This week, I’ve been revisiting my youth. The first 3 series of Power Rangers are out in the wild and I’ve been reliving what it was like as 5-year-old Joe. Minus the running around a playground. Breaking into the school in the middle of the night to fight Putties is frowned upon. That’s right. It’s Morphin’ Time!
Power Rangers then…
As a kid, I loved watching Jason, Kimberly, Billy, Trini & Zack fight the evil monsters created by Rita Repulsa. The rip-roaring guitar solo, the beeps of the watches, the formulaic format all made for a perfect 30 minutes on a Saturday morning. It was a simpler time. It was a better time.
For 3 years, I lived and breathed Power Rangers. I was always Green Ranger (later White) in the playground. I loved being Tommy. He was the most powerful and usurped Jason as the leader. He had the best Zords and got the girl by being a nice guy. I was so into Power Rangers, I even called my first cat Tiger after the Tigerzord.
Power Rangers Now…
Some 25 years later, when the 90s are finally fashionable, everyone is coming to appreciate how good Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers actually was. Manga UK have picked up the licence and has released 3 series on DVD and I couldn’t be happier. It was good to look back on a programme that influenced me. Behind each insane monster was a moral and unlike later iterations, MMPR presented it in a half-decent way.
It’s a show that follows a set formula every episode. The gang start at the Angel Grove Youth Centre, which doubles as a school, because it’s cheaper to have one set. One of our teens (usually Billy) has a problem and it’s up to Jason and the others to help.
Meanwhile on the moon (because Power Rangers), Rita, or Lord Zedd are watching the teens. The alien perverts. They send a monster that is somewhat linked to the dilemma to so battle. The Rangers morph, have a fight, and win. The twist – that gets old fast – Rita makes the monster grow. Because moon powers.
The Rangers battle the monster with their giant robots who are actually guys in suits and save the day. Usually in a shower of explosions. Everyone laughs awkwardly at the end.
I absorbed this as a young person and it stayed with me for years. When I loaded the first disc, I was apprehensive. Would the series be as good as I remember it? Would my rose-tinted view of childhood cloud my rational adult mind? It’s not aged awfully, but that’s in part to the cheese factor. Power Rangers is like a fine cheddar. It while cracks do start to show with age, the cheese only gets better. It’s still delicious and doesn’t ruin the dish. Although it is bad for your health in large amounts.
Power Rangers is by no means perfect; midway through the second series cracks started to show. Jason, Trini, and Zack had contract disputes and ties severed. The awkwardness became clear when recycled footage from previous episodes showed up. By the end of the third series, stories became either ridiculous or were recycled faster than Alpha could shout “Ai-ai-ai!”
As a kid, I never noticed the problems. Or I did, but didn’t care. Power Rangers at is core was an engaging programme. Even though it’s second rate, it has heart. It doesn’t pretend to be anything than what it is. It’s also amazing to see a passionate fan base, even after so long. People still get together at various cons. Film makers felt the love and a big screen reboot (which is half decent) came to fruition.
The fact is, Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers is like a joke from a Christmas cracker. You laugh, you cringe and you remember it. It doesn’t matter who you are; The 5-year-old kid playing Green Ranger in the playground or the 30-year-old reminiscing on an innocent time in his life. It has something for everybody. Go, go Power Rangers.