20 years guys. It’s been 20 years to the day since Rita Repulsa first burst free from her rubbish bin on a distant planet and decided “it’s time to conquer earth!” with her legions of putties, Goldar the gold flying thing and of course, her staff of awesome, growing, hugeness. Since then there’s been countless new enemies, new rangers and action figures and the series is still going strong today.
For those of you have forgotten – deliberately or otherwise – or were simply never lucky enough to watch the campy violence on display because your parents were mean, here’s the basic premise: comically voiced bad guys in WoW like shoulder pads, are attacking the earth and the only people that can stop them are the Power Rangers. These “rangers” are almost always teenagers (with attitude) who’ve been given super powers by a wizard/head named Zordon, granting them strength, speed, access to weapons and most of all, the ability to pilot giant mechanised animals and vehicles that can combine into a skyscraper tall robot.
A usual episode introduces a basic premise in the teenagers’ lives that is bothersome, then their enemy attacks with foot soldiers which are summarily dispatched, with lots of “hi-yas” and front kicks, before the main enemy for the episode arrives. He then fights the rangers, eventually becoming tall thanks to magic of some kind, at which point the teenagers use their robot Zords to fight it off, ending the episode having solved their teen angsty problem with teamwork.
It was always cheesy, always laughably bad and awesome all in one. As a kid the action was great and the sub-par acting didn’t grate at all. These days, it’s hard to get through more than a single episode without cringing yourself to the point of changing channel, but there’s a few gems that stick out in the bunch and the later series up the production values a lot.
There’s also the oft-unknown fact that the show didn’t use 100 per cent American filmed footage. Of course all of the characters when they’re out of their suits are the real actors, but once the suits were on, plus the zords footage and that of the bad guys, it was almost all dubbed in Japanese footage from the Super Sentai show.
Unfortunately there is some sad stories associated with the show. The blue ranger from the first few series, David Yost, suggested that he left the show because he was targeted with homophobic hatred during the filming of the show – though he’s been described by an old producer as a pain in the ass. I’m still not sure if that was designed as some sort of pun.
Then there’s the fact that yellow ranger from the first series, Thuy Trang, died in a car accident a few years back.
But what about everyone’s fan favourite and the longest running power ranger of all time? Jason David Frank, AKA, Tommy, the Green, White, Red and Black ranger at different times. He’s still going strong, with a somewhat abandoned semi-pro MMA career, he still does a lot for fans and runs the convention circuit while breaking karate skydiving records; seriously.
KitGuru Says: I don’t watch as much of it nowadays, but I blew through the fifth season “SPD” a while back. The show certainly still has its moments and I know why I loved it so much as a kid. Do any of you have your favourite moments from the show? I remember getting very upset when the Dinozords were destroyed at the end of season 1.
Can’t ever say I was a fan of Bulk and Skull though.[Thanks IGN]