Thursday, March 23, 2017

Power Rangers Premier Countdown: 1st Place goes to...

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Episodes 17-21: Green With Evil

 THE MOVIE IS OFFICIALLY OUT TODAY! Thanks for sticking with me for this countdown, it's been a lot of fun reliving some favorite Power Rangers episodes here. Okay, onto the breakdown:

Why are these episodes the best?

Power Rangers was an instant hit when I was a little kid. It took the world by storm. It was not however fully a phenomenon until it reached the 5-part miniseries, Green With Evil. While the show is more often than not formulaic, Green With Evil completely turned everything on its head. The rangers don't have Zordon. They don't have their zords. For a time they don't have Jason. Everything they and we are used to is either mising or unusable. Tommy finally introduced a worthy adversary for the Rangers, and with him, the rest of Rita's gang stepped up their game.

Each episode is a thrilling little adventure that when stacked together gives you something akin to a cinematic feature. At its core, the episode exemplifies "being your own worst enemy" as Tommy is the perfect foil to the goody-good rangers.

Plus, the Dragonzord.

So...these episodes are perfect right?

Far from it. Green With Evil still suffers from all the problems that plagued Mighty Morphin in general; wooden Acting, bad Dubbing, etc. (All of the "good stuff" as it were.) It manages to mitigate a lot of this by being a lot more forward moving with its plot development, and the dramatic irony utilized with the Green Ranger's identity.

There's a lot of Zyuranger footage that was used because it had to be used, and it's really telling. Heck, the entire character of Scorpina isn't exactly that great of an inclusion in the series, let alone this episode. Maybe it's because she's just another general here, as opposed to Goldar's wife like in Japan.

There's also a lot of weirdness with how the script is written. We get a lot of moments of Tommy being threatening, but in hindsight, it would have been even creepier to have him acting normal to try and fool the rangers. The audience knew either way. (Dino Thunder would later do this for Trent/White Drago Ranger, but that created its own issues with the source footage.)

How do these episodes influence the new movie?

I've talked about Rita and the likelihood of her being the previous Green Ranger. If that's the case, there's definitely going to be some similarities between how this movie feels and Green With Evil. (Not the plot or story though.) We don't know if Tommy is in it, but we do know there's a mid-credits scene. If the film gets a sequel, it's going to have to be some kind of an adaption of Green With Evil. What form it will take, we don't know, but we know it's going to shake up the status quo that will be established in this first film.

NOTE: THE MOVIE BEGINS SHOWINGS TODAY (3/23)! IT IS OPEN FOR WIDE RELEASE TOMORROW (3/24)  Enjoy it Ranger fans, this is for us!

Head to Fandango and check for theaters in your area!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Kamen Rider 2017-2018 Rumored Design- A Sushi-based rider?

This was dropped on 2ch a little while ago:

The text reads Kamen Rider 2017 Design, #1 Maguro Form Body (Tuna Form, the edible kind.) You can see the sushi-inspired esign along the shoulder pads and chest, and the white body color does invoke Rice.

Grain of salt please!!

Power Rangers Premier Countdown: 2nd Place goes to...

Power Rangers In Space Episode 31: Rangers Gone Psycho

Why is this episode one of the best?

Kicking off the Psycho Rangers saga of In Space, this episode is the first time we are introduced to a true, evil team of rangers. In the past, we either had good people under spells, or teams of monsters/putties/clones that were defeated in one episode. The Psychos are not that- they're a force designed to directly counter the good guys, and in this episode, they dominate fight completely.

This is one of the only episodes in the show's history where the Rangers don't really win by the end. In fact, they're trounced quite badly by the Pscyhos, and it adds a nice level of drama to an already tense situation.
The Psychos also set up a plot that will continue until just before the finale- the newly turned evil Astronema wants to destroy not only the rangers, but Dark Specter as well.

Why is this episode not number one?

The episode is nearly perfect, but it does have a few little things that bug me. For one, there are a lot of repeated lines in the episode, for the sake of exposition. Watching as a little kid I never noticed, but seeing the episode now, and having watched it so many times, there's lines that really don't need to be said, or that are said repeatedly in different ways by different characters.

Also, when the Psychos first show up and are disguised as the rangers, the "brown squares" bother me. It has always bothered me in fact. Here are these really intelligent villains, but their perfect design is off by one very obvious thing to fix. It's done of course to match the Japanese footage, and also so that the audience will know who is who...but I feel like it's a really weird way to do it.

Plus....there's a lot of bad guest star acting in this one.

How does this episode influence the new movie?

I've posted a lot about the theory that Rita is probably a former ranger turned evil; there's just too many visual clues for this to not be the case. The most threatening thing for a ranger team and the audience watching is for them to fight another ranger team. Even when that team isn't evil, the level of the battle far exceeds the usual monster of the week. You're fighting someone with powers equal to yours, and thinking ability to equal to yours.

Beyond that, the movie ranger suits themselves have an oddly Psycho Ranger look to them. With Kyuranger doing so well, and Bandai Japan/Bandai America collaborating now, this may be the end of the traditional spandex suits as we know them. And really, after 41 years, it was time to evolve.


Head to Fandango and check for theaters in your area!

We are officially in Premier Week! Today, (March 22nd), Bill Hader will be on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Check your local listings for times! 

Also, IGN will be streaming the Power Rangers Red Carpet tonight at 9 PM Eastern (6 PM Central.) Stars of the movie will be in attendance as well as the original cast of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Power Rangers Premier Countdown: 3rd Place goes to...

Power Rangers Dino Thunder Episode 19: Lost & Found in Translation

Why is this episode one of the best?

Maybe it's my love of Abaranger. Maybe it's my love of the film that the title of this episode is referencing. Maybe I just love when a show can be meta without apologizing for it. Lost & Found in Translation sees the Power Ranger team (Connor/Red, Ethan/Blue and Kira/Yellow) sitting down for a night of hanging out by the TV in their usual hangout/cafe. Eager to finish his report on cultural differences (Connor being a slacker, so it sounds like he waited till the night before to do it) the teens find themselves watching a horribly-dubbed Japanese television based on their lives on the Power Rangers.

So to summarize- the episode is about a Japanese television show based on American superheroes on an American television show adapted from a Japanese television show about Japanese superheroes. That's a level of meta few shows dare to reach.

Essentially the episode is about cultural differences, and how we're all pretty much the same. It also gets to poke fun at the following things:

-Bad Dubs of Japanese TV (both the way they are dubbed and the localized names)
-Elitist Power Rangers fans VS Elitist Super Sentai fans
-The ridiculous situations and monsters Power Rangers deals with on a weekly basis
-Sensationalism in media + America's image in other countries

So yeah, it's a deep episode, if however goofy. And really, if you play the Abaranger theme song in something, I'm going to like it regardless.

Why is this episode not higher on the list?

While it's pulled off very well, the episode is really just an advanced form of footage burning. They took the most ridiculous episode of Abaranger (a show that often parodies itself and the greater Super Sentai mythos) and used it for that ridiculousness, mostly because there would be no other way to fit it in without re-filming everything.

One other thing that's a sticking point for me is that they tease that the Bakuryuu (the zords) speak in Abaranger, but they never show it past Yukito's DinoBrace. (My two main problems with Dino Thunder as a season are that they dumbed down AbareKiller and that the zords don't speak.) It doesn't feel properly explained, nor do the rangers comment/make a joke about it when it happens.

How does this episode influence the new movie?

One of the selling points of the new film is its incredibly diverse cast. Another is that the movie is not afraid to poke fun at itself. It is Power Rangers after all.


Head to Fandango and check for theaters in your area!

We are officially in Premier Week! Today, (March 21st), Naomi Scott will be on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Check your local listings for times!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Power Rangers Premier Countdown: 4th Place goes to...

Power Rangers RPM Episode 11: Doctor K

Why is this episode one of the best?

RPM is widely regarded as one of the best ranger series. It took risks, developed interesting characters and kept a mostly optimistic tone while taking place in a post-apocalyptic world. The episode Doctor K is a cut above the rest, as it introduces us to Doctor K's ( the character) backstory. The acting, its incredibly dramatic rendering of her kidnapping as a child, to her being raised in Alphabet Soup to work on government programs, to finally being driven to release the Venjix Virus (the season's main baddie) on the world is done with such care for the character that it almost transcends being a Power Rangers episode.

As RPM often does, even though the focus is on K, the other characters are still developed through their relationship with her. This is also the first we see of Gem and Gemma, the eventual 6th and 7th rangers on the team. The episode leads us to believe that they died saving K, unless you happened to watch Go-onger and knew what was coming.

Add to that the violin motif played by K throughout the episode, and that they are able to fit in a new Megazord formation into the story line, and an argument could be made that this is definitely one of the best episodes the series has to offer.

Why is this episode not higher on the list?

This episode is nearly perfect. The only things you can fault it for are your usual Power Rangers issues. Doctor K's plan to duplicate the device using the mirror is a good one, but the mechanics are never properly explained, nor why they can't build another. (Surely they can scrap parts from somewhere.)

It's also kind of hard to buy that Tenaya fit into that Attack Bot, but like I said, Power Rangers issues. (The show has long disregarded physics and spacial relationships.)

There's also a lot left unexplained regarding Alphabet Soup. It's not necessarily the job of the episode to do this, but since we never really hear from the group again, it does leave a bit of a lingering question in the minds of fans. (The main one being- what inspired them to make the ranger suits in the first place.) I would love to see some sort of comic in the future or novel tying up those lingering threads. If it were another series, I'd let it slide, but because RPM irons all of its plot points out, it just feels weird.

How does this episode influence the new movie?

RPM is often regarded as "the darkest season" of Power Rangers. Really though it's just the most grounded. It's about the characters, in spite of the ridiculous stuff happening around them. The movie seems to fall into the same idea- If you develop your characters fully, make them real, the audience is much more willing to suspend their disbelief and go on the ride with them.


Head to Fandango and check for theaters in your area!

We are officially in Premier Week! Today, (March 20th), there will be a special episode of Cake Wars featuring the Power Rangers movie on Food Network. Becky G (Trini/Yellow Ranger) will be a guest judge. Check your local listings for times!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Power Rangers Premier Countdown: 5th Place goes to...

Power Rangers Dino Thunder Episode 27: Fighting Spirit

Why is this episode one of the best?

Often times, Power Rangers does not get to be overly cerebral or deep in its storytelling. The series runs the gambit from funny to dramatic, but Power Rangers is usually very on the surface. That isn't the case with Fighting Spirit. The episode starts with Tommy being accidentally put into a coma when the rangers' tech designer, Hayley, tries to make him visible again (it's a whole thing that we won't get into here.) His Dino Gem (this season's ranger power source), is used as the power source for her machine, and when the machine overloads, the gem breaks into three pieces and Tommy is left in an unconcious state.

While the other rangers battle a monster who negates their powers, Tommy is made to battle 3 past versions of himself, taking the form of Zeo Ranger 5, White Ranger and Green Ranger. It is revealed toward the end of the episode that what Tommy has really been battling is his approaching death. His will to live overcame the destruction of his powers, and the gem is returned to him in tact. Receiving a new power-up, he and the other rangers are able to take down the monster.

Besides just being full of Tommy VS Tommy battles, the episode gets to be really deep. As far back as Mighty Morphin we have been told that the ranger powers are actually bonded to the rangers themselves. When Kimberly is without her Power Coin in Season 3, her health actually declines, and it's implied if a ranger is forcibly removed from their powers, they will die, or enter a state close to death. (Kendrix's death and subsequent revival in Lost Galaxy could be attributed to this; Kendrix died, but her Saber was kept in tact and may have actually housed her essence. Weird times.)

When Tommy's gem splits into 3, it actually splinters his being into 3 parts. Only by beating them is he able to restore the gem to its original form, and become whole again. That's some Kingdom Hearts stuff right there.

Why is this episode not higher on the list?

Power Rangers being what it is, this episode is probably not as great as it could have been. For one, there is not as much tension as there should be in the hospital scenes. I don't know if this was a result of Disney, or just the writing in general, but we never really get the feeling that Tommy is in any danger.

I'm a Tommy fan....but even this episode can be too much Tommy at times for me. I think this was a missed opportunity to develop Hayley a bit. We know why Tommy knows how to do ranger stuff; we see him grow with it. We're just told about Hayley's backstory and her friendship with Tommy. (I guess I'll wait for the Boom comic to explain it all to me.)

The villains are barely a factor in this episode, and that's sort of a rarity for Dino Thunder. Their only purpose is to drain the rangers' powers so they can show they're badass enough to fight without them. While that's definitely viable from a plot perspective, Mesogog is sort of left to just be "Big Evil" here, and that is usually not the case. Plus it introduces the idea of their being other power sources comparable to the Dino Gems...but we never hear from that again.

One sticking point for a lot of fans is also the Green Ranger helmet in this episode. I'm unclear as to what the actual story is, but I think they just didn't have the original prop, and the one that they had was painted incorrectly. It's not that big of a deal, especially for the kids who were watching this when it aired- they wouldn't have been born when the Green Ranger was a thing. For older fans like myself's annoying. Power Rangers has a lot of these moments- the production wants to do big things, but they have so much going on they don't pay attention to key details. (Super Megaforce, in a nutshell.)

How does this episode influence the new movie?

Early pictures from filming of the movie show that Rita is playing mind games with the rangers here. She's not just attacking them physically, she's playing on their fears and their weaknesses; probably because she had/has those same issues. Like I said above, Power Rangers is almost always on the surface. That's fine for the TV show, but this movie has to dive just a little bit deeper into each character if it's going to be all that it can be.


Head to Fandango and check for theaters in your area!

On this coming Monday, (March 20th), there will be a special episode of Cake Wars featuring the Power Rangers movie on Food Network. Becky G (Trini/Yellow Ranger) will be a guest judge. Check your local listings for times!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Power Rangers Premier Countdown: 6th Place goes to...

Power Rangers Lost Galaxy Episode 18: The Rescue Mission

Why is this episode one of the best?

Directed by creature sculptor and sci-fi aficionado, Steve Wang, The Rescue Mission is probably the most different an episode of Power Rangers has ever been. Taking inspiration from a plethora of Sci-fi thrillers, this episode pits two of our rangers and a group of selected Terra Venture soldiers against an unknown alien threat. Receiving a distress signal from a damaged spaceship, Mike (Magna Defender) is tasked with putting together a rescue team to go explore the ship.

On the ship, his team (composed of his brother, Leo/Red Ranger and a bunch of other red shirts), run into the corpses of the ship's old crew, as well as the alien beast who killed them. This is a big deal for Power Rangers, as it's really the only time corpses are seen. (We've had zombies and skeletons sure, but this is something else.) The alien seems to be protecting/targeting a book that Leo finds in the arms of one of the fallen crew. Mike's team eventually gets captured, and it's up to him, Leo and the other Power Rangers to save the day.

On their way out of the ship, we also get a nice callback to the first episode, with Mike almost sacrificing himself for Leo again (and the book too.) Everyone makes it out okay, and the aforementioned Galaxy Book ends up in the hands of Terra Venture. Said book will initiate the plot for the remainder of the season.

Why is this episode not higher on the list?

There is not a lot wrong with this episode. There's some bad line deliveries by some of technicians in Terra Venture (they sound dubbed over actually) but most of the episode is really well written and well acted.

I think the main problem the episode has is that it's not really a Power Rangers episode;it's something else entirely. This episode feels like the characters from Lost Galaxy ended up in another sci-fi show by accident. While the episode is thrilling, and for the most part, plays heavily into the plot of the show, there are times where it is so off-brand that it takes you out of the moment. I know as a kid I was legitimately terrified of this episode. It's still not the easiest thing to watch, if I'm being completely honest.

Most of this is due to the direction of Steve Wang. He's amazingly talented, but he doesn't seem to quite get what Power Rangers is at times. Wang directed Guyver, as well as the Kamen Rider Ryuki adaption, Kamen Rider Dragon Knight. Guyver goes hard on the gross-out, violent factors of sci-fi, and Dragon Knight pushes the slower pacing found in most Japanese dramas. Power Rangers was both a great fit for him, and a terrible fit. I think it's why he only directed that one episode.

Truth be told, it would be fun to see what he'd do with an entire Power Rangers series....but it might end up like Dragon Knight.

The last problem with this episode is that the origins of the Galaxy Book, the dead ship crew, and the terrifying alien creature are never explained, but then, a lot of Lost Galaxy is left unexplained. It's one of those allowances you have to give Power Rangers sometimes- things will not always be clearly ironed out.

How does this episode influence the new movie?

The upcoming film is not as grimdark as people seem to want it to be, or think it will be. However, it is trying to move away from being mostly camp like Mighty Morphin was. (There will still be campy moments if the trailers are anything to go by.) The Rescue Mission gives us an outsider's look at what Power Rangers could be- dramatic, sci-fi storytelling. The new movie seems to strike a balance between the campy, fun side of Power Rangers and this more dramatic, sci-fi fare.


Head to Fandango and check for theaters in your area!

On this coming Monday, (March 20th), there will be a special episode of Cake Wars featuring the Power Rangers movie on Food Network. Becky G (Trini/Yellow Ranger) will be a guest judge. Check your local listings for times!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Power Rangers Premier Countdown: 7th Place goes to...

Power Rangers Lost Galaxy Episode 30-32: To the Tenth Power, The Power of Pink and Protect The Quasar Saber

Why are these episodes some of the best?

There is nothing like a ranger team-up. They're the usual bits of Power Rangers fun and action with the added bonus of seeing two disparate casts of characters interact. While Zeo did have a team up with the Alien Rangers, it was minimal as far as content goes. To the Tenth Power is the first real team up we get in the ranger universe and it is prolific in what it does for the remainder of the season and Power Rangers as a whole. While not technically a multi-parter, these 3 episodes do work together as one complete story.

After the Psycho Rangers are defeated in Part 1, Cassie (Space Pink) and Kendrix (Galaxy Pink) team up to take down the one surviving Psycho, PsychoPink. The evil ranger is questing for a the "Savage Sword" a sword that grows in power with each strike it makes. Finding the sword and using it to steal power from Cassie's morpher, it looks like PsychoPink is going to win until the other rangers team up in their Megazords and take her down. However, Kendrix resolves to save Cassie's powers and her life, by sacrificing hers. This is the first time a ranger had died on screen, and the only time where it was "permanent." (Kendrix does return in the finale.)

While the death was written in for a real-world reason (Kendrix's actor was diagnosed with Leukemia and needed treatment), the solid storytelling and aftermath of her character's death is a really powerful moment for the franchise.

In the final part, Protect the Quasar Saber, the rangers go in search of Kendrix's saber when they learn it has fallen into evil hands. Karone, Andros/Space Red's sister and former villain Astronema, is able to get the saber away from the forces of evil, and after a near-death experience, inherits the powers of the Pink Ranger from Kendrix. There's a lot of character work at play here, with Karone having wanted to be a ranger since she was a little kid, and finally getting her chance here.

Why are these episodes not higher up on the list?

There's some continuity errors throughout the episodes. For one, it's not really explained how Deviot knew of the Psycho Rangers. (He calls them old friends, though it's probably just a throw away line.)

There's some weirdness when the other Space Rangers show up too- they were apparently summoned by Alpha, but he's surprised to see them. (He sends out a distress signal...but other than them, there are no other rangers active to receive it.)

Zhane is annoyingly absent from the episodes; I believe for availability reasons. It's just weird because Mike gets to play a fairly decent role here. (It also is just confusing that the episode is called "To the Tenth" when there are 11 people fighting.) Speaking of Mike, he is operating Terra Venture when Kendrix is killed, and it's really weird that we never get his reaction of her death.

While filming (or maybe in planning) Cassie was supposed to become the new Pink Galaxy Ranger, not Karone. If you watch the Power of Pink, you'll notice they heavily set this up, and then it's kind of dropped by the following episode. That's not exactly a problem, in fact it's nice to see Cassie and the other Space Rangers dealing with their guilt, but it's certainly a bit strange when Karone shows up. That's especially true when they never explain how she got from planet to planet.

How do these episodes possibly influence the movie?

These 3 episodes give us one thing that is not always present in Power Rangers- stakes. The stakes are high throughout all 3 parts. We have some of the toughest villains to ever appear on the show, 11 warriors teaming up to fight them, the death of one of those warriors to save another, and a former villain taking up the Power Ranger mantle in the dead one's place. It's epic, and a certain level of stakes are needed in the movie universe to make things work.


Head to Fandango and check for theaters in your area!

On this coming Monday, (March 20th), there will be a special episode of Cake Wars featuring the Power Rangers movie on Food Network. Becky G (Trini/Yellow Ranger) will be a guest judge. Check your local listings for times!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Power Rangers Premier Countdown: 8th Place goes to...

Power Rangers In Space Episodes 42-43: Countdown to Destruction

Why are these episodes some of the best?

Feeling a little bit under the weather today, so let's keep this short and sweet. In a lot of people's minds, this is the best couple of episodes Power Rangers has ever put together. It's dramatic, it's action-packed, it gives proper resolution to most of the characters in the series up until that point....and come on, we get to see Bulk and Skull fight alongside the Power Rangers!

Countdown to Destruction capped off what would come to be referred as "The Zordon Era." (Spoiler Alert.....if you didn't know, Zordon sacrifices himself by way of Andros/Space Red's Spiral Sabre to wipe out all evil in the Galaxy. The resulting "Z-Wave" crushes almost every single villain still let living in our immediate area of Space, and reverts Rita, Zedd and Divatox to human forms.

It is a perfect ending for the season, and really for the series. Being that Power Rangers was almost cancelled, Space was able to go all out and have a really expensive and awe inspiring final wave at the cameras. (The first of many times the series was facing the ax.)

In Space did so well however, that the show was not cancelled, and the rest is history. If you have never seen this episode, it's worth a watch, but don't do it until you watch the whole season.

Why are these episodes not higher up on the list?

These episodes are without a doubt, fantastic. They are not without their problems however:

-The beginning of Part 1 feels really shaky. I'm not sure why exactly, but it feels rushed. I'm fairly sure these episodes were supposed to be longer (maybe even 3 parts) and then that didn't it could be that. There's a lot that happens in that first little bit and while it's necessary, it hurts my enjoyment of the story just a little bit too much.

-There are a lot of loose ends in these episodes, and we never really see them resolved properly. Andros and Ashley were originally supposed to kiss, but they didn't...and we get that they're together, but we never really see Ashley again past Lost we don't actually know what kind of future they have.

Why are Rita and Zedd humans? No idea. Divatox we know- she is Demetria's sister with that whole mess from Turbo, but she doesn't get to reunite with her, so it just feels weird.

And then there's the villains that die. Yes, I know, they are evil, but some of them had at that point been more well developed than the rangers. Seeing Rita's gang turned to dust just feels weird somehow. (Especially knowing now that they all survive in Zyuranger.) I get the reasoning for why it was done, it just felt a little hollow; especially since Zordon's death didn't wipe out all evil, just the closest evil. And it also missed Demons....on Earth.

There's just a lot I still want to know about how things went down. Maybe Boom will address it in the comics some day:)

How do these episodes possibly influence the movie?

In Space gave us a little bit more rounding out of the mythology of Power Rangers. The movie is definitely going to take some direction from that, especially the things like Rita being humanoid. There's also just a grandeur that this episode has; there's stakes. And, most importantly of all, Angel Grove feels like a character that is always on the rangers' side.


Head to Fandango and check for theaters in your area!

Tonight (3/16) Elizabeth will be on Jimmy Fallon to promote the show. Check your listings!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Power Rangers Premier Countdown: 9th Place goes to...

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Episodes 61-63: The Mutiny

Why are these episodes some of the best?

Back in the early 90s, Power Rangers was in its heyday, and while it was already beloved, the introduction of one villain would send it over the top for me personally. The Mutiny, which introduced the world to Lord Zedd, was the first time (and one of the only times) that Power Rangers received a prime time airing slot. It was also the premier of Season 2, and the network was not fooling around with this one.

The episode gives us a lot. Lord Zedd is menacing, and evil, and over-the-top; everything a villain should be. He banishes Rita, and goes to work beating down the rangers. He freezes/steals their zords, and pretty much sidelines them until they are able to activate their new ones.

Bulk and Skull fans get their first real bit of character development- they are saved by the Power Rangers and decide they will discover their identites; i.e their shtick for Season 2.

We also get to see Tommy's powers start to really fade here. We had already been told at this point that he was weakening, but here it's painfully obvious. It sets up a really great character arc for him that stretches over just about the first half of season 2.

The episodes are suspenseful, action-packed and full of the rangers actually doubting themselves, which definitely happens in this show, but nowhere near as much as it should realistically.

Plus, those Thunderzords!

Why are these episodes not higher up on the list?

For all the amazing story and character drama we get out of these episodes, there is a lot left to be desired when it comes to the actual filming and footage presented. For one, a lot of it, even some of the American footage, is repeated....over, and over again. A lot of the episode's zord footage and fight footage is a mix of footage used during Green With Evil, and original footage shot as part of "Zyu 2" by Toei.

As a kid, it passed as being not the same. As an adult...with access to the episodes any time you's glaringly obvious and kind of pulls you out of the moment. In fairness, there was a lot of original, non-Zyuranger things that had to be constructed, so I imagine the budget was not amazing for them. (Lord Zedd, the Thunder Megazord, cockpit, etc.)

There's also a really weird time issue with the marathon the rangers are competing in. It lasts over the three episodes...but it can't possibly be that long of a race. (The rangers spend lengths of time in the Command Center waiting.) To their credit, the rangers and Bulk and Skull do finish last, so it's not as crazy as it could have been.

Oh and yeah- Mega Thunderzord?

How do these episodes possibly influence the movie?

As I probably brought up before, the prospect of Rita working for Lord Zedd seems rather likely in the movie, especially with the Zeo Crystal involved. Mostly used as a throw-away joke in the show, Lord Zedd at one time or another tried to seek out the Zeo Crystal for himself (it's concealed in the Caves of Deception, below the Moon Palace), but was deflected by the Crystals anti-evil force-field and disfigured. We don't know what form Lord Zedd will take in the films, or if he will even be directly involved, but we do know the Zeo Crystal is there...and that Rita wants it for some reason.


Head to Fandango and check for theaters in your area!

Tomorrow (3/16), Bryan Cranston will be hosting a Facebook Live chat for Power Rangers at 2 PM Eastern/11 AM Pacific. He will also be on Live with Kelly this Friday (3/17). Check @ThePowerRangers on twitter for more information. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Power Rangers Premier Countdown: 10th Place goes to...

Power Rangers Time Force Episodes 24-25: Movie Madness

Why are these episodes some of the best?

I'm noticing a trend in our countdown- a lot of these episodes are from the middle of the season. I guess that makes sense; it's the sweet spot. Time Force has a lot of great episodes, but this one stands above the rest for a couple of reasons.

For one, we get to see the cast really play around here and have fun. Time Force is by no means a dark and gritty season, but it is a little bit more adult, and just after this episode, things start to rev up en route to the finale. This episode is really just for the sake of fun.

The other thing this episode does is show a real appreciation for the process and the challenges of the cinema. From my experiences talking with cast and crew members, the people who make Power Rangers are all very passionate about the craft, in one way or another. This episode is a send-up to the movie business itself, while still remaining within the confines of a Power Rangers episode.

We get to see a lot of reused sets and props from past Power Rangers series (Hello Onyx and Maligore minions!) as well as seeing Vernon Wells (who plays Ransik) in his costume from Mad Max 2. A lot of the characters, including Ransik himself, also get to play camp and add a little bit of humor to their fighting styles, which is done sparingly throughout the series proper.

We also get some rare character moments, like Jen swooning over her favorite movie star, Eric and Circuit having a scene together, or Ransik trying to communicate with dancing Cyclobots over rock music. It's a lot of fun, and it doesn't take itself too seriously.

Why are these episodes not higher up on the list?

While the episodes do a lot of things right, there are a couple of things that keep it from being perfect. The major glaring problem is Katie's movie musical. Now the quality of the songs (or really, song) is neither here nor there; it is what it is. The problem is that while the other movies the rangers are transported into have a fairly clear narrative, Katie is just dancing around on one set with a random dude. It's supposed to be a romance...I guess, but it doesn't really work. (The other movies are by no means complicated, but they do have a through-line.) To be fair, outside of maybe Jen, the other movies feel like incredibly random choices for each ranger.

Another issue I have with this episode is Eric doesn't really get to play around with the other characters as much as one would like. What he does in the episodes is fine (he gets a great scene where he goes through an audition using his actual headshot), but it feels like they weren't sure how to handle him in scenes with the others for this episode.

Lastly, there's some continuity errors with the way the transporting works; how Cinecon is in so many places at once, etc., etc. While most of this can be forgiven because it's in the service of the story and humor, there's a couple of points where it's just confusing. (I'm still not sure if the rangers are somehow on an actual movie lot where tours are happening, or the movie lot is like a hub world of the dimensions Cinecon is utilizing. And was Frankie Chang actually filming a movie somewhere else? I need answers!) It's one of those things you wish was explained more, but at the end of the day, it's Power Rangers, so you let it slide.

How does this episode possibly influence the movie?

Something that is intrinsic to Power Rangers' DNA is the ability to turn from dramatic to comedic on a dime. It's a carryover of Super Sentai, and it's something that looks to be in the new film as well. (Note gyrating Megazord above.)

In a surreal environment like where Power Rangers takes place, comedy is often needed to balance out the drama, and vice-versa. It's the reason you're never going to get a "gritty" Power Rangers film. Power Rangers, at it's core, is one part drama and one part comedy. Oh, and like 89 explosions.


Head to Fandango and check for theaters in your area!

Today (3/14), weather permitting, Elizabeth Banks will be a guest star on Live with Kelly to promote the film. Check your local listings!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Power Rangers Premier Countdown: 11th Place goes to...

Power Rangers in Space Episode 25: Always a Chance

Why is this episode one of the best?

Always a Chance is fairly high up on my list of best episodes of all time for two very simple reasons:

One, it is one of the only episodes in all the time Power Rangers has been on that shows a Ranger doubting themselves, and the doubt is for legitimate reasons; i.e. Carlos does not want to endanger his team because he may not be good enough to be a Ranger anymore.

Two, it exemplifies a defining point of the show; Once a Ranger, Always a Ranger. The Power Rangers universe, while never fully developed, has at its core the idea that all past rangers are out there somewhere, helping the world in their own way. This episode sees Adam return to retrain Carlos and convince him that he is worth of being a ranger. (He picked him afterall.) Plus, we get to see Adam be a BAMF and morph at the risk of his own life with a broken morpher. (Adam is a favorite character of mine, but unfortunately he never got his due while he was in the main cast. His two return performances sort of made up for that.)

Why is this episode not higher on the list?

What bogs this episode down is some continuity errors and that the monster plot for the episode is incredibly weak:

Do we ever learn what Lizwizard is trying to steal? Does Astronema build a weapon with it? I don't remember if we see either come to fruition. Continuity errors include the morpher on Adam's belt being fixed when he morphs, which I assume is just a B-unit costuming issue, and Astronema obviously being dubbed over because she got the name of the monster wrong. (Her mouth says "Wizlizard" and her voice says "Lizwizard.")

There's also a bit of wooden acting from Carlos and Adam here, but I blame it mostly on the dialogue. Compared to other episodes though, these gripes are minor.

How does this episode possibly influence the movie?

In the same way that Adam trains Carlos in this episode, Zordon and Alpha are going to have to train the new team of heroes to not doubt themselves and band together. By all accounts, it's not going to be an easy job.


Head to Fandango and check for theaters in your area!

Also, tomorrow 3/14, weather permitting, Elizabeth Banks will be a guest star on Live with Kelly to promote the film. Check local listings!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Power Rangers Premier Countdown: 12th Place goes to...

Power Rangers SPD Episodes 24-25: Reflection

Why are these episodes some of the best?

SPD is a season that tackles a lot of different themes. The rangers themselves are essentially mutants, who by way of destiny and interference end up working in the same law enforcement division as their parents did. (Their parents having accidentally mutated themselves via an experiment.) It also deals quite often with racism between the regular humans and the aliens and monsters who now live on the planet. (The show takes place in the not-so-distant future.)

One plot point is that Blue Ranger, Sky, cannot accept that Jack, a thief, became Red Ranger. (Red and Yellow, both thieves, were allowed to work as SPD instead of serving their time in jail.) Sky's father was a Red Ranger in the past and was killed in the line of duty(no one we know, just an SPD officer) and so it's been his dream and mission to become Red since he was young. He eventually cools down and accepts Jack as team leader, but this episode throws some extra drama on the fire.

By way of a mimicking monster, Sky is required by Doggie Krueger (Shadow Ranger and their chief) to seek out the help of an imprisoned villain, Mirloc, in a pretty well done nod to Silence of the Lambs. Mirloc can teleport through reflections, and in short, he eventually gets Sky to cry and escapes. It also turns out that Mirloc is the one who killed Sky's father. So you know, drama.

There's a lot of cool scenes with Mirloc picking off each ranger, until it's down to him and Sam/Omega Ranger. Omega breaks out the others, and Jack lends Sky his Battlizer (acquired earlier on in the two-parter) to defeat and re-capture Mirloc. The episode ends with a heartfelt conversation between Zack and Sky, over his father's helmet.

Why are these episodes not higher on the list?

SPD, while longer than Mystic Force, is still a victim of footage burning. The show probably deserved an extra 5 episodes, just to flesh out some things it didn't get to do. But for this episode in particular, Slate, a disguise monster, was shoehorned into the plot a bit. It was in the service of the episode, giving both a reason for Mirloc to escape, and for Jack to get his Battlizer, but Slate himself is well...a blank slate. SPD has a lot of interesting aliens, and he certainly isn't one of them. 

Another problem with the episode is that Sam gets to have that big fight with Mirloc. In Dekaranger, the Sky story line actually belonged to DekaBreak (Omega), so they were forced to use this footage for that reason. It just feels really hollow all said and done. I would have loved to see Sky take him on without the Battlizer first. 

Other than that, the episode is solid.

How do these episodes possibly influence the movie?

If the trailers are anything to go by, the Power Rangers this time were a "legion." SPD is just that- an entire universe of ranger-based law enforcement. Sure we only ever see 2 full teams of rangers in the season, and one is evil, but it's implied that there are more. If sequels happen for the new film, there's a good chance we will see more than one team of rangers in one way or another. 


Head to Fandango and check for theaters in your area!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Power Rangers Premier Countdown: 13th Place goes to...

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Episodes 141-143: Master Vile and the Metallic Armor

Why are these episodes some of the best?

Master Vile and the Metallic Armor does something a lot of Power Rangers, especially Mighty Morphin, did not- world building. The introduction of Master Vile gives us just a bit more on Rita's family, gives a reason for Zedd's skinless-ness, and most importanly introduces the Zeo Crystal, a McGuffin that actually has a use past these 3 episodes.

The 3-parter also lets us see Tommy overcome his past wrongdoings so he can get the Zeo Crystal before Master Vile as well as seeing Cat willing to sacrifice herself to accomplish said mission, and save the Falconzord, along with winning the crystal. It's a nice follow-up to everything that has come before as these two rangers are connected by their past enchantment via Rita, and it also hints at their future relationship.

Plus, we get some intergalactic travel and cool Zord fights. Never a bad thing.

Why are these episodes not higher on the list?

The Metallic Armor.....oh boy the Metallic Armor. By my best recollection, the Metallic Armor was introduced to sell some unsold Power Rangers movie toys. The reason they're such a problem is that they're literally used all of 3 times. (It may be 4, but I really think it's just 3.) Besides being used so infrequently, they're just not really that appealing of an upgrade. (Except for Yellow, that gold helmet is fantastic.)

There's also some continuity errors by way of Sentai footage here. When the Ninja Megazord is shown the first time, it is combined with the Falconzord. (Still captured in Zedd's throne room at this point.) A bunch of Power Rangers' continuity problems just comes from bad editing.

The Blue Globber is also nowhere near as intimidating as it should be for a monster utilizing Ninjor and the Rangers' powers. (He was utterly terrifying in Kakuranger though.)

How do these episodes possibly influence the movie?

The greatest influence these episodes will have on the upcoming movie is undoubtedly, the Zeo Crystal. We have no idea what role the Crystal will play, but thanks to the Alphabot app from Lionsgate and Saban...we know that it is something that Rita is after. Not a bad way to set up future sequels.


Head to Fandango and check for theaters in your area!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Power Rangers Premier Countdown: 14th Places goes to...

Power Rangers Turbo Episodes 44-45: Chase into Space

Why are these episodes some of the best?

I think Power Rangers gets an unfair representation when looked back upon by the general masses. It is always remembered as a formulaic show, where the good guys are always winning. While I guess this is generally true, a lot of the more quality episodes actually end with the good guys losing, and pretty badly at that.

The finale of Power Rangers Turbo is one of these episodes. While I don't believe Turbo is anyone's most favorite season of the show, it has a lot of positive notes and they're all touched upon in these final two episodes. Plus it's really the first time that the show had a tried-and-true destruction of the rangers' home base by the bad guys. And it highlights the fact that the Command Center is in plain view of everyone.

The original command center does get blown up at the end of the Alien Rangers saga, but it's not a struggle by any means, and it gets brought back as the Power Chamber in the next few episodes. Here, the Power Chamber is GONE. That's it, goodbye. Future series would delight in their "command center" destruction scenes.

The plot with Justin and his Dad's new job is actually a believable life event. Those are few and far between in Power Rangers. If you didn't like Justin, this episode made you care about him at least a little bit, seeing as how it was up to him to get the rangers into orbit.

It's a dramatic, high-stakes episode that ends with the rangers heading into Space, and really serves as a premier episode of sorts for the next season, more so than it does as Turbo's final episodes. But man...I remember watching this as a kid and being at the edge of my seat when the rangers take off in that shuttle. It was before I knew what Super Sentai was, so I had no idea the next show would have anything to do with Space.

Why are these episodes not higher on the list?

While the episode does give us a lot of what we loved in Turbo, it doesn't really do much in the way of mitigating what people hated. The Super Sentai footage still doesn't mesh too well with the American characters, though it comes off better here because said episode of Carranger was a little bit more tense than usual.

Bulk, Skull and Lt. Stone are reduced to almost no screen time, which is not surprising given what was happening behind the scenes. (Bulk and Skull were supposed to receive their own spy-themed spin-off series, but that didn't take.) As such, there's no real civilian representative for the evil stuff that is happening in the episode. So when the rangers battle....and lose both kind of feels like they did it for no reason. Who were they saving? Trees?

Probably the worst thing the episode does is set up a plot line that goes nowhere...which isn't so crazy for Power Rangers. There have been countless theories on how the rangers are automatically allowed to use the Space Shuttle and what Justin actually says to the Commander about Eltar, but it is never followed up upon...and it really nags at the minds of fans. (My personal theory is that the Commander was going to be set up as the new mentor for Space, sort of in the same vein as Megaranger, and they decided to nix that.)

How do these episodes possibly influence the movie?

Probably the most apparent thing that this episode led to for the movie is that the Command Center has been moved to an actual hidden location vs just being out in the open. I think we'll also hopefully see some of the more government-based facilities that Power Rangers has had over the years, (the Power Coins are located in a "restricted area"), even if it's just little Easter Eggs.


Head to Fandango and check for theaters in your area!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Power Rangers Premier Countdown: 15th Place goes to...

Power Rangers Wild Force Episode 34: Forever Red

Why is this episode one of the best?

This is going to be short and sweet. We know why this episode ranks as one of the best. What is better than seeing an all-star team of Red Rangers take on the remaining forces of the Machine Empire in their plan to resurrect Lord Zedd's titantic zord Serpenterra? Not a whole lot.

It's a half hour full of action, scenery chewing, and general badassery and nostalgic wonder. If you've never watched it, watch it.

Why is this episode not higher on the list?

Forever Red is a great episode in that it's fun and puts together a cast of fan-favorite characters...but there's a lot of things wrong with it too. Rocky is notably missing from the lineup, due to production just not being able to locate the actor at the time of filming. (To be fair, Aurico is also not his original actor...but that one's a little bit easier to let pass.)

Then there's the fact that the episode was supposed to be at least a 2-parter, but there wasn't enough budget, so it got knocked down to one. (This is the main reason that the "Machine Empire" is composed of Beetle Borgs suits.) But added to that, the episode actually went over budget, and production had to ask Bandai for some cash, leading to the unfulfilling way the episode ends. (Cole, Wild Force Red, using his new bike toy to take out Serpenterra....because you know, that seems like a fitting end for a Zord that can blow up a planet.)

Cole is also a little bit wooden here (and in other Wild Force episodes) but it's balanced out by the other Red Rangers and the fact that he's identified as "The Rookie."

How does this episode possibly influence the movie?

Legacy. The new Power Rangers film seems to be trying to establish an extended universe for its Power Rangers mythos. There were rangers before this present team, and it's incredibly likely that Zordon and Rita were at least involved with that team in the past.

Power Rangers has always prided itself on being in a shared universe with its characters and story, but has never had the budget to fully realize it. (Re: Megaforce)

I think, if given the chance, the movie universe could end up showing us legions of ranger teams joining forces to snuff out evil and all that good stuff.


Head to Fandango and check for theaters in your area!

Also, today on Youtube, they are streaming a live VR event for the movie, featuring the cast. An exclusive clip will also be shown. Users without VR can also watch the stream. Check @ThePowerRangers on twitter for more information.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Power Rangers Premier Countdown: 16th Place goes to...

Power Rangers Dino Charge Episode 4: Return of the Caveman

Why is this episode one of the best?

In the wake of Dino Super Charge's finale, I feel like a lot of fans, myself included, have a little bit of a bitter taste in our mouths when it comes to the season (well, seasons.) It's important to remember though that while Super Charge is a bit of a mess, Dino Charge is, in and of itself, a pretty great season.

Return of the Caveman excels because it's simple. We get to see the backstory of how Koda found his Energem, and we learn that he had a little brother in the past. Koda saves his brother from a Smilodon attack, and in the process falls over a cliff, becoming frozen until present day. (We actually don't see this explained until a bit later, and actually see him get discovered in Season 2. Cool stuff.)

Return of the Caveman also exists as one of the only "bike episodes" of Power Rangers to actually have much in the way of character development- and that is no small feat. (Koda having to deal with his fear of the new Dino Charge cycles, and bikes in general.) In short, the episode is about an old soul who can't quite seem to get used to modern day technologies, and it makes him wonder if he is cut out to be a hero.

As a bonus, Koda gets to say "It's Morphin Time!" in this, and you can practically feel the joy in Yoshi's line delivery. (They also name the little kid he's trying to save Peter, which is his real-life brother's name, who is currently on Power Rangers. The kid in the episode is supposed to represent Koda's brother. It's Inception-level Power Rangers references.)

Why is this episode not higher on the list?

While Dino Charge is nowhere near the level Samurai, Megaforce, and now regrettably Ninja Steel is, it still has some line deliveries that feel like they're being targeted directly at toddlers. Some jokes, for example, are delivered so slowly that they stop being jokes, and just become Golf commentary.

There's also the return of Power Rangers' favorite problem- terrible child actors. Now, the kid who plays Peter is definitely not that bad as an actor, but as with most of the New Zealand-filmed shows, he has a bit of trouble keep his accent in check. I can forgive that though. His friends at the end of the episode however? They might as well have been cardboard.

And last, but not least, that terrible, terrible CGI Smilodon.

How does this episode possibly influence the movie?

There's a lot about the new Power Coins that feel very close to the Energems in Dino Charge. They don't necessarily give civilian powers like in Disney seasons, but they do channel the power of the suits into the rangers while they are un-morphed. I think that's what the movie is doing as well.

Then there's the talk of Rita and Zordon's battle going back 65 million years, versus the 10,000 in the TV Show. Alpha, Rita and Zordon seem like they'll be fish out of water in the film, and like Koda, have to adapt to their new surroundings. As they're already part of an alien's probably going to be easier on them than it was for him.


Head to Fandango and check for theaters in your area!

Also, Becky G, who plays Trini, will be a guest on Wendy Williams today to promote the movie. Check your local listings for times.