After the success of the live action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles films Saban Entertainment, creator of the Power Rangers, brought the ninjas to the small screen with a live action series Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation that ran from 1997-1998.
While it was touted as a continuation of the 1987 animated series, it actually followed more closely to the live action films storylines, even living in the same abandoned train station from the second and third films in the franchise. In reality it seems as this TV show had created a universe of its own with the return of Shredder still intact, no April or Casey Jones, a new enemy named The Dragon Lord, and the introduction of a female turtle named Venus de Milo.
Unlike the movies that had a darker approach, this series was clearly meant for the younger audiences with wacky sound effects, zany humor and over the top stories. Much like the early Power Rangers series, Ninja Turtles showcased over the top villains as well as some lower budget effects. The turtle designs are somewhat the same, with some details changed here and there, most notably their massive muscle tone. The inclusion of the female turtle obviously won’t sit well with hardcore fans, but is understood to try and attract the girl audience to an otherwise boy focused series. Although, you think it would have made more sense to just keep the popular April O’Neil character, but clearly wanted to capitalize on the female hero instead. While this show doesn’t hold up all-that well for the older fans, it is a fun attempt at the concept for smaller kids. With these later episodes they seemed to get a bit better with the fight choreography and moved the stories along to make them a bit more entertaining than the first 13.
Now for the first time ever you can get the final 13 episodes on DVD thanks to Shout Factory. While this is far from a perfect series this short lived series could be just the thing for hardcore collectors as well as a fun introduction to the smaller new generation of fans. In addition to the final episodes this DVD also features the Power Rangers cross over episodes “Save Our Ship” and “Shell Shocked”. While this series may not be for everyone can you really pass up a chance to see the Turtles and Power Rangers in action together?
Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation Volume Two is available now on DVD from Shout Factory.
For more information or to pick up a copy head over towww.shoutfactory.com