This Friday, one of my oldest childhood fantasies comes true. The Power Rangers are coming to the big screen! On March 24th, the Mighty Morphing Power Rangers will be the first Rangers to be on screen during this new age of cinema. It makes sense these are the first Rangers because they are the first Rangers. Explosions and technology. Two things that have defined the Power Rangers series, but the show was always ahead of its time. Yes, the effects and choreography have been cheesy throughout most of the show, but that’s not why I still like Power Rangers today. As a kid, you love the colors and the Zords, but now that I’m older, I appreciate Power Rangers even more. One word. Authenticity. Power Rangers as a series has a soul. These shows sent me on a rollercoaster of emotions as the years went on. The themes usually mirrored each other each season, but they were always rich. Friendship, teamwork, hard work, and being yourself. Those are some of the core values I learned watching Power Rangers. Some shows today don’t stand for anything. Movies too. One example is Transformers. As much as I love the look and effects in those films, they attempt to touch on human nature, but by the end, it’s all about the explosions. Not to mention Michael Bay’s obsession with sexual and racial humor. I bring up Transformers because that style of film has become popular since the first film was released. Another example is The Fast and Furious franchise. This one is a bit more convincing than Transformers. Sure, they say the word “family” ten million times, but those films aren’t really about anything. Power Rangers is one of those properties that can easily fall victim to the explosions and effects disease. From everything I’ve seen though, I don’t think this upcoming Power Rangers film will succumb to those tired clichés.
Today, I want to talk about my TOP 3 Power Rangers shows. There have been dozens of Power Rangers shows and everyone has their favorite. Spoiler alert, Mighty Morphing isn’t on this list. I like them, but they aren’t my favorite. This is my opinion and I’m basing this on three criteria. Cast, Plot, and Villains. If the cinematic universe they’re planning to build resembles these shows in any way, I think the Power Rangers will be here to stay. Also, this isn’t a list. After thinking about it, I simply can’t choose between these three. All of them have a special place in my heart and I hope to see them all on the big screen one day.
Power Rangers in Space
I don’t think there’s a surprise here. If you’re a Power Rangers fan, and don’t like Power Rangers in Space, I doubt your sanity. This was one of the most innovative versions of the Rangers yet. The story took place after Power Rangers Turbo. The Turbo Rangers, TJ, Carlos, Ashley, and Cassie have left Earth. They’re powerless. This is a huge reason why this is one of my favorites. It’s one of the darkest Ranger stories yet. We hardly see a show start with our heroes in complete shambles. The former Turbo Rangers are searching for Zordon, their mentor and leader, who was taken by a villain named the Dark Scepter. I’m a sucker for space travel and science fiction, and this version of the Rangers took a chance by expanding the genre.
The best thing about this show is Andros. He’s a human from the planet KO-35 who has never lived on Earth. He’s the Space Red Ranger. When we first see Andros, he’s infiltrating a villain’s dinner. That’s right, by himself. Andros is one of, if not the most, skilled Red Ranger ever. He spent most of his career by himself, spying on villains, and looking for his sister, Karone, who was kidnapped when they were kids. Andros encounters the former Turbo Rangers, and soon, they become the Space Rangers!
This show was one of the most consistent. Every episode felt important to the overall show, and every member of this cast is enjoyable. The one thing I don’t like about this show is TJ being demoted to the Blue Ranger, but the character arc of Andros makes up for it. His character development is flawless. I think the main reason this show flowed so well was the flip between Earth and Space. While not searching for Zordon, the Space Rangers have to protect Earth from the show’s main villains.
As I said earlier, this show took some dark turns, especially towards the end. When we first meet Andros, he’s such a recluse, he’s almost not even human. He doesn’t understand Earth culture, or even human culture for that matter because his entire life has been plagued by war and suffering. As the show goes on, he learns to have fun and even develops a relationship with Ashley, the yellow ranger, but his goal in life has always been to find his sister. In one episode, he finds out that his sister is in fact Astronema, the main villain. She’s a brutal queen of evil who is powerful with dark magic. While she wasn’t my favorite villain in a Power Rangers show, the fact they decided to make her the younger sibling of Andros, is brilliant. This creates tension throughout the season for both characters. Then at one point, when Astronema comes to terms with her former life, her brain is wiped again. Heartbreaking. The best part of this show comes in the finale. The development of Andros comes full circle as he’s forced to make the hardest decision ANY Power Ranger has ever had to make. Power Rangers in Space has one of the most emotional endings when Andros finds Zordon. The evil forces will win unless Andros kills Zordon. Killing Zordon will release a good energy that will eradicate all evil. But Andros has to be the one to do it. Being a good person, Andros can’t kill his hero and mentor. He refuses. Just as he says no, Astronema bursts through the door hellbent on killing Andros. She’s completely brainwashed and doesn’t want to hear anything about Karone. Astronema gets the upper hand and tries to kill Andros. But her blast ricochets and kills her instead. Heartbroken, Andros runs out of time and is forced to kill Zordon. One of the best Power Rangers moments ever! The energy from Zordon eventually revives Astronema and she becomes Karone again. Finally reunited with Andros.
The other cast members in this show are master class. While Andros was the main character, the former Turbo Rangers hold their own during this season. But, the main reason this remains one of my favorites is the development of Andros and Karone. A dark, science fiction family struggle that Power Rangers didn’t need to show, but I’m glad they did.
PS- This season also saw the introduction of the Psycho Rangers. They were created by Astronema and were possibly the best anti-Ranger squad ever.
Power Rangers Lost Galaxy
One thing I enjoy about connected universes is the ability to connect shows or movies while still making whatever show or movie you’re focused on unique. Lost Galaxy is a perfect example of that. This show takes place after Space. The creators established the idea of interstellar travel and they ran with it in this show. I love that. Even with its science fiction influence, this series has a fantasy feel as well. This is the main reason it’s one of my favorites. This show looks fantastic and the suits are some of my favorite Ranger suits ever created.
This story is about the human colony Terra Venture. Unlike Space’s Red Ranger, this one is a bit more naïve and has to grow into the role. Leo, is the younger brother of Mike. Mike, Kai, and Kendrix are workers on Terra Venture and are dealing with Leo trying to smuggle onto the ship. On a distant planet called Mirinoi, a native named Maya, appears before them asking their help. The main villain of this series, Scorpius, is attempting to steal ancient swords known as the Quasar Sabers. She asks the workers for their help. Kai initially refuses but later returns with a pilot named Damon (aka the best Green Ranger ever!) As I said earlier, Power Rangers in Space laid the groundwork for this series, but seeing them take the Rangers to a different planet completely for their origin is awesome. This is where the fantasy element of the story is enhanced.
On Mirinoi, Mike is killed and Leo, the younger brother, is forced to become the Red Ranger. The other workers are able to remove their quasar sabers and the Galaxy Rangers are born! This cast is original and feels fresh. No one specifically is my favorite, but as a group, the Galaxy Rangers are one of the best Ranger teams in history.
This season saw the death of the main villain. This was unusual, but the replacement isn’t a slouch. Trakeena replaces her father, Scorpius, when he’s wounded in battle. This continued the trend of powerful female villains in the Power Ranger Universe. There aren’t a ton of these in film or television today. And when they are, sometimes they can be relegated to a side piece position rather quickly. Not the case with Power Rangers. Rita Repulsa, Trakeena, Divatox, Astronema, and the names go on and on. Trakeena wasn’t the best villain, but I enjoy seeing a woman character who is actually powerful.
Another intergalactic Ranger show, another emotional moment. This was the first time a Power Ranger died. The Pink Ranger, Kendrix sacrifices herself when the Galaxy Rangers comes across the Psycho Rangers. This was an incredibly sad moment and the Ranger who replaced her was Karone, formerly Astronema. This was a nice change, and eventually, Kendrix does come back, but the moment she died was a heavy one for Ranger fans everywhere.
Overall, this show was solid. The story and the cast stuck with me more than anything. The origin story is probably my favorite one and the team ends up being my favorite, collectively. In Space and Lost Galaxy could easily be made into films. They could do a Turbo film after Mighty Morphing, and then lead directly into Space. Both deserve to be on the big screen before it’s all said and done.
Power Rangers Time Force
If someone forced me to choose, Time Force would probably be my favorite Power Rangers season of all time. All three areas are nailed here. Cast, plot, and villain.
This season is continues the dive into science fiction. This time though, we start in the future. The year 3000 to be exact. This is one of the best ideas in Power Rangers history, but what ends up happening is much better. I wouldn’t have minded for this show to stay in the future, but it didn’t and it created the best Power Rangers romance of all time.
The story revolves around a group of police officers called the Time Force. The future is littered with mutants. The most dangerous of these mutants is a maniac named Ransik. He breaks into a vault and steals cryogenically frozen mutants so he can take them back in the past. Before he can do that though, he’s confronted by the Time Force, and more importantly, the Red Time Force Ranger. He’s the only one and he’s the best at his job. His name is Alex. The other characters in this show are Trip, Katie, Lucas, and Jen. Jen is the fiancé of Alex. A recurring theme is noticeable at this point. Alex is murdered by Ransik. While this was emotional, it is sort of a cliché at this point in the Power Rangers Universe. What happens next though, is what makes this season great. The four officers take morphers and follow Ransik to the past. This provided for some great comedy throughout the show since the main characters were from a different time period. While in the past, pursuing Ransik, they encounter a young man named Wes, who is the ancestor of Alex, the Red Time Force Ranger. Wes isn’t the greatest Ranger ever, but his character development is probably the best of any Red Ranger. When we first meet him, he’s an arrogant rich kid. He doesn’t necessarily like his wealth though. All Wes wants to do is live his own life, free from his father. His father is beyond wealthy and expects Wes to take over the family business. Wes doesn’t plan on doing anything his father says though. Or the Rangers. When Jen tracks him down, he laughs at her and calls her crazy. By the end of the show, he becomes the Red Ranger they wanted him to be.
Jen is one of the best parts about this show too. This was one of the first Power Rangers shows where the Pink Ranger is the outspoken leader. I love how they broke their traditional mold during this season. They stole their morphers in the first place. They were never Rangers to begin with, so it makes sense that she maintained her leader status throughout. The actress who played her did a fantastic job portraying her pain when Alex died. She also did a fantastic job of turning that pain into anger for the majority of the season with Wes. Over time however, their relationship grew. It was slow and by the end, that’s all I wanted was for them to be together.
Another reason this show is great is the introduction of the Quantum Ranger. Eric Meyers is the Quantum Ranger. He’s a longtime rival of Wes and a product of a military company funded by Wes’ father. He gets his powers from the ancient Quantum Morpher. He always wanted to be better than Wes. He’s a rogue ranger at first, but eventually understands the responsibility of being a ranger.
This show’s villain is Ransik. What makes him special is the way he goes out at the end of all of this. At the end of the show, Ransik’s villainous daughter is critically injured. He realizes the error of his ways, and decides to turn himself in at the end. What an ending. A father whose love for his daughter is greater than his love for world domination. It wouldn’t be beneath a Power Ranger villain to sacrifice their own flesh and blood, so having Ransik give up his dreams for his daughter speaks volumes about the themes of this show. The ending of this show is an emotional one. The only ending to a Power Rangers show that I’ve cried on. Wes and Jen confess their love for each other. Jen and the other Time Force Rangers have to return to the future. Wes decides to stay, and face his destiny of becoming the successor to his father’s company. Their departure broke my heart and it’s a moment in Ranger history I’ll never forget.
Hope you like my top three Power Rangers shows. These shows fueled my childhood. My parents say that I would go in a full trance of some sort for hours after an episode of Power Rangers came on. I’d be flipping all over the house pretending to be a protector of the universe. Then, as I got older, and lazier I guess, the shows resonated with me in a much different way, but that child is still there. Hopefully, this new film has those same values these shows have. The main thing I’m looking for is fun and friendship. I don’t care about the plot, I don’t care about the cheesiness of Elizabeth Banks as Rita Repulsa, and I don’t care how mediocre the visual effects are. All of these things are a heavy possibility but if the fun and friendship is present (something Mighty Morphing is famous for) then I’ll be happy. But in the future, I do want to see these three on the big screen too. They have to obviously come up with different suits and different actors, but if this first movie is successful, then sky’s the limit. It’s Morphin’ Time, bitches!