Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012 TV series)

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is an American CGI cartoon series developed by the Nickelodeon Animation Studio in the franchise of the same name. A one hour sneak peek was released on September 28, 2012, while the official premiere aired on Nickelodeon on September 29, 2012. The series premiered in the United Kingdom and Ireland on October 1, 2012[1] and in Australia along with New Zealand on October 8, 2012.[2] It is the third animated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles television series.

The show proved to be popular with both audiences and critics, garnering 3.9 million viewers on its premiere night and hit a ratings high for Nickelodeon with boys 2-11, making it the network's top-rated premiere for an animated series since 2009. During its premiere weekend the series reached nearly 12 million total viewers.[3] The premiere's success prompted Nickelodeon to order a second season on October 2, 2012[4] and in February 2013, the network renewed the show for a third season.[5] On June 17, 2014, Nickelodeon ordered a fourth season of the show. On July 10, 2015, at San Diego Comic Con International, Nickelodeon announced a 20-episode pick-up for season five, as well as confirming that season four would also consist of 20 episodes.[6]

The series makes slight changes to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles continuity, notably
TMNT 2012 Babies

(Left to Right) Raphael, Michelangelo, Leonardo and Donatello as baby mutant turtles.

Michelangelo's new catchphrase is "Booyakasha" (which Greg Cipes himself-plays Michelangelo- came up with) instead of "Cowabunga"[7] and his brother, Raphael, also has an un-mutated pet turtle named Spike. The series follows the four Ninja Turtles living in the sewers of Manhattan, where they're being trained in martial arts by the ratlike Master Splinter. Merchandise based on the series includes a new line of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles consumer products, and six LEGO sets.


Season one

Ninjutsu master Hamato Yoshi (Splinter) is carrying his four pet turtles through the streets of Manhattan, New York City when he encounters members of an alien race called the Kraang. During an altercation with these aliens, Yoshi and the turtles are exposed to an alien chemical called Mutagen and they undergo major physical transformations. Yoshi becomes a humanoid rat and the turtles become anthropomorphic. Taking upon the new name "Splinter", he retreats to the New York City sewers, where he raises the four turtles as his sons and imparts to them his knowledge of ninjutsu.

Now teenagers, the Turtles (Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo) venture to the surface for the first time and learn that the Kraang are using the mutagen as part of their plan to take over New York City. The Turtles befriend the teenage April O'Neil after she and her scientist father, Kirby O'Neil, are abducted by the Kraang. Donatello develops a crush on April. While Kirby remains a prisoner of the Kraang, April becomes an ally of the Turtles, who try to help her locate her father. April is also trained by Splinter to be a kunoichi or female ninja.

The Turtles also learn that Splinter's long-time archenemy Oroku Saki (Shredder) has come to New York City and has ordered his Foot Clan to track down Splinter and his sons, and put an end to their clan. Learning about the Kraang's presence through his adopted daughter Karai, Shredder enters an alliance with the aliens to destroy their mutual enemies in the Hamato Clan.

The Turtles discover that the Kraang (led by Kraang Prime) have come to Earth from Dimension X and are plotting to use the mutagen to convert the Earth into a planet that will be suitable for their race. After the Turtles rescue Kirby, the Kraang invade New York, but the Turtles and April emerge triumphant when they are able to send the Technodrome crashing into the sea. Meanwhile, Splinter battles Shredder and learns that Karai is his own daughter, Miwa who was kidnapped by Shredder and who believes that Splinter killed her mother. The season ends with Turtles celebrating on their victory over Kraang as Splinter hides this secret from them.

Season two

The Turtles struggle to contain an outbreak of mutations that occurs thanks to the leftover mutagen from the thwarted Kraang invasion. Kirby is among the victims of the outbreak, and a misunderstanding leads April to hate the Turtles and break off their friendship. However, the Turtles are able to earn her forgiveness when they save her from Karai, who has taken temporary command of the Foot while the Shredder is away in Japan. The Hamato Clan also gains a new member when April's new friend Casey Jones helps repel an assault on the |Turtles' lair. Kirby is eventually restored to his human form when Donatello manages to concoct a Retro-Mutagen.

The Shredder returns from Japan with the mutated bounty hunter Tiger Claw, who becomes the Shredder's new second-in-command. During a battle with the Turtles, Karai is informed of her true nature by Leonardo, but she is reluctant to accept the truth. When she is taken to the lair, she finally realizes the truth, and disowns the Shredder, who responds by imprisoning her. Repeated attempts to free Karai ultimately succeed, but the Shredder captures Karai again and uses her as bait to kill the Hamato Clan. However, Karai ends up mutated into a serpent, to everyone's horror.

The Kraang perfect the previously unstable mutagen, and launch a second invasion of New York, starting by destroying the Turtles' lair and forcing them to abandon it. The Kraang begin mutating New York's populace, including Kirby, despite the efforts of Earth's military and the Turtles. Leonardo is gravely wounded when he is ambushed by the entire Foot Clan, and Splinter is seemingly killed during a battle with the Shredder. The Turtles, April, and Casey are forced to flee New York as the Kraang successfully conquer the city

Season three

The group takes refuge at the O'Neil family's summer home upstate in Northampton, New York in order to recuperate from their loss at the hands of the Kraang and the Foot Clan. Leonardo takes an extended amount of time to recover, but guided by an apparition of Splinter, is able to overcome his physical and mental wounds.

The group eventually returns to New York with the goal of finding Splinter, Karai, Kirby, and their other missing allies, and liberate the city from the Kraang. They are successful in finding Splinter, and set up a temporary base in the abandoned Antonio's Pizza. Donatello begins work on new samples of retro-mutagen as the search for Kirby and Karai continues. Shredder later mutates Anton Zeck and Ivan Steranko into his latest mutants Bebop and Rocksteady while the Purple Dragons gain Hun as their leader. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles even run into the The Mighty Mutanimals (consisting of Slash, Leatherhead, Dr. Tyler Rockwell, and Pete).

Season four

Season four of Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles debuts Sunday, Oct. 25, at 11:00a.m. (ET/PT) and will continue to premiere new episodes Sundays at 11:00 a.m. (ET/PT).


Tmnt place holder

The teaser image from the official TMNT website during the transition from Mirage to Nickelodeon.

Viacom purchase

After Viacom purchased the rights to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise in October 2009, a press release was issued unveiling that Nickelodeon would be developing a new CGI-animated television series slated to air in 2012. Though the franchise was brought out from Mirage Studios, the company is still able to publish up to 18, 48 paged black and white TMNT comics a year. Additionally, toy products would continue to be made through Playmates and the rumors of a new live-action TMNT movie were put to rest as the company also revealed that they'd be making a film for 2012 with Paramount Pictures, though the date has seen been pushed back.[8][9]


At the time, details on the series were scarce. From March 2011, new details about the show were released to the public. Ciro Nieli, executive producer, cited that the series would be slightly different than past incarnations. The turtles will now have "more individual attributes" that will tell them apart, wereas previously they could only be distinguished by the color of their masks, the color of their skin and their weapons. Also, Michelangelo's traditional nunchaku would be replaced by kusari-gama. Along with this wealth of new information, a first glimpse of the show was released alongside an initial promotional image.[10]

2011 Nickelodeon cartoon promotional image

The initial promotional image.

More information was unveiled at an invite-only fan event in March 2010. These details, however, were from a work-in-progress version of the series, and have the opportunity to change in the final product. Some details that have been made known, however, including a teenage April O'Neil, Hamato Yoshi becoming Splinter , and The Kraang, an homage to many different entities in TMNT lore (Kraang/Utroms/Foot Soldiers ). The series is said to have the dark elements and intense action of the 2003 TV series, but still have the jokes of the 1987 series while still being something of its own.


A later promotional image showing the finalized computer models.

Images of the Ninja Turtles, Master Splinter, April, Shredder and the Kraang have all been revealed. Some confirmed changes to the series are |Donnie having a crush on April, Master Splinter being younger and having a more active role in the series, and Splinter training April to be a ninja so she can go out and battle enemies with the turtles. Mikey and Don can also extend their weapons into blades. Leo will also still be the skilled leader, albeit younger than Don and |Raph, (who will still be a hot-head).

Sometime in March 2011, a micro site for the new series was leaked on Nickelodeon's website. The micro site revealed pictures of April, Shredder, the Kraang, and Splinter with bios for all of them. The site was shut down for some time, but as of June 2011, it is back up and features a personality quiz, bios for the turtles, a newsletter, a new game called Dark Horizons, and the new trailer for the series. Merchandise for the series is already starting to get made, including action figures from playmates which will be released in August 2011, a set of stickers, Halloween costumes, and books based off the series.

An official trailer was released on June 23, 2011 and aired on Nickelodeon the following Saturday. The trailer revealed the turtle's new voices, the animation, and that the theme song of the new show will be a remixed/remade version of the original theme song from the 1987 cartoon.


TMNT 2012 The Turtles

The Turtles

Jason Biggs originally voiced Leonardo and Rob Paulsen, who voiced Raphael in the 1987 series, portrays Donatello . In June 2011, it was confirmed that Sean Astin is playing Raphael and Greg Cipes is Michelangelo. In August 2011, it was revealed that Mae Whitman will be the voice for April O'Neil. In April 2012, it was announced that Phil LaMarr will be playing the role of Baxter Stockman and Nolan North will be playing a race of aliens known as The Kraang. Actress Kelly Hu confirmed her role as Karai in May 2012.






Nickelodeon has ordered three seasons, all of which will have 26 episodes. Season 1 premiered on September 29, 2012. The premiere of season 2 was on October 12 2013. Season 3 has been announced on February 26, 2013. Season 4 has been announced on June 17, 2014.


Main Characters

Recurring Characters

Supporting Characters

Confirmed Characters Yet To Appear

Confirmed Actors With Roles Yet To Be Confirmed

Alluded/Mentioned Characters

Production crew


On October 21, 2009, a press release was made indicating that Viacom had bought the complete rights of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise from Peter Laird for $60 million, and would be developing a CGI animated TV series for its Nickelodeon family of channels for broadcast in 2012. A feature film, released by Paramount Pictures (also a division of Viacom), debuted in 2014.

Jason Biggs originally voiced Leonardo and Rob Paulsen voices Donatello. In June 2011, it was confirmed that Sean Astin is playing Raphael and Greg Cipes is Michelangelo. In August 2011, it was revealed that Mae Whitman would be the voice for April O'Neil. In April 2012, it was announced that Phil LaMarr would be playing the role of Baxter Stockman and Nolan North would be playing a race of aliens known as the Kraang, while Roseanne Barr was confirmed to voice their leader, Kraang Prime. Actress Kelly Hu confirmed her role as Karai in May 2012. Corey Feldman has been confirmed to play the role of Slash. Recurring TMNT character Casey Jones began appearing in the second season, and is voiced by former Nickelodeon star Josh Peck.

Production art was leaked on the Nickelodeon website before it was taken down. The images showed the designs of all four Turtles, Shredder, Splinter, a teenage April O'Neil and the Kraang, an alien race that combines elements of both Krang and the Utroms. A trailer for the series was released on June 21, 2012, on Nickelodeon USA. In June 2014, it was announced that Seth Green would replace Jason Biggs as the voice of Leonardo in season 3.


Playmates Toys created a new line of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles consumer products to go along with the show.

In mid 2012, Playmates Toys released their first wave of basic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figures which consisted of "hero figures" Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, Michelangelo, Splinter and April O'Neil as well as "villain characters" Shredder, Kraang, and a Foot Soldier. In later 2012, Playmates released series 2 which consisted of the new "hero" character Metalhead as well as new villains Dogpound and Fishface. In April 2013, the third wave appeared which included the "hero" character Leatherhead as well as villains Snakeweed and Baxter Stockman. Wave four was released in early August and it featured the villains Rat King and Cockroach Terminator as well as new "Stealth Tech" versions of the four turtles. Wave 5 was released in October with a 7 pack of Mousers as well as four baby versions of the Turtles (Turtles in training) October saw the final release of 2013 with wave six which included two new villains: Spider Bytez and a newly sculpted Shredder figure featuring a removable helmet and cape. Wave seven first appeared in February 2014 with figures for Kirby Bat, Squirrelanoid , Casey Jones, and Mutagen Man.

The Lego Group released a Lego theme of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in 2013.

in July 2014, Build-A-Bear Workshop released a series of plush versions of the Turtles, as well as other TMNT themed apparel including an outfit of Shredder, along with items such as the Turtles' signature weapons

Video games

In 2013, Nickelodeon released Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Rooftop Run for iOS devices such as the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.

On August 28, 2013, Activision released Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, a downloadable 3D beat 'em up game, for Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows. On April 15, 2014 a version was released for the Playstation 3. The game features an online multiplayer co-op for up to four players.

Activision also released a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles video game based on the series for Wii, Xbox 360, and Nintendo 3DS on October 22, 2013.[45]

On September 4, 2014. Activision announced a second game based on the show called Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Danger of the Ooze. The game was released on Nintendo 3DS and Xbox 360, and was also released on the PlayStation 3 instead of the Wii. The game was developed by WayForward.


The series debuted on Canadian channel YTV on September 29, 2012. It also premiered on Nickelodeon (UK and Ireland) on October 1, 2012. Then Nickelodeon (Australia and New Zealand) debuted the show on October 8, 2012. It aired on Nickelodeon (Canada) on September 2, 2013.


IGN has given the show positive reviews, with many episodes reviewed being given the "Editor's Choice" title. "Invasion" has received the highest rating of 10/10. The series premiered in the U.S. to 3.9 million viewers.

Variety has praised the show, saying "...handsomely produced effort, with a strong vocal cast, considerable humor and scads of high-spirited action. If the goal was to introduce the Turtles to a new generation — amphibious mission accomplished.


  • This is the first series in which each turtle has a definitive spotting detail, beyond the colored masks, skin color, and weapons
    • Michelangelo has freckles, a childlike face, and is the shortest.
    • Donatello has diastema (a gap between the front teeth), and is the tallest and leanest of the brothers.
    • Raphael has a lightning bolt chip broken off on the top right of his plastron. He is also the 2nd shortest.
    • Leonardo has, for the most part, been unchanged, but if you look closely, you can see that his skin is a darker shade of green from the others, and he's also the second tallest.
    • They all have different mask lengths, in order from longest to shortest: Raphael, Donatello, Leonardo, and Michelangelo. 
    • The turtles all have distinct eye colors. Raphael has green, Donatello has red/brown, and Michelangelo and Leonardo have blue eyes, though Mikey's are a lighter blue.
    • On another note, they all have pupils except when they become serious in some segments, to when they have white, empty eyes.
    • Each turtle's head is distinctly shaped.
  • All the Turtles have their own skateboard, which was shown in a trailer.
  • The Turtles are 15 years old in this series, though it is obvious Leonardo is the oldest, with Raphael and Donatello in the middle and Michelangelo being the youngest.
  • They have three toes on each foot instead of two as in previous incarnations.
  • They don't have visible tails unlike in some previous incarnations.
  • They have different color wraps on their feet and wrists with Leonardo having light peach, Donatello having golden brown, Michelangelo having light brown, and Raphael having dark brown.
  • Leonardo's favorite television series, Space Heroes, has similar art and story to the Filmation Star Trek animated series. However, it was replaced in the second season by SRMFF.
  • The romantic element of the story is more emphasized in this series, where Donatello develops a crush on April, Leonardo develops feelings for Karai, and Michelangelo forges a bromance with Leatherhead.
  • This is the second incarnation of Shredder to be voiced by an African-American actor. James Avery was the villain for most of the 1987 series' run. This Shredder is played by Kevin Michael Richardson.
  • The show tends to shift into 3 different styles, mainly the mouth movement.
  • The show's opening ends with the turtles in the same poses as the original turtles on the cover of the first mirage comic book.
  • In the 1987 series and the 2003 series a young boy purchased the Ninja Turtles, but in this version, it's Hamato Yoshi who bought them.
  • This is the first TMNT series that uses anime style expressions.
  • Except for the IDW comics, this new series uses elements from all incarnations of TMNT.
  • This is the 2nd TV series to show the Ninja Turtles as kids.





  1. Matt Edwards (2012-07-30). New Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme song. Den of Geek. Retrieved on March 26, 2013.
  2. All new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series comes to Nickelodeon in October. Throng (2012-07-19). Retrieved on March 26, 2013.
  3. Bibel, Sara (October 2, 2012). Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' Renewed by Nickelodeon for Second Season; Premiere is Number 1 Kids Program on Basic Cable. TV by the Numbers. Retrieved on March 16, 2013.
  4. Goldman, Eric (October 2, 2012). Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Renewed for Season 2. IGN. Retrieved on February 26, 2013.
  5. Nicholson, Max (February 26, 2012). Nickelodeon Renews Ninja Turtles for Season 3. IGN. Retrieved on February 26, 2012.
  6. Albert, Brian (July 10, 2015). COMIC CON 2015: DAVID TENNANT GUEST STARS IN TMNT SEASON 5. IGN. Retrieved on July 10, 2015.
  7. Rahman, Ray (September 26, 2012). 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' producer: How 'booyakasha' became the new 'cowabunga'. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on March 12, 2012.
  8. Castro, Manny (October 21, 2009). Viacom Buys The Ninja Turtles!. NowPublic. Retrieved on February 26, 2012.
  9. Nickelodeon Acquires Global Rights to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Reuters (October 21, 2009). Retrieved on February 26, 2012.
  10. Nick's new TMNT cartoon; preview art revealed. The Allspark (March 7, 2011). Retrieved on March 20, 2013.

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