Family movie night? There's an app for that
Download our new mobile app on iOS and Android.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
This series intends to entertain rather than to educate, though kids might learn a bit about martial arts.
Kids see the Turtles work through sibling rivalry, jealousy, and power struggles. For them, teamwork is a learned skill they're still trying to master, but there are glimmers of hope that they will achieve that state soon. They're heroes because of the training they've received from their father figure and teacher, and while they're often impulsive, they do try to heed his advice. That said, they always resort to violence to solve problems, even among themselves. Often the brothers mock one of their own who tends to be a little slow in grasping the details of plans.
Positive Role Models
The Turtles fight in defense of freedom and justice, so their motivations are good. Unfortunately they often seem cocky and eager for a fight, which leaves the impression that they care more about showing off their skills than they do about waging war for a cause. Master Splinter tries hard to keep them focused on the right path, but the messages don't always sink in.
Violence & Scariness
The Turtles are trained in martial arts-style fighting and wield traditional weapons like nunchaku and sai on their enemies, who often retaliate with more modern weapons like guns. There are also plenty of hand-to-hand exchanges, many culminating in the stabbings or dismemberment of the monsters and aliens the Turtles face. It's not bloody in the traditional sense, but the victims do short circuit or gush alien goo that looks like blood. Potentially scary moments involve monsters growling or grimacing or popping into sight quickly.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
One of the Turtles harbors an innocent crush on a girl, but nothing comes of it.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Name-calling like "idiot," "meathead," and "bonehead," plus "shut up." The Turtles also mouth off with each other and to their enemies with phrases you might not want your kids repeating: "Let's bust some heads," "I'll kick your butt," "Stick it in your shell," and "We're standing here with our thumbs in our noses."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
The show is part of an extensive product line inspired by multiple TV shows, movies, and comic books.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a CGI remake of two previous animated series about crime-fighting turtle brothers. There's a lot of violence to the show, as the heroes wield ninja weapons like staffs, nunchaku, and sai against the villains' guns and lasers. None of the exchanges get bloody, but aliens and monsters ooze fluids like blood after they're stabbed or dismembered. Expect some surprises and scary moments that will frighten very young kids and the menacing presence of a villain lurking in the shadows waiting to attack the Turtles. Language is also a factor here, since the characters casually use phrases like "Shut up!" or "Stick it in your shell" and "Let's bust some heads" that you might not want your kids repeating. On the upside, the Turtles' imperfect relationship is similar to those of many sets of siblings, and there are some good messages about getting along, resolving differences, and respecting elders to be found in the story.
Is It Any Good?
"Heroes in a half-shell" attempt a comeback in this CGI series that sticks closely to the original story and character relationships. The Turtle brothers are a lively bunch and have their share of disagreements even among themselves, but they save the harshest of their fighting for the creatures and criminals who threaten their city and the people in it. This has obvious merit in messages about standing up to bad guys (and, by association, bullies), but it also tells kids that fighting is the best way to solve just about any problem. Your kids might think it's awesome that these brothers settle their differences by matching nunchaku and sai skills in their living room, but replicating this action at home can have some pretty serious consequences.
Ultimately this is a case of knowing your kids' tolerance for what they see on TV. If they can watch the show with the realization that it's an entirely fantasized premise with behavior that has no place in the real world, then they might be OK tuning in. But if they tend to mimic what they see -- and hear -- on the screen, then you'll want to find a better option with more impressive role models of conflict resolution and sibling relationships.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.