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Will We Ever See TMNT: The Original Animated Series On Blu-ray?

If you’ve been wondering whether or not the original animated series of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles would ever make its way to blu-ray or any other high definition format, I have both bad and good news. Let’s get the bad news out of the way first: chances are that you will never really see this animated series in actual high definition. However, the good news is that it is entirely possible to put the 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series on blu-ray.

Confused? Well, allow me to explain.

Like many of the television shows that were developed in the 80’s and 90’s, the original animated series of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was produced on video. These video masters were never high definition quality, and since the original recorded content was not in HD, we will never see it properly restored in HD. At best, we may someday see a slightly cleaner version of the series on blu-ray at a resolution of 480p.

The complete series of Samurai Pizza Cats is available in SD on blu-ray. Source: Amazon.
The complete series of Samurai Pizza Cats is available in SD on blu-ray. Source: Amazon.
There is one example of this kind of release already in existence. Currently, you can get the entire series of Samurai Pizza Cats on blu-ray, with every episode in standard definition. Why buy a blu-ray with standard definition content? Well, it allows you to save space on your shelf, for one thing. Instead of devoting a lot of shelf space to several different volumes of a television series, you could fit an entire show in one blu-ray case. For a lot of collectors who are looking to save space, this is going to be an excellent option.

Unfortunately, with the exception of Samurai Pizza Cats, we haven’t really seen any other studios or media companies taking this approach just yet. One of the reasons this hasn’t caught on is because it’s still a lot more expensive to produce something on blu-ray than it is to sell it on DVD. In addition, DVDs still sell quite well, so studios and media companies have very little reason to consider making the move to put all of their content on blu-rays.

As time goes on, the popularity of DVDs will continue to fade and blu-rays will continue to get cheaper. At some point, it will probably make sense for studios to begin considering this approach to their television series, and that will be a glorious day for those looking to save more space in their homes. Sadly, even though it is a possibility that we could see the original animated series on a high definition format, we’re more than likely never going to actually see the show in high definition.

The Party Wagon set featuring the complete original animated series on DVD. Source: Amazon.
The Party Wagon set featuring the complete original animated series on DVD. Source: Amazon.

Hopefully this answers some questions for fans who have been wondering about when they can expect to see the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon on blu-ray. Sadly, we still have no idea when Nickelodeon will get around to putting their TMNT series on a high definition format. As if that weren’t bad enough, we’re still waiting to see the full 4Kids series released on any format, and there’s no telling when or if that will ever even happen.

We have high hopes for the future, but sometimes you have to ask if the owners of this content know what they are doing. There’s a phrase in show business that is known as “leaving money on the table.” It’s always a bad idea to do this, and Viacom has been doing it with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise ever since they bought the rights several years ago. Thankfully, I believe that Fred Wolf still owns the rights to the original animated series, so it’s still entirely possible that we could see the ’87 series spread across a few blu-ray discs at some point in the future.

What do you think? Would you buy the entire original animated series on blu-ray even if it was only in standard definition? Do you prefer to save shelf space or to have big, luxurious box sets on your shelf? Let us know your thoughts on this issue in the comments below or via facebook/twitter.

The Author

Justin W

Justin W

My name is Justin Wren and I love to write about the TMNT! I've been a big Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan since the late 80's. Back then, I would watch the original animated series and play with the Playmates toys all the time. I have been following the boys ever since I was a kid, and I'm very happy to see them back in the limelight after all these years. Needless to say, I'm proud to be a member of the team on this awesome TMNT Fan Site!

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