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2003 Cartoon

In 2003 the turtles returned in animated form under 4Kids and Mirage, along with one of the original creators, Peter Laird. Because of Laird being involved, the series would follow the comics more faithfully than the original animated series. However, a great deal of the series was still influenced by the classic series, such as the multi-colored masks and Shredder the main bad guy. The characters' origin and personalities were changed back to fit their comic versions and characters introduced in the 80s cartoon were not included. The series was also a bit darker as a result of following the comics more (though still not perfectly as the comics were still too dark at times).

The fifth season (Ninja Tribunal), was the last season for the 2003 style and some like to see it as the series finale. Fast Forward (season 6) and Back to the Sewers (season 7) were unpopular due to the lighter tone and the art style's change, which led to the series ending.