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The first and so far only live-action tv series starring the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, produced by Saban Entertainment and Toei Company. It lasted from September 12, 1997 to March 20, 1998. While supposedly taking place after the 1987 cartoon series, in reality, it follows the live-action film continuity. Confused yet?
The series begins with some familiarity: The four iconic anthropomorphic reptiles do battle with the Foot Clan and its leader, the Shredder. The turtles' master, Splinter still aids his sons with advice, and Leonardo and Raphael bicker amongst themselves. Suddenly, Splinter's spirit is rat-napped by an army of dragon warriors called the Rank. Led by their ill-tempered dictator, the Dragon Lord, the Rank ruled the world before they were banished to the Realm of Dreams by a mystic mirror. Splinter's friend, Chung I., a Shinobi master from China, was killed by the Rank, but not before telling his apprentice Mei Pieh Chi of her origins.
Turns out Mei Pieh Chi is really a pet turtle from Chinatown in New York who was covered in mutagen and became an anthropomorphic, 5 foot tall, talking turtle. Mei returns to New York, meets the other four turtles, uses her Shinobi magic to Mind Rape the Shredder right off the bat, effectively leaving the Foot without a leader, and rescues Splinter's spirit. Unfortunately, she accidentally helps the Rank escape, who take up the mantle as the new major threat to the turtles. Mei joins the four brothers and is given the nickname Venus de Milo.
The show only lasted 26 episodes, and was canceled after the end of the first season, with any hope of a second season permanently scrapped. Reception was not great, as fans of the first show and to an extent, the original comic didn't like that the Shredder and the Foot Clan were Put on a Bus and no other established characters besides Splinter and the Turtles themselves made any appearances, or that the Turtles were frequently overshadowed by Venus' mysticism. The characters created for the show, i.e. Venus and the rogues gallery, took the brunt of the fan backlash, with TMNT co-creator Peter Laird personally hating Venus for ruining the brotherhood dynamic of the turtles. Combine all of that with the hefty price-per-episode thanks to the animatronics required for most of the characters. Of all three Ninja Turtles shows, this usually stands as both the least successful and least remembered.
The show ended up in Disney's hands when they bought Saban Entertainment, but Saban Brands has now got the show back, along with the other Toei collaborations (Power Rangers, VR Troopers, Beetleborgs, and Masked Rider). The franchise itself is owned by Nickelodeon. As of 2011, the show is now available on Netflix. Shout!Factory will begin releasing the series on DVD in September 2012. Prior to that, the series had previously seen a Region 2 DVD release, although in a heavily edited form (and under the "Hero Turtles" banner, as the word "Ninja" was a no-no in Europe at the time)
For more details on the TMNT franchise in general, visit the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles page. For a list of some of the characters in the series, and the tropes that apply to them, visit the franchise character page. For the old cartoon, see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987) for the latest cartoon see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003)
Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation provides examples of:
- Action Girl: Venus de Milo
- Actor Allusion: Actor Gary Chalk, who plays Silver, an ape in Next Mutation, also plays ape/Transformer Optimus Primal.
- Berserk Button: Venus is one for Laird.
- Big Bad: The Dragon Lord.
- Black Best Friend: Andre for Splinter.
- Blind and the Beast: Splinter is friends with an elderly blind man named Andre. The two of them play Chess together and Andre even lived with Splinter and the Turtles when he was evicted from his apartment.
- Blunt Metaphors Trauma: Venus. Well, she is new to American culture.
- Canon Dis Continuity: Laird despised this show to the extent that as far as he's concerned, it doesn't exist.
- Canon Foreigner: Venus is the most notable, but also Dragon Lord, Wick, Silver and Bonesteel.
- Crossover: With Power Rangers in Space. Probably the only thing most fans remember about the show.
- Clip Show: TWO episodes in just one season. One focus on Raph and Leo while the other was about Venus.
- Did Not Do the Research: Ninja and shinobi are pretty much the same thing. As a female ninja, they could have gotten away with labeling Venus as kunoichi. But they didn't.
- Expository Theme Tune: It really wouldn't be TMNT without one, but the Next Mutation theme gets major points just for starting with the line "FOUR GREEN TURTLES!"
- Followed by - "Check it out, another one found, made her way to Chinatown..."
- Eye Scream: Though it's played up. Dr Quease TORE ONE OF HIS EYES OUT FOR A SCOUTING ROBOT. He later has to destroy it to get Venus' DNA. This just seems to merely annoy him since he just clones a new one.
- Five Episode Pilot
- Five-Man Band
- Hypno Fool: "Banana!"
- Lady of War: Venus.
- Left Hanging
- Idiosyncratic Wipes: Ninja weapon based.
- Intercontinuity Crossover: With Power Rangers in Space
- Mad Scientist: Dr Quease
- Market-Based Title: It's called Hero Turtles: The Next Mutation in the UK.
- Non-Mammal Mammaries: Venus, but it's more like her shell is curved in.
- Not Blood Siblings: Not the first continuity to suggest it, but the one that is remembered for outright saying it. Apparently, they made a point of saying this specifically so Venus could play love-interest to the brothers.
- Painting the Fourth Wall: At one point, Leo almost seems startled by the Sword Idiosyncratic Wipe and rushes out of frame.
- Scooby-Dooby Doors: In Going Ape.
- Sixth Ranger: Venus
- Spot the Imposter: In the clones episode.
- Title Theme Tune: Though the words "Next Mutation" aren't in the song, it does mirror the omission of the words "Teenage Mutant" from the title.
- Theme Tune Rap
- Villainous BSOD: The Shredder, post-Mind Rape.