Thursday, October 1, 2009

Power Rangers Season by Season

Like I have done in my master blog Spanengrish Ramblings with shows like The Simpsons, South Park and Sabrina the Teenage Witch, rating and reviewing each season, I thought I'd do the same with Power Rangers. I started writing this 9/22/09.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Season 1 (1993-1994)
This season being the first one, was about beginnings, learning things, facing fears (Trini with heights, Billy with fish and Zack with so many things), loosing your mentor (when Tommy cut communication with Zordon), loosing a friend (when Tommy lost his powers), first love, dealing with parents' divorce (Kimberly), and redemption (Tommy). Yes, it was simple and sometimes footage didn't match but everyone loves this season. It got us hooked. Also Bulk and Skull were at their classic.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Season 2 (1994-1995)They got to a good start, they got us hooked once again with Lord Zedd, a new set (Lord Zedd's), new zords, the Rangers without their helmets in the Command Center and Tommy becoming the White Ranger. Things turned for a turn for the the drama behind the scenes---three actors fired and replaced, confusing footage that didn't match and the filming of the movie in Australia brought episodes of re-used monsters. But at least, Rita and Zedd got married, which made fans happy.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Season 3 (1995-1996)Even with the mild success of the movie, fans lost interest by season 3. It was just a bit uneven. What with Rita making another teenager 'evil' and making a Ranger loose their power, Lord Zedd lost his sting, it was just more of the same and less exciting. Kim left, Kat became a Ranger, and there was the infamous mini-series of the Alien Rangers. While some fans enjoyed the mini-series, there were still a lot of inconsistencies with the zords since the Alien Rangers were actually the original owners of the machines in Japan as the Kakurangers. And the 'Shogun Megazord' was the first robo and the 'Ninja Megazord' was the second, so the monsters were flip-flopped. And the grunts were replaced by the Tengu from the movie, renamed the Tengas. I think what also upset fans was that the movie was not canon and the story was retold. And Ninjor's Duddly Do-right voice didn't help.

Power Rangers Zeo (Season 4, April - November 1996)
Alien Ranger saga was a prelude to Zeo as the Rangers (as children) had to find the different parts of the Zeo crystal to make the crystal. I was not fond of this season, I found it a bit boring but many fans still enjoy it. I felt it had a big build-up with no big finale. I think each early season needed a proper finale. Jason coming back was interesting. Many fans felt they weren't going to happy with Lord Zedd and Rita being replaced, but they were in many of the episodes. I personally liked the Machine Empire. Auric's plot went no where and Tanya was interesting, but not much character development was made. She got her parents back, but then we never saw them again. The season was about changes, acceptance, differences and mysteries. There were 50 episodes, no finale and Saban got the rights to the Ohranger vs. Kakuranger teamup and Ohranger movie, which I heard was a lot of money to put in the budget. Movies and teamup footage from the original Super Sentai were barely ever used again in future seasons.

Power Rangers Turbo (Season 5; 1997)
At 45 episodes, it told a precise story. With the Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie, it continued on to tell the story of our favorite heroes graduating and moving on. What didn't help this season was the unpopularity of Justin to older fans and the goofy monsters (courtesy of Carranger, which was a spoof to Sentai). My friend who was now 20 and was a kid at the time, he loved Justin, he saw himself as Justin. And with switching of writers--Judd Lynn got in control until Time Force, plot points we had in the first half of the season were dropped like Divatox being Dimitria's twin sister (they were playing by the same actress until the actress who played her in the movie returned from maternity leave) and Phantom Ranger's identity. This season was about new discoveries, new beginnings, changes, appearances that may be deceiving, mysteries and saying goodbye to those you love.

Power Rangers in Space (Season Six; 1998)
The most beloved season, in a natural progression, since the bad guys were space aliens, it would only be natural that the Rangers go into space. They went in search of Zordon, even though we never saw them interact with Zordon. But it was alluded to that Zordon picked Andros and Zhane. Anyhoo, the central emotional plot was between Andros looking for his sister and his sister being the villainess Astronema, stolen as a child and brainwashed. We were given a central villain to all the past villains and in the finale, it was a grand finale to the past six seasons and wrapped everything in a nice little bow. I know, like everyone else, enjoyed seeing Blue Senturion, Phantom Ranger, Alien Rangers, and Gold Ranger fighting different forces on other planets. Also cool was the Psycho Rangers and Ninja Turtles (Even though they didn't use the same voices from their show New Mutation). Bad parts were the first part of the season, but I think they were still trying to gain momentum. I think, without question, the second part is the best. This season was about being away from home, different cultures, accepting others, fish out of water, nature vs. nurture, revenge, sacrifices, family, and the gray area.

Power Rangers Lost Galaxy (Season 7; 1999)
The most ambitious season (lifting into space on the huge multi-dome clustered space station TerraVenture) completely steering clear from original Sentai series Gingaman, well not completely (kept the suits and how they moved--hunched over). I personally like this season, some didn't. There is still debate if this was set in the far future or in 1999 and if Zordon's wave effected all the space aliens or if Scorpius was from the Lost Galaxy. It was the first to have a completely new cast, but was not completely unrelated from past seasons (the presence of Bulk, Alpha, Karone, and the Astro Megaship). As everyone knows Varlie Vernon, Kendrix (left) became sick and had to be replaced. Kendrix temporarily died, being the first Ranger to ever die. There were some uneven things about the season, okay, let's admit--a lot of inconsistencies! Such as Mike falling into the center of Mironi and then appearing on another planet or sometimes being referenced to being inside TerraVenture and blurriness to who was from the Lost Galaxy and size differences (Torozord blocking a portal for TerraVenture to fit in, when Torozord could fit inside), etc. This season was about loss, foreignness, revenge, acceptance, redemption, discovery, taking responsibility for errors, family, and togetherness.

Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue (Season 8; 2000)
The first season to be completely unrelated to the past seasons, other than the teamup with Lost Galaxy (which used footage from GoGo Five vs. Gingaman and was in 3-D). The characters like Joel and Ms. Fairweather won fans over. This was also the first season to not deal with space aliens--demons in this case and to have a Ranger exclusive to Power Rangers that was not in the footage, the Titanium Ranger. I personally found GoGo Five boring and Lightspeed a bit more tolerable. It was serious, but more open to standalone episodes. This season was about family, taking responsibility for actions, forgiveness, betrayal, and never giving up.

Power Rangers Time Force (Season 9; 2001)
Yet another beloved season, because it was handled properly and stayed true to the counterpart Timeranger (which was well written) and with its new plots, it dealt with it well. Ransik was a new addition and was the notion of mutants, where as in Timeranger, they were aliens. Timeranger was set in 2000, Time Force was set in 2001 but the people from the future were still from the year 3000. Time Force couldn't deal with some things like death, Time Blue of Timeranger was dying of a disease and Time Fire (Quantum's counterpart) died. All in all, it was handled well and was a good season. There were still some things fans weren't thrilled with, like Jen not kissing Wes. This season was about accepting others, letting go emotions, revenge, acceptance, not underestimating others, making your own destiny, teamwork and love.

Power Rangers Wild Force (Season 10; 2002)
The tenth season, with not only one teamup but two teamups, which was not even done in their Sentai counterpart Gaoranger. Gaoranger was the 25th anniversary and Wild Force was the 10th anniversary. Saban had owned part of Fox Kids and Fox Family by this time and Disney bought this all in this package, along with Power Rangers. Hence, Fox Family became ABC Family; Fox Kids ended and half of this season aired on Fox Kids and the other half on ABC Kids. All of it aired on ABC Family. This was the last season to be filmed in the United States and use the original crew. Everyone was laid off, Disney had gain control mid-way in pre-production. Some consider this a Disney season. As season of belonging somewhere, destiny, ecology, pride, redemption, revenge, forgiveness, and you guessed it---never giving up.

Disney Era
Power Rangers Ninja Storm (Season 11; 2003)
This was a risky season, having the characters with 'hip lingo' such as 'phat,' 'whack,' etc. It was the first season filmed in New Zealand and many Australian and Kiwi accents slipped. It also threatened to be non-canon, re-introducing people to Power Rangers. The first season to be completely under control by Disney. This season was about believing in yourself, not letting the past change your future, learning, staying on task, revenge, and family. Because of costs, budget and cast negotiations, a team-up with Wild Force did not happen. It was two episodes shorter than the last season in season length.

Power Rangers Dino Thunder (Season 12; 2004)
Because Abaranger was about dinosaurs, Disney decided to bring Jason David Frank back as Tommy Oliver and have nostalgia to the first season. Abaranger had no tie to Zyuranger, the series that was used for the first season. This season had three young Rangers and one evil Ranger. Even though it had shadows of MMPR but dealt with issues like working together, redemption, revenge, taking responsibility for actions, acceptance, obligations, making parents happy, betrayal and when things look bad, never backing down. I don't consider it a 'rip-off' of MMPR (yes, some people believe this), it was a re-invention and the villains were considerably different. Mesogog was very dark, in the vain of Lord Zedd but different since he had two personalities. Executive Produced by old-time Power Ranger writer Doug Sloan.

Power Rangers S.P.D. (Season 13; 2005)
The most popular of the Disney series, I think it is because of its stand-alone episodes, episodic nature if you will. The cast was North-American, some from Canada and Monica May (Z) from the U.S.A. Well, except for John Tui (Doggie Cruger). Emperor Grumm is a fan-favorite, rumblings of Lord Zedd was mentioned. This season was about growing up more than anything, with Sky wanting to live up to his dad's legacy, Jack learning to obey authority, Z wanting to be part of something bigger and in the end, and Sky learning to accept a female as his leader. This season was the first to have the most rangers: 14; the first female Red Ranger--Charlie; the first evil rangers to be truly evil and not under a spell. What fans did not like was that the sixth ranger Sam was a ball of light, mostly because of budgetary reason that they couldn't hire anyone new. This was the first season for Bruce Kalish to run, having previously written for Dino Thunder. He started the tradition of having episode titles be one word and with each season, adding a word. For example: Mystic Force had two word titles, PROO had three word titles, and PRJF had four word titles.

Power Rangers Mystic Force (Season 14; 2006)
A season about family, discovering who you are, knowing what you are made of, believing in things you did not believe before, and forgiving people. Udonna was the first female mentor to also be a Ranger. And Koragg was the first Ranger-like ally to be a villain. Many fans did not like this season, I was fine with it. It was the first season to not only have the shortest episode count, at 32 episodes, but it had no teamup because of budget reasons. Piggy (SPD) did appear in one episode. I did find it a bit rushed, every season kind of felt like that, but since last season was episodic, I think Bruce Kalish was still getting the momentum of getting back into an arc.

Power Rangers Operation Overdrive (Season 15; 2007)
While the counterpart Boukenger was the 30th anniversary of Super Sentai, this was the 15th anniversary of Operation Overdrive and we got a teamup with five Rangers from the past, four from the past Disney seasons and one being Johnny Young Bosch as Adam, reprising his role from MMPR. No one liked this season, I didn't even like it (bad acting, unlikable characters). This is the last season to have a Battlizer and second season to have a Black Ranger being a Black actor. I did like Mac being an android.

Power Rangers Jungle Fury (Season 16; 2008)
This season had well-written dialogue but arc-wise, was not as great. It was during the writer's strike, so some 'scabs' wrote some episodes of the Phantom Beasts arc (Rumor is Judd Lynn did some of the 'scab work' meaning doing work without being in the writer's guild). This was the first season to have a Violet Ranger, which is one of my favorite things. RJ is a great character and wonderfully acted. This season was about appearances being deceiving, pride, arrogance, not overdoing things, trust, acceptance, doing things your own way, redemption, jealousy and shyness.

Power Rangers RPM (Season 17; 2009)
Bruce Kalish's contract ended and he went to executive produce Aaron Stone. Eddie Guzellan reinvented Power Rangers in a post-apocalyptic world. He was let go because of the higher-ups had problems with him, rumors say. Judd Lynn, who worked with PR since MMPR, ran the shows from Turbo to Time Force, came back to run RPM. Fans just love it, including me. Themes in this season include solitary, redemption, making up for the past, forgetting the past, self-improvement, doing the right thing, death, dealing with loss, love, family, togetherness, never giving up and moving on. Yes, Dillon and Summer didn't kiss, in the grand tradition of Jen and Wes, but don't we all deserve a bit of mystery? It was truly a way to go out with a bang.


Anonymous said...

The one thing that has driven me crazy about RPM is that like Ninja Storm, the accents slip all the time. Ranger Series Red and Series Blue lose/gain accents constantly.

Anonymous said...

An insightfull post. Will definitely help.

Karim - Positive thinking

Anonymous said...

i like overdrive mostly because of the zords and mac being a robot everyone else wasn't that interesting they kinda reminded me of alot of other disney characters

Anonymous said...

Anyone know if a Bobby Vavla was actually a Power Ranger? He says he was skull but skull was played by Narvy?

just wondering if the story is true or false is all.

Lavender Ranger said...

Jason Navy played Skull. Who is Bobby Vavla?

Anonymous said...

Bobby Vavla was the original Skull. Then he was replaced by Jason Narvy. You can see Bobby Vavla on a Youtube lost episode "Day of the Dumpster"

Anonymous said...

Mystic Force was the best season after MMPR.....and the most popular....

Anonymous said...

Great post. I think my favourite season was Lightspeed (mainly because of Chad. His fighting scenes were really awesome).
I think Mystic Force wasted some good plots and scenes from Magiranger (Tsubasa gunning down Cyclops with the DialRod Bowgun for example)

Unknown said...

I like Operation Overdrive. I liked how its premiere episode went(All five rangers moprhed, present and accounted for! Mack was a Red Rookie but yet he was not! Also how Revline or Redline Time was used in the first episode and came full circle when five of the rangers did that move on Flurrex in the finale!). And to me, "Out of Luck" represents the lighthearted humorous misadventures
in the world of the Power Rangers!

It was Jungle Fury that I didn't like at all! But the good that did come from Jungle Fury was before when I hated Cole Evans of Wild Force now I've accepted Cole. Dominic was probably the only good character of JF. He had a Hobby(reading!)and shipping with Fran! Also for the finale "Now the Final Fury", It's inspiration for a final Beetleborgs adventure fanfic: "Mangavores & Crustations Unite!"