Yesterday, twenty years to the day, though not many probably realize it; an Empress of Evil and her minions were freed from their garbage can imprisonment. To combat this, a wise talking head chose five teenagers. The five became the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and kids television history was forever changed.
I must confess I never really watched the first episodes of the show when it aired. My reasons for not watching were because it reminded me too much of Voltron. That show's formula of monster fighting was fun, but there was never fear of the protagonists ever truly getting hurt. That all changed when I saw the commercials Fox Kids had running of a five-part “Green Ranger Saga”. I bit the bullet and watched. I was then engulfed by the newest teenager, Tommy Oliver, to hit the monster plagued town of Angel Grove.
After that, well the show was just fun and I had to watch more. Overall, what made the series just so endearing was the characters and the actors who played them. Particularly said Jason David Frank as Tommy, David Yost as Billy, and Thuy Trang as Trini (yeah I liked Trini more than everyone's favorite Kimberly. WHAT?! She was the gal who always had everything given to her on a platter, Trini had to work to get things. I liked that.) Another thing that peaked my interest was the music by Ron Wasserman. The various themes and music were just so darn appealing. Of course the best one he had for S1 was the Green Ranger's theme:
Though there was one thing that always turned me off, the villain, Rita wasn't threatening or appealing to me. She just felt too darn goofy and I honestly rather would have Scorpina as the head villain. My attitude changed in Season 2 when a certain Exclusive American villain came on the show. A villain who's appearance really caught your eye. At that moment when Lord Zedd made his grand debut, this show became utter crack to me. Given that I mentioned him, it just gives me a reason to post this glorious theme of his, also done by Wasserman:
The show was crack for everyone else too, becoming a cultural phenomena with it's season 2 premiere airing on prime time television and getting a live action movie in 1995 that had Paul Freeman aka Belloq chew the scenery as Ivan Ooze. The stories even got more engrossing as three of the original teens were replaced with three others. Zedd and Rita married and their unholy alliance eventually cost the Rangers some great defeats.
Every other network, even Fox Kids itself tried then to copy Power Ranger's success by adapting further Sentai to the US. The only pair that I ever watched, VR Troopers and Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad both aired on Channel 50. Neither truly compared to Power Rangers, but they were minor entertainment anytime I could catch them at 7 am. Why? Because any show like the later that had Tim Curry as the voice of the bad guy became MUST WATCH TV. It's just a rule of cartoons in the 90s, go look it up. As for the former, it was campy and bad as hell, but I crushed heavily on Sarah Brown (I still do dammit) and loved Grimlord. I still know his transformation monologue still by heart. Why I remember this still I haven't a clue. I just know it.
Still, twenty years later and the power is still with us. Though the series has had various owners (Fox Kids to Disney to currently Nickelodeon) the show STILL has a very strong fanbase and currently is airing Power Rangers: Megaforce on said later network. In celebration of the anniversary, Saban brought back a few old Rangers for a special (though it's had a fair share of controversy). A fan series debuting next month also tips it's hat by bringing back a few familiar voices and try to tell a more mature tale. For comics, we're getting a series that takes placing possibly during the second season via Papercutz. No matter what the power is still with us. So I end this the only way I can going out via THE POWER of the glorious intro: