by Matt Sernaker, Managing Editor
Back in 1993 when Mighty Morphin Power Rangers first premiered, it was uncool to be a fan of the show. A group of teenagers are given powers by an alien wizard, and told to go fight evil monsters each week! Not cool enough for you? Oh, they also have GIANT TRANSFORMING ROBOTS!!! Still not cool enough? Well then you just don’t get it. You weren’t supposed to openly say that you liked the show, or the kids in school would tease you and call you names. Even if you said you didn’t like Power Rangers, you were home watching it every day like the rest of us, waiting to see what would happen next. I remember the first time that I really gave the show a chance, which was the episode titled “Food Fight”, featuring the Pudgy Pig monster. I remember racing home to watch the Green With Evil mini-series. I remember where I was when Doomsday first aired. I remember when Tommy returned to the team as the White Ranger. These weren’t just episodes, these were milestones. Power Rangers was a very important part of my childhood, and was something that I didn’t get to share with as many people because they thought it was “uncool”.
Twenty years later, guess what is still on television? POWER RANGERS.
So now it’s cool to like Power Rangers? We can talk about loving this show without someone making a stupid comment? Awesome.
It may have taken some time, but now it is easy to say that you are a fan of this show that has endured for TWO DECADES on American television, and has become a world wide sensation! Not many shows can say that. Now, for the first time EVER, the original seasons of Power Rangers are coming home to DVD thanks to the fantastic people at Shout! Factory and Saban Brands. Fans have waited long enough, so to help kick off the release, Shout! Factory has also teamed up with Time Life for some massive collector sets of the show! This new Time Life/Shout! Factory release features every single episode from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, all the way through the end of Power Rangers: Lost Galaxy. That is SEVEN seasons of Power Rangers, now available to own in a new 40 disc DVD release.
Since that is a lot of episodes to cover, we are going to break this review into two parts: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (Seasons 1-3), and Zeo though Lost Galaxy (Seasons 4-7).
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Complete Series (Seasons 1-3)
If you were fortunate enough to go to San Diego Comic-Con 2012, you might have been able to get the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Complete Series set early at the Shout! Factory booth. This release includes all 155 episodes of the original adventures of the Power Rangers, as they fought against villains like Rita Repulsa, Goldar, Lord Zedd, Rito, Master Vile, and more! Armed with the power of the dinosaurs, Jason and the gang defended the Earth, and learned a lesson about how to be a better person with each installment. With so many episodes to choose from, I wanted to touch on some of my personal favorite moments from the series.
“Day of the Dumpster” – The episode that started it all. I am sure any kid who grew up in the 90’s could recite the opening lines of the show in their sleep. “After ten thousand years I am free, it is time to conquer Earth!”. Zordon gathers five teenagers with attitude (although I question what kind of attitude Billy had) and brings them to the alien fortress known as the Command Center. Giving them powers based on creatures from the past, these five kids become the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers! Rita doesn’t stand a chance. This episode also included the introduction of Bulk and Skull, the High School antagonists to our heroes. These two would end up out lasting the entire original cast, as they embarked on a journey of self discovery (and insanity).
“Green With Evil” Miniseries- Hey kids, guess what? Rita has a power coin of her own! When Rita decides to unleash the Evil Green Ranger upon the unsuspecting citizens of Angel Grove, the other rangers must work fast to figure out who this mysterious figure is! Could it possibly be Tommy, the new kid at school who dresses entirely in green? Nope. Not him. This epic five episode saga spanned a full week, and featured the first appearance of Tommy, the Sword of Darkness, Goldar’s Dark Dimension, the villainous Scorpina, and the most iconic Dragonzord! Watch out everyone, the Dragonzord does not like smoke stacks! The Rangers of course are able to break Rita’s spell, and Tommy joins the team as 6th Ranger. Take that Rita!
“Green Candle” Parts 1-2- So…Rita was still pretty upset about losing the Green Ranger to Zordon’s side…and creates the Green Candle to rob Tommy of his powers….FOREVER! Cue a trip to the Dark Dimension, where Jason tries to recover the candle and save his friend. Time is running out, and Tommy is forced to give up his powers, or have them lost to evil forever. Jason kindly offers to hold on to his coin, and the Dragon Dagger, and promises to feed the Dragonzord smoke stacks at least once a week while he is gone. Even though Tommy can’t be the Green Ranger anymore, he is still badass enough to ask Kimberly out to the dance. Go get her Tommy!
“Doomsday” Parts 1-2- Rita has had enough of those pesky Power Rangers, and decides to bring her fortress to Earth! After kidnapping the citizens of Angel Grove and moving them to Goldar’s Dark Dimension, she unleashed Goldar’s War Zord known as Cyclopsis! All hope seems to be lost when Cyclopsis destroys all the zords…now the rangers must save their friends, and stop Rita from finally winning! An interesting thing to note about this two part episode, is that it was originally intended to be the series finale. That’s it. No more Power Rangers. When everyone realized what a hit the show had become, more episodes were added to the first season, brining it to a grand total of 60 episodes!
“Return of an Old Friend” Parts 1-2 – It’s Parent’s Day at Angel Grove High School, and the kids and their families have gathered at the Juice Bar to enjoy themselves..and drink some juice! While the Rangers are distracted by the Putty Patrol, Rita unleashes a new monster that teleports the parents (and the other kids from Angel Grove High) to the Dark Dimension (yes again…this was only a few episodes after “Doomsday”). If that wasn’t bad enough, Billy is hypnotized by the monster and steals the Dragon Dagger and gives it to Goldar. Now the Rangers must decide between saving their parents, or keeping their powers. It’s a hard decision, but the teenagers with attitude cave to Goldar’s threats and hand over their power coins. Oh no, Goldar lied?!? No parents and no Power Coins for you Rangers! Not so fast Goldar, Jason still has the Dragon Coin. Coincidently, Tommy (now rocking the longer hair in a ponytail) walks into the juice bar to find his friends. GO GREEN RANGER GO! (that is how the first part of this two parter ended). Tommy is suddenly teleported to the Command Center, handed the coin and told, “Hey Tommy, you can be a Ranger again…well kind of…maybe for a minute….just go get our coins and stop the bad guys with a failing Power Coin…See ya!” and is sent into battle. What happens next is one of the most memorable scenes of the first season…so go watch it for yourself!
“The Mutiny” Parts 1-3 – A funny thing happened for the second season of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, the series had become so popular that Fox decided to air the premiere during Prime Time! Things were looking up for our multi-colored heroes in spandex. Tommy was back as the Green Ranger. Rita seemed to be a threat that they could handle on a weekly basis. Life was good. Enter: Lord Zedd. Saban decided to step things up a notch and create an entirely original (and badass) villain for the Rangers to face in their second season. Rita’s boss arrives on the moon and decides that Rita has wasted enough time trying to take over the world, and now it was his turn. Rita is exiled back into her dumpster and sent off into space. Zedd creates the Pirahntishead monster, and unleashes him upon the unsuspecting Rangers. Realizing that their powers were no match for this new force of evil, Zordon finds a way to upgrade their powers and their zords with the power of thunder, thunder, THUNDERCATS! I mean, the Power of Thunder! Using the new ThunderMegazord, the Rangers are now ready to face off against Zedd’s weekly threats (except for Tommy, who is stuck with the Dragonzord since his powers are failing…more on that later).
“White Light” Parts 1-2 – Zordon and Alpha decide to disappear for a bit, in order to create something new and special to give the Rangers a leg up against Zedd: the White Ranger! Who will the White Ranger be? There were several red herrings that led to the reveal in this episode, but there was only one person that could truly wield this new power, and that was Tommy! Yay Tommy’s back, and now has the White Tigerzord. Sorry Jason, you don’t get to be the leader anymore. We all thought the Dragonzord was cool, and then Tommy got the White Tiger (and a talking sword).
“The Power Transfer” Parts 1-2 – Jason, Trini, and Zack are selected to represent Angel Grove at a special “Peace Conference”, and Zordon decides that it is time for them to stop being Power Rangers. You would think that this High School activity would be something so short lived that maybe Zordon could have been cool with it, but instead, viewers were treated to three new Rangers! Rocky, Adam, and Aisha stepped into fill the void left by the outgoing original members, but to transfer powers, one must have a special alien sword. So the Rangers travel to a far away planet which had been devastated by alien forces, only to find Lord Zedd and his gigantic zord Seperentara. Can the Rangers stop Zedd and recover the sword before it’s too late? The answer may surprise you!
“Ninja Quest” Parts 1-3- So you might have heard of a little thing called Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie, which was in theaters everywhere in 1995. The Rangers had cool new suits that looked more like armor than spandex. Even Zedd and Rita got an upgrade to some cooler designs. Well, the movie itself was not considered in “canon” with the show, so the creative team introduced the new powers and zords in a three part story called “Ninja Quest”. After their zords are destroyed by Rita’s brother Rito (yup….Rito), the Rangers seek out the original creator of the power coins: NINJOR! Armed with new ninja skills (better than their previous karate skills) and new ninja zords, the Rangers were prepared to fight evil once more!
“Alien Rangers of Aquitar” 1-2- Master Vile, Rita’s father, had arrived on Earth to put an end to the Rangers once and for all. To do this, he caused the entire planet to de-age, and the Rangers lose access to their power. Zordon summons the Alien Rangers of Aquitar to step in and fight monsters until the Power Rangers could be returned to their original ages. Armed with Battle Borgs (that looked extremely similar to the ninja zords) the Alien Rangers “held down the fort” for 10 episodes while the rest of the team went on a quest for the powerful Zeo Crystal.
“Hogday Afternoon” Parts 1-2- The series finale of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers left fans a bit stunned. Time was finally returned to normal and the Rangers were returned to their proper ages and things were finally getting back to normal…and then Goldar and Rito steal the crystal and blew up the Command Center. The end. What would become of the teenagers with attitude? We would soon learn that everything would be alright. Why is that? One word: ZEO.
One of the best things about Shout! Factory is their dedication to giving the fans a superior product. In this case, Shout! Factory DVD Producer Brian Ward has exceeded expectations with the inclusion of some very impressive special features:
-Morphin Time: A look back at the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers phenomeon with brand-new interviews featuring members of the cast and creative team. This fantastic interview series includes appearances by original series actors Jason David Frank (Tommy), David Yost (Billy), Walter Jones (Zack), Catherine Sutherlane (Kat), Steve Cardenas (Rocky), and Karan Ashley (Aisha), Dr. Jason Narvy (Skull), Paul Schrier (Bulk) and more!
-The Fans Power Up- Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Fans remember the series. A few of the diehard Power Rangers fans were interviewed about the longevity of the series and why they have stuck around for decades!
-Lord Zedd’s Monster Heads
-Alpha’s Magical Christmas
-Rare Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Fan Club Video
-MMPR Karate Club: The White Ranger Kata
-Power Rangers Live: The World Tour- Didn’t get to see the original Power Rangers live action world tour in person? Well Shout! Factory has you covered. Check out this rare recording of a piece of Power Rangers history!
-“The Good, The Bad, and The Stupid: The Misadventures of Bulk and Skull”- This special episode featured Bulk and Skull getting trapped in a cave during a monster battle, where they recall some of their wacky adventures! I personally had not seen this before, and it brought back many great childhood memories of seeing Paul and Jason work their magic each week while the Rangers saved the world. This is a must watch for a true fan of the show.
Of course the original Japanese Sentai footage during season 1 still looks a bit aged, but this couldn’t be helped as the original footage Saban got to use was a “hand me down”. For originally being filmed in 1993, the episodes on this set look and sound better than ever. The video quality has obviously been cleaned up from its original masters, and shows the production team in charge of putting together the set has done an above and beyond job here. All of the episodes are preserved in their original aspect ratio of 4:3, but if you feel the need to upscale the video to widescreen, the quality stays mostly intact.The quality put into preserving these episodes so well also extends to the menus and features itself for the set. All of the DVD menus are fantastically 3-D animated to give off the feeling you are at the Command Center yourself looking upon these historical archives. It should be noted that while the episodes themselves are not in widescreen, the menus and newly shot special features are all in proper anamorphic 16:9 aspect ratio which also look amazing. Perfect for viewing on your high definition set! Granted the audio being only in 2 channel stereo is also another limitation of its time but it too has been cleaned up and sounds nice and meaty through whatever sound system you happen to have!
This is one of the few DVD releases that I can say lives up to it’s name as being the “complete” series. Every single thing you could ask for has been included. The cast interviews are incredibly powerful (no pun intended). The quality of the video and audio are amazing considering how dated the original recordings of the series were. You have to give Shout! Factory a ton of credit for blowing this release out of the water. As someone who grew up watching this show (and still has a strong appreciation for it to this date) I feel that this set is total perfection. I cannot wait to see what Shout! has in store for the rest of the Power Rangers releases. Do not hesitate for another moment, this is the Power Rangersrelease that fans have been waiting for!
ComicsOnline gives Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Complete Series on DVD – 5 out of 5 trips to the juice bar.
Get your brand new Power Rangers DVD set at PowerRangersonDVD.com!
Stay tuned to ComicsOnline.com for Part Two of our Power Rangers Shout! Factory DVD review featuring the second box set (comprised of Power Rangers: Zeo, Power Rangers: Turbo, Power Rangers: In Space, and Power Rangers: Lost Galaxy) – and for everything geek pop culture!