First of all, I like the original comics AND the old cartoon. They're related in the sense that both feature anthropomorphic, talking turtles who practice ninjutsu, but otherwise worlds apart. There's been a couple new cartoon shows, but the original one is the best. That's right, even with the ridiculous dialogue (cowabunga, anyone), and the utter lack of weapons use, it's a good show. How they became so enamored with pizza is anyone's guess, but that shit was marketed on a level that will probably never be approached in my lifetime. 25 YEARS later, you can still find TMNT on anything you can think of. And people still buy it. I suppose it's the same for Superman, Batman, Spiderman, etc. What kid doesn't want a Spiderman-themed birthday party? Next year, TMNT-themed.
Now, the comic on the other hand...quite frankly, it destroys any "gritty" crap Marvel came out with in the 80s and 90s. Yeah, yeah, Punisher fanboys are screaming at me right now...so what. The TMNT would have kicked his ass. In the first issue they kill the Shredder, in the second they're battling Baxter Stockman's mousers, and by the fourth and fifth, fighting TCRI aliens and jumping light years across the universe. In a couple more issues, at odds with a literal time-lordish demon. Just a great, great comic with an absurd premise that works incredibly well. I say absurd, but how are mutated turtles any more ridiculous than a character who can heal insanely fast and had adamantium bonded to his bones? Plus, the turtles kill shit. All the time. They stab and flay and totally fuck up anyone who gets in their way. One of them is a computer programmer nerd ninja...another one is a marginal psychopath with sociopathic tendencies. Somehow they work on the same team.
The movies...I'll admit I was the first in line to see the original. I was not pleased. The second I saw at the dollar theater and tried my best to ignore the Vanilla Ice rap. It wasn't on the same level as something like Mac and Me's McDonald's dance sequence, but was still pretty awful. At least they picked a better looking actress to be April O'Neil. What's humorous to me is that in the comics, April is probably mulatto or something and Stockman is a black dude, but in the cartoons and movies they're both white. I suppose it doesn't matter, but Black Baxter was such a kickass villain compared to the dorky nerd they had in the cartoon. It was like making Lex Luthor into Harpo Marx or something. Comic relief for its own sake. So then the third movie comes out and I didn't see that piece of crap and probably never will because it looked stupid as hell. First of all, ninjas dressed as samurai? I heard they don't even fight, which is dumb as it gets. The animated TMNT movie that came out a few years ago, I was actually surprised; it was decent, almost good. Another one is slated for this or next year, maybe it'll be better.
What I'd like to see is an animated series based purely on the original comics. Maybe up to issue 20. That's a good two-three years worth of shows right there, and it would be awesome. "Not for kids", even though as a kid I would have loved every second of it. Ditch the rainbow colored headbands (they're all red, by the way...and the comic is black-and-white, which means you had to use context to tell which turtle was which, meaning their personalities were extremely well developed), stupid pizza-loving nonsense and get back to killing Foot and fucking up cross-dimensional entities.
Almost forgot to mention something rpg-related...the Palladium TMNT rpg was literally the second rpg I ever purchased, right after D&D. Say whatever you want about Palladium rpgs in general, this game is pretty damn good. The quirky mutation rules and combat system complement to comics pretty well, and the writing is honestly better than most rpgs I've read since. Transdimensional TMNT is one of my favorite rpg books just because of the inherent weirdness contained within..."And Other Strangeness" is the tagline of the original game, and it fits.