A Definitive Ranking Of Every Incarnation Of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

By: 03.27.14  •  128 Comments


We got our first good look at Michael Bay’s take on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles today, and woof. I am a man who appreciates a good terrapin — I have owned numerous turtles and tortoises in my life and have loved the carapaced critters with all my heart, and I think they new Turtles look somewhere between hideous and repulsive.

But hey, that’s fine, because if this movie doesn’t work out the Ninja Turtles will simply mutate yet again. The Turtles have shown an incredible ability for reinvention, so let’s ignore Michael Bay’s appalling monsters for a moment and take a stroll through all the previous incarnations of the TMNT, from bogus to bodacious…


9) Live Action TV Series

Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation was produced by the company that made Power Rangers with a budget of approximately zero and well, they didn’t pull it off. Nothing really ever happened on the show and the outfits were horribly degraded versions of the classic Jim Henson turtle suits. Also, the show introduced the world to Venus de Milo, the turtle with boobs. Between that and costumes that looked borderline fan-made, the whole show felt more like a cosplayers YouTube video than a professionally produced television show.


8) First Cartoon Series

The first thing you notice if you revisit the “classic” 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon is how surprisingly good the early episodes are. Particularly the first season (which only lasted five episodes). Those first season episodes were well animated and had actual continuity and a bit of an edge to them.

The second thing you’ll notice is how goddamn awful all the episodes after the first season were. Like remember how, after the first handful of episodes, Michelangelo wasn’t allowed to use his nunchucks? And every fight ended in a chandelier falling on somebody? And that most of the episodes focused mainly on the “hilarious” antics down at the Channel 6 offices? I know this is where most of us first discovered the Turtles, but sorry guys, it was pretty lousy.


7) Third Cartoon Series

I’ll admit I’ve barely watched the most recent Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles show, but Michelangelo says “booyakasha” instead of “cowabunga” in it, so to it I say, thanks but no thanks.

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