Power Rangers Seasons 13 – 17 Another Welcome Addition To Any Diehard Power Rangers Fan’s Collection

Courtesy:  SHout! Factory/Saban Brands

Courtesy: SHout! Factory/Saban Brands

Just over two decades ago, Saban Brands brought to young American audiences a little special effects laden, live action children’s series called Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. Little did anyone think at the time that the original Power Rangers franchise would last a total of seven seasons. Even more surprising is the fact that those seven seasons would also not be the last for the Power Rangers franchise. Thirteen seasons later, the Power Rangers franchise is still among the most successful in children’s programming. Even those adults that were kids when Mighty Mrophin’ Power Rangers first debuted in 1993 are still fans of the franchise today. And thanks to Saban Brands and Shout! Factory, those same fans will get to enjoy five more seasons of the Power Rangers franchise with the brand new box set, Power Rangers: Seasons 13 – 17. The very first and most obvious positive to this set is that it includes Seasons 13 – 17 in one large box set. The set’s second most important factor is that while it doesn’t mark the end of the road for the Power Rangers releases from Shout! Factory, fans won’t be seeing Seasons 18 – 20 from Shout! Factory. That’s thanks to a deal between Saban and Lionsgate. And last but not least, audiences will appreciate that once again, Saban and Shout! Factory have included a load of bonus material both on a bonus disc and in the set’s companion booklet. That booklet and bonus DVD are the finishing touches to one more box set that any hardcore Power Rangers fan will want to add to their collection.

The first and most obvious factor that makes Power Rangers: Seasons 13 –17 is the fact that includes all five seasons in one full box. True diehard fans will agree that despite what seems like a hefty price tag, it is cheaper to own Seasons 13 – 17 in one box than paying separate costs for each separate season set. Odds are that eventually Shout! Factory will release each season in its own stand-alone box as the seasons progress. The collective costs of those stand-alone sets will likely be more expensive than that of all five seasons bundled together. That’s just part of what makes Power Rangers: Seasons 13 – 17 worth buying. The space taken up on a DVD rack by Power Rangers: Seasons 13 – 17 is another reason fans will appreciate this set. The total space taken up by the complete set is going to be nearly equal to that of the separate stand-alone season sets put side by side. The only X-factor here is that the box set includes both a bonus disc loaded with extra features and a bonus booklet. Even with their inclusion, the extra space taken up is minimal at best. So again, true diehard Power Rangers fans that want to complete their collections will benefit just as much from this box set as they would from the stand-alone season sets that will likely come later. The previous Power Rangers box set containing Seasons 8 – 12 also contained the bonus features disc and bonus booklet. So any doubts about the set’s ergonomics will be cleared up by comparing the two sets to what will be their stand-alone counterparts.

The cost and ergonomic factors tied to Power Rangers: Seasons 13 – 17 are central to why the most diehard members of the “Ranger Nation” will want to add this set to their collections. By direct connection, fans will be pleased to know that this set is not the end of the road for Shout! Factory’s Power Ranger sets. It goes without saying that more than likely all five seasons of this set will eventually get their own stand-alone releases over time. But before they get their release, Shout! Factory will also take fans back in time again. Shout! Factory will release Power Rangers Turbo in two separate sets this Spring. It would be no surprise if sets for Power Rangers in Space and Power Rangers Lost Galaxy will follow before Shout! Factory releases stand-alone sets for Seasons 8 – 17, too. So those that perhaps can’t afford to pick up this new box set or just don’t want to shell out the money will more than likely be able to pick up their personal favorite season(s) over time. On a side note, it’s too bad that Shout! Factory didn’t get the distribution rights for the more recent Power Rangers Samurai, Power Rangers Super Samurai, and Power Rangers Megaforce. That is because Lionsgate as proven time and again that rather than respecting the “Ranger Nation”, all it cares about it releasing compilation after compilation rather than building anticipation and releasing proper full season sets. Shout! Factory has shown time and again with its Power Rangers releases that it has the utmost respect for the franchise’s fans and the series’ legacy. So it would have been interesting to see what Shout! Factory would have done with the newer seasons. They did plenty with Power Rangers: Seasons 13 – 17 and its all previous Power Rangers sets.

Shout! Factory has proven time and again the respect that it has for the “Ranger Nation” and for the legacy of the Power Rangers franchise as a whole with all of its releases up to this new box set. The inclusion of a bonus features disc and companion booklet with the set makes the presentation and viewing experience with this set all the richer for fans. The bonus DVD includes even more in-depth bonus material than what was presented in Power Rangers: Seasons 8 – 12. Audiences are treated in this set’s bonus disc to discussions on the props used throughout Seasons 13 – 17. Stories on the props are shared by both those behind the cameras and by the cast members. Fans will really appreciate that those stories aren’t relegated to just the seasons included in this set. They go as far back as stories from Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. Also shared by cast members are stories of the cast’s favorite and least favorite sets as well as general fond memories of working on each series among so much more bonus material. The most intriguing factor that fans will take away from all of these stories is the fact that many of the actors that filled each season’s cast were themselves Power Rangers fans before Power Rangers cast members. Fans will appreciate the respect that said cast members have and had for the franchise both before being cast and during their time on their respective seasons.

The stories and other bonuses included in the set’s bonus DVD makes the overall viewing experience of this set so much richer for fans. The same can be said of the companion booklet included as a final bonus to the set. As with Power Rangers: Seasons 8 – 12, the companion booklet included in this set includes a comprehensive character guide and episode guide all in one. Both the Rangers (as characters and actors) are introduced as are each season’s villain. The episode guide for each season includes short but concise summaries of each episode from each season. It gives audiences just enough information to effectively set the stage for each episode. Those summaries, the episodes themselves, and all of the other bonuses included in the set make Power Rangers: Seasons 13 – 17 one more welcome addition to the library of any true diehard Power Rangers fan. It will be available next Tuesday, April 1st and can be pre-ordered now through the Shout! Factory online store at http://www.shoutfactory.com/product/power-rangers-seasons-13-17.
More information on Power Rangers: Seasons 13 – 17 and other releases from Shout! Factory is available online at http://www.shoutfactory.com and http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Power Rangers Seasons 8 – 12 Box Set A Must Have For Any Diehard PR Fan

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Shout! Factory’s release of Power Rangers Seasons 8 – 12 is an absolute must have for anyone that is a true hardcore fan of the Power Rangers franchise.  This latest box set was released in late 2013, only months before the planned release of the franchise’s next box set, containing Seasons 13 – 17.  Audiences that grew up watching Seasons 8 – 12 will appreciate this box set primarily because of its writing.  Seasons 8 – 12 mark a complete cutting of ties so to speak from the original Power Rangers franchise, which ended with Power Rangers Lost Galaxy.  It was a surprisingly clean cut, too.  The bonus DVD included in this set adds to its value for any true hardcore Power Rangers fan.  That’s because of the abundant amount of extras included just on the one disc alone.  And rounding out the whole thing is the bonus booklet that comes with the set.  All of this together makes Power Rangers Seasons 8 – 12 a set that the most hardcore Power Rangers will want to add to their personal collection.

Power Rangers Seasons 8 – 12 is an important addition to any hardcore Power Rangers fan’s collection first and foremost because of the writing behind each season.  It all starts with Season 8 a.k.a. Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue.  This season and those that follow mark a clean cut from the Power Rangers’ original franchise, which ran technically six seasons.  The franchise’s seventh season saw what would be the first attempt at cutting ties from the original franchise.  But even that season maintained at least some link to the original franchise with the re-introduction of the Astro Megaship, which was used in Season 6 (Power Rangers in Space).  That essentially makes Season 8 the very first time that the franchise’s writers made a complete and clean break from the original series.  It did this quite well, too.  It is interesting to see the Power Rangers go from almost superhero-like status in its previous incarnations to being made into a semi-militaristic force in Season 8.  A similar approach is taken in Power Rangers Time Force.  The writers behind Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue made a clean, solid break from the Power Rangers’ original franchise.  For all of their ability to break from that franchise, audiences will appreciate that they did throw back to Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers with the introduction of the Titanium Ranger in this series.  Just as Tommy was originally brainwashed by Rita, so was Ryan brainwashed by Diabolico.  Fans that grew up with the original Power Rangers franchise will appreciate this throwback, whether it was intentional or not.

The eighth and ninth seasons of Power Rangers exhibited brand new chapters in the long-running franchise’s mythology.  They showed in their writing that the Power Rangers brand could keep running even in a whole new universe separate from the one created in the its first seven seasons.  This trend continued on through Seasons 10 and 11.  The most intriguing of the seasons included in this set would have to be Season 12, though.  Tommy Oliver (Jason David Frank) returns in Season 12 a.k.a. Power Rangers Dino Thunder as the head of a new team of Power Rangers.  What makes this season so enjoyable is that while it lives within the confines of its own universe, it also makes no attempt to ignore Tommy’s past as one of the original Power Rangers.  The very fact that it would be titled Dino Thunder and that the new Power Rangers would have their own dinozords of sorts is a full on throwback.  It brings everything full circle in this set.  It goes without saying that this was not the longest series in the Power Rangers canon.  But it was nice to see the writers and the franchise’s heads make that re-connection with the early days of the Power Rangers once again, just as Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue did in Season 8.

All involved behind Power Rangers Season 8 – 12 are to be commended .  These five seasons prove to be some of the best from the Power Rangers franchise in its post-Zordon era.  Fans will see this for themselves when they order the complete five-season box set from Shout! Factory.  The solid writing in each season and the inclusion of each season are only the starting point in what makes this collection a must have for any hardcore Power Rangers fan.  The set also comes with an extra sixth disc loaded with bonus material that fans will love.

The bonus sixth disc that comes with Power Rangers Seasons 8 – 12 is a bonus in itself.  It is loaded with more than its share of background on each season beginning with an in-depth look at how the actors voiced their parts for the big fight scenes.  Audiences will laugh along with the cast members as they recall being in the recording booth, recording their lines and even fight sounds as they see the action on screen.  The “Ranger Tales” segment is just as in-depth.  It offers insight on each season from different members of each season’s cast.  What’s more, this segment proceeds chronologically from Season 8 – 12.  Viewers will also enjoy watching “A Web of Fans.”  This bonus feature takes a look at the impact of the show on its fans and vice versa.  It showed how close-knit the Power Rangers fanbase is to this day and how it has helped to keep the franchise alive such a long time.  There are even more bonuses including one that discusses the introduction of the Titanium Ranger and a semi-promo from Tommy himself pushing Power Rangers Dino Thunder and even a promo by two members of the Dino Thunder cast for Power Rangers S.P.D. which is part of the next Power Rangers box set.  The bonuses don’t end here.  There is still at least one more aspect of this set that fans will appreciate being included.  That bonus is the booklet that comes with the box set.

Power Rangers Seasons 8 – 12 includes as a companion to the bonus sixth disc, a bonus booklet that includes character bios for each season as well as a complete episode guide for each season as well.  Along with the character bios are the actual names of each cast member from each season.  This includes both the Rangers and the villains.  There are even stills of various scenes taken from different episodes of each season to enhance the booklet even more.  From the stills to the episode list and character guide, those responsible for assembling this booklet put in a lot of work to make it the perfect addition to the overall set.  Together with the bonus sixth disc, the two bonus additions collectively make for one wonderful bonus to a set that simply put is a must have for any true hardcore Power Rangers fan.  Power Rangers Seasons 8 – 12 is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered direct from the Shout! Factory online store at http://www.shoutfactory.com/product/power-rangers-seasons-8-12.  More information on this and other releases from Shout! Factory is available online at http://www.shoutfactory.com and http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Shout! Factory Announces Release Date For Power Rangers Zeo: Volume 2

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Saban Brands

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Saban Brands

The Power Rangers are back once again.  Power Rangers Zeo: Volume 2 will be available in stores and online Tuesday, February 11th on DVD.  The second volume from the Power Rangers’ Zeo incarnation sees Tommy, Katherine, and the rest step up their Zeo powers once again in order to defeat King Mondo and his Machine Empire minions.  Fans can also expect to see some familiar faces return on both sides of the battle in this volume of adventures.

Along with more high-energy battles and incredible new zords, Power Rangers Zeo: Volume 2 also continues Saban’s long-running tradition of tying important life lessons into each episode.  Volume 2 teaches lessons about teamwork, believing in one’s self, friendship and much more throughout its twenty-five total episodes.  There are also plenty more laughs courtesy of Bulk and Skull (Paul Schrier and Jason Narvy).

Power Rangers Zeo: Volume 2 will be available in a three-disc set for SRP of $19.93. It can be pre-ordered now via the Shout! Factory store at http://www.shoutfactory.com/product/power-rangers-zeo-volume-two.  More information on this and other upcoming releases from Shout! Factory is available online at http://www.shoutfactory.com and http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Shout! Factory, Saban Annouce Release Date For Latest Power Rangers Mega-Set

Courtesy: Saban Brands/Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Saban Brands/Shout! Factory

Shout! Factory and Saban Brands have announced that they will release another mega-set from Saban’s hugely popular Power Rangers franchise this Spring.  The companies have announced that they will release Power Rangers Seasons 13 – 17 on Tuesday, April 1st, 2014.  The five-season set includes the complete runs of: Power Rangers S.P.D., Power Rangers Mystic Force, Power Rangers Operation Overdrive, Power Rangers Jungle Fury, and Power Rangers RPM.  The set is comprised of one hundred sixty-six episodes on twenty-one DVDs.

Along with the episodes, Power Rangers Seasons 13 – 17 will also include a number of bonuses.  Among them are: “Rangers on Set!,” “Ranger Tales”, “Collect ‘Em All”, “The S.P.D. Rangers Want You”, “Special Messages From The Mystic Force Rangers”, “Mystic Force: Forces of Nature”, “Operation Overdrive Files” and loads more.  Audiences get to hear from cast members of the featured seasons in “Rangers on Set!”  The featured cast members share their personal thoughts on the sets used for their respective series.  The cast members also get to share their own thoughts on what it means to be part of the Power Rangers franchise in “Ranger Tales.”  Fans get their time in the spotlight, too in the included bonus features.  “Collect ‘Em All” features various fans of the franchise and their favorite Power Rangers toys and collectibles.

More information on the Power Rangers Seasons 13 – 17 mega set will be released in the months to come.  Fans can keep up with all of the latest updates on this and other Power Rangers releases online at http://www.facebook.com/powerrangers, http://www.powerrangers.com, http://twitter.com/powerrangernews, http://www.shoutfactory.com, and http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Power Rangers Seasons 13 – 17 can be pre-ordered now online via the Shout! Factory online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/product/power-rangers-seasons-13-17.

Mighty Morphin Alien Rangers An Underappreciated Addition To The Power Rangers Universe

Courtesy:  Saban Brands/Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Saban Brands/Shout! Factory

Saban Brands and Shout! Factory released early this year, a massive box set containing all seven seasons of Saban’s original Power Rangers series.  The multi-disc set took viewers from the birth of the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers all the way through the Rangers’ journey to the Lost Galaxy.  That mega-box set is the ultimate experience for any fan of the Power Rangers’ original series.  For some though, the cost of the set might have been a bit much.  That’s okay.  For those fans, Saban and Shout! Factory have also released each season in its own standalone box set.  The two companies have released the original series all the way up through the first volume of Power Rangers Zeo.  Even the ten-episode “mini-series”, Mighty Morphin Alien Rangers has been released to the masses.  This connector series is one of the least remembered among the franchise’s legions of fans.  Why this is the case is anybody’s guess.  But the reality of the short-lived series is that it is just as important a part of the franchise’s early days as its previous seasons.  It is just as important as the previous seasons and the one that follows first and foremost because it is a solid bridge between the two seasons.  It is also an important addition to the overall franchise because it was a branching out from the original Power Rangers franchise.  All things considered, whether taken as its own attempted spinoff or a bridge between seasons, it showed that the show’s writing was just as strong as ever.  And now audiences that grew up with this “series” can re-live it any time they want thanks to Saban and Shout! Factory having released it to DVD by itself.

Mighty Morphin Alien Rangers is one of the more underrated installments of Saban’s hugely popular franchise.  The reasons for this are varied.  But as deeper look at the “series” shows that it is just as important an addition to the franchise as any of the show’s other seasons.  The first reason for the “series’” success is it is a solid bridge between the original Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers series and the franchise’s next evolution.  Those that grew up with the original series will recall that this “series” was not the first time that the Rangers had lost their powers.  That means that the show’s writers had to figure out a way to keep the franchise fresh while still maintaining its original ongoing story.  It can be said that they did just that and that they did it well.  By bringing in a whole new team of Power Rangers from another world, the show’s writers achieved two goals.  The first of those goals being that it presented a new “what if” scenario to the show.  It put the responsibility of saving the planet on a team of Rangers not of this Earth.  The second goal achieved through this story arc was that it showed the potential of a whole new Power Rangers spinoff, which is what the real reason was for this “season.”

The introduction of the Aquitian Rangers was a nice additional story arc for the Power Rangers franchise.  The show’s writers achieved their goal of keeping the franchise fresh with the “series” while maintaining the franchise’s integrity.  It also proved the potential of a new spinoff in the Power Rangers universe.  That was the real goal of this installment.  And it’s another reason that it is such an important addition to the property.  While the Rangers of Aquitar obviously didn’t seem to grab audiences enough to mandate a spinoff, the writers are to be commended for even having taken the risk with them.  As viewers have seen over the course of some twenty years, a massive number of spinoffs have been crafted from the original series.  Taking that into consideration, it can be argued that Mighty Morphin Alien Rangers was a groundbreaker.  That’s because next to one other very small early story arc, it is one of the very first spinoffs of the Power Rangers franchise.  That makes this an even more important piece of Power Rangers history.

Whether one sees Mighty Morphin Alien Rangers as a spinoff, a bridge between seasons in the ongoing evolution of the Power Rangers, or a little bit of both, it’s clear that despite its underrated and undervalued status, this addition to the Power Rangers universe was just as important as any other installment.  It showed that the show’s writing was just as solid as it was in the very first season of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers.  It also was a groundbreaker for the franchise, and proved that the franchise had the ability to branch out, as it later would and has since.  All things considered it proves to be that much more valuable an addition to the library of any Power Rangers fan and fanatic.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on this and other releases from Shout! Factory is available online at http://www.shoutfactory.com and http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Power Rangers Zeo Volume One Another Success From Saban, Shout! Factory

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Saban Brands

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Saban Brands

Thank goodness for Shout! Factory. This critic has said that of the company many times before. And this critic will continue to do so as long as it keeps releasing titles such as the latest in Saban’s classic Power Rangers franchise. Power Rangers: Zeo Volume 1 picks up where the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangersmini-series “spinoff”, Mighty Morphin’Alien Rangers left off. The Rangers’control center had been destroyed and new Yellow Ranger Tanya had been added to the team. She would be the third person to don the Yellow Ranger’s outfit in only a matter of three seasons. The Command Center being destroyed, the Rangers were left without their powers, albeit temporarily, which leads to the first important aspect of this latest incarnation of Saban’s hit franchise. The first important aspect ofPower Rangers: Zeo Volume 1 is the writing in the episodes culled for this volume. In direct connection to the writing, the episodes in this volume do something that the episodes from MMPR didn’t do nearly as much. They developed the characters more. This includes the show’s comic relief, Paul Schrier and Jason Narvy (Bulk and Skull). And one can’t ignore that the special effects used throughout MMPR were carried over into this “season”,too. This too helped maintain the feel of MMPR thus doing even more to help keep fans from MMPR on board. And together with the writing and character development, it shows even more why this latest release is a must have for any longtime Power Rangers fan.

The writers responsible for the first incarnation of the Power Rangers series did an impressive job with that series. They wrote plenty of solid stories. Those scripts did an excellent job of balancing their action with the team’s development. They also had plenty of comedy thanks to Schrier and Narvy. The pair’s Laurel& Hardy style comedy was stepped up throughout Power Rangers: Zeo Volume 1, making for even more enjoyment. From trying to save Detective Stone’s roses to their antics with Goldar and Rito, Bulk and Skull get more camera time this time out. And it makes for plenty of laughs. Their increased comedic additions to the series are just part of what makes this incarnation of the Power Rangers franchise fun to watch. Fans of the series will also appreciate in this volume how the writers handled the transition of both villains and team members among the Rangers. The story arcs used throughout MMPR were good in their own way. There’s no denying that. But fans will appreciate that the writers hit the ground running this time. Even starting the new “series” with an extended story arc, the transitions still moved particularly rapidly. So the writers didn’t waste any time getting the new series moving. The only other real extended story arc in this volume is “There’s No Business Like Snow Business.” It’s a three-part arc. And while it isn’t a major story arc, it does do something important. It helps to illustrate the increased character development that took place in this series.

The writers on Power Rangers Zeo handled the transition from its predecessor quite well, all things considered. They developed new story lines and grew the show, too. That’s thanks to the increased character development in this series. Tommy Oliver (Jason David Frank) is fleshed out even more as he takes over the lead role in the show. He takes over the role of the Red Ranger as Billy (David Yost) steps down and takes more of a “tech assistant” position in the team’s new command center. Audiences see more of the confident, heroic side of Tommy as he takes over the team. But he also presents a more human side after getting a breakup letter from former love interest and Pink Ranger, Kimberly (Amy Jo Johnson) in the three-part story arc, “There’s No Business Like Snow Business.” Audiences also get more view of Tommy’s softer side in a two-part episode that sees Tommy introduced to his long lost brother. That more vulnerable side is something that he didn’t really show a lot of throughout MMPR. So it makes for an interesting look at this character. Newcomer Tanya also gets her time in the spotlight in this volume. She gets the chance of a lifetime when she is discovered by a record producer after singing at the Angel Grove Youth Center. It was the final episode in Volume One. But what better way to close out the volume than to focus on her again. Just as she was introduced in the volume’s opening three-part story arc, she was re-introduced in the volume’s final episode. So she really got her time to develop as a character and as a member of the team.

Both Tommy and Tanya get more time to develop personally as characters in Power Rangers Zeo: Volume One. Their development helps to make this “season” more interesting for viewers. They aren’t the only characters that get to show more of themselves. Both Paul Schrier and Jason Narvy (Bulk and Skull) get to show that they are more than just comic relief, too. Although they still offer plenty of laughs. The pair is now working even more to try and be junior police officers.  While their segments are still largely for comedic relief, it’s nice to see that they are getting to be more than just lowly comic support.  They actually get to be more involved in the show at this point.  Again this goes back to the show’s writers.  It’s just one more positive to the show.

The writing and related character development that takes place in the episodes collected for Power Rangers Zeo: Volume 1 do a lot to make this underrated incarnation of the Power Rangers enjoyable in hindsight.  There is still at least one more factor that audiences will appreciate in this set.  That factor is the special effects.  Whereas so many of the “seasons” since (E.g. Power Rangers Samurai, Power Rangers Power Rangers Ninja Storm, Power Rangers Mystic Force) became more spit shined and slickly produced, the more raw special effects and general production values of PRZ were more akin to those of MMPR.  The show’s creators and staff made do with what they had.  And it showed, too.  Sure, they might have been slightly cheesy.  But there’s something more special about them because of that.  And it’s that special something combined with the writing and the character development that make this “season” of Power Rangers definitely worth having for any true fan of the franchise.  It will be available in stores and online Tuesday, November 12th.  It can be ordered online direct from the Shout! Factory online store at http://www.shoutfactory.com/node/218412.  More information on this and other Power Rangers releases from Saban and Shout! Factory is available online at http://www.shoutfactory.com and http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Power Rangers Is At Its Peak In Season Three

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

The third season of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers sees this classic children’s series at its peak.  The show reached its apex in its third season primarily because of its writing.  It is also just as impressive as Shout! Factory has presented these original episodes exactly as they aired on Fox Kids’ weekday afternoon programming block in the 1990s.  This includes the short “squeezeback” segments (say that three times fast) that accompanied each episode’s credits.  This season is the peak for the original Power Rangers series as it presents the season in its entirety instead of being cut up into half seasons as was done with the show’s first two seasons.  These three aspects together make Season Three of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers one that any original fan of this show a must have.

Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers Season Three presents the Power Rangers franchise at the top of its game first and foremost because of the show’s writing.  Whereas the show’s first two seasons only saw a small handful of extended story arcs, this season was made up almost entirely of broad multi-part story arcs, beginning with a voyage to the planet Edenoi in the three-part episode, “A Friend in Need.”  This was an important way to open Season Three as it served as a solid filler that helped keep the franchise “fresh” and thus keep viewers.  Viewers had become rather familiar with Rita and Lord Zedd over the course of the show’s first two seasons.  The show’s writers obviously knew that the pair couldn’t do but so much against the Rangers by themselves before audiences got tired of them.  So, what better way to keep the franchise alive than trying out a new villain?  The new villain—Count Dregon—only lasted a short time before the show’s writers transitioned in the appearance of more new foes for the Rangers.  Those foes were Rita Repulsa’s brother and father, Rito and Master Vile.

On a side note, many fans of the Power Rangers franchise might recognize the name of the Masked Rider within this season’s opening story arc.  That’s because this story arc would eventually lead to a short-lived spinoff that lasted less than a year from September 1995 to August 1996.  In later years, the show on which this was based, Kamen Rider Black RX would be introduced to American audiences.  Though it too, would only last a short time.

The new villains introduced into the show’s canon in Season Three were just part of what helped keep the show fresh.  Three of the original Rangers left the show in its second season.  This season, another Ranger passes on her powers.  This transfer makes up its own story arc.  The story arc in question was the three-part episode, “A Different Shade of Pink.”  The episode’s story happens in a fashion that harkens back to the Green Ranger sage from the show’s first season.  It crosses that with the simple passing of the torch, and once more helps to move the show forward and keep it fresh for yet another season.  Along with a new member of the team, there is even a new set of Zords for the Rangers in their fight against Rita and company.  It all leads up to the season finale, “Rangers in Reverse.”  “Rangers in Reverse” leads into its own extended story arc that would become a mini-season of its own in Mighty Morphin’ Alien Rangers.

The extended story arcs that largely made up Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers Season Three did a lot to help keep the Power Rangers franchise fresh for its audiences.  From another change in the team’s lineup to new foes, powers, Zords, and even armor, a lot changed this season.  And the show’s writers did a commendable job of keeping it all straight and believable.  Looking at this season from a wider vantage point, Shout! Factory is to be commended for presenting Season Three exactly as it was originally aired.  That includes the squeezeback segments included with the show’s end credits.  These segments feature loads of bloopers from each episode’s gag reel.  It’s a minor piece of the puzzle.  But it adds its own element of enjoyment to the overall presentation of the show.  And any purist Power Ranger fan will appreciate the Shout! Factory made certain that this was included for fans.

The writing of the episodes in Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers Season Three made this season the best yet for the franchise.  That Shout! Factory would make sure that each episode was presented exactly as it was in its original broadcast makes this new set all the more enjoyable for the show’s original fans.  There is still one more factor to which audiences can credit this latest set’s success.  That factor is the set’s packaging.  The first two seasons of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers were split up into two halves each.  This time out, Shout! Factory opted to reward loyal Power Rangers fans with a complete season in one box.  And as become the standard from Shout! Factory, the packaging is praise worthy.  All three discs are placed in their own spot inside the slim case.  Shout! Factory has highly impressed again here as this standard is safe for the discs, and ergonomic.  This is the final touch on what is already another impressive release that will take the show’s original fans back on a great trip down memory lane.  And for the children of the show’s original fan, it will serve as one more lesson in what once made children’s commercial programming so great. 

Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers Season Three is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered direct from the Shout! Factory store at http://www.shoutfactory.com/?q=node/217378.  After ordering Season Three, audiences can also go to the official Shout! Factory website and Facebook page at http://www.shoutfactory.com and http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial to stay up with the latest releases from Shout! Factory. 

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Power Rangers Samurai DVD A Good Bridge Between Series

Courtesy:  Lionsgate

Courtesy: Lionsgate

The most recent installment in Saban’s long-running Power Rangers franchise—Power Rangers Samurai—recently wrapped up its season with the rangers taking down Xandred once and for all.  Meanwhile Skull and his son Spike are re-united, leaving Bulk behind and the rangers all going their own way.  With the Samurai Rangers’ duties done, the question was raised would there be another series to carry on the Power Rangers franchise.  The answer:  Yes.  But before that, fans of the Samurai Rangers were given one last adventure from the previous team of Rangers.  That adventure is the new straight to DVD feature, Clash of the Red Rangers: The Movie.

Clash of the Red Rangers: The Movie is for all intents and purposes a space filler between one Power Rangers series and the next.  This forty-five minute story not only offers audiences one more adventure from the Samurai rangers, but even includes a former Ranger from the RPM universe.  Given, on the surface, the RPM Ranger’s story seems out of place considering the timing of this new release and the end of Power Rangers RPM.   But one must also take into consideration that the two series existed within their own universe, much like the various incarnations of different comic books (E.g. Batman, Batman & Robin, Wolverine, The Uncanny X-Men, etc.)  So taking this into account, it makes suspension of disbelief more possible.  In turn, it makes this essentially extended TV episode more bearable.

Clash of the Red Rangers: The Movie is less a movie and more an extended TV episode.  But even if one considers it a movie, unlike other movies taken from TV series, it actually hasn’t lost any of the action for which it was known during its run on TV.  All the explosions and fight scenes are there.  And since it hadn’t happened in some time, it was interesting to see Saban do another crossover episode.  The last time that Saban had done such was in the Power Rangers Dino series.  That series saw the return of Tommy (Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers) as the head of his own team of Rangers.  The Rangers’ zords in this series were even throwbacks to the very first of the Power Rangers series.  So while it wasn’t directly a crossover, it is the closest that the franchise had come to a crossover before this DVD release.

This new DVD release from Saban is interesting because it presents the first crossover storyline from the Power Rangers franchise in some time.  That crossover story arc also makes this an interesting release in that for the first time in the Power Rangers franchise, it openly answers the question of how there could be so many different teams of Rangers around the world.  This franchise has evolved in so many directions since the days of the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers.  It’s this kind of evolution that can cause comic book fans to become confused and even frustrated.  So the very acknowledgement that there are different dimensions to the Power Rangers universe helps to justify each franchise, if only a little bit at best.  In the simplest of terms, what this has done is it has hopefully put the kibosh on that eternal question raised by so many fan boys.  And in turn, it makes the latest series in the franchise, Megaforce, that much more appreciated, especially being that it directly throws back to the original Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers.  Keeping all of that in mind, Clash of the Red Rangers: The Movie may not be the best of the Power Rangers features ever written.  But it does explain some previously unexplained issues and in turn makes previous Power Rangers series worth another look.  For that, it in itself is worth at least one watch.

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Samurai Rangers Rise To The Challenge Again In New DVD

 

Courtesy:  Lionsgate/Saban Brands

Courtesy: Lionsgate/Saban Brands

Lionsgate released two new volumes of adventures from the Samurai Power Rangers this week.  The second of the new volumes offers audiences four more adventures loaded with action and important life lessons that young audiences will enjoy.  Power Rangers Super Samurai: Rise of the Bullzooka teaches yet again the lesson of believing in one’s own self.  It also teaches the equally important lesson of never giving up in even the most difficult of situations.  The set’s second episode, “The Strange Case of the Munchies” is actually a valuable inclusion to this set as it not only teaches about believing in one’s self, but also of taking care of one’s self by not eating too much.  It takes on the subject of the obesity epidemic without being too preachy.  And as with previous releases, audiences also get the lesson of teamwork in the set’s third episode, “A Sticky Situation.”  This time, the lesson is taught when Mike and Kevin have to learn to work together, even when they face off against their latest Nighlok foe.  It all leads up to another confrontation between Jayden and Deker.  It is just one more in a rivalry that will later reach its peak for the two later in the season.

Fans of this latest team of Rangers will undoubtedly enjoy this new set of adventures for both the action and the life lessons that were more subtly tied in to each episode.  Also helping make the episodes more enjoyable is the continued inclusion of comic relief from Bulk and his nephew, Spike.  Long-time fans of the Power Rangers franchise will recall that Spike is the son of Bulk’s old friend Eugene “Skull” Skulovich.  The chemistry between Bulk and Spike harkens back to the original Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers franchise just as much as the adventures themselves.  Before this season came along, the last time anyone had seen or heard from Bulk (Paul Schrier) was in a cameo role in Power Rangers Wild Force.  While Spike isn’t Skull, the pairing of Bulk and Spike still brings about the same hilarious physical comedy that Bulk and Skull offered audiences during the original run of the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers.  Add in a little romance on the part of Spike (spike develops a crush on Mia, not knowing she’s also the Pink Ranger) and both boys and girls will have their own entertainment here.

While this latest set of adventures only boasts four episodes, all four episodes will offer audiences of the latest Rangers squad plenty of entertainment.  The comedy element instilled by Bulk and Spike plays its own role in the success of the episodes.  The stylistic link between the stories of the original Power Rangers franchise and this latest installment is another connection that will entertain both long-time fans and younger, newer fans.  The life lessons included in each story are another standard of the Power Rangers franchise as a whole.  It makes for one more element that both long-time fans and newer fans will appreciate.  Altogether, they combine to make one more set that any Power Rangers fan will enjoy.  Power Rangers Super Samurai: Rise of the Bullzooka is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered online via the Lionsgate store at http://www.lionsgateshop.com/product.asp?Id=27841&TitleParentId=8042

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The Rangers Return With More Lessons, Adventures In New Set

Courtesy:  Lionsgate

Courtesy: Lionsgate

The Power Rangers are back once again.  Thanks to Lionsgate and Saban, fans of the latest team of Rangers get to experience four more action packed adventures from Power Rangers Samurai.  In the latest set of adventures, the Rangers face one of their most difficult challenges yet.  The whole thing starts when Kevin is put under a mind control spell by a new Nighlok monster.  It just so happens that the monster also has control of the Rangers’ Tigerzord.  Making things worse is that there’s already some tension among the team because of Master Ji’s evaluation of Kevin and Jayden.  While the Rangers are able to overcome this hurdle, things don’t get any easier as Mike has to face his own doubts after not being given the Beetle disc.  This causes problems when the team faces off against a new Nighlok monster.  It in turn leads to a conflict between Mike and the rest of the Rangers. But after a heart to heart between Mike and Master Ji, things turn around for Mike.  Having overcome so much adversity, the Rangers face one final challenge in a two-part episode that will test Jayden like never before.

It goes without saying that the Rangers come out on top in each of the four episodes in this new single-disc collection.  And just as with previous incarnations of the famed Power Rangers franchise, these new episodes teach the lessons of believing in oneself and of the value of teamwork.  These are lessons of which today’s younger viewers to be reminded. 

The continued lessons alone make the episodes in this new release valuable in their own right.  But anyone who has grown up with the Power Rangers franchise will see a number of similarities between this new team of Rangers and those having gone before.  Many of the zords are very similar in style to previous zords.  And even the Rangers’ own weapons are similar to those of previous teams.  They have simply been given a little bit of a twist to update them.  This will create in older audiences a sense of nostalgia.  And even for those who are new to the Power Rangers universe, these episodes make for a good starting point.  Older audiences can teach the younger audiences about the similarities to the older Rangers’ series, and in turn show where the show has come from.  Power Rangers Samurai: A Team Divided is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered online via the Lionsgate store at http://www.lionsgateshop.com/product.asp?Id=27840&TitleParentId=8041.

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.