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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 from Mirage Studios' Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. As of September 16, 2011, the series is currently distributed by Saban Brands and MarVista Entertainment, 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 censorship ruling.
Crossover with Power RangersEditOutside 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.