Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003 TV series)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Genre Animated television series
Science fiction
Martial arts
Based on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
by Kevin Eastman
Peter Laird
Developed by Lloyd Goldfine
Voices of Michael Sinterniklaas
Wayne Grayson
Sam Riegel
Greg Abbey
Darren Dunstan
Veronica Taylor
Marc Thompson
Scottie Ray
Scott Williams
Karen Neil
Greg Carey
David Zen Mansley
Theme music composer Norman J. Grossfeld
Russell Velazquez
Composer(s) Ralph Schuckett
Rusty Andrews
John Angier
Mark Breeding
Louis Cortelezzi
Joel Douek
John Petersen
Pete Scaturro
John Siegler
John Van Tongeren
Russel Velazquez
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 7
No. of episodes 157 (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Gary Richardson
Frederick U. Fierst
Alfred R. Khan
Norman F. Grossfeld
Tom Kenney
Producer(s) JoEllyn Marlow
Running time 21–23 minutes
Production company(s) Mirage Studios
4Kids Entertainment
Dong Woo Animation
Distributor Viacom Media Networks
Paramount Television
Original network 4Kids TV (season 16)
The CW4Kids (season 7)
Original release February 8, 2003 (2003-02-08) – March 27, 2010 (2010-03-27) (UK, Ireland, & Australia)
August 2, 2015 (2015-08-02) (US & Canada)
Preceded by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987 TV series)
Followed by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012 TV series)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (also known as TMNT 2003) is an American animation television series, based on the comic book characters of the same name. The series is mainly set in New York City. It first aired on February 8, 2003 and ended on March 27, 2010 in the UK, Ireland, and Australia and August 2, 2015 in the US and Canada. The series marked the revival of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as a Saturday-morning cartoon on Fox's Fox Box programming block (later known as 4Kids TV).

The 2003 TMNT TV series was produced by 4Kids Entertainment, and Mirage Studios,[1] which co-owned rights to the show,[2] and animated by Dong Woo Animation.[3] The series migrated to The CW4Kids in its final season after 4Kids's contract with Fox ended. Nickelodeon now owns the rights to this and any future Turtles series. Nickelodeon broadcast the series occasionally on their channel and Nicktoons normally during marathons for the TMNT series.


In the 2003 TV series, the four Turtles' personalities are in some ways different from the 1987 TV series in an attempt to follow the Mirage Comics versions of the characters more closely. All the characters are more complex individuals, and the Turtles have a stronger family bond. The tone is also somewhat more serious with a greater emphasis on action. The show does not feature nearly as much slapstick comedy or heavy puns as its animated predecessor, and the only turtle to use surfer slang is Michelangelo. The 2003 series also features magical powers absent from the earlier incarnation. Leonardo and Raphael often pick fights with each other, Michelangelo is now very obsessed with being cool and famous, and Donatello seems to take his inventions more seriously.

The series covers a large scope of the Turtles' adventures taking them from the sewers, to the streets of New York City (namely April's apartment), to the woodlands of rural New England, to outer space, alternate dimensions, to the future, and ultimately home once more. The first several seasons focus on the Turtles' battles against The Shredder and The Foot as well as the Purple Dragons, while the later seasons branch out to include other antagonists. Thus, making the stories more complex than the series that came before it.



Leonardo fighting the Foot Clan's ninjas in the 2003 TV series.

Allies and friends

Villains and enemies


Seasons breakdown

During the show's run, the format was changed several times. The original run of the first four seasons kept the Turtles in their native New York facing The Shredder, The Federation/Triceratons, and Bishop. After the fourth season the show received its first major format change in the "Ninja Tribunal" season.

Ninja Tribunal

The fifth season focused on a new threat presented by another version of the Shredder said to be the original legendary villain Oroku Saki from feudal Japan. The Turtles were then asked by the Ninja Tribunal (a group of warriors who seek to combat this ancient, "Tengu" Shredder) to train alongside several human warriors to become strong enough to battle the Shredder. This involved the Turtles gaining new weapons, learning how to channel their chi into powerful projectiles, and finding their inner animal spirit. This season marked the end of the use of the original character designs and format.

Fast Forward

The sixth season featured a brand new direction as well as a completely redesigned look and feel. The season focused on the Turtles being transported one hundred years into the future to the year 2105; where they meet and befriend Cody Jones, the great grandson of April and Casey. Cody runs a successful and influential technology company and is its sole heir. The newly formatted show saw a brighter tone than its predecessor, and focused on shorter story lines. Some of the previous shows characters did return, however, including Bishop and Baxter Stockman.

Instead of a Shredder, Sho'Kanabo, an alien from a race of parasites, was constantly trying to infect earth. He eventually is fried by sunlight. Another great change was that though Bishop was still continuing to cheat death, he was now head of a benevolent organization that ensured peace throughout the galaxy.

Back to the Sewer

The seventh season was the last of the show's run. It featured yet another redesign for the entire cast similar to the designs from the film TMNT and brought the Turtles back into present day New York. The season did feature some returning characters from the Fast Forward season. The main villain for the Turtles as they battle in a cybernetic reality is a cybernetic version of the Shredder. It was then followed by the TV special episode Turtles Forever.

Turtles Forever

Turtles Forever is a 2009 TV movie featuring the Turtles following the seventh season finale. The movie features the character designs from the seventh (Back To The Sewer) season with some minor changes (namely their eyes are entirely white). The story centers around the Turtles encountering their 1987 animated counterparts who were accidentally transported to the 2003 Turtles' dimension. Both sets of Turtles face off against the villains from both series in an attempt to prevent the Utrom Shredder from destroying all of space-time. This eventually leads them to the "Turtle Prime" dimension, wherein they encounter their Mirage Comic counterparts.


SeasonEp #First AirdateLast AirdateDigital Release
Season 1 26 February 8, 2003 November 1, 2003 TBD
Season 2 26 November 8, 2003 October 2, 2004 TBD
Season 3 26 October 9, 2004 April 23, 2005 TBD
Season 4 26 September 10, 2005 October 14, 2006 (UK, Ireland, and Australia)
August 2, 2015 (US & Canada)
Season 5 (The Lost Episodes) 12 March 24, 2007 May 3, 2008 TBD
Season 6 (Fast Forward) 26 July 29, 2006 October 27, 2007 July 29, 2015
Season 7 (Back to the Sewer) 14 September 13, 2008 March 27, 2010 July 7, 2014


Main cast

Additional voices



The show was met with favourable reviews. Currently holding a 7.7/10 on IMDb and an 8.8/10 on TV.com. The praise went towards the storytelling, development, animation and appeal to all ages.

4Kids was known for its controversial history of censoring eastern cartoons, but the show was praised also for trying to follow the dark and gritty tone of the original comics. However, due to 4Kids having to keep their ratings under PG. The show was met with criticism over the last two seasons Fast Forward and Back to the Sewer.

See also


  1. "4kids To Produce And Launch New Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Series" (PDF). 4kidsentertainment.com. May 7, 2002. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 25, 2006. Retrieved August 22, 2016.
  2. "4Kids Entertainment Annual Report 2002(Page 5)" (PDF). March 31, 2003. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 8, 2006. Retrieved August 25, 2016.
  3. "TMNT - Dongwoo Animation Official Site". Dongwoo Animation Co. Archived from the original on December 19, 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-01.
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