What Parents Need to Know About ‘Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’

Embrace the Turtle Power.


After the pilot debuted this summer, Rise of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles returns to Nickelodeon this week, hoping to get a brand new generation of TV viewers to embrace Turtle Power. But while parents surely want to introduce their kids to the hilarious and thrilling antics of Michelangelo, Raphael, Donatello, and Leonardo, they may want to make sure the show won’t scar their kids for life. So here is everything you need to know before diving into the newest iteration of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

What Makes Rise Different?

As the title suggests, the primary way Rise sets itself apart from previous iterations is that it focuses on the turtles as they transform from your run-of-the-mill teenage mutant turtles to ass-kicking teenage mutant ninja turtles. They’re a little bit younger and seem to be discovering who they are, including discovering their signature outfits and weapons. The show also messes a bit with the turtle’s general mythology but that’s pretty common in the turtleverse so it probably won’t throw anyone too much. The most notable change is the animation, as the show looks absolutely stunning. Seriously, just watch the theme song and be amazed at these visuals, especially in comparison to previous versions, which have been downright hideous.

The strangest change is that all four of the turtles have almost identical personalities. Usually, Mikey, Raph, Leo, and Don all have very distinct character traits that set them apart but in Rise, they feel surprisingly interchangeable. In fact, all four seem to be modeled after laid-back party guy Michelangelo, as even the usually brooding Raphael is constantly cracking wise and seems like he is an episode or two away from shouting, “Cowabunga!” It’s an odd choice that diminishes what makes the characters so special and hopefully, as the show progresses, the four begin to grow into their unique personalities.

Can My Kid Watch Rise?

The show is similar to most existing TMNT properties in that it’s not really appropriate for young kids but it should be fine for older kids. There is some violence but the fighting is never graphic or bloody in a way that young viewers will find disturbing. Some of the humor can also be snarky, which parents may not want to expose younger kids to but on the whole, Rise keeps its entire tone incredibly light and fun in a way that most kids around eight and up will enjoy.

Where Can You Watch Rise?

You can watch it on Nickelodeon. Make sure to check your local listings, because the times may vary. You can currently stream the first five episodes on Nickelodeon’s website for free.

Why Are the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Still Around?

Say what you will about Turtle Power but there is no denying that these four have put together a remarkable run since their first comic was released back 1984. They have been the subject of TV shows, movies, comics, video games, and, of course, an infinite sea of merchandise. Given how fickle culture can be, especially kid’s entertainment, it’s worth asking how exactly these pizza-loving anthropomorphic turtles have managed to not just survive but thrive for more than three decades.

To state the obvious, the key to the success of the franchise comes from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles themselves. While the four function together as a crime-fighting team to keep the streets of New York safe, each one of the four members has their own distinct personality that is easy to identify thanks to their personalized colors and weapons.Yes, turtles fighting is cool as hell and their love of pizza and surfer slang is bitchin but at the end of the day, TMNT endures because kids can often find themselves in one of these ass-kicking amphibians.

Leonardo has a blue mask, two Ninjatos, and is the duty-bound leader of the gang. Donatello prefers purple, fights with a bo staff, and is the brains of the group who loves making gadgets. Raphael rocks red, wields twin sai, and is the strongest, most temperamental ninja. And, finally, Michelangelo wears orange, fights with nunchucks, and is the lovable goofball. It’s like the four Hogwarts houses boiled down to simplified versions that even the youngest of kids can understand.