Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Fox/Saban/Saban Brands
The end is finally here for Saban’s original Power Rangers franchise. What started out in 1993 lasted a grand total of six seasons. Rangers came and Rangers went as did powers and incarnations. Now in the long-awaited finale to the franchise that started it all, every one of the Rangers from the franchise’s first five seasons join the current team as they face off against every villain that the Rangers have faced up to this point in a battle for not just Earth but also the Universe. This collection of episodes effectively ends the original Power Rangers franchise before it got re-booted in early 1999 in the form of Power Rangers Lost Galaxy. Power Rangers In Space: Volume Two is one of the absolute best groupings of episodes from the original series. The primary reason for that is of course the writing. While the final two episodes are the key focus of the collection, there was also the multi-episode story arc involving the Psycho Rangers. Audiences also see something of a personal growth from Andros (Christopher Kayman Lee) in some episodes. One in particular sees him take on a father-like presence when he saves the “servant” of an evil alien. The stock footage and special effects that made the series so wonderfully campy continued on through this season, too. That is another factor in this set that audiences will appreciate in viewing these episodes. Rounding out the whole thing is the presentation of the episodes. The episodes presented in this collection are much like those of the previous collections. They are presented exactly as they were in their original broadcasts on Fox’s FOX Kids afternoon programming block. Nothing was edited out. And the footage looks just as it did in the episodes’ original broadcasts, too. That factor rounds out the presentation in whole that is Power Rangers in Space: Volume Two. Together with the writing and the character development displayed throughout the episodes, it makes clearly visible why Power Rangers in Space: Volume Two a fitting finale to one of the greatest children’s franchises in modern television history.
Power Rangers in Space: Volume Two is a fitting finale to what is one of the greatest franchises in the modern history of television. The franchise lasted a grand total of six seasons before being rebooted in 1999 in the form of Power Rangers Lost Galaxy. What started as a cult hit in 1993 proved to be one of the biggest cultural phenomena by its end five years later. One of the key reasons for that was the franchise’s writing. That is evidenced clearly in the finale to Saban’s original franchise. Most audiences will agree that the franchise’s two-part finale, “Countdown to Destruction” is the central point of this collection. However, a closer look at the episodes shows that the buildup to that point is really what makes the collection work. The writers build up to that final epic battle by forcing the Rangers to use all of their resources to face the Psycho Rangers multiple times. They also face quite the test when their main resources are destroyed in their attempts to destroy Ecliptor and Tankenstein. Audiences that grew up with this franchise will love seeing again how the Rangers tackle the situation with teamwork and the help of all of the previous Rangers. The fact that the writers could interweave each story arc into one whole story without losing audiences along the way is a testament to their efforts. On a side note, those that have continued watching the various incarnations of the Power Rangers up to this point can’t help but see a rather close similarity between “Countdown to Destruction” and the upcoming mega-battle in the Power Rangers Super Megaforce universe. It would be no surprise if this is where that show’s writers got their motivation for the franchise’s next upcoming mega battle. Again that being a possibility it goes to show once more the strength of the writers’ work even all those years ago. It’s just one part of what makes this (final?) collection of episodes such a fitting finale for the original Power Rangers franchise.
The writing behind the episodes culled for Power Rangers in Space: Volume Two is a solid starting point in an examination of what makes this collection so enjoyable. In direct relation, the growth of the characters—Andros specifically—helps move this collection forward. Audiences see him become increasingly welcoming to his fellow Rangers as the season progresses. This is especially noticeable in “Andros and the Stowaway” in which he saves an alien that looks a lot like an anglerfish with legs from its evil master. The care and concern given to the creature exhibits quite the emotional growth for him. To an extent, one could almost argue that the creature—dubbed Seymour by the Yellow Ranger—is somewhat representative of his sister, who obviously turns out to actually be Astronema. He cares for Seymour the way that he had never been able to look after his sister. It’s subtle, but it’s there. There is also the budding relationship between Ashley (The Yellow Ranger) and Andros in terms of character development. The writers can be applauded here as they didn’t let that take too much of the time in any episode. Whereas Tommy’s relationship first with Kimberly and then with Kat later in the original franchise, this relationship was kept more as an undertone of sorts. It was another way for the writers to exhibit Andros’ personal growth from the standard lone wolf figure to the warmer, more…..human character. One could argue even that it was one more way for Andros to heal from what happened and to give him a purpose to fight on and find his sister, whom he doesn’t realize, is actually Astronema, until these episodes. Looking back on the balance of character development and the overall writing, audiences that grew up with these episodes will appreciate them even more when watching these episodes again. The end result will be a heightened sense of nostalgia and in turn overall enjoyment.
The balance of character development and overall writing in these final episodes of Saban’s original Power Rangers franchise is of the utmost importance. Those behind the show expertly balanced the two to make them some of the most enjoyable to watch. The writers really show in their balance of the elements just how much this team of Rangers has grown together and how their battles against Astronema have shaped them both personally and by themselves. It collectively makes for quite the interesting watch. As important as these elements are to the overall enjoyment and success of Power Rangers in Space: Volume Two, there is one last element to examine. That last element is the presentation of the episodes. What audiences get in this set is one more collection of episodes presented exactly as they were presented in their original broadcast on Fox’s FOX Kids afternoon programming block back in 1998. There has been no re-mastering or anything of the sort. The stock footage from the Japanese series that inspired the Power Rangers’ various incarnations is here as are the campy but oh-so-fun special effects. As a matter of fact, those that have HDTVs will love seeing the wires/strings used to make Ecliptor fly in various episodes. And just as interesting is the appearance in Ecliptor’s final battle against the Rangers of a mysterious figure in the background of their battle. A close look reveals what looks like a female villain in the background as the Rangers face Ecliptor for the final time. But even when he is defeated, there is no mention of that figure. One can’t help but wonder if that was the editors’ attempt to mix the Japanese footage with that of the American series as there’s no mention of said figure at all. She is there, though. Regardless, the original editors behind these episodes did an applause-worthy job mixing the elements. And those responsible for transferring the original tapes to DVD are just as worthy of applause, too. Their collective work alongside the work of the writers to develop the characters and storylines makes Power Rangers in Space: Volume Two all the more enjoyable for today’s kids and those kids at heart that remember watching these episodes as kids themselves.
A lot of work went into making the final episodes of Saban’s original Power Rangers franchise memorable for audiences. That work was not lost on its fans. And those that have not seen these episodes since their original broadcast will recall just how memorable they were and are when they purchase this box set and watch these episodes again for the first time for themselves or with their own kids. Whether for the writing, the associated character development, or the original broadcast presentation of the episodes, audiences will see that there is a lot to like about Power Rangers in Space: Volume Two. They will then see that this is truly a fitting finale for what is one of the greatest children’s series in modern television history. It will be available in stores and online next Tuesday, October 7th and can be ordered direct from the Shout! Factory online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/kids/kids-action-adventure/power-rangers-in-space-vol-2. More information on this and other releases from Shout! Factory is available online at:
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