Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation
The Next Mutation
|Based on||Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
by Kevin Eastman
|Country of origin||United States
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||26|
|Running time||25 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Saban Entertainment
|Original channel||FOX (Fox Kids)|
|Original release||September 12, 1997 – March 20, 1998|
Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation is an American live-action television series produced by Saban Entertainment, which ran on the Fox Kids network from 1997 to 1998. The short-lived series was based loosely on Mirage Studios' Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. As of September 16, 2011, the series is currently distributed by Saban Brands, as Saban has recently regained the rights to the show from Disney.
The series introduced many new elements to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles saga, 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.
The series was touted (in some of the promotional material) as a continuation of the 1987 TV series, but by the period of time it aired it became apparent that this was not the case. Instead, the series apparently followed the continuity of the live-action films. The Turtles lived in the same abandoned train station featured in the second and third films, and Splinter's ear is slashed as it was in the original film. However, the films and the series display differing styles, Shredder being alive (and no longer Super Shredder), and the absence of April O'Neil and Casey Jones. In a departure from other TMNT continuities, Leonardo states in the second episode that the Turtles are not blood-related, while other media either explicitly states that the Turtles are biological siblings or avoids the issue altogether.
Other notable differences were found in the Turtles' weapons; Leonardo carried one double-bladed ninjatō instead of two katana (though he was shown to own two in a few episodes); Raphael's twin sai could combine to make a staff; and because nunchaku are outlawed in several places, Michaelangelo's signature weapon in this series was a pair of tonfa. Similarly, the name of the series was amended in several countries to Hero Turtles: The Next Mutation under various censorship rulings. It is also known to be based on scrapped ideas for a fourth Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film originally to be released in 1994-95, titled Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV : The New Mutation .
Turtles and allies
- Leonardo (portrayed by Gabe Khouth, voiced by Michael Dobson) During the course of the series, Leo has sought new ways to learn how to combat enemies, such as the Dragons and Simon Bonesteel.
- Raphael (portrayed by Mitchell A. Lee Yuen, voiced by Matt Hill) Raph appears to see Bonesteel as his personal enemy, having an entire episode with him.
- Michelangelo (portrayed by Jarred Blancard, voiced by Kirby Morrow)The self-proclaimed Prince of All Media runs a pirate radio show from the Turtles' jeep.
- Donatello (portrayed by Richard Yee, voiced by Jason Gray-Stanford) A fan of the somewhat insane Dr. Quease, Donnie has tried working with him on a way to send the Dragons back into the Enchanted Mirror.
- Splinter (portrayed by Fiona Scott, voiced by Stephen Mendel) Splinter is often not involved with the Turtles' antics, often imparting advice or yelling at them about the noise of their vehicales. He will often play chess at night with his blind human friend Andre.
- Venus de Milo (portrayed by Nicole Parker, voiced by Lalainia Lindbjerg) A fifth Turtle. She was in the jar the others were in, and doused with ooze. However, she ended up in China Town, where Chung found her. She was raised as a shinobi, a mystical version of a ninja. SHe often gets sports and sayings mixed up, no matter how much her new family attempts to help.
- Chung I (portrayed by Tseng Chang, voiced by Dale Wilson) An old friend of Splinter's and Venus' foster father. He trained Venus as a Shinobi, but was killed by the Dragon Lord after the latter used Chung as a conduit to allow his forces to escape their prison dimension and reach the Realm of Dreams. He was also a foe of the vampire Vam Mi, having stolen her heart after defeating her; this later led her to seek revenge on Venus.
- Andre (portrayed by Len Gibson) A blind man, whom Splinter often plays chess with in the park. During The Guest he is evicted from his apartment and given refuge with the Turtles. However, he constantly (much to their frustration) grabbed and messed with everything, nearly injuring them.
- Shredder (portrayed by Patrick Pon, voiced by Doug Parker) – The Shredder appeared in the five-part episode "East Meets West" when he and the Foot Ninjas discovered the Turtles' hideaway. When Venus de Milo came into view, she uses her shinobi abilities to defeat the Shredder presumed for good and the Foot was disbanded. His alias of Oroku Saki was later found on the streets when Dragon Lord's soldiers attack him in order to obtain a ninja amulet called the Golden Shuriken. After Dragon Lord's forces were busy fighting the Turtles, Oroku Saki was defeated and later seen in a deserted alley with the amulet in his possession where he has appeared to have unlocked the power of the ninja amulet and laughs maniacally. Yet the series was cancelled before another season revolving around this can be made.
- Foot Clan The Foot of this series appear a lot more clumsy and less intelligent (due to comic relief values), much to Shredder's irritation. The Foot Clan is implied to have battled the Turtles constantly for many years, as the Turtles are now 18 years old. When Splinter falls ill, the full fury of the Foot Clan is unleashed upon the Turtles' lair, which has recently been discovered by them. The sheer numbers of the expanding Foot clan easily overwhelm the Turtles in combat and Shredder then prepares to finish them off, vowing to destroy their leader as well. However, Venus de Milo uses her Shinobi magic, drives Shredder insane by calling the true Oroku Saki to the surface to take control, thereby destroying the Shredder, seemingly forever. Afterwards the Foot disbands
- Dragon Lord (portrayed by Gerald Wong, voiced by Christopher Gaze) – Leader of the Rank and the King of all Dragons. He and his forces were trapped in an enchanted glass years ago and have now escaped. Dragon Lord was the first evil dragon, and his charisma lead to other dragons joining him, and thus the banishing of his entire race.
- Wick (portrayed by Adam Behr and Bill Terezakis, voiced by Lee Tockar) – A small dragon who is Dragon Lord's sidekick. He once drank a power potion he created by accident, temporarily gaining a deep, echoing, English voice along with new powers.
- Rank Lieutenant (portrayed by Andrew Kavadas) – The head of Dragon Lord's army. He is distinguished from the other by his violet hood.
- The Good Dragon - Member of the Rank, who has a heart of gold. He saved Venus from an attack from the Lieutenant, ultimately decided to exile himself back into the enchanted glass until Dragon Lord is defeated or he amasses an army of good dragons to rebel against him - "either way, I'll be back."
- Dr. Cornelius Quease (portrayed by Simon Webb) – A world-renowned scientist and expert on mutation, and other fields. Donatello is a big fan of his, and once worked with him on a device that could have re-imprisoned the dragons. He attempts to create various weapons to defeat the turtles; however, Dragon Lord's ego and desire to consume the turtles usually causes them to backfire. He is also quite insane, and an egomaniac. The Dragon Lord refers to him as a "master of the new magic" AKA science. After joining the Dragon Lord, Quease adds a yellow labcoat to his outfit; along with his red gloves and blue work outfit, he wears the three basic colors.
- Silver (portrayed by Garry Chalk) – The last of the Yetis. Instead of living on top of the mountain, he makes his life by going into the crime business and starting a gang of humans who think of him as the smartest boss around. He can't spell, but is otherwise more sophisticated than his moronic henchmen. For some reason, he was able to find out an old man would win the lottery and broke into his home before he found out himself.
- Monkey Thief Mick (portrayed by Michael Dobson) – One of Silver's henchmen.
- Monkey Thief Dick (portrayed by Ronnie Way) – One of Silver's henchmen.
- Monkey Thief Sick (portrayed by John Tench) - One of Silver's henchmen.
- Simon Bonesteel (portrayed by Scott McNeil) – A deranged big game hunter who specializes in hunting endangered animals. He has collected things off of endangered animals like elephant ivories, baby seal pelts, dolphin hides, and mountain gorilla skulls. He considers the Ninja Turtles endangered species as well since there are only five of them. Bonesteel possesses a paranoid, anti-social personality and is known to give his weapons female names; he even talks to his weapons, and can be tricked with enough word play. In the four-part episode "Unchain My Heart," Simon Bonesteel is also known for hunting supernatural creatures when it came to Vam-Mi and her vampire henchmen; he twice tries forging alliance with them, succeeding with capture and threat of sunlight.
- As the series progressed, Bonesteel grew craftier; he logged all the Turtles habits and set traps for them. One such instance is when he attempted to capture Mikey at a pizzaria. However, Leo also began learning about hunting to counter the traps. Bonesteel is revealed to have made his home on the roof of an abandoned building.
- Heavy Duke (portrayed by Travis MacDonald) Leader of a gang called the Unknowables, who ruled the 8th Street neighborhood. In a sense of comedy, when they steal a boombox, the owner earned their anger by asking who they were; the joke being well... maybe that's why no-one's heard of you. Upon hearing that Mikey has holding a rave in their neighborhood, Heavy Duke decided to crash it and steal the Animal Rights donatation. Adding onto the comedy, his group constantly got in Bonesteel's way of capturing the Turtles. Tricked by Bonesteel, Heavy Duke attempted to capture the Turtles for the cash the hunter promised would come for them. He, and Bonesteel ended up becoming human pinatas, humiliated in front of the crowd.
- Vam-Mi (portrayed by Kira Clavell, voiced by Saffron Henderson) – A 10,000-year-old female vampire from China. She was previously defeated by Chung I who tore out her heart plunging her into a long sleep. Her henchmen Bing and Chi Chu used a magic potion to awaken her; however, it was a blunder on Chi Chu's part out of missing her, since unless Vam-Mi's heart was returned within 96 hours, she would turn into sludge and never be awoken again. The Turtles used Vam-Mi's link to her heart to lure her into a trap, where they reduced her to dust with sunlight; Chi Chu and Bing collected the ashes, but decided against reviving her again.
- Bing (portrayed by Justin Soon, voiced by Colin Musback) – A male vampire and one of Vam-Mi's henchmen, his appears to be the age of a child. According to himself he is near 2000. His voice is deep.
- Chi Chu (portrayed by Lauren Attadia, voiced by Sherry Thorson) – A female vampire and one of Vam-Mi's assistant, she appears to be the age of a child. According to her, vampires are immune to tanning beds; however, Bing appeard firghtned by the threat of being cooked on one by Bonesteel. Her voice is high pitched.
|1||"East Meets West, Part 1"||September 12, 1997|
|2||"East Meets West, Part 2"||September 19, 1997|
|3||"East Meets West, Part 3"||September 26, 1997|
|4||"East Meets West, Part 4"||October 3, 1997|
|5||"East Meets West, Part 5"||October 10, 1997|
|6||"The Staff of Bu-Ki"||October 17, 1997|
|7||"Silver and Gold"||October 24, 1997|
|8||"Meet Dr. Quease"||October 31, 1997|
|9||"All in the Family"||November 7, 1997|
|10||"Trusting Dr. Quease"||November 14, 1997|
|11||"Windfall"||November 21, 1997|
|12||"Turtles' Night Out"||November 28, 1997|
|13||"Mutant Reflections"||December 5, 1997|
|14||"Truce or Consequences"||December 12, 1997|
|15||"Sewer Crashes"||December 19, 1997|
|16||"Going Ape"||January 9, 1998|
|17||"Enemy of My Enemy"||January 16, 1998|
|18||"King Wick"||January 23, 1998|
|19||"The Good Dragon"||January 30, 1998|
|20||"The Guest"||February 6, 1998|
|21||"Like Brothers"||February 13, 1998|
|22||"Unchain My Heart, Part 1"||February 20, 1998|
|23||"Unchain My Heart, Part 2"||February 27, 1998|
|24||"Unchain My Heart, Part 3"||March 6, 1998|
|25||"Unchain My Heart, Part 4"||March 13, 1998|
|26||"Who Needs Her"||March 20, 1998|
Power Rangers crossover
Outside of The Next Mutation, the Turtles also guest-starred alongside the Power Rangers in Power Rangers in Space. The end of the episode "Save Our Ship" leads directly into "Shell Shocked," where the Turtles are summoned and brainwashed by Astronema to fight the Rangers. Her control over them is later broken, and they team up with the Space Rangers to battle Astronema's forces. Before returning to New York, the Turtles have one request from the Rangers: space surfing on the Galaxy Gliders.
Venus de Milo
The show's most notable contribution to the Turtles mythos was a fifth mutant turtle, a female named Venus de Milo (initially named Mei Pieh Chi), was skilled in the mystical arts of the shinobi and wears a light blue mask that was braided in the back, giving the appearance of a ponytail. Venus was portrayed by Nicole Parker and voiced by Lalainia Lindbjerg.
Venus de Milo only appeared in The Next Mutation. In a 2007 interview, director Kevin Munroe elaborated on the instructions Peter Laird gave to him for TMNT. Munroe admitted that among those rules was, "there’s absolutely no mention of Venus de Milo, the female Turtle. You can’t even joke about that with Peter. It’s just one of those things that he hates with a passion."
The show was cancelled in the summer of 1998, despite solid ratings. The cancellation of the show marked the first time that the Turtles were off TV screens for a protracted period since the animated series debuted in 1987. A new animated series would eventually begin airing in 2003.
The five-part pilot episodes were released in a heavily edited VHS compilation shortly following the series premier.
The complete series of the "Hero Turtles" version was released on DVD in the UK by Jetix Films. The series in divided between two volumes, containing three discs each. Volume 1 was released in July 2007 and Volume 2 was released in February 2008. Some foreign territories have released the full-length form of episodes in their native languages, including Germany, France, Israel, Poland and Italy. Shout! Factory released the first volume of Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation on DVD on September 4, 2012. On December 4, 2012 Shout! Factory released the second volume on DVD.
- Ninja Turtles The Next Mutation Volume 1 (Episodes 1- 13)
- Ninja Turtles The Next Mutation Volume 2 (Episodes 14- 26 plus the two cross-over episodes from Power Rangers in Space)
|VHS name||Ep No.||Release Date||Additional Information|
|East Meets West||episode 1-5 highlights||1998|
|Unchain My Heart||?||1999||Australia only|
|All in the Family||3||1998||UK only|
|DVD name||Ep No.||Release Date||Additional Information|
|Volume One||8||2 August 2004||Region 2|
|Volume One, Version Two||5||October 2004||Region 2|
|Volume Two||3||21 March 2005||Region 2|
|Volume Two||15||11 February 2008||Region 2|
|Number||Title||Release date (Region 1)|
|1||"Volume 1"||4 September 2012|
|2||"Volume 2"||4 December 2012|
|3||"East Meets West"||4 March 2014|
|4||"Turtle Power"||5 August 2014|
In the United States of America, the show first aired from 1997 to 1998 on Friday afternoons on Fox Kids at 4:30 p.m.
In June 2013, the United States broadcast rights to Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation were held by The Hub, which aired the show on Saturday afternoons in 2013.
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- Lambert, David (September 7, 2012). "Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation – Shout! Finishes the Live-Action '97 Series on DVD this December". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved September 9, 2012.
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- "Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation - Volume 1". TV Shows on DVD. 4 September 2012. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
- "Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation - Volume 2". TV Shows on DVD. 4 December 2012. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
- "Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation - East Meets West". TV Shows on DVD. 4 March 2014. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
- "Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation - Turtle Power". TV Shows on DVD. 5 August 2014. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
- Allstetter, Rob (August 1997). "The Turtles Get a Gal". Wizard (72). p. 120.
- RTÉ Guide: 10–16. December 1998. Missing or empty
- Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation at the Internet Movie Database
- NextMutation.com, unofficial Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation site with forum.
- NinjaTurtles.com, the official TMNT website.
- Henshin! Talk, a message board to discuss Superhero shows.
- Ninja Turtle Games