Forget Michael Bay. These guys are the OG big-screen Turtles!
These are the Turtles I grew up with. Sure, I watched the (original) cartoon, too, but my heart belonged to the Jim Henson Shop version of my favorite reptiles. They're funny, but feel real and somehow relatable even though the concept of anthropomorphized mutant turtles practicing ninjitsu and fighting a walking cheese grater is absolutely ludicrous.
These characters—including April, Casey, and the Turtles' father figure, Master Splinter—were a big comfort for me growing up. A favorite subject of make-believe, of daydreams and creative writing. In high school in a rural town, completely friendless, I turned to the internet and soon found others with the same love of the franchise. That community helped get me through a difficult adolescence and connected me with some of my best and longest-lasting friendships, friendships that persist to this day!
I don't hate the Michael Bay Turtles—the movies entertained me even when they made no damn sense—and I've enjoyed the different versions of the animated Turtles, too (the 2003 series remains my favorite), but the original movie trilogy (even if the third one is a little... silly) will always be my favorite. 2007's TMNT deserves an honorable mention for a damn fun time, too, though (and an awesome soundtrack).