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Old 07-22-2017, 11:59 AM   #1
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How would you rank(best to worst) the different TMNT incarnations?

I apologize if this has been done before, but I have looked at the last 4 pages of both this section and the comics section and couldn't find it. But I am genuinely curious how everyone would rank the different TMNT incarnations(comics, tv series', and movies). I'm placing my rankings based mostly on personal enjoyment, but also how well I think it takes care of plot and character development...

TMNT 2003 series: I was nearly 19 when this series began. I loved the more serious take on the show and that it was closer to the source material(even though when the series had started I barely knew anything about it). Same as it Never Was is among my favorite episodes of any TMNT series.

IDW series: I personally really love the re-incarnation angle. Krang is portrayed as a far more serious threat than he is in the FW show, and even the 2K12 show. My wife is reading this series now and really enjoying it so far.

Mirage series: It was probably about 1993 or so when I first discovered the source material. I had my parents buy me a hardback collection(the first 7 issues I think). I remember really liking it, although I was confused about the Turtles killing people. Since the trade collections have come out under IDW, I have bought all of them up to this point. Aside from a lot of the "guest" issues, it's generally pretty high quality stuff. Although my own personal enjoyment with it is a bit low. I've read all of Volume 1 and some of 2. Nothing with Volume 4 and most of Tales yet.

2K12 series: Aside from Casey and that it suffers a bit from plot amnesia, this show is pretty well done for the most part. My wife's personal favorite incarnation(she's also seen the FW series, 2003 series, and all the movies at this point)

FW series: This is where it all started for me. I don't really remember specifics, but in the summer of 1989 a friend of mine brought some Turtle toys over and we played a bit with them. I started watching soon after. This quickly became my personal favorite cartoon(beating out DuckTales and Chip 'n Dale at the time) and I stuck with it until it ended. Loved that it became more serious during the "Red Sky" seasons. I had about a third of the episodes either owned or recorded before it came out on DVD.

Archie series: My first exposure with the Turtle comic books.

original movie series(1-4): TMNT III is my personal favorite.

Image series: I only read 3 of them but I really enjoyed them and eagerly awaiting it to be released in trade.

Bayturtles: Ok, I will admit to liking these to a certain extant and that the 2nd one is better by far. But there are just so many things wrong with them it's not even funny. Vernon in this version is by far the better of his 2 incarnations at least.

Next Mutation: For awhile, I couldn't decide whether to put this one at the bottom or Bayturtles. But honestly, this one would be the most challenge to watch when I start my TMNT marathon next year. There were some, I consider, great ideas that were poorly executed. Venus being one of them.

I know that some of you might consider a couple of these incarnations to be part of either the original movie series(Next Mutation) or Mirage(Image), but I consider them different enough that they're their own thing.
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Old 07-22-2017, 12:01 PM   #2
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The only two I didn't like or care for was Bayturtles and Next Mutation, everything else is good to various degrees with me.

It's hard to rank them because I like each for completely different reasons.
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Old 07-22-2017, 12:07 PM   #3
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I definitely understand that. I have problems with ranking them too, but the order I placed is pretty accurate for the moment.
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Old 07-22-2017, 12:24 PM   #4
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Well in not much of a particular order and mostly without bothering to argue why (because I don't want to think too hard on this and I want to keep the size of this post down, if you want to know my arguments just ask me):
  1. IDW and Mirage land on top of the list, leaning towards IDW being on the top.
  2. 4kids, the first movie and the fourth movie land in the second tier, leaning towards 4Kids being on the top here and the first movie being on the bottom.
  3. Archie and the Nickelodeon cartoon land in the third tier, leaning towards the Nickelodeon cartoon being on the top here.
  4. Second movie lands in the fourth tier on it's own.
  5. Third movie and first PD movie are in the fifth tier, hard to really feel my joy about either but I guess the PD movie is less boring despite all the flaws.
  6. The second PD movie and the FW cartoon land at the bottom, one makes my blood boil the other just bores and occasionally annoys me. I'm just just gonna put the second PD movie above the FW cartoon because I'd rather be angry for two hours than bored for seventy.

Next Mutation, Image, Dreamwave and the stage show falls into the "I don't have enough experience with them to judge" category.
Originally Posted by JTH View Post
Turtles is basically the red-headed stepchild of Nick.
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Old 07-22-2017, 12:31 PM   #5
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Mirage/First movie
4Kids/movies 2 and 3/Season 1 of Fred Wolf
Platinum Dunes
The rest of Fred Wolf

I haven't really read the Image comic, so I can't rate it properly.

Originally Posted by Cryomancer View Post
Mirage [is]...a comic about life and how life and the people closest to you just absolutely suck sometimes. It's "adult" in a very real sense, in that it deals with heavy themes that resonate more with adults, not that it's full of blood and titties or whatever.
Originally Posted by d_osborn View Post
[TMNT 1990 director Steve] Barron recognized the early Mirage issues as perfect storyboards. It's a shame no other filmmaker has.
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Old 07-22-2017, 01:46 PM   #6
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Interesting ... let's try this.

1990 film
2K3 Series
FW Cartoon
1991 film
1993 film

....literary anything else....

Platinum Dunes

27 years of loving everything Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.
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Old 07-22-2017, 01:54 PM   #7
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I really just like IDW
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Old 07-22-2017, 02:10 PM   #8
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Original film universe
Nicktoon/Vintage Playmates universe (tie)
Next Mutation
TMNT (2007 film)
Musical video series

Only the first 3 are concrete rankings. The rest you could kinda switch around without making too much of a difference.
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Old 07-22-2017, 02:12 PM   #9
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Ask me today and my list looks like this but ask me in a week and it could be slightly different.

second movie
first movie
Archie comics
Original toon
Nick toon
2007 movie

*only makes the list because I like some of the toy line
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Old 07-22-2017, 03:36 PM   #10
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Extremely hard for me since I love most of the versions equally in different ways. However, I find it easier to rank which medium I prefer tmnt as.

1. Animated Tv show: By far, my favourite medium of tmnt, I think it works best as an animated show. The shows we have, FW, 4Kids and Nick, rank among my top 3 favourite tmnt incarnations of all time.

2. Movies: My second favourite tmnt medium, especially when Live action. The 1990 tmnt film is my favourite, followed by Turtles Forever. I would rank the movies:
1. tmnt 1990
2. turtles forever
3. Out of the Shadows/Secret of the Ooze
4. tmnt 3 (help, im a turtle and i cant get up!)
5. tmnt 2014
6. tmnt 2007 (I dont think this is a bad movie, just dont find it as memorable as the others. Still love the CG animation, some scenes ans the nod to the original trilogy though)

3. Comics: I'm not a huge fan of comic books in general, so I'm not ranking this that high, but that doesn't mean I still can't appreciate them. I have never read IDW so I can't judge it but from what I have read of both Mirage and Archie, I find them both fascinating, the former for being the original version of tmnt and its dark themes and the latter for its unique spin on the FW turtles story and unique concepts. Of the two, I like Mirage better as I have read it more than Archie, I like the FW cartoon better than Archie and I love stories/concepts from Mirage such as Issue 1, The Return to New York and City at War. Although, its not "offical" I really liked Odyssey for being well written and thought it deserved a mention. Thank you Andrew

4. Shorts/Specials: We Wish you a Turtle Christmas, Coming out of their Shells tour, Turtle Tips, Nick tmnt summer shorts, Half Shell Heroes and every other short/special comes here. I love them for their nostalgia/corniness but they're ranked low because I prefer the "full" versions.

5. Live Action Tv shows: The Next Mutation. No Comment.

Last edited by FredWolfLeonardo; 07-22-2017 at 03:51 PM.
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Old 07-22-2017, 03:44 PM   #11
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OT = Nick



Ignorance of Mirage is ignorance of TMNT.
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Old 07-22-2017, 05:57 PM   #12
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TV series/movies:

1. 2003 series
2. Nick series and 1987 series. I would never be able to choose!
3. Secret of the Ooze
4. Original movie
5. Out of the Shadows
6. TMNT 2007
7. 2014 movie
9. Next Mutation

I have barely read any Archie, and I haven't read much at all of the New/Animated Adventures. I have read everything up to the start of Vol. 4 of Mirage/Image (but not further into Vol. 4 itself), and about half of IDW. Based on what I have seen/read, I would rank them the following way, though this could change if I ever finished all of them:

1. IDW
2. Mirage non-guest and non-Image eras
3. New/Animated Adventures
4. Archie
5. Mirage guest era
6. Image era
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Old 07-22-2017, 08:01 PM   #13
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1. IDW TMNT comics
2. Nick TMNT series
3. TMNT OT (first season) series
4. TMNT 1 movie
5. TMNT Bayturtles 1 movie
6. TMNT Bayturtles 2 Out of the Shadows movie
7. TMNT Turtles Forever tv movie
8. TMNT 2003 series
9. TMNT 2007 movie
10. TMNT 3 Turtles in Time movie
11. TMNT 2 Secret of the Ooze movie
12. TMNT Next Mutation series

Ready for TMNT in Injustice 2?
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Old 07-23-2017, 04:51 AM   #14
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I'm not sure if I can rank everything since I haven read/seen everything out there but here are some of my favorite TMNT incarnations. No TMNT incarnation is really perfect but there is some good stuff out there.


-The IDW comic.
The IDW incarnation if the turtles is probably my favorite, it's not perfect but it mixes and matches and has made its own great take with some great writing and some really great artists such as Ben Bates, Mateus Santolouco, Sophie Campbell and bunch of other ones.

-The 1990 movie.
A really great mix of the Mirage comic and the 1987 cartoon. Great costumes, great casting and a good mix of humor and action.

-1987/2003/2012 cartoons.
All three cartoons are pretty great in there own ways. Especially early on. The 1987 cartoon will always hold a special place in my heart since it is a big part of what got me inte turtles. The 2003/4kids one goes the darker route and adapts/draw inspiration from the original Mirage comic and does a good job at it. The Nick cartoon is a good cartoon that also probably has one of my favorite versions of Splinter.

-The Mirage comic.
The comic that kicked it all off. Black and White ninja action all day long.


-The Next Mutation
Haven't seen that much but what I did see was executed pretty badly.

-The Coming Out of Their Shells Tour
Some catchy tunes here and there but that's about it.

-Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III
A pretty bad movie with some fun ideas.

Last edited by dawwe; 07-23-2017 at 06:16 AM.
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Old 07-23-2017, 07:36 PM   #15
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Like dawwe, I can't rank anything due to having not seen much outside most of the visual media and two comic series. I also confess to having not got around to reading the original comics outside The River trilogy.

Anyway going on what I'm familiar with...

The Good
2003 series
2014 movie
Out of the Shadows (movie)
2007 Movie
Original Movie

What I'm neutral on
Secret of the Ooze
Next Mutation

The Bad
Original Toon
Nick Toon
Favorite incarnations: 2k3 animated series, 2014 & 2016 movies and the IDW comics.

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Old 07-24-2017, 12:49 AM   #16
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My list:

3.2k3/Turtles Forever
4.FW/Mutant Turtles: Superman Legend
5.Original Films
6.Imagi Film
8.Next Mutation

I don't count any of the comic/manga versions of some of these as those aren't really their own incarnations and I didn't list the PD films because they're dead to me.

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Old 07-24-2017, 01:07 AM   #17
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Of the ones I've seen?

IDW (I could go on and on about this)

Tales of the TMNT Mirage (I like how deeply independant the issues are, even if some string together and side characters aren't fully developed and stories that aren't finished. Obligado is probably the only Utrom in the entirety of the Mirage collection that has a more distinct persona from the others, and they just...left us hanging)

2003 (the first attempt to revive the "seriousness" of the original series, but deflates with Ch'rell falling into Villain Sue territory, and wimping out on Karai's end of taking up his mantle. It would have made a great learning experience for her, and maybe even Leonardo to some extent, who was pretty pushy on her with his whole "BUT YUR HONOR" schtick.)

FW (I personally don't see the "pizza obsessed gnarly sewer dood" generalization this show gets, save for maybe commercials in the late 90's. They kind of strike me more as looking utter absurdity in the eye and saying "Welp, I guess this is how we're spending the afternoon." Which I'd actually like to see more of...unfortunately, that's not the way things have ended up)

2012 TMNT (So many good ideas, yet so many that were utterly wasted)

Main Series Mirage (It just never managed to engage me?)

FW-based mangas (What was with the fairies???)
Resident Overthinker of Inconsequential Biology

To my DeviantArt

Last edited by Utrommaniac; 07-24-2017 at 01:21 AM.
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Old 07-24-2017, 01:07 AM   #18
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1. Mirage.
2. The four movies.
3. Fred Wolf series.

Everything else is some kind of weird jambalaya mix-and-mash of the above. There hasn't really been anything distinctly unique beyond these three.

Props to Archie, though. They steered their own ship.
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Old 07-24-2017, 02:25 AM   #19
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I'll group everything related together and that will drop some incarnations from what would otherwise be their rightfull place, will indicate why on each of them):

- IDW (everything great from past versions with 100% more awesomeness)
- Archie (Just have a soft spot for this one since I grew up with them, still hold up today)
- 4Kids (The Ninja Tribunal and Back to the Sewers prevent this one from being number one)
- 90's movies (third movie and TMNT drop this one from first place as well)
- Mirage/Image (99% of the guest era and the lack of a ending drop this one hard, would probably be first right next to 4kids and the original movies)
- Nick (brought the boys back into my life)
- Bay movies (only because the ones bellow this I don't really like, and I mean AT ALL or else this one would be lower)
- FW (it's not lower because the first 5 episodes are actually enjoyable, and it saddens me because this is my entry point into the property, have my favorite design for the boys and April and was my entire childhood)
- Next Mutation (only enjoyed a handfull of characters, and only one of those is one of the boys, red flags all around if I only like 1/4 of the main team)
- Dreamwave (it's just nothing)
Life at best is bittersweet
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Old 07-24-2017, 07:34 AM   #20
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Top Tier (Best of the Best)
1 – IDW Comics (Combination of the BEST of all Turtle-verses; do I need to explain!!!)
2 - 4Kids (First 5 seasons are the best)
3 - 90's movies (First two and TMNT are the best)
4 – Archie Comics (Nice branch-off of FW; Mutanimals, Null, the Future Shark Trilogy; need I say more?)
Middle Tier (Honorary Mention)
5 – FW (Seasons 1, 2, 7, and 8 will always be my favourites; set the stage for characters like Krang, Bebop and Rocksteady to become bigger characters in later universes)
6 – Mirage Comics (Volume 1 will always be the best; just remove the guest era. Volumes 2-4 felt rather… off)
7 - Nick (Don’t get me wrong, the cast and animation is fantastic! But after Season 1, something felt… off! Too many villains/ mutants-of-the-week, Shredder and the Kraang felt too one-dimensional in places, and we have yet to see April’s mother storyline completed)
Lower Tier (Left alot to be Desired)
8 - Bay movies (Long story short; Right idea, wrong calibre)
9 - Next Mutation (Just… Meh)
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