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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (known as Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles in the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Germany and Sweden) is an American animated television series, produced by Murakami-Wolf-Swenson, Inc. which premiered in December 14, 1987, first as a 5-part mini-series. It was animated overseas in Japan by Toei Animation. The series featured the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles characters created in comic book form by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, the property was changed considerably from the darker-toned comic in order to make it more suitable for children.
The initial motivation behind the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series was that, upon being approached to create a toy line, Playmates Toys was uneasy with the comic book characters' small cult following. They requested that a television deal be acquired first, and after the initial five-episode series debuted, the California toy company released their first series of Ninja Turtles action figures in the summer of 1988. The two media would correspond in marketing style and popularity for many years to come.
David Wise and Patti Howeth wrote the screenplay for the first five-part miniseries. 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 was fired partway through the ninth season after objecting to several changes demanded by CBS, and Jeffrey Scott took over as the story editor and chief writer for the rest of the show's run.
The show was in Saturday morning syndication from October 1, 1988 to September 23, 1989. Due to becoming an instant hit, the show was expanded to 5-days-a-week and aired weekday afternoons (in most markets) in syndication from September 25, 1989 to September 17, 1993. On September 8, 1990, it began its secondary run on the Columbia Broadcasting System Saturday mornings and ran as a 60-minute block from 1990 to 1994 and a 30 minute block from then until November 2, 1996. CBS canceled the original TMNT cartoon due to FCC regulations stipulating that Saturday morning programming must contain educational material. The show was Animated in Dublin, Ireland. In fact, In one episode, the Turtles visit Ireland to stop Shredder & Krang.
The show helped launch the characters into mainstream popularity and became one of the most popular animated series in television history. Breakfast cereals, plush toys, and all manner of products featuring the animated versions of the Turtles populated the market during the late-1980s and early 1990s, and a successful Archie Comics comic book based on the animated show instead of the original black-and-white comics was published throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s. Between 1988 and 1992, with their images ubiquitous in advertising, cinema, comics, magazines, music, newspapers, television. Their action figures were top-sellers around the world. In 1990 the cartoon series was being shown on more than 125 television stations every day and the comic books sold 125,000 copies a month.
At the time of its final episode, it was the longest running animated series in American television history. However, this record was beaten two years later by The Simpsons.
StorylineThe origin story in the 1987 animated series differs greatly from that of the original Mirage Studios comics, presumably to make it more appropriate for a family audience. In this version, Splinter was formerly a human being, an honorable ninja master named Hamato Yoshi. Yoshi was banished from the Foot Clan in Japan after being deceived by the seditious Oroku Saki, who pinned Yoshi's dogi to the wall with a knife, preventing him from kneeling before their sensei, which was seen as an insult. When Yoshi removed the knife, the sensei was again insulted, believing Yoshi was drawing the blade in opposition to him. Exiled from the ninja clan, Hamato Yoshi moved to New York City, where he lived in the sewers.
While living in the sewers with the rats as his friend, Yoshi one day found four turtles, recently bought from a pet store by an unnamed boy who accidentally dropped them in the sewer. Yoshi returned one day from his explorations around New York to find the turtles covered with a strange glowing ooze . The substance caused the turtles - most recently exposed to Yoshi - to become humanoid, while Yoshi - most recently exposed to sewer rats - became a humanoid rat, and started going by the pseudonym "Splinter". This, and the following Archie Comics, TMNT Adventures Comics, is the only origin story in the TMNT franchise where the Turtles come to Yoshi before being exposed to mutagen. Also, it differs from most other version in that Splinter is Hamato Yoshi and becomes a rat, whereas in most other versions, he is Yoshi's pet rat that becomes humanoid. This is also the only version in which the Turtles become fully grown immediately after exposure to the mutagen, whereas Splinter raises them from infancy in other versions.
Yoshi adopts the four turtles as his sons and trains them in the art of ninjutsu. He names them after his favorite Italian renaissance artists: Leonardo da Vinci (Leonardo), Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi (Donatello), Raffaello Sanzio (Raphael), and Michelangelo Buonarroti (Michelangelo). This is the only time in this version where they are always addressed by their full names: Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael and Michelangelo. Each of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles wears different colour bandanas and different weapons: Leonardo has blue bandanas and has 2 katanas, Donatello has purple bandanas and has a bo staff, Michelangelo has orange bandanas and 2 nunchuks which were later replaced by a grappling hook, and Raphael has red bandanas and has 2 sais.
Meanwhile, Oroku Saki has left Japan and tracked Yoshi to New York City, where he intends to destroy him once and for all. He has become associated with Krang, a disembodied alien brain who has been banished from his home, Dimension X, where he was a great warlord. Saki has taken on a new persona, donning a suit covered with razor spikes, complimented by a long cape, and a metal mask over his mouth. He has also taken on the pseudonym "The Shredder".
It becomes clear in the first season that the mutagen that transformed the Turtles and Splinter into their new forms was dumped into the sewer by Shredder in an effort to destroy Yoshi. Shredder thought it was a deadly poison. The Turtles vow to take revenge on the Shredder for dishonoring their master, as well as turning him into a rat. The Turtles want to force him to turn Splinter back into a human again. This quickly evolves into stopping Shredder's ongoing criminal career with the aid of Channel 6 reporter April O'Neil. The Turtles quickly take on the role of vigilante crime-fighters operating outside of the jurisdiction of law enforcement against any criminals, much like Casey Jones in the third season. For the first couple of seasons, it seems as if the Turtles are constantly preoccupied with hiding their existence. This seems to be slowly relaxed and, by the last few seasons, most citizens seemed to be well aware of them. They also frequently have to deal with citizens misunderstanding them, thanks to the efforts of Burne Thompson, April's employer, and Vernon Fenwick, a Channel 6 cameraman, who distrust the Turtles and frequently blame them for the trouble that the Shredder and Krang cause.
Shredder, Krang, Bebop and Rocksteady(two street thugs morphed into animal form by exposure to the Shredder's mutagen), and a small army of robotic Foot Soldiers try to destroy the Turtles and take over the world. Much of their quest for world domination hinges on bringing the Technodrome (Krang's mobile fortress, and his and The Shredder's base of operation) to the surface as it was either stuck in the earth's core, Dimension X, the arctic, or Arctic Ocean.
In the last three seasons, the show, which had already lasted well past the average lifespan of most Saturday morning cartoon series, then went through dramatic changes. The animation became darker and closer to the movies style, the color of the sky in each episode changed from the traditional blue to a continuous and ominous dark red sky (which was commonplace with newer action-oriented children's programming at that time), and 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.
In the last two seasons of the show, the Turtles finally banish The Shredder and Krang to Dimension X. They destroy the engines and the "transdimensional portal" of the Technodrome preventing them from returning to Earth, though he appears in a three part season ten episode The Power Of Three. A new villain, Lord Dregg, an evil alien warlord, also appears as their new chief nemesis. Lord Dregg begins a propaganda campaign against the Turtles, turning the general population against them and in favor of him and his forces. However, Dregg is eventually outed as a villain and the Turtles are finally hailed as heroes within the city. The turtles also suffered from severe mutations that would turn them into big hulks and lose their intelligence temporarily. Also the TMNT aqquired a new ally, Carter, a black male with an incurable mutation disease. In the last episode of the series, the Turtles trap Dregg in Dimension X.
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 series. Due to 4Kids Entertainment's union policy, none of the original voice actors were able to reprise their roles, and replacement actors were used instead.
While the story diverged heavily from the original conception of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the 1987 TV series is probably the most notable and popular incarnation, and drove the franchise to the phenomenal status it would achieve in pop culture. The series was in production for nine years, and was still quite popular when it went out of production. It was responsible for introducing many of the catch phrases associated with the Turtles, such as "Cowabunga!", "Turtles fight with honor!" and "Turtle Power!", into our lexicon. The animated series was such a prominent part of the Ninja Turtles that many people consider it the definitive version.
This version is also renowned for its critically acclaimed soundtrack. Through most part the episodes featured a background music which reflected the mood of the situation (e.g. danger, action, exploration, confusion, mystery, winning), as well as ID music for settings such as the Technodrome, the sewers, Channel 6, etc. which contributes to the show's dynamic uniqueness. The soundtrack was composed by Dennis Challen Brown (credited as "D.C. Brown" and later as "Dennis C. Brown") and Chuck Lorre. Lorre penned the famous theme song (and did the spoken parts) and became a successful television producer. To date the soundtrack has never been released for retail, much to the dismay of fans. Chuck Lorre said he has never received any royalties in recent times.
In October 2012, a TMNT fan who was also a musician composed "re-orchestrated" versions of several of the more prominent themes from the show's first season. Volume 1 was released on October 22, 2012, and included 9 tracks:
1. Approaching Danger 2. Inside the Technodrome 3. A Positive Plot 4. What a Scoop! 5. Channel Six 6. April 7. Irma 8. Splinter Explains 9. Home Sweet Sewer
The creator has indicated that additional tracks will be forthcoming, though because the effort is a side project, could not say how much or when the next batch might be available.
These are the core characters of the series and appear in nearly every episode. However, after Season Eight, most of the main characters aside from the Turtles, April, and Splinter were removed from the show, although Krang and Shredder would return for three episodes in Season Ten.
- The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:
- Leonardo: Turtle with the blue bandana who wields two katanas. The unofficial leader of the Turtles, he is the most serious member of team, he is closest to Splinter and the most talented fighter. His swordsmanship is unmatched. Voiced by Cam Clarke. He had a love interest for a Japanese girl named Lotus Blossom. He's a charming character, with a super hero attitude, but his role as responsible leader was the source of contention to the other turtles in several episodes.
- Donatello: Turtle with the purple bandana who wields a bo staff. His simple wooden bo can disarm any adversary. He is interested in science and is constantly tinkering with various inventions. Voiced by Barry Gordon, but is some Season 3 episodes and a Vacation In Europe Sideseason episode voiced by Greg Berg. A running gag was that most of his inventions exploded or otherwise malfunctioned, but it was still Donatello who came through to save the day most of the time. Donatello was the turtle with the most vocal negativity towards humans. Irma seemed to be more interested in him than any of the other turtles.
- Michelangelo: Turtle with the orange bandana, who wields two nunchuks and later wields a grappling hook. He is the master of the whirling nunchuks. (And master of the whirling Pizzas!) He is the most relaxed of the group, mostly interested with pizza and having a good time. He used a lot of slang, and is the source for many of the catch phrases the group used such as "Cowabunga!". He was voiced by Townsend Coleman in every episode. He had a crush on a Neutrino girl named Kala. He is often teased by his brother Raphael in many episodes and at times he crossdresses to fool many villains.
- Raphael: Turtle with the red bandana who wields two sais. No sword on Earth can withstand his sai. He's sarcastic, often jokes, and seems to get irritated easily. Voiced by Rob Paulsen, but in Vacation In Europe Sideseason, voiced by Hal Rayle, and voiced by Michael Gough in Season 10. This version of Raphael is not a hothead like the other Raphael versions but the main source of comic relief. He's generally lazy and doesn't want to fight at times all while remaining sarcastic. Raphael's main love interest in the series was a female lizard named Mona Lisa but she was only seen in one episode.
- Hamato Yoshi/Master Splinter : A strict and wise sensei, he is the mutant rat who trained the Turtles in ninjutsu. He was voiced by Peter Renaday. This version of Splinter treats the Turtles like students more than his sons. When he's not calling the turtles by their names he calls them his "students" or "my turtles".
- April O'Neil: Red-headed Channel 6 TV reporter who discovers the Turtles' home in the sewers. She befriended the turtles in the very first episode. She is also known for wearing a yellow jumpsuit, except for the Red Sky episodes. April O'Neil was voiced by Renae Jacobs. This is the first version where April is a news reporter and it continued in the live action movies. She puts her self in danger all the time just to get her story and thinks more about her job then the lives of her friends and hardly had any love interests in the series. During the final two seasons, she became a freelance reporter.
- Irma Langinstein: A Channel 6 TV associate and April's best friend. Irma is preoccupied with men, but is also a friend to the TMNT from late season 2. Voiced by Jennifer Darling.
- Vernon Fenwick: An egotistical, self-righteous, mysoginistic coward who is also a reporter at Channel 6 and is April's chief rival. He dislikes the Turtles and generally reports negative stories blaming them for various things in the city. At various points in the series, Vernon has been portrayed as analogous to Geraldo Rivera. Vernon was voiced by Peter Renaday.
- Burne Thompson: Channel 6 NEWS producer and April, Vernon, and Irma's boss. He dislikes the Turtles and blames them for everything that goes wrong and encourages his reporters to broadcast negative stories about them, similar to J. Jonah Jameson from Spider-Man. Burne was voiced by Pat Fraley.
- Casey Jones: A vigilante, and also a friend of the Turtles. Casey wears an ice hockey goaltender's mask (which is never removed in the series) and carries a wide assortment of unorthodox weapons including golf clubs, baseball bats, and cricket bats and on one occasion a sword. Compared to his other incarnations, this version parodies a Dirty Harry-like persona and is quite a psychopath. His trademark tagline..."All I wanna know is when do I get to break something?!". Voiced by Pat Fraley.
- Carter: Introduced in season nine, he comes to New York to study martial arts under Splinter. He is accidentally exposed to a sample of the mutagen that mutated the Turtles, which causes him to spontaneously mutate between his human and mutant forms, and for a short time, the Turtles know nothing about it. After helping the Turtles many times against Dregg in Season Ten, Carter decides to return to College and Donatello is able to stabilize his mutation. Shortly after he leaves, Carter briefly comes back to aid the Turtles one last time against Dregg before traveling to the future with the turtles allies Landor and Merrick so he could be fully cured of his mutation. Carter is voiced by Bumper Robinson.
- Zach: An adolescent boy who loves the Turtles and wants to be one. The Turtles refer to him affectionately as "The Fifth Turtle".. He is the only character that was not able to endure the feather tickling torture of Don Turtelli. He is occasionally accompanied by his older brother Walt. Zach was voiced by Rob Paulsen.
This is a far from complete list of recurring characters or, characters that played a substantial role in the plots of more than one episode. The characters are arranged by frequency of appearance.
- Usagi Yojimbo: A Samurai rabbit from another universe's 16th century Edo Period Japan where animals are the dominant species, not humans. Usagi Yojimbo is a comic book series created by Stan Sakai starring a ronin rabbit, Miyamoto Usagi; apparently the TV show writers did not understand the distinction and misnamed the character after the comic book. He was voiced by Townsend Coleman (which is also the voice of Michaelangelo). He's only in two episodes. This version of Usagi has a good friendship with Michelangelo and tends to act silly in a world he doesn't understand. His weapon of choice is a sword just like Leonardo.
- The Punk Frogs The Turtles' frog counterparts. Four anthropomorphized frogs from Florida created by Shredder and trained in martial arts. They were intended for evil, but convinced to turn to good by the Turtles when the Turtles saved them from the authorities. The Punk Frogs lived out the rest of the series in the swamps of Florida, but sometimes they returned to town and visited the Turtles. Shredder named them after historic villains compared to Splinter's choice of name his pupils after painters.
- Attila the Frog: Named after Attila the Hun, he is armed with a mace. He was voiced by Cam Clarke.
- Genghis Frog: Named after Genghis Khan, he is armed with an axe. He was voiced by Jim Cummings.
- Napoleon Bonafrog: Named after Napoleon Buonaparte, he is armed with a whip. He was voiced by Pat Fraley.
- Rasputin the Mad Frog: Named after Rasputin the Mad Monk, he is armed with a bow and arrow. He was voiced by Nicholas Omana.
- Neutrinos: 1950s-college-kid type people in flying cars called Starmobiles (complete with tailfins), from Dimension X. Their names are Dask, Kala, and Zak. Friendly to the Turtles, they even once left the Turtles one of their Starmobiles, but unfortunately neglected to mention it ran on plutonium. Kala, the lone female of the trio, is often shown to be affectionate to Michelangelo (who likewise had a crush on her), but it never clearly develops into full romantic relationship. In the episode "Four Turtles and a Baby" it is revealed that the TMNT have also met the Neutrinos' leader Zenter and his wife Grizzla who send their baby daughter Tribble to stay with the turtles when the Neutrino capitol is under attack by General Traag. Donatello explains how baby Neutrinos have psychokinetic powers similar to Kala's pet Grybyx.
- Zak: Zak was voiced by Pat Fraley.
- Kala: Kala was Michaelangelo's love interest. She was voiced by Tress MacNeille.
- Dask: Dask was voiced by Thom Pinto.
- Zenter & Grizzla: Zenter and Grizzla are the leaders of the Neutrinos. They were voiced by Rob Paulsen and Jennifer Darling respectively.
- Tribble: Tribble is the heir to the Neutrino throne. She was voiced by Tress MacNeille.
- Lotus Blossom: A female ninja hired by Krang to destroy the Turtles. She developed a respect for Leonardo and tried to get him to become her partner. Lotus was voiced by Renae Jacobs. Only seen in the episodes called Beware the Lotus in season three, and Farewell to Lotus Blossom in season four.
- Metalhead: Built by Krang in a plot to destroy the Turtles, Metalhead was a robot Ninja Turtle whose programming consisted of all the Turtles' personalities. Prone to malfunction, he was re-programmed by the Turtles and spent most of the series in Donatello's closet. Metalhead was voiced by Dorian Harewood (Shredder's alternate voice), Townsend Coleman (Michelangelo's voice), Rob Paulsen (Raphael's voice), Barry Gordon (Donatello's voice), Cam Clarke (Leonardo's voice), Pat Fraley (Krang's voice), and Renae Jacobs (April's voice).
- Polarisoids A race of aliens from the planet Polaris who according to Krang, are known for being "the universe's most annoying tourists", as their cameras don't just take pictures of what they photograph, but also imprison them within the camera.
- Brick Bradley/Bugman: Michaelangelo's comic book hero come to life, Bugman is half man-half-insect. Bugman is a parody of Spider-Man and other comic book superheros. He was transformed into a superhero by a laboratory experiment gone awry, has a secret identity, and he has a vulnerability to the metal Leestanite.
- Hokum Hare: The hare from "The Tortoise and the Hare" fable. The Turtles meet him in a parallel "fairy tale" dimension. He also helped the Turtles to stop Shredder from traveling to the future and becoming a crime lord in a crime-free era. He was then returned to his home dimension. Hokum was voiced by Townsend Coleman.
- REX-1 (Robotic Enforcement EXperiment): An experimental robot built by the New York City authorities to replace human policemen. The Shredder used computer hacking to steal the plans for REX-1 and build an army of robots.
- Donald J. Lofty: A Donald Trump-esque character who owns Lofty Tower. He is one of the few humans other than April O'Neil, Irma Langenstein, and Zach who trusts the turtles as heroes.
- Turtleoids A race of peace-loving turtle-like aliens who are energized by gold.
- Kerma A Turtleoid who befriends the turtles. He first calls their help to defeat the two-headed dragon Herman the Horrible. In his second appearance, the turtles had to protect him from a robotic bounty hunter named Destructor X that mistook him for a wanted criminal. Kerma's third and final appearance had him recruiting the turtles' help to protect the planet from Dirtbag, Groundchuck, and their new boss Captain Dredd.
The series had myriad minor characters, or characters that were not part of the main cast or involved in the majority of plots. These characters generally went along with the show's theme of anthropomorphic animal fighters often mutated in a way similar to the Turtles. As was the trend with cartoons during the end of the TV era of animation, a considerable number of characters who appeared briefly, once, or never at all in the series were made into action figures.
- Algernon: A lizard from another planet. Algernon's home planet orbits a star in the Turtle Nebula, a nebula in the shape of a turtle. Algernon's spaceship crashed on the Earth, and Algernon helped Donatello defeat the businessman Hiram Grelch, who tried to take over TV stations in New York City.
- Mondo Gecko: A lizard who was actually in the sewers when the Turtles mutated, and also mutated himself, but was picked up and carried away by a crime boss before Splinter found the Turtles. He was raised by criminals led by Mr. X and trained to commit robberies and other crimes. Michaelangelo met Mondo during one episode and talked him over to the side of the Turtles. Mondo then supposedly came to live with the Turtles in the sewer "right next door". After his first appearance, however, he was never seen again, save for the episode "Dirk Savege: Mutant Hunter", where he lets himself get captured by Dirk Savage so that the turtles can rescue their captured mutant allies.
- Caitlyn: Female friend of Zach, who appears in the episode The Great Boldini. She and Zach help the Turtles prevent Rat King and Don Turtelli from carrying out their plans. She and Zach are at one point captured by Don Turtelli and subjected to his torture: Her are tickled with feathers. Voiced by Maggie Roswell.
- Emperor Aleister: Emperor of the fictional state Malicuria.
- Gadgetman: A retired hero, tries to return to crime fighting in the episode "Super Hero for a Day." After helping the turtles defeat the Shredder, he decides to go back to retirement, but agrees to help them design new crime-fighting gadgets. Burne Thompson admits that he was his favorite hero when he was a kid, as do Bebop and Rocksteady despite them being villains now.
- Lieutenant Kazuo Saki: Shredder's younger brother. Kazuo Saki works as a policeman in Tokyo, Japan. Voiced by Peter Renaday. In the Mirage comics Shredder has an older brother named Oruku Nagi but in this series Shredder is the older brother.
- Klaatu, Barada & Nikto: A family of aliens. Klaatu is the patriarch, Barada is the matriarch, and Nikto is their son. They visited Earth (and abducted Donatello and Rocksteady in the process) to retrieve one of Nikto's toys that - if left unchecked - might destroy the world. They, themselves, are pacifists, despite owning technology that attracted the interest of Shredder.
- MACC (Mobile-Armored Computerized Combatant): A robot from 400 years in the future who traveled back in time by accident. MACC abhors violence, despite having been programmed to be a soldier. His favorite - and, perhaps, only - pastime is watching old western movies; as a result of having nothing else to do but watch them, MACC occasionally speaks with the accent and expressions one would expect from a movie cowboy. Krang tried to re-program MACC to destroy the Turtles, but failed, and MACC was sent home to the future. MACC was voiced by Peter Renaday.
- MacDonald Crump CEO of a pizzeria called Picka-Pecka Pizza, which produces pizzas that are small beyond reason. Raphael won a ticket to his birthday party on his yacht.
- Princess Mallory: Princess from the fictional state Malicuria, daughter of Emperor Aleister. The Shredder tried to kidnap her from at party at the Malicurian Embassy in the USA and give her back in exchange for Lydium 90, a metal Krang wanted to repower the Technodrome. She looks exactly like April, who is kidnapped instead of her. Voiced by Renae Jacobs.
- Mona Lisa: A mysterious female mutant who was once human. Working with Raphael, the two of them thwarted the plans of Captain Filch, a pirate, to hold the passengers of a yacht for ransom. When she first appeared, it seemed like she would become a regular character, possibly Raph's girlfriend, but this did not happen. Voiced by Renae Jacobs.
- Muckman and Joe Eyeball: Two trashmen mutated with garbage. Their radiation weakened the Turtles. April convinces them that Bebop and Rocksteady were responsible for their condition, so they help the Turtles to find a cure and turn against the Shredder. When Donatello offers to find a cure to their mutation, Muckman tells him to take his time, as the two apparently prefer being mutant heroes to trashmen.
- Seymour Gutz/Mutagen Man: A geeky deliveryman who fell into a vat of mutagen. He has a brain/skull head and a containment suit. He has the ability to shapeshift into anyone. Shredder promises him a cure in exchange for components to make more mutagen. After the Shredder's betrayal, the Turtles infuse him with a dose of mutagen that (permanently?) changed his appearance; which was into that of a charming lady's man. It's interesting to note that while impersonating anyone, his voice also mimicked that person whereas his final form had his original voice. Voiced by Rob Paulsen.
- Octavious Ogilvy: President of the company Octopus Inc. Worked with the Shredder until he realized that the Shredder was a bad guy who tried to brainwash businessmen. Because Octavious Ogilvy had a hearing disability, he couldn't be brainwashed because his hearing aid didn't work. Instead, Shredder locked him in a room.
- Shibano-Sama: Founder of the Foot Clan in Feudal Japan. When his burial urn was in the Asian-American Cultural Center, Shredder tried to open it so Shibano-Sama could teach Bebop and Rocksteady ninja skills. However, he shunned Shredder and stripped his henchmen of their powers after Splinter demonstrated the final secret techniques of the Foot, which Shredder didn't know. Oddly enough, the final Foot Techniques parodied Three Stooges slapstick, the "Kur-Li Maneuver". Voiced by James Avery.
- Speega: A Tyrannosaurus leader who, along with a Triceratops and Pachycephalosaurus, are descendants of a group of dinosaurs that escaped extinction millions of years ago by escaping to the center of the earth. They have been on a mission to save endangered species ever since.
- The Grybyx: A pet of the Neutrinos. He may look cute at first, but when fed the wrong food, grows into a large monster. He will only return to normal when exposed to cold water.
- Tiffany: Burne's beautiful girlfriend. She loathes turtles after a traumatic childhood incident involving a turtle her brother placed in her bed. Voiced by Jennifer Darling.
- Buffy Shellhammer: 15-year-old CEO of Shellhammer Chemicals. She acquired the company after her grandfather passed away. She is often rude and bratty to others, but has a soft spot for her late grandfather and would eventually befriend the turtles after Shredder and Krang attempt to kidnap her. Voiced by Jennifer Darling.
- King Arthur: King of Camelot.
- Queen Guinevere: Queen of Camelot.
- Sherlock Holmes A famous detective.
- Dr. Watson Sherlock Holmes' assistant.
- Dr. Jane Goodfellow: A zoologist who reluctantly helps Michelangelo stop Dr. Leasseau and his schemes involving mutant animal hybirds.
- Pete: Michaelangelo's pet pigeon.
- Blodgett An unlucky employee of Channel 6 who got fired for losing one of its vans. After finding the Eye of Sarnath and helping the Turtles destroy it, he was rehired, but had the expenses of replacing the van he lost taken out of his salary.
- Myron Bimbleton A taxi driver that April O'Neil interviewed in The Catwoman From Channel Six.
- Clayton Kellerman The host of a talk show called On Trial with Clayton Kellerman. He badmouths the turtles and claims they are a menace to the city. Aggravatingly enough, he decides to continue painting the turtles as a menace even after they save his life.
- Professor Von Ziflin A scientist who discovered a meteor that Krang used to power a growth ray.
- Professor Willard W. Willard A clumsy and near-sighted scientist who worked on a growth ray that enlarged his lab monkey Jocko.
- Howie Hardy: A friend of Irma's who tries to pursue a career in songwriting.
- Oswald Dren: A college student who worked on a vitalizer, a chemical able to bring inanimate things to life.
- Rondo: A cowardly movie star who plays a brave hero. His movie self was brought to life by Oswald Dren's vitalizer.
- Scoop Oliver: A news reporter who can only cover rather poor headlines.
- Billy Jim Bob: A country boy who befriended Leonardo and mistook him for an alien.
- Dr. Kepple: He invented a power generator that was stolen by the Badds.
- Dickie Bark: Also known as the Woofman. Host of a popular pirate radio station called W.O.O.F.
- Professor Chumley: A scientist who invented a machine capable of repelling magnetic objects. When Bebop and Rocksteady tried to steal it, it accidentally hit Irma with a blast and temporarily gave her magnetic powers.
- Foster Fenwick: Vernon Fenwick's genius nephew. Saw Professor Sopho as a role model until he found out that he was a supervillain.
- Milton Frobish III: Nervous and clumsy son of Channel 6's CEO Milton Frobish II. He once volunteered to work for Channel 6. Eventually, he was injured by Vernon, who blamed the accident on April and Irma. Milton II responds by rewarding the girls with a vacation, believing that his son should go to medical school to become a doctor instead.
- Bogart Flywheel: A scientist who made the animatronics at the Willy Wombat pizzeria. After a fight with the CEO Rufus Higby, a chemical splashed on his face and disfigured him. Since then, he went into hiding and donned the identity of the Phantom of the Sewers, sometimes going to the Willy Wombat pizzeria to visit his animatronics, which he considered his children. He helped the turtles bring Rufus Higby to justice when he learned that the animatronics were being reprogrammed to rob banks. After unmasking himself, Flywheel learned that the chemical that "disfigured" him was really paint. His face was unmarred the whole time!
- Dr. Webb: A scientist who invented three pieces that could be used to make a doomsday device, which were stolen by Professor Von Volt.
- Quarx: An alien child who loves to cause mayhem and play with everything he finds but he also has destructive powers, he refused to grow up because his father had died years earlier, after Splinter convinces him that he is speaking for his father he decides to grow up and apoligizes for his behavior, offering to help the aliens repair the damage he caused. His child form was voiced by Elizabeth Daily and his adult form was voiced by Cam Clarke.
- Merrick: Quarx's father. He gave his son powers to help him end an intergalactic war, but was implied to have died before he could tell him. Splinter found out about Merrick's intentions from Quarx's ship's video archives and disguised himself as Merrick to convince Quarx to grow up.
- Hamato Koji Hamato Yoshi/Splinter's ancestor and founder of the Foot Clan. He formed the Foot Clan by gathering together honorable warriors and obtaining a katana and a chest containing a dragon from the shrine of Shibano-Sama.
- Master Mogo-San: Master Splinter's sensei.
- Yoku: Master Mogo-San's grandson and a secret police agent. He pretends to join the Black Heart Ninja Gang to arrest all of them.
- Dirk Savage: A mutant hunter hired by billionaire A. J. Howard to capture mutants and also had some experience working for the government and the military. Considering that many of the turtles' friends and allies are mutants, it was inevitable that the four ninja teens would get involved. The turtles eventually freed all the mutants he captured and convinced him that not all mutants were bad. Savage then helped the turtles defeat A. J. Howard when it was revealed that he had become a slug mutant and was capturing mutants as part of a scheme for world domination.
- Atlanteans: A race of people from the sunken city of Atlantis. They appeared in two episodes of the series, but both appearances contradict each other.
- Alim Coelacanth: A fish-like Atlantean who left home centuries ago and ran into the turtles. Michelangelo nicknamed him Merdude. He was eventually revealed to be the destined ruler of Atlantis.
- Malathar: A wise and elderly Atlantean.
- Hepax Lagamina: An Atlantean woman who became Alim's advisor when he was crowned King of Atlantis.
- Weazel & Zwerk: A pair of brothers from Dimension X. Weazel worked in the slave trade and attempted to sell the turtles as slaves until he saw that his little brother Zwerk had become a slave. The turtles help him rescue his brother.
- Commander Korak: Leader of the Glaxxons.
- Glaxxons: A group of warrior aliens who had recently obtained a powerful artifact called the Firestar. After a run-in with the turtles, Shredder, and Krang, the Glaxxons decided to dispose of the Firestar and became peace-loving individuals.
- Colonel Wesley Knight: A member of the police agency Dark Water.
- Krakus: A policeman from the future bent on capturing Titanus, leader of the mutant organization H.A.V.O.C. His father's life was saved by April O'Neil.
- Gargon: Appeared in Turtle Trek! An inhabitant of Dimension X that Krang had kept as a prisoner and used to test an experimental mutagen, mutating him into a monstrous form. Despite being a cowardly pacifist, Gargon eventually helped the turtles defeat Shredder and Krang for good by destroying the Technodrome, leaving the villains stranded in Dimension X for good. Gargon managed to be restored to his normal form and returned to his home planet.
- Landor & Merrik: Two people from the future (Landor is a Caucasian blond man, Merrik is an African American woman). They are children in present day New York, and are both shown playing in the sandbox, implying that they are friends. They first appeared to in Carter, the Enforcer, where they went back in time to warn the turtles that Carter would betray the turtles and side with Lord Dregg. It turned out that the treacherous Carter was really a robotic double, which was destroyed by the real Carter. They returned in the season 10 three-parter that brought back Shredder and Krang, where they helped the dying turtles that were robbed of their life-forces by bringing their counterparts from the past to give a life force transfusion. At the end of the three-part episode, they take Carter with them in the future to cure his mutation. It was never revealed if their attempts in curing Carter's mutation were successful.
- Dr. Floyd O'Toole: A scientist who quit his job to become an insurance salesman when he got tired of villains stealing his inventions to use for evil.
- Professor Alvin Huxley: A scientist who invented a protein computer that Lord Dregg stole.
- DUMP 1000 (Disposal Unit Main Processor 1000): A garbage-collecting robot that Shredder reprograms to capture turtles. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles eventually return it to normal.
- Shredder/Oroku Saki: Arch-villain of the Turtles and Splinter. The Shredder wears a suit covered in metal blades, a cape, and a metal helmet and mask. He typically has the bottom half of his face covered. While a rare occurrence, he has removed the mask and helmet to reveal his face. Despite the fact that the Shredder is usually the main villain in other incarnations, Shredder here has always, against his own will, had to take orders from Krang. Voiced by James Avery, but in some Season 3 episodes, voiced by Dorian Harewood, in some Season 5 episodes and most of Vacation In Europe, voiced by Jim Cummings, and in most of Season 7, voiced by Towsend Coleman, and in Red Sky seasons, voiced by Bill Martin.
- Krang: A disembodied brain who was a warlord in Dimension X before he was exiled and had his body taken away. Krang usually resides inside a large robot body and controls it from a compartment in the abdomen area, or uses a "bubble walker". He also commands the Technodrome, an enormous mobile fortress used as his and Shredder's headquarters. He also funds and helps plan most of Shredder's schemes. The character Krang was inspired by the original comics' "Utroms", who were also small, squishy aliens, but by contrast, did good deeds on Earth. Voiced by Pat Fraley.
- Bebop and Rocksteady: Formerly New York City street gang members, they were mutated by the Shredder to act as his personal henchmen. A warthog and a rhinoceros, respectively, they are clumsy, oafish, and almost always totally unsuited for the task of fighting the Turtles. Bebop was voiced by Barry Gordon, and Rocksteady was by Cam Clarke. However, they sided with the Turtles in one episode.
- Foot Soldiers: The ninjas led by the Shredder. In the 1987 animated series, most Foot Soldiers are robots.
- Alpha One: A Foot Soldier in the episode "The Foot Soldiers are Revolting" who turned against Shredder after his intelligence was increased. He led the other Foot Soldiers to rebel against Shredder and Krang. He was eventually banished to an unknown dimension. Alpha One is the first and only Foot Soldier to speak and be given an individual name.
- Rock Soldiers: Krang's soldiers in Dimension X. Sometimes work alongside the Foot Soldiers.
- Lord Dregg: In the eighth season's last episode, "Turtle Trek", Krang, Shredder, Bebop, and Rocksteady are trapped in Dimension X and the Technodrome is rendered inoperable. In the ninth season, the alien Lord Dregg is introduced as the Turtles' new main adversary, with a plan to conquer Earth. He first tries to take advantage of the humans in New York believing the turtles to be enemies by pretending to be a benevolent hero. His facade lasted until the season finale, where the turtles revealed his true intentions to the public. The tenth and final season had him trying to destroy the turtles until he is banished to Dimension X in the final episode. The character was disliked by many fans for many reasons, one being the fact that his personality and name were very similar to that of Lord Zedd from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Lord Dregg was voiced by the late Tony Jay.
- HiTech: Leader of the TechnoGangsters. He used to be Lord Dregg's right-hand man until season ten where he was betrayed by Dregg himself and shot into space. In season nine HiTech was voiced by Rob Paulsen. And in season ten he was voiced by Cam Clarke.
- Mung: He becomes Lord Dregg's right-hand man in "The Return Of Dregg", replacing his former right hand man, HiTech. In the last episode, he realizes that Dregg has gone mad with his obsession to eliminate the turtles, and is implied to be left for dead. Mung was voiced by Cam Clarke.
- TechnoGangsters: Lord Dregg's foot soldiers in the ninth season.
- Batmen: Lord Dregg's foot soldiers in the tenth and last season.
- Shredder's Rogues: A group of villains the Shredder once gathered to defeat the Ninja Turtles.
- The Rat King: A human inhabitant of the sewers with the ability to communicate with rats. He also hypnotized Splinter to attack the Turtles. Extremely unusual for this series (which is typically morally absolute), his role of either good guy or bad guy is sometimes blurry. While he is sometimes involved in some plot to destroy the Turtles, he also occasionally aids them. However, no matter what the circumstances, his motives always seem questionable and surreptitious. He would often escape before the turtles could capture him. Was once one of Shredder's Rogues. His final appearance was in Wrath of the Rat King, where he is given Krang's mutagen to mutate his rats. The episode ends with him being finally captured by the turtles. The Rat King was voiced by Townsend Coleman. He was first seen in season three in the episode called Enter the Rat King.
- Leatherhead: A mutated anthropomorphic Alligator with a Cajun accent. In some plots, he is the main adversary of the Punk Frogs. In season 4, he joined forces with The Rat King. Leatherhead is known for his many catchphrases at the end of his sentences, which include; “by gumbo”, “I guarantee” and “you betcha”. Was once one of Shredder's Rogues. Leatherhead was voiced by Jim Cummings. First appeared at the end of season three.
- Slash, the Evil Turtle from Dimension X: Bebop's pet turtle, whom Bebop and Rocksteady mutate into an anthropomorphic with the intention of having him be their subordinate and do their work for them. The bad guys send him after the Turtles, but it turns out that Slash is even dumber than Bebop and Rocksteady. He returns in a later episode with a vastly enhanced intellect, but it doesn't last. Was once one of Shredder's Rogues. Slash was voiced by Pat Fraley. First seen in season four in the episode called Slash the Evil Turtle from Dimension X.
- Tempestra: A powerful sorceress who was imprisoned in a video game. Once one of Shredder's Rogues. Voiced by Tress MacNeille. Seen in the episode called Leonaro VS. Tempestra when Leonardo gets addicted to the video game she is imprisoned in at the end of season four.
- Chrome Dome: A huge robot built by the Shredder to supervise the Foot Soldiers. He has many built-in weapons such as blasters, cannons, missiles, etc. He was destroyed by the Turtles by disabling a main chip on his back. He returned in another episode with several other villains as one of Shredder's Rogues. Voiced by Peter Renaday.
- Scumbug: A mutant cockroach, once one of Shredder's Rogues. Voiced by Pat Fraley. He was one of the few villains from the Archie Comics series Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures to appear in the cartoon.
- Anthrax: Krang's royal exacutinor, also was once one of Shredder's Rogues.
- Dr. Baxter Stockman/Baxter the Fly: A Caucasian (as opposed to African-American in the Mirage comics) mad scientist who aided Shredder in the first and second seasons before he was changed into an anthropomorphic fly in a disintegrator malfunction. He always blamed and resented Shredder for the accident, and most of his subsequent appearances involved his ambitions for revenge, or transformation back to his human self. He spent large portions of the series trapped in a rift between Dimension X, Earth with only his computer, "Z", as a companion. Baxter Stockman is also a character that appears in most other incarnations of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but this is the only one where he is turned into a fly. In his final appearance, he ends up trapped in a dimensional limbo for eternity. He was voiced by Pat Fraley. First seen in the episode called A Thing about Rats in season one.
- H.A.V.O.C. (Highly Advanced Variety Of Creatures): The Turtles meet H.A.V.O.C. in the process of thwarting a robbery, meeting mutants and H.A.V.O.C. members Raptor, Amok, and Overdrive, and then later, the H.A.V.O.C. leader, Titanus. The Turtles find out that while H.A.V.O.C. has offered the Turtles a safe haven from those who think they are the villains, H.A.V.O.C. is actually creating mutants instead of protecting them, and actually tries to turn the entire city into mutants. The Turtles spend a few episodes of season 8 battling H.A.V.O.C.
- Titanus: A large mutant from the future who is the leader of H.A.V.O.C. In his final appearance, he ends up trapped in the time of dinosaurs, and vows to have revenge against the Turtles if it's the last thing he ever does.
- Raptor: A mutant bird.
- Amok: A mutant goat.
- Overdrive: A mutant cheetah. Voiced by Cam Clarke.
- Synapse: A convict that desired revenge against the turtles. In H.A.V.O.C. in the Streets, Titanus breaks him out of jail and turns him into an electric mutant. Synapse keeps the Turtles busy for a while until Donatello forces him through a ham radio, leaving him trapped on the radio airwaves forever.
- Highbeam: A mutant firefly.
- Magma: A lava mutant.
- Seizure: A mutant centipede.
- Pinky McFingers: A run-of-the-mill gangster who tried to use an invention of Barney Stockman's to paralyze the town with laughter in his first appearance. First appeared in season 4 episode Raphael Knocks 'Em Dead. Voiced by Peter Renaday.
- Don Turtelli: A local crime boss, and a spoof on the Godfather. He has a memorable form of interrogation; he uses feathers to tickle the feet of his hostages (including April, Vernon, Zach and Caitlyn); to extract information, interrogate, etc. Two known members of his gang are Rodney and Bruce. Voiced by Peter Renaday.
- Barney Stockman: Baxter's twin brother. He built a machine that enhances the humor of jokes and renders everyone who hears them helpless with hysterical laughter. He hates to be mistaken for his more infamous brother. Barney Stockman is voiced by Pat Fraley. Only seen in season four in the episode called Raphael Knocks Em Dead.
- Crooked Ninja Turtle Gang: A karate gang taken over by the Shredder, who ordered them to change their name to the Crooked Ninja Turtle Gang, dress up like turtles and commit robberies so that the people of the city would come out against the TMNT. In Hero Turtle (European) airings of the episode they were in, their name was shortened to the Crooked Turtle Gang. First seen in season two in the episode called "Return of the Shredder."
- Smash: The leader of the Crooked Ninja Turtle Gang. Voiced by Peter Cullen.
- Fenton Q. Hackenbush: Fat man who worked for Donald J. Lofty. He tried to rip off the city by getting rid of the sewer system and in turn get rid of the TMNT. When the Turtles told Lofty of this scheme, Lofty fired Hackenbush.
- The Triceraton Empire: The Triceratons are Triceratops-like creatures from another planet. They had planned to take over the Earth. Only in one episode called Night of the Dark Turtle.
- Captain Zorax Leader of the Triceraton troops.
- Berzerko a.k.a Drakus: In the season 8 episode Get Shredder! it is revealed that he helped Krang to design and build the Technodrome. But he was betrayed by Krang so he came to earth and took on a new name, Berserko. He wanted revenge on Krang for destroying his home planet and nearly killing him. He built a tank called the Annilhilator and began a rampage on the city. Fortunately the turtles managed to stop him and turned him in to the authorities. Berserko/Drakus was voiced by Jim Cummings.
- Eric the Red-Eyed: A man who led a gang of "modern vikings" in Norway who tried to melt the polar ice and flood coastal cities. This happened in the episode Northern Lights Out.
- Groundchuck and Dirtbag: When Shredder wanted two new mutant grunts made from a lion and a gorilla, Bebop and Rocksteady accidentally cause a bull (Groundchuck) and a mole (Dirtbag) to mutate. However, they refused to serve Shredder and left. They clash with the Turtles on another planet. Their fate are unknown. Groundchuck was voiced by Robert Ridgely while Dirtbag was voiced by Pat Fraley.
- The Great Boldini: Don Turtelli's cousin, and a magician. Voiced by Peter Renaday.
- Hiram Grelch: A businessman who tried to take over all the TV stations in New York City, but was defeated by Donatello and Algernon at the Channel 6 building.
- J. Gordon Hungerdunger: A millionaire from Texas who tried to put chemicals into New York City's water system and brainwash the population so he could easily take over the city.
- Kojima Brothers: Ancient warriors from Edo period Japan. Shredder stole their diary in Tokyo, Japan and created solid holograms of them to destroy the Turtles. Donatello smashed the hologram projector with his bo staff, destroying the holograms. Voiced by Peter Renaday.
- Oroku Miyoko: The Shredder's mother. Helped Shredder and Krang to send out some kind of mirror orbiting in Dimension X and burn the Earth in heat. Voiced by Jennifer Darling. First seen in the episode called Shredder's Mom in season four.
- Spats Sparkle: One of two Dutch thieves who tried to steal the Duchess Diamond in Amsterdam in the Netherlands and sell it. This happened in the Vacation in Europe episode April Gets in Dutch, and Shredder also tried to steal the diamond, so Krang could use it to open a portal to Dimension X and send the Technodrome to Earth.
- Toka and Razar: Two out of control mutants who appear in season seven. Toka was voied by Jim Cummings, while Razar was voiced by Townsend Coleman.
- Turtle Terminator: An android who posed as Irma to try and blast the TMNT to smithereens. If anyone said "Turtle", it would attack. Voiced by Jennifer Darling (in Irma's voice).First seen in the episode called Turtle Terminator but was fixed by Donatello and used against the Shredder, Krang, Bebop, and Rocksteady.
- Wingnut and Screwloose: In the Archie comic book series their home planet was destroyed by Krang, but in the cartoon they are two aliens who brainwash Earth's children in attempt to take over the world! Wingnut is voiced by Rob Paulsen and Screwloose is voiced by Townsend Coleman.
- Winston Fripp/Chronos: A villain in the season nine episode "Split Second". Found by the Turtles to be committing crimes within the city under the name Chronos and challenges them to stop two other crime plans of his. Once they do so, he is revealed to be Winston Flipp, someone who the Turtles apprehended and tied up for the police in a clocktower, in which the ticking drives him insane. When the Turtles capture him once more, Lord Dregg takes advantage of it by pretending to be the man behind Chronos' capture to continue his propaganda campaign against the Turtles. Voiced by Maurice LaMarche.
- Mr. X: A crime boss who has teenage punks do his work for him. He found Mondo Gecko and raised him to be a criminal. Michelangelo helps Mondo Gecko become a good guy and turn against Mr. X.
- Basher & Sluggo: Two of Mr. X's henchmen.
- Monroe Q. Flem: An eccentric billionaire with large collections of collections. He is obsessed with turtles, especially the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
- Dr. Polidorius: A mad scientist who wants to turn New York into aquatic mutants and then conquer it.
- Ray: An aquatic mutant created by Dr. Polidorius.
- Professor Philo Sopho A mad scientist posing as a college professor who attempted to rotate the Earth fast enough to render it barren of life in his first appearance. In his second and final appearance, he tried to raise the Earth's temperature to uninhabitable levels.
- O.M.N.S.S. (Omnipotent Multiprocessing Nexus Sub-Universal Sentience): A sentient computer created by Shredder and Baxter Stockman after they found the second fragment of the Eye of Sarnath.
- Tony "The Butcher" Vivaldi: A crime boss that Shredder hired to get rid of the Turtles and steal a hamster sculpture known as the Maltese Hamster, which contained a formula for a fuel source that Krang planned to use to power up the Technodrome.
- Super Rocksteady & Mighty Bebop: Robot Clones of Bebop and Rocksteady.
- Mutagen Monster: A mutant created from bulls. Was eventually de-mutated.
- Mr. Ogg: A trickster supposedly from Dimension Z who has the power to alter reality.
- Captain Kroolik: An alien ringmaster who runs a circus of mutants. He was hired by Krang to capture the turtles.
- Grillox: A mutant with the personality of a dog that assists Captain Kroolik.
- Wally "Babyface" Cleaver: A mobster that parodies Beaver Cleaver from "Leave It To Beaver."
- Professor Lloyd Cycloid: A mad scientist obsessed with revenge against those who ridiculed him who uses an invention of Donatello's to freeze time and steal elements needed to build a helmet to shield his mind from his Cycloid Satellite, a device intended to turn everyone on Earth into a moron.
- G. Cleff: A crazed pianist who wants to get back at those who ridiculed his music by forcing everyone in New York to hear it by means of a large stereo system.
- Talbot Breech: A short man who shrinks boats and adds them to his collection of bottled ships.
- Claude: Breech's cat
- Electrozapper: An enemy of Bugman who has power over electricity.
- Dr. Lesseau: A crazy zoologist who has an army of animal robots and mutant animal hybrids.
- Dr. Davens: A man who plotted to grow giant vegetables and sell them to market even when he was aware of the consequences it would have to the environment.
- Mr. Big: An ironically short man who wanted to use a brain-swapping gizmo called the Transmogrifier to forge a deed giving him oil.
- Little Huey: Mr. Big's dim-witted and ironically large henchman.
- Badd Family: A family of hillbilly criminals who take photographs of their crime spree and are not too bright. They stole the Turtle Van and also stole a power generator just for the jewel that was on it. The Turtles succeed in capturing them and handing them over to the police. The father of the family is implied to either be in jail or executed.
- Bedelia Badd: The matriarch of the Badd family.
- Buford and Bubba Badd: Bedelia's sons.
- Jerry Spiegel/The Swatter: Writer of the Bugman comic book until it was cancelled to avoid a lawsuit from the real Bugman. Assumed the identity of The Swatter to plague New York and interrogate the Turtles for a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic book. He is sent to jail, and it is revealed that he made comic books about heroes in real life because he was not familiar with the concept of an original idea.
- Wally Airhead: A bodybuilder who became muscular by exposing himself to a ray of an element called Strongium-90. He created his own army of super strong criminals, but was defeated by the Turtles and Casey Jones.
- Professor Wilhelm Vanilli: A botanist who discovered a new species of lily, but went berserk when they refused to name it after him, claiming that the name "Willy Vanilli Lily" would be, er, silly. He attempted to have his revenge by using a volcano to spread a plant-killing chemical around the world, but was stopped by Raphael, who pretended to be a crime-fighter called the Green Defender due to mistakenly believing he was dying.
- Mad Dog McMutt: A gangster with a face like a bulldog's. His hideout is shaped like a fire hydrant and he likes to eat dog biscuits.
- Professor Mindbender: A scientist who attempted to take over the world by creating LEX.
- LEX: A law-enforcing robot who is a little too strict. The Turtles defeated him with help from REX-1.
- Sir Percival Pifflecoot" An archaeologist specializing in Ancient Egyptian artifiacts obsessed with obtaining great power using the alignment of a comet and a jewel called the Turtle's Eye.
- Casbah Sir Percival's assistant. He covered up the theft of the Turtle's Eye by pretending to be Osiris, Egyptian god of death, and claiming that those who dare try to find the Turtle's Eye are cursed.
- Lafayette LeDrone: A French weapons collector who desired the Sword of Yurikawa.
- Destructor X: A robot bounty hunter who once mistook Kerma the Turtleoid for a wanted criminal.
- Shreeka: Krang's former-partner-in-crime. She was after Krang because he had stolen her ring of power. She manages to reclaim it, only for it to be destroyed. Krang frequently refers to Shreeka with terms of affection, implying that the two may have been lovers(though he may have been buttering her up).
- The Globfather: An alien crime-boss who worked under Lord Dregg.
- Creepy Eddie: A parody of Freddy Kreuger. He attempted to trap Leonardo and Michelangelo in Nightmare Land and cross over to the real world, but was defeated when Donatello sent him back to Nightmare Land with an explosive.
- Rufus Higby: The corrupt CEO of the Willy Wombat pizzeria. He reprogrammed Bogart Flywheel's animatronics to rob banks, but was captured by the Turtles and Bogart Flywheel.
- Professor Von Volt: A mad scientist who attempted to use television airwaves to steal parts of a hi-tech weapon.
- Mugsy McGuffin: A gangster who was recently released from prison. Before he was arrested, he hid a gem called the Galoobi Ruby, which was the McGuffin of the episode he was in. He ends up arrested again and his Galoobi Ruby is destroyed. His pet parrot was adopted by Michelangelo.
- Boris: Mugsy McGuffin's henchman.
- Dr. Otto Van Shrink: A phony psychiatrist who attempted to use his army of robots and Donatello's personality alterer to conquer the world.
- Max & Iggy: A pair of criminals who stole April's news van and robbed a bank. Raphael hindered the mission of capturing them due to being too nice after accidental exposure to Donatello's personality alterer, but the Turtles managed to capture them at a drive-in movie.
- Rudolph Cobrato: A herpetologist who was mutated into a snake after a mishap during an experiment with snake venom. After recruiting normal snakes to amass an army, he is defeated and returned to normal form.
- Skarg & Dementor: A pair of convicts in Dimension X who manage to escape from jail through an interdimensional anomaly. They are eventually defeated and sent back to the jail in Dimension X.
- The Dregma Brothers: A pair of brothers in the Dimension X jail that Skarg and Dementor break out. They too are sent back to the jail in the end.
- Drako: An alien who wanted to take Quarx's powers to use for his own evil plans. After Quarx was convinced to grow up, he used his powers to teleport Drako to a prison planet.
- Oroko Sancho: The Shredder's ancestor.
- Black Heart Ninja Gang: A gang of ninja criminals.
- A. J. Howard: A billionaire who persuaded everyone in New York with an anti-mutant propaganda and hired Dirk Savage to capture all mutants. He was later revealed to have been mutated into a slug in an accident and that he planned to turn the entire city into mutant slaves by hypnotizing the mutants Dirk Savage captured and then hypnotizsing the rest of New York and mutating them when he had gained control.
- Horatio Stressbar: Owner of a theme park called Combat Land, which was really a cover for creating an army of exploding robots and using them to scam the city into paying him for repairing collateral damage he caused using the robots.
- Denton Nulcet: A scientist who created Stressbar's Combat Land robots who also captured Leonardo and Michelangelo and made robotic duplicates of them.
- Krangazoids: Six clones of Krang that he created after being fed up with the incompetence of Shredder, Bebop, and Rocksteady. The clones continued to grow bodies and turned on Krang until he banished them to a dimensional limbo.
- Vorx: An inhabitant of Dimension X who has slaves work in mines.
- Alex Winter/MegaVolt: A member of Dark Water who was submitted to an experiment to create a super-soldier, only to become a deformed powerhouse who projects powerful energy. Voiced by Tony Jay.
- Medusa: A huntress hired by Lord Dregg.
- Replicon: A robot minion of Dregg that multiplies after it is defeated.
- Slorr: A reptilian creature that eats metal and grows larger every time it does so.
- Jet McCabe: Carter's rival. He was a former classmate at Carter's martial arts school who was kicked out for cheating. He ended up in the Pan Galactic Tournament.
- Sleazebug: One of Dregg's minions. He sent Leonardo and Michelangelo to the Pan Galactic Tournament and was used by Dregg as a test subject for the mutagen needed to make the Techno Gang stronger.
- Karg: The unseen owner of the Pan Galactic Tournament.
- Doomquest: An alien warlord who has a rivalry with Lord Dregg.
- Draconus: Doomquest's minion.
- Mole Squad: A group of mole men who plot to take over New York. They tried to do so by using Dr. O'Toole's sonic disintegrator, only to have it taken from them by the Turtles when they needed it to un-hypnotize the Neutrinos.
- Tattoo: A hamster from a pet store who was mutated into the form of a human tattooed sumo wrestler. After a fight with the Turtles, he was electrocuted and returned to normal form, then returned to his cage.
- Herman the Horrible: A two-headed dragon that terrorized the Turtleoids. He was revealed to be a robot.
- Bork & Dwark: Two Turtleoid leaders that controlled Herman the Horrible. They had gone renegade because they wanted to use the gold as more than just a source of energy.
Vehicles and gadgetry
Like many cartoon superheroes, the Turtles have a wide array of turtle-themed vehicles and gadgets.
- TurtleVan (aka Party Wagon): A van that originally belonged to Baxter Stockman before he was arrested. Donatello rigged up the van with other equipment from Stockman's lab, including various monitoring devices and missile systems. The Turtle Van, despite having bright yellow and green colors and being very conspicuous, is the Turtles' main form of transportation. April used a van in the third issue of the original Mirage comic. The Battle Shell in the 2003 series is similar to the Turtle Van. It is apparently based on an early Dodge forward-control van, due to its split windshield and engine under the front seats).
- Turtle Blimp: A blimp created by Donatello in the season one finale is one of the Turtles' modes of transportation. The blimp had the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles logo displayed prominently on the side. The glider can detach from the blimp to allow the Turtles better accessibility where a large blimp would be impractical. This vehicle becomes non-exisitant in the red-sky series.
- Cheap Skates: Donatello made four skateboards in season two with propellers on the rear.
- Turtle Bike: A motorcycle with a sidecar, normally ridden by Leonardo, first seen in season three.
- Sewer Tubes
- Turtle Comm: Turtle Communicators (frequently shortened to Turtle Comms) are small and designed to look like turtle shells, and were created by Donatello. The Turtles, Splinter, and April each have one and can instantly communicate with each other. The Turtles' and Splinter's communicators stretch open where April's is built with a flip top to resemble a makeup compact. Zach, a fan of the Turtles, gets a Turtle Comm in the episode The Fifth Turtle. Even the Punk Frogs have a Turtle Comm. Krang, Shredder, and the henchmutants each have a Comlink, a similar device for communication. Similar in function to the Turtle Comm, the Shell Cell in the 2003 cartoon allows the characters to talk to each other.
- Retro catapult: Introduced in Season 3.
- Portable portal generator: Also Introduced in Season 3.
In the UK, TMNT was released under the name Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles (TMHT). This was due to the controversy surrounding ninjas and related weapons such as nunchuks at the time. 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 nunchuks, replacing them with random clips from the show.
The TMHT version was aired in other European countries, including the Republic of Ireland, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Poland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Finland, in local dubs (the Finnish version was in English with subtitles, while Polish was in English with a lector). In Denmark the English censored version was aired on the national broadcaster TV2. It had subtitles as well, however, only season 2 and 3 were aired in this fashion. Season 1 was aired as one spliced movie, instead of the original five part miniseries. The movie was titled "how it all began", and included heavy edits from each of the five episodes.
After the 2 seasons had aired on Danish TV, the show was canceled, 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 is currently airing in the early morning hours on TV2. All 193 episodes have been re-dubbed, and this time they aired in their original US unedited form.
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 original TMNT version was also alternatively aired. Other European countries (including Bulgaria, France, Italy, and Russia) dubbed the original TMNT version.
In Ireland, the series was initially known as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the intro sequence was unedited when it debuted with the airing of the second season. After the first two episodes were broadcast, the name was changed to Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles and the intro was edited.
When shown on the BBC, phrases like "Let's kick some shell!" and "Bummer!" were removed from the episodes. 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 Ireland. This led the UK and 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
Status of the 1987 TMNT TV series
The show is not presently broadcast anywhere in North America, however Tele-Toon Retro continues to air reruns in Canada. Many episodes were released on many VHS tapes from 1988 to 1996 by Family Home Entertainment. As of November 2012, all ten seasons have been released on DVD. Additionally all the seasons are available digitally on Amazon Instant Video with most of the other TMNT properties.
Mirage Studios does not own the rights to the 1987 show, although they owned one third of the rights to the 2003 show. Nickelodeon has expressed interest in obtaining the rights of the 1987 series for rebroadcast, and in late 2010 acquired the rights to the entire franchise; shortly thereafter, rumors began to circulate regarding a possible revival or new film. As of November 2012, those rumors remain unconfirmed.
IGN named TMNT as the 55th best show in the Top 100 Best Animated TV Shows.
While the story diverged heavily from the original conception of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and has never been considered canon 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 pop culture.
|Leonardo||Cam Clarke, Bill Wise (UK)|
|Raphael||Rob Paulsen, Thom Pinto (1989 alternate)|
Hal Rayle (1993 alternate)
Michael Gough (1996 Season)
Greg Berg (1989 alternate)
|Master Splinter||Peter Renaday|
Townsend Coleman (1991 alternate)
|April O'Neil||Renae Jacobs|
Townsend Coleman (1988-1989 alternate)
Dorian Harewood (1987-1989 alternate)
Jim Cummings (1990-1993 alt)
Townsend Coleman (1993 alt)
William E. Martin
Greg Berg (1989 alternate)
|Baxter Stockman||Pat Fraley|
|Rat King||Townsend Coleman|
Peter Renaday (1993)
|Casey Jones||Pat Fraley|
|Vernon Fenwick||Pat Fraley (1987)|
|Burne Thompson||Pat Fraley|
Townsend Coleman (1989 Alternate)
|General Traag||Peter Renaday|
|Barney Stockman||Pat Fraley|
|Kala "The Neutrino"||Tress MacNeille|
|Zak "The Neutrino"||Pat Fraley|
|Dask "The Neutrino"||Thom Pinto|
- Jack Angel -
- Rene Auberjonois -
- Roxanne Beckford -
- Susan Blu - Zwerk (in "Shredder Triumphant")
- Rodger Bumpass - Titanus
- Hamilton Camp -
- Peter Cullen - Smash (in "Return of the Shredder")
- Brian Cummings -
- Elizabeth Daily - Quarx (in "The Starchild")
- Ron Feinberg - Titanus
- Dave Fennoy -
- Dan Gilvezan -
- Jess Harnell - Captain Zorax (in "Night of the Dark Turtle"), Wolf Jaxon (in "Night of the Dark Turtle")
- Dana Hill - Foster Fenwick (in "Too Hot to Handle")
- Brandon Hammond -
- Gaille Heidemann -
- Aron Kincaid -
- Maurice LaMarche - Chronos
- Michael Laskin -
- John Mariano - Mondo Gecko
- Pat Musick - Mona Lisa (in "Raphael Meets His Match")
- Alan Oppenheimer - J. Gordon Hungerdinger (in "The Adventures of Rhino-Man")
- Tony Pope -
- Jan Rabson - Kerma (in "Planet of the Turtleloids, Part 1
- Phylicia Rashad - Dr. Jane Goodfellow (in "What's Michaelangelo Good For?")
- Robert Ridgely - Groundchuck (in "Planet of the Turtleloids, Part 1," "Planet of the Turtleloids, Part 2," "Escape from the Planet of the Turtleloids")
- Robbie Rist -
- Maggie Roswell - Caitlyn (in "The Great Boldini")
- John Rubinow -
- Lloyd Sherr - Captain Dredd (in "Escape from the Planet of the Turtleloids")
- Kevin Schon -
- Herschel Sparber -
- Brian Tochi -
- Ralph Votrian -
- Beau Weaver -
- Fred Wolf -
- Patric Zimmerman -
Lions Gate Home Entertainment has released the series on DVD in Region 1 for the very first time. Initially it was released in volumes, with each volume containing 9-13 episodes in production order, with the exception of the first volume, which included bonus episodes from the last season. After six volumes, it has been announced that the series will now be released in season sets, starting with season 4.
For a more thorough list of which episodes are on each DVD, see the list of episodes.
|DVD Name||Ep #||Release Date||Additional Information|
|Volume 1||5||April 20 2004||Contains all 5 episodes of season 1 and 4 bonus episodes from season 10|
|Volume 2||13||April 26 2005||Contains all 13 episodes of season 2|
|Volume 3||12||December 6 2005||Contains the first 12 episodes from season 3|
|Volume 4||12||April 4 2006||Contains the next 12 episodes from season 3|
|Volume 5||12||August 29 2006||Contains the next 12 episodes from season 3|
|Volume 6||12||December 5 2006||Contains the final 11 episodes from season 3 and the first episode of season 4|
|Season 4||39||March 13 2007||Contains the remaining 12 syndicated episodes from Season 4, all 26 CBS episodes from Season 4 and one of the final two syndicated episodes of which aired in Season 5, but were left from Season 4.
|Season 5||18||August 7 2007||Contains all 18 CBS episodes from Season 5
|Season 6||16||April 8 2008||Contains all 16 episodes from Season 6|
|Season 7, Part 1||6||May 12 2009||Contains the first 6 episodes of the Vacation in Europe side-season
|Season 7, Part 2||7||May 12 2009||Contains the remaining 7 episodes of the Vacation in Europe side-season
|Season 7, Part 3||7||May 12 2009||Contains the first 7 episodes of Season 7
|Season 7, Part 4||7||May 12 2009||Contains the remaining 7 episodes of Season 7
|Season 8||8||September 1 2009||Contains all 8 episodes of Season 8|
|Season 7 Complete Set||27||November 3 2009||Contains all 13 episodes of the Vacation in Europe side-season and all 14 episodes of Season 7|
|Season 9||8||August 16 2011||Contains all 8 episodes of Season 9|
|Season 10||8||August 14 2012||Contains all 8 episodes of Season 10 and the three Season 5 episodes that were omitted in the earlier Season 5 DVD as bonus episodes.|
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Magazine was a typical children's magazine published quarterly by Welsh Publishing Group, Inc during the height of TMNT popularity in the early 1990s. It was officially licensed by Eastman and Laird and available by subscription.
The $1.95, 32 page magazine featured kid friendly articles about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as well as a variety of subjects. Mirage Studios staff artists such as Dan Berger and Jim Lawson provided a majority of the covers and spot illustrations. A pull out poster was available in every issue and was painted by Mirage Studios artist Michael Dooney.
- The show was renamed Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles when originally shown in the United Kingdom (and the Republic of Ireland) because British censors considered the show's original title to have too violent connotations. Changes have been done to reflect this, such as changing "Splinter taught them to be ninja teens" to "Splinter taught them to be fighting teens." The intro was also edited, using alternative scenes or freeze-frames in place of Michelangelo using his nunchuks. The movies and 2003 series were, however, released in the UK under the international name. This led to a titular distinction between the 1987 series and the 2003 series.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is listed at #27 of the 100 Greatest Cartoons.
- IGN ranked Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as the 55th Greatest Animated Show Of All Time in their Top 100 list.
- Repeats aired on USA Network's USA Cartoon Express from October 31, 1993 to September 13, 1996.
- Original Animation Cels from the TV series were on display at the offices of Cire Computer Productions when their office building burnt down in 2003.
- In the eighth season, the theme song was changed to have a darker melody, but still have most of the original lyrics. Oddly enough, even though Lord Dregg replaced The Shredder and Krang as the main villain in the last two seasons, the show's theme song remained unchanged from the season eight version and still mentioned The Shredder.
- Peter Laird made sketches of four mutants back when the show was in development at the request of making more mutants for the toyline by Playmates. The mutants drawn were of a warthog with a mohawk, a rhino, a mole, and a bull. The warthog and rhino were the inspiration for Bebop and Rocksteady, while the other mutants in the sketch may have been the inspiration for Dirtbag and Groundchuck.
- ↑ Cohen, Susan. "Teenage Mutant Ninja Television: Who's winning the battle over kids' TV?", Washington Post Magazine, 1991-04-07.
- ↑ "TMNT: The Renaissance Reptiles Return", Kung Fu Magazine. Retrieved on 2009-12-27.
- ↑ 55, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. IGN (2009-01-23). Retrieved on January 24, 2009.
- ↑ "Turtle Trouble : Children: Some parents believe Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles encourage aggression. Others say the Turtles are just harmless fun.", The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on 2010-11-09.
- ↑ "Turtle Trouble : Children: Some parents believe Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles encourage aggression. Others say the Turtles are just harmless fun.", The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on 2010-11-09.
- ↑ "Ninja Influence on Australian Youth", The New York Times. Retrieved on 2010-12-29.
- The Technodrome Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Website - Information about the 1987 animated series
- BandCamp.Com: TMNT 1987 Re-Orchestrated by Powder (aka Casey Jones)
- Original Theme Song Lyrics
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987) at TV.com
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987) at the Internet Movie Database
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987) at the Big Cartoon DataBase