Power Rangers Retrospective Part One: Overbearing and Overemotional

When I was a kid, the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers were all the rage. Five teenagers with attitude, who put on colored uniforms and fought evil with karate and giant robots? And the robots were dinobots? And they all come together to make an even bigger robot? It was like crack for 90s kids. We couldn’t get enough. I knew all of the rangers’ names and respective colors, their weapons, what their robots were…which is kind of funny, because I only actually remember ever watching one episode of the show (although wiki diving tells me I must have seen at least two, since what I remember combines this guy’s appearance with this guy’s powers ). I saw it over March break when I was home alone, and I remember the monster scared me so badly that after the episode was over, I ran up out of my basement rec room and didn’t go back down for the rest of the day. That I was still so into it despite never actually watching it kind of says something about the power of branded merchandise, I suppose.

For those who were too old, too young, or living under a rock in the early 90s, Power Rangers was a kid’s action show by Saban Entertainment, made by splicing together dubbed-over footage from Japanese Tokusatsu series Kyouryuu Sentai Zyuranger with new footage of English-speaking actors. The premise: When human astronauts unwittingly release the evil space witch Rita Repulsa from her prison on the moon, her ancient foe Zordon selects five teenagers with attitude to take up the fight against her. When Rita sends down monsters to attack the Earth, these five heroes transform into the Power Rangers to defeat them.

When I decided randomly to start watching the show on Netflix, I did so with an open mind. Sure, the premise is goofy, and I expected the special effects to be terrible, but even if the overall product was lame in general, there might be something interesting there. After all, a lot of shows I loved as a kid (like Space Cases and the 90s X-Men animated series) hold up surprisingly well on re-watch. Maybe this would be one of those.

I have never in my life been so happy to be wrong. Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, at least in the first few episodes, is terrible and I kind of love it for it. It’s not simply bad; its disregard for basic storytelling, continuity, and common sense is so baffling that it borders on accidental Dadaism. I’ll give it one thing, though: it’s never boring. Good or bad, it’s a wild ride through sheer insanity.

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