Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles



Mediocre actioner is mostly OK, dude.

What parents need to know

Educational value
Not applicable
Positive messages

Violence is always the answer -- and unfortunately outweighs the turtles' teamwork.

Positive role models

While the turtle siblings mostly get along (as well as brothers do, anyway) and are definitely motivated to fight bad guys, violence is their default means of conflict resolution. They also often come across as a bit dim and goofy.

Violence & scariness

Scary monsters, body parts being chopped off (bloodlessly), lots of weapons and fighting.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable

The turtles sound like idiots, but at least they don't curse.


Plenty of tie-in merchandise available.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is a fairly violent show about four turtle brothers who work together to battle monsters, gangsters, aliens, and just about any other villains you could think of. Characters are beaten, stabbed, maimed, and clearly shown to suffer. The brothers get along as well as any siblings do, whether they're teaming up to defeat evil or trading quips and punches to prove how manly and macho they are. (Note: Different seasons of this show have been promoted/known by different names, including Fast Forward and Back to the Sewer.)

What's the story?

Over the years, the TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES have had many incarnations. Their comic book origins led to their first animated series in 1987 and a few live-action movies in the early '90s. This show, which premiered in 2003, is closer to the original comic books. The animated series features the amphibious foursome -- Leonardo (voiced by Michael Sinterniklaas), Michelangelo (Wayne Grayson), Donatello (Sam Riegel), and Raphael (Frank Frankson).

Is it any good?


The animation makes the show less irritating than the live-action films, but only barely. The amphibious brothers still talk like southern California skater dudes (except one who, strangely, has a New York accent), and are still differentiated only by the color of their eye-masks, making them virtually indistinguishable to adult viewers. Taking its pacing and approach from Japanese anime (though not its animation style), TMNT is quite violent, filled with nunchucks, throwing stars, swords, and many, many fight scenes punctuated by flashes of blinding light and characters flying sideways through the air to land crippling kicks. Though the Turtles are ninjas, studying under a sensei named Splinter (a giant rat, natch), they're surprisingly materialistic and Western in their overall thinking.

The program's overall messages purport to be positive ones -- working as a team to overcome evil, for instance -- but the underlying themes aren't as encouraging. The brothers use violence to achieve their goals, unapologetically chopping, stabbing, maiming, and beating their enemies to within an inch of their lives; their friend Casey (Marc Thompson) has a cousin who shows up with a machine gun in order to steal an inheritance (to pay off his gambling debts!); one of the Turtle brothers is brooding and uncommunicative for no real reason; and so on. This is a show that will definitely appeal to younger viewers, but because of the violence, a preview would be a good idea.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the importance of teamwork in accomplishing goals. Do the turtles work well together as a team?

  • Scientific-minded kids might enjoy figuring out how, exactly, these turtle creatures came to be -- what does it mean to mutate, and is it realistic to think such characters could exist?

  • On a completely different note, the characters, named for classic Italian artists, could provide a good starting point for a discussion of Renaissance art and history.

TV details

Cast:Frank Frankson, Michael Sinterniklaas, Wayne Grayson
Genre:Kids' Animation
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Sports and martial arts, Adventures, Book characters
TV rating:TV-Y7-FV
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 15 years old Written byCartoonaholic_C... April 9, 2008

Neat Show!!!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is one of the greatest cartoons ever!!! If you liked 1987 TV series or the 1984 comics, this is for you!!! For those who watched the original cartoon, you might be in your 20's or 30's by now and still love TMNT!!! For adult TMNT fans, your kids will love it!!! There were TMNT clones in the 1980's, 1990's and 2000's like Battletoads, Avenger Penguins, Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, Danger Rangers (it also has a turtle character (Burt)), 3-2-1 Penguins, Wonder Pets, just to name a few.
Adult Written bywhovian85 April 9, 2008

pretty good

Dude, the reviewer really has it in for the turtles don't he (or she or it whatever)? I my self really enjoy the show. I love how they have serial story lines that allow more complex plots, well they did at the begining of the show anyway. It's almost as good as the original cartoon.
Teen, 13 years old Written byTheFMan July 30, 2014

Best TMNT Show So Far!

Wow, mind blown. Even here in 2014 I still watch this masterpiece. It tops the 1990's ninja turtles in almost every way. It's more action packed, it has better animation, and the Shredder, oh my god the Shredder was amazing in this show! He was a total badass! Even when he was defeated, he found a way to return even stronger! Sure the new TMNT show on Nickelodeon is good, but it is nowhere near the amazingness of this show (discluding the Fast Forward season). TheFMan out.


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