact when shown in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. This led the UK and the Republic of Ireland to have a disambiguation between the two animated series, using Hero Turtles to separate the 1987 television series from the other incarnations of the franchise. In 2009, a DVD of the first two seasons was released under the Ninja Turtles branding, thus bringing this version of the franchise into line with the later versions.

The TMHT version was aired in other European countries, including the Republic of Ireland (except series 1, which had the original title), The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Poland, Hungary, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Finland, in local dubs (the Finnish version was in English with subtitles, while Polish was in English with a voice-over translation). In Denmark, the English censored version was aired on the national broadcaster TV2. It had subtitles as well, however, only seasons 2 and 3 were aired in this fashion. Season 1 was aired as one spliced feature, instead of the original five-part miniseries. The movie was titled The Epic Begins, and included heavy edits from each of the five episodes, and was also released to VHS in the US in 1988.[31]

After the 2 seasons had aired on Danish TV, the show was cancelled; however, it later returned with local dubs of episodes from season 5, and Denmark was also one of the first countries to get to see the episodes in which the turtles travel to Europe. These were also aired with subtitles.

The original series aired in early 2011 during the early morning hours on TV2 in Denmark. All 193 episodes have been re-dubbed, and this time they aired in their original US unedited form.

In Russia on the TV channel 2×2 a dubbed version in Russian was shown on September 25, 1993.[32][33] On June 9, 1997, the channel shut down, and the show was discontinued. After it resumed broadcasting in 2003, a re-run with an old dubbed version began on the 2×2 from April 1, 2013.[34] Since February 11, 2021, there is a new dubbed version on TV channel 2x2.[35][36][37]

In Sweden, TV 3 Sweden, which aired from London, aired seasons 1-3 between 1990 and 1993, while TV1000 aired seasons 4–6 with subtitles and the "Vacation in Europe" episodes dubbed. The series was dubbed into Swedish by Mediadubb. Sun Studio also dubbed some chosen seasons 1-3 episodes into Swedish, for home video releases in 1991, later rereleased to DVD. In Sweden, the home video releases kept the original title, "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles".[38]

In Spain, the name of the cartoon was translated to Las Tortugas Ninja (with the word ninja in the title), but at first the TMHT version was still used for dubbing, although the word ninja was kept in several instances of the dub, and the original TMNT version was also alternatively aired afterwards. Other European countries (including Bulgaria, France, Italy, Yugoslavia and Turkey) dubbed the original TMNT version. In Yugoslavia, the series was re-dubbed into Serbian with Prizor sincronization for TV Pink as Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles (1998).

In Australia, the show's original run on the Seven Network ended in 1996. From 2013 to 2020, reruns aired on 10 Peach.

Despite being a PAL region, the series always aired under the US “Ninja” title in Australia. The first season of the show premiered as a two-part (90 minutes each) prime-time miniseries on the Seven Network in February 1990 before shifting to a 3:30 p.m. timeslot for Season 2. Later, after ratings fell, it was moved to a morning timeslot in January 1994 as part of Agro's Cartoon Connection until its end in 1996. The show was mostly uncensored, airing under its original name with occasional edits, including the editing of Season 1.

In New Zealand the series screened on TV3 from early 1990 onwards, just weeks after TV3 began broadcasting. Season 2 and Season 3 were first screened weekdays initially at 5:30pm and later moved to an earlier timeslot, season 2 and 3 were repeated several times over in 1990. Season 1 aired as lost episodes which screened on Saturday evenings at 6:00 p.m. between September and October 1990. Season 4 was picked up in 1991 with TV3 first screening the episodes that aired in the US on CBS followed by the syndicated episodes. From 1992 to 1996 TV3 screened the later seasons on Saturday mornings, the "Vacation in Europe" episodes were screened in 1993.

Broadcast UK history

Home video releases


The series has seen numerous releases on VHS in Region 1 by Family Home Entertainment, beginning in 1988 and continuing through 1996.[39] Several tapes were released as part of marketing promotions with corporations such as Burger King and TV Teddy.[39]

UK videotapes were initially released using the censored Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles title.[40]


Six LaserDisc collections of selected episodes were released in North America in 1989. Releases continued through at least 1996.[39]


Starting in April 2004, DVD releases began in region 1. The series has since seen numerous releases as part of DVD compilations.

Region 1

Lionsgate Home Entertainment (through FHE Kids Entertainment and Family Home Entertainment) has released the entire series to DVD in Region 1.[41] Initially it was released in volumes, with each volume containing 9–13 episodes in its original production order, with the exception of the first volume, which included bonus episodes from the last season. After six volumes, it was announced that the series would now be released in season sets, starting with season 4. However, the episodes "Once Upon a Time Machine" and the 1991 prime-time special "Planet of the Turtleoids" were omitted from the Season 5 set, but are included in the Season 10 set as bonus episodes.[42] The DVDs do not include the Turtle Tips PSAs.

On November 13, 2012, Lionsgate Family Entertainment released Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - The Complete Classic Series on DVD in Region 1.[43] The 23-disc set features all 193 episodes of the series as well as bonus features. It also contains special collectors edition packaging.[44]

On July 23, 2013, Lionsgate re-released all 47 episodes of season 3 together in a 4 disc box set.[45]

A compilation of selected episodes, Cowabunga Classics, was released on July 29, 2014.[46]

Region 2

The first volume of the 25th Anniversary Edition, containing all episodes from the first two seasons in a PAL format as well as some bonus material from season 10, was released for Region 2 DVDs by Lionsgate Home Entertainment in the UK and the Republic of Ireland on May 25, 2009.[citation needed] 4 DVDs containing 3 episodes each based around Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael and Michaelango were released on May 19, 2014.[citation needed] DVDs of the series were also released by German distributor KSM GmbH between May 2007 and February 2012.[citation needed]

Region 4

The show was released in Australia by Lionsgate Home Entertainment between 2009 and 2016. All episodes from the 1987 series were released in sixteen volumes. The discs are in Region 4, but unusually, they are in NTSC picture format, instead of PAL.[47] The first six DVDs are more or less duplicated from the Region 1 discs released in America, however unlike the American release, Season 4 was broken down into several separate volumes (7 to 9).

Video on demand

United States

Lionsgate Home Entertainment has also released each of the seasons in digital format which are sold separately on several digital platforms such as Amazon and iTunes in Standard Definition only.[48] While "Once Upon a Time Machine" is included with Season 5,[49] "Planet of the Turtleoids" is included with Season 6.[50]


IGN named TMNT as the 55th best show in the Top 100 Best Animated TV Shows.[51] While the story diverged heavily from the original conception of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with the universe of the original Mirage comics, the 1987 television series is largely the most notable and popular incarnation and drove the franchise to the phenomenal status it would achieve in popular culture. Co-creator, Peter Laird, has publicly shared his distaste with the show on numerous occasions but has also acknowledged that it was extremely successful with and beloved by its audience and, while he would have preferred a different approach to the material, it might not have been as popular as what was produced.[52] Retroactively, the cross-over film Turtles Forever established a common multiverse continuity between all Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles variations.

At the time, the series was criticized by various groups for its violent content and commercialism. The extensive line of toys and other licensed products also attracted criticism. The Australian Council for Children's Films and Television accused the show of being a 30-minute toy commercial.[53][54]


  1. ^ a b Solomon, Charles (December 28, 1987). "'Ninja Turtles' Crawls Out, Lands on Back". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 6, 2017.
  2. ^ a b Carter, Bill (November 26, 1990). "THE MEDIA BUSINESS; Ninja Turtles Save the Day For CBS Children's Lineup". The New York Times. Retrieved October 6, 2017.
  3. ^ "Shell Schlocked". Entertainment Weekly. October 12, 1990. Retrieved December 19, 2010.
  4. ^ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1987 series episode "The Legend of Koji"
  5. ^ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1987 series episode "Turtle Tracks"
  6. ^ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1987 series episode "Enter the Shredder"
  7. ^ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1987 series episode "Get Shredder"
  8. ^ a b c Mark Pellegrini (December 29, 2015). "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987) season 8 Review". Adventures in Poor Taste. Retrieved January 9, 2016.
  9. ^ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1987 series episode "Turtle Trek"
  10. ^ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1987 series episode "Doomquest"
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