Some time ago I promised to take Lewis Lovhaug’s “History of Power Rangers” videos, and post my own additions, since it’s a lot easier than trying to write a full article myself. (This being a series of articles I wanted to try to do.) Well, what better time than now, to get me back into the spirit of things post-vacation? (Plus he’s already up to season 3, so I need to get a move on.)
Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers came out when I probably should have been too old for it, since I had graduated high school by this time. However, I have since sat through every episode to the end (except for Mystic Force, but I’ll get to that when Lewis does) and enjoyed most of the franchise’s run. I’ve already had the prologue in a Saturday Night Showcase, so let’s get right into the series that aided in killing syndicated cartoons. (I’ll get to that in a totally different article, if I haven’t already mentioned it in the past.)
I already mentioned how I got into the show during the Showcase preview, so let’s take a quick peak at the original. Lewis’ fellow “Channel Awesome” contributor MarzGurl already discussed the differences between MMPR and the original Sentai, Zyuranger, but I should do some work here. In the original series, the Zyurangers were actually ancient warrior brought out of hibernation in order to battle the evil sorceress Bandora and her forces. Interestingly, variations of that would show up in later shows. I think MarzGurl said the Japanese version was darker and more serious but really…
…is that really that less silly? It’s from an episode where kids are shrunken with a space shuttle that gets sent flying around a city. Sure, nobody got turned into cardboard, but you can’t make that not-Frankenstein’s monster for example not silly, nor most of the monsters Rita/Bandora’s group came up with. Also, the Zyurangers never maintained a secret identity, not even to the citizenry. So why did Zordon insist the Power Rangers maintain one, even though the villains knew who they were? I’m assuming humility (see one particular episode of post-Saban series Power Rangers Ninja Storm), but although Rita only used the Rangers’ parents once, imagine a “normal” bad guy willing to use teenagers with that kind of high-tech gear.
I should also note that Billy was not only my favorite Ranger but used my favorite martial arts weapon, the bo. (See also Donatello.) He also wore my favorite color, blue. If he had used the Pterodactyl Zord, I would have been major happy, although the Dragon Zord would become my favorite for a long time, being a Godzilla fan and all. (I should also note that while I was into Trini for the wrong reasons, my actual “Ranger crush” wouldn’t happen until a certain Australian member came during season 3. Australian accents drive me crazy.)
I wonder if my memories jibe well with Lewis when it comes to Zordon. As I recall in the first episode he refers to himself as an “interdimensional being trapped in a time warp”. Other scenes in later episodes seemed to indicate that the “tube” was actually a way to keep in contact with Zordon, as episodes had Alpha trying to reach Zordon but being unable to. Ignoring the movie, which had Zordon out of his time-warp like so many other things ignored by the series, Zordon was never actually there. Then again, we see him held prisoner during Power Rangers in Space and he was still just a head, although there were indications that he in fact had a body at least at one point.
I also enjoyed Bulk and Skull’s antics, and they somehow found a way to make it all the way to Lost Galaxy, more or less, and cameoed in the “Forever Red” episode of Wild Force, so they were obviously very popular with the fan base.
I can’t really let this go without discussing the infamous book The Truth About Power Rangers, a Christian book that ripped the series apart. Look, Phil Philips, the author, meant well and as a Christian myself I do worry about the spiritual messages our kids get, including Christian kids. (And no, that wasn’t why I didn’t watch Mystic Force.) On the other hand, as Lewis says in the video, it was the bad guys who employed magic, and herbal remedies (the closest thing to magic used by the heroes at the time the book came out) aren’t necessarily reserved for Wiccans. Most solutions to Rita’s magical creations were found through science (insert Dr. Insano link here) and not magic. (Only on a few occasions did the Rangers turn to magic).
And while I haven’t read the book fully, I did leaf through it once and noticed that he got the characterizations wrong for the…um..characters. Philips made the case that Jason was obviously the girl-getting muscle headed jock. If anything, and I don’t know why Lewis never covered it, Billy was the real ladies man on the show, having at least three different girlfriends throughout the series, eventually getting together with a cute Aquitian girl. (I assume they married and had hybrid alien babies.) And that’s only one thing he got wrong. He also assumed that the gang used their martial arts on Bulk and Skull, when all they ever did was flip them once or otherwise just got out-of-the-way. (Tommy did scare them off without laying a hand foot on them, as you saw in the video.) So I question how well he even paid attention to the show. However, I think parents should actually WATCH the show and judge for themselves, and maybe even use it to open a dialog with their kids. Parents talking to their kids? What a novel concept.
So that’s season one of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. Next time, Lewis discusses season 2 and I agree with him about the awesomeness of Lord Zedd. Morphenominal!