They’ve got the theme song down, but how did the show do?

I seem to have a problem catching the start of stuff lately, and I don’t think it’s just the recent game of musical cable providers. I went looking for the start time of Power Rangers Beast Morphers and didn’t find it. I just stumbled upon the listings for the episodes. However, episode 1 leads into episode 2, and maybe 3 does the same thing since we have yet to see the MegaZord in action. At least I learned about before episode 2 and caught episode 1 in reruns.

Beast Morphers is the first Power Rangers show from Allspark Pictures, the movie and TV arm of toy company Hasbro, who now owns the shows and toy license. So there’s some question as to how well they will do. The toys premiered at the New York Toy Fair and it shouldn’t be a surprise that they know what they’re doing there, although I have yet to see the Zord toys in action. The MegaZords from BanDai have made nice statues and decent toys but they lacked in articulation, as have their action figures. However, I’m not here for the toys, I’m here for the show. How is it?

The city of Coral Harbor is the testing ground for a new clean energy source called “Morph-X”. The mayor, Adam Daniels, isn’t so happy about this as he’s worried villains will use it to gain access to where the Morph-X comes from, the Morphing Grid used by the majority of Power Rangers. The organization Grid Battleforce is assigned to protect the project and creates the Beast Morpher Power Rangers to protect it. It doesn’t help as a sentient virus named Evox invades the system and warps the morphing project, turning two of the intended Rangers into Avatars, leaving their bodies comatose. The surviving member of the trio, Ravi, teams with the mayor’s son Devon (who wanted to try out the simulator due to his love of video games) and cut recruit Zoey to become the Beast Morpher Power Rangers, but there’s a fault in the animal DNA they’re combined with. While chief scientist Nate Silva sends the Avatars of Blaze and Roxy to another dimension along with Evox, the villains find help in the form of Scrozzle, an original villain with no Sentai counterpart, and his army of Tronics (no connection to me–these are the foot soldiers for the series), Robotrons, and giant Gigadrones. Can our heroes overcome their corrupted powers, fight former friends, and protect the Morphing Grid?

There are also two comic relief characters, the siblings Ben and Betty Burke, who do odd jobs around the base and act in field support on missions. They’re like the later years Bulk and Skull, there to help out but often messing up. Betty wants to get into the action while Ben is kind of a coward but will help if needed (reluctantly but still helpful). They’re better than Victor and Monty from the last show in that they actually serve a purpose besides the butt of the joke. Nate is not the typical nerdy scientist although he created most of their gear. Commander Shaw hasn’t really shown what she’ll do besides being in charge but she seems smart and caring. This show is one of a small number where the Rangers are part of a military-type organization, along with Lightspeed Rescue, Time Force–and by extension the RPG based adventures of HyperForce, SPD, and RPM, but Grid Battleforce has the coolest name.

I’m kind of worried that we aren’t going to get a deeper examination of the Morphing Grid and what it is. It looks like it will just be a MacGuffin at best for this series, which is disappointing. However, this does seem to be trying fit in with further Ranger lore, as Mayor Daniels connects this to the further series. This isn’t just going to be a reboot.

“Since before you were born, every monster out there in every dimension – from Rita Repulsa, to Sledge and Galvanax – they’ve all wanted to take the Rangers’ power and rule the universe. And now that you’ve wrapped it up with a ribbon, some evil mind will try to take it again. And when they come, this place – Grid Battleforce – won’t be able to stop them.”
―Mayor Daniels explaining why he disagrees with the development of Morph-X (as recorded by the RangerWiki)

I’m not sure how he would know about Sledge since they retconned Dino Charge to yet another dimension where a time paradox put dinosaurs into modern times (long story, check out Linkara’s review of the series), and there’s no mention of the “Disney era” villains (instead of Sledge they could have gone with Mesogog from Dino Thunder instead). However, having the villains attack from the “Cyber Dimension” keeps the dimensional theme going, and we have a potential new boss in the form of Vargoyle. There are some interesting ideas for the villains, as our heroes have to defeat the Avatars to get their friends back. Also, Ravi was once romantically involved with Roxy and that might impact her Avatar while Blaze was introduced having a beef with Devon, which his Avatar also seems to suffer from. There’s some potential here.

As for our Rangers, they also have potential. Red Ranger Devon is called a slacker in the Ranger Wiki but considering his whole deal is that he wants a challenge that’s not quite accurate. His love of video games and martial arts both come from that desire for a challenge, which he’s getting now. Devon is bonded to cheetah DNA, which means his body freezes when he sees a dog…and I’m sorry but that is so lame as a weakness. I do like that the Rangers have weaknesses tied to the animals they’re bonded with, but the whole “cats are afraid of dogs” thing is so overblown. My friend Sean’s cat was happy to attack dogs, and I’ve heard of other people I know having cats that stood up to or are even friends with their canine associations so it’s kind of silly. Even then, why would a cheetah be afraid of a dog? At least housecats and strays have a history with them. Maybe if his superspeed powers were hard to control given a cheetah’s nature I’d buy it. How much they’re limited by the original Go-Busters version I couldn’t say, so this could be their fault.

Yellow Ranger Zoey is a problem-solver who washed out of the recruitment process and works in the laundry of the Grid Battleforce base. (That explains the “GB” on their suits, the original Sentai series is called Go-Busters.) I’m guessing she’s going to have to prove herself as well as seeing what her desire to solve every problem will entail. The description for the next episode involves her creating Morph-X powered bikes for the city that the villains are going to use in their own plans. Her weakness is that her Jackrabbit DNA gets low on energy quickly as she uses her super leaping abilities and needs carrots (or I’m presuming other veggies but given the dog thing earlier I suspect they’ll be sticking to the stereotypes) to get her back in form.

Blue Ranger Ravi has two things potentially working against him, not as a character but in the show. His mother is the commander of Grid Battleforce and I’m waiting to see if that comes into play. He also used to date Roxy, ending their relationship because of some rule about Power Rangers not dating. Maybe that’s a GB rule but considering we’ve had other Ranger couplings as last as the last series, Ninja Steel, that seems like a pretty odd rule. Throw in overuse of his gorilla superstrength causing him to go…ape…and he has the most potential for character arcs. That and his robot likes to hug. Wait, I didn’t mention the robots? Where’s my head?

I don’t think Saban would have gone the extra length of bringing these guys in from the Sentai, especially the R2-D2ish Jax. Cruise would be the most likely to show up most often unless Jax and Smash have vehicle modes as well. I’m curious to see what role they’ll play. Go-Busters has a few others so we may see their counterparts on the show as well. We also got to see the Zords fight individually, which I don’t expect to see often after they get their MegaZord forms introduced. That’s mainly the fault of the Sentais as they tend to drop the individual Zords in favor of new MegaZord combinations to sell toys of and BanDai will still be making the toys in Japan. Devon’s also has a robot mode…which explains why Hasbro didn’t want to skip this series I’d wager.

The morphs are cool, but I already miss the traditional morph sequence with the cool backgrounds. I’ve theorized that each team accesses the Morphing Grid in different way which is why each team has their own sequence (the same is true for Sixth Rangers with different kind of morphers) and that what we see isn’t in real-time, as evidenced by morphs that happen fast for the sake of the pacing. We don’t get that here and I am sad. I grew up with the “it’s getting major” suit-up and transformation sequences well before Power Rangers came on the screen so I like seeing them, plus a “speed” version for the pacing.

Overall, Hasbro and Allspark seem to be doing pretty good with Beast Morphers, but I also liked Ninja Steel, which I hear not a lot of fans do so take my opinion for what it’s worth. We’re also only two episodes deep, with new episodes airing in the morning on Nickelodeon (check local listings) and reruns on Nicktoons Network for some reason. It’s worth giving a shot at least, and hopefully it keeps up this pace.

About ShadowWing Tronix

A would be comic writer looking to organize his living space as well as his thoughts. So I have a blog for each goal. :)

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