Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation

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Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation
Ninja Turtles.jpg
"Ninja Turtles" in name only. That's a clue the show was not that good.
Genre: Live-Action
Running Time: 22 minutes
80 minute (special)
Country: United States
Release Date: September 12th, 1997 - March 20, 1998
Network(s): Fox Kids
Distributed by: Saban
Starring: Michael Dobson
Jason Gray Stanford
Matt Hill
Kirby Morrow
Lalainia Lindbjerg
Stephen Mendell
Doug Parker
Christopher Gaze
Saffron Henderson
Garry Chalk
Scott McNeil
Seasons: 1
Episodes: 26
Previous show: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987)
Next show: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003)

"There was a chance to do something with this series, there really was, but man, did they drop the ball as hard as they could! (...) No one working on this show seemed to know or like Ninja Turtles, they went out of their way to remove almost all the elements of the franchise that were familiar and just have the supposed heroes bitch and complain all the time."

Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation (also known as Hero Turtles: The Next Mutation in the UK) is an American-Canadian live-action television series produced by Saban Entertainment, which ran on the Fox Kids network from September 12th, 1997 to March 20th, 1998 based on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics published by Mirage Studios. As of September 16, 2011, the series is distributed by Saban Brands, as Saban regained the rights to the show from Disney, only for the rights to be transferred to Hasbro in 2018. It is also made to cash in on the success of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers as well.


This series introduced many new elements to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, including a female mutant turtle called Venus de Milo (named after the famous statue) and new central antagonists, an army of humanoid dragons known as "The Rank" led by the vicious Dragonlord.

Why It's Lame-tastic and It Should Panic

  1. Somewhat poor acting.
  2. Horrible and painful soundtrack.
  3. Awkwardly and poorly made fighting scenes, which are made even more cheesy with cartoony sound effects.
  4. The Rank is just the Foot Clan but with dragons.
  5. False advertising: The show was advertised as a continuation of the 1987 cartoon. However, it barely has anything to do with that series. Instead, it has a loose connection to the 1990s film trilogy.
    • The turtles are advertised as being "older" and "wiser". While the turtles are certainly older (with Splinter saying they almost reached adulthood), their personalities are somehow even sillier than their 1987 cartoon counterparts, and they behave like immature jerks.
    • Despite the subtitle being The Next Mutation, none of the already-established characters get mutated further.
  6. Like the 2011 pilot of Wonder Woman, the turtles behave nothing like their actual cartoon counterparts. They instead act more like Power Rangers.
  7. The show coined two controversial concepts:
    1. The turtles are not related to each other.
      • This was shoehorned in so Venus would be a love interest instead of their sister.
    2. There is a fifth Ninja Turtle, Venus De Milo, who is female.
  8. As stated above, it's pretty much more like a clone of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers than an actual TMNT TV series.
  9. The costumes are extremely cheap, and there's even an episode where there's a big torn part of Venus' costume under her armpit.
  10. It has a mild over-usage of East Asian stereotypes.
  11. April O'Neil and Casey Jones are absent from this show.
  12. The Hero Turtles version removes certain scenes for mostly stupid reasons.
  13. It killed off the popularity of TMNT for a while until its comeback in 2003 with the animated series co-produced by Mirage Studios and 4Kids Entertainment.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. The costumes, although cheap, are better than both the ones in TMNT III, and the ones in Turtle Tunes and We Wish You a Turtle Christmas.
  2. Dragon Lord is a very intimidating main antagonist, compared to most replacements for the Shredder.
  3. Speaking of Power Rangers, the show had a crossover with Power Rangers In Space. While the latter is great, the crossover was rather mediocre.
  4. The Ninja Turtles' next animated literation from their 2003 series thankfully got rid of the problems.
  5. Venus De Milo wasn't much of a bad character, and a female turtle sounded like an interesting concept.
  6. Catchy theme song (despite the corny lyrics).


Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation was panned by critics, with the backlash mainly coming from how the characters were portrayed. It currently sits at a 4.4/10 on IMDb.

Almost every Ninja Turtles fan considers this the worst of the whole franchise. It ranked #4 on WatchMojo's Top 10 Worst TV Shows of All Time.


  • Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation was one of the spin-offs of the franchise not acquired by Nickelodeon. Hasbro currently owns the rights as a Power Rangers spin-off.
  • This series was originally envisioned as the fourth live-action TMNT movie set for release in 1996 before being retooled into a TV series, taking place after TMNT III, which would explain why the series has a connection to the movies rather than the cartoon series and that it uses some of the leftover sets and props from those movies.
    • At one point, Venus was going to be a male fifth turtle, known as Kirby. However, Saban insisted on adding a fifth turtle only if it were female, and so Kirby was retooled into Venus de Milo.
    • The movie was going to feature the return of Super Shredder from TMNT II: The Secret of the Ooze instead of regular Shredder in the series, as well as Casey Jones (with his first name spelled with a K) having electrical powers, and an evil version of April O'Neil.
    • Splinter and the four turtles were going to receive new mutations, which is where "The Next Mutation" subtitle might've originated from.
  • The concept of the TMNT having female mutant turtles would later be used in the IDW comics, with (Jennika and Lita,) although unlike Next Mutation, this concept was executed far better.
  • Venus returned to the franchise in the IDW comics in 2022.



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