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. 

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.

Classic Fox Kids Series Still As Enjoyable As Ever In Season Two Volume Two

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Saban Brands

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Saban Brands

Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers Season 2 Volume 2 is another fun jaunt down memory lane for fans of the series that started the whole Power Rangers phenomenon in the United States.  This second half of the original series’ second season sees another pivotal point in the evolution of the Power Rangers as three of the original cast members are replaced with a new trio of Power Rangers who would themselves later be replaced, too.  Also, audiences see the first major change in the Rangers’ zords.  As the fight against Lord Zedd continued, the Rangers’ original Dinozords were replaced by the new Thunderzords.  Through all the changes, the series still retained the campy yet fun qualities that made it so enjoyable up to this point.  This includes some worthwhile episodes, too that contain more important life lessons.  It all comes together to make this latest release another set of adventures that will make any older MMPR fan nostalgic for a better time, and will enjoy for the first time again with their own child(ren).

One of the first things that fans of the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers will appreciate in the second half of the series’ second season is the changes that ensue this time.  Rita Repulsa (played by Machicko Soga) is long gone after having been banished by Lord Zedd.  Another change that viewers see in this half of Season Two is the replacement of three of the original Rangers.  Zack (Walter Emanuel Jones), Trini (Thuy Trang), and Jason (Austin St. John) would be replaced in the two-part episode, “The Power Transfer.”  The trio would be replaced by Adam (Johnny Yong Bosch), Aisha (Karan Ashley) and Rocky (Steve Cardenas) respectively.  The changeup in the team’s lineup was (in the story) the result of Zach, Jason, and Trini being chosen to a teen activist group in Switzerland.  Though more than likely in reality it was likely the result of failed contract negotiations.  In the grand scheme of the show though, the replacement of the original team embers with fresh young talent was handled very well by the show’s writers.  On a side note, sadly, Thuy Trang would later die in a car crash in 2001.  So it would be the last time that audiences would see her as a Power Ranger.

The team lineup change was just one of the changes that the show would see in the second half of Season Two.  Also updated for this final set of episodes from Season Two were the team’s vehicles, its Zords.  Knowing the team would need stronger weapons against Lord Zedd, Zordon gave the updated team of Rangers the mystical Thunderzords” which would of course later be replaced by the Ninjazords. This update to the show and the new team members both helped to keep the show fresh and interesting then and even now for those seeing the show again for the first time.  They were only part of what continued to make the show enjoyable for viewers.  There were some changes to the show, as has been noted.  For all of the changes, one thing stayed the same.  The one thing was the show’s writing.

Because the show’s writing stayed largely the same as it had been from the show’s inception, it maintained the same level of action that had been established throughout the show’s first season and the first half of its second season, too.  There were also the same life lessons thrown in that thankfully continued to refrain from being too preachy and taking over.  Rather, they were tied into each episode’s storyline.  For instance, in the episode, “Rocky Just Wants to Have Fun”, viewers learn the importance of balancing work and play when Rocky is put under a spell by Lord Zedd that makes him just want to have fun.  The end result is a valuable lesson about that balance and maintaining it.  “Mirror of Regret” is something of a semi-bullying story.  IN this story, Adam has to overcome his own insecurities brought on by Zedd’s mirror in question.  All the while, he has to fight the taunts of Goldar in order to overcome his past.  So in its own way, the show even promoted understanding and acceptance even that early on.  For that reason, it is most definitely to be commended.  There is even an episode that promotes the importance of education when the Rangers appear on a local talk show in their home town of Angel Grove.  Again it’s that mix of action and life lessons so expertly balanced yet again in this half of Season Two that continued to make the show enjoyable then and even now years later.

The writing behind MMPR in the second half of Season Two went a long way toward making these episodes as enjoyable as they were.  There is one last factor that makes this half of Season Two enjoyable.  That final factor is the show’s production values.  Unlike so many of the Power Rangers incarnations that would follow this one, its production values and special effects were more…raw for lack of better wording.  By comparison, so much of what has been crafted since the days of the original MMPR is spit shined.  And the physical comedy on the part of Bulk and Skull (Paul Schrier and Jason Narvy) only added to the whole package.  Even years later, one can’t help but laugh, watching this dopey duo taking pratfalls and pies left and right.  Together with everything else that went into this half of the show’s second season, it makes Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers Season 2 Volume 2 another enjoyable addition to any fan of the team that started it all, the Mighty Morphin’ Power RangersMighty Morphin Power Rangers Season 2 Volume 2 is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered direct from the Shout! Factory online store at http://www.shoutfactory.com/?q=node/216962.

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 Season 2.0 Twice As Nice As Season One

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Saban Brands

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Saban Brands

The one and only Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers are back.  Jason, Kimberly, Trini, Billy, Zack and yes even Tommy are back for more adventures in the first half of the show’s second season.  Season Two Volume One is an important piece of the Power Rangers legacy.  That’s because this collection features some big changes and the start of some other, equally big changes.  Along with the big changes, Season Two Volume One also presents twenty-six episodes of everything that the show’s fans had come to enjoy from its first season, only stepped up.  And now fans of this classic Fox Kids series can finally re-live all of that any time that want thanks to Shout! Factory and Saban Brands.

Season Two Volume One is an important point in the evolution of the Power Rangers legacy.  It features the departure and re-introduction of Jason David Frank to the team.  Frank’s character Tommy loses his powers as the Green Ranger once and for all, but eventually returns much to the surprise of the other Rangers, as the White Ranger.  This is just one of the important milestones for the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers series as it marks the return of one character that had been temporarily written out of the show.  It’s even more important in that Tommy would later go on to become the head of the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers in the second half of Season Two (which is due out May 28, 2013).

Tommy’s departure and eventual return is just one important part of the Power Rangers’ evolution in the first half of Season Two.  Just as important is the introduction of three new characters who would later go on to be three of the new Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers.  Those characters are Adam (Johnny Yong Bosch), Rocky (Steve Cardenas), and Aisha (Karan Ashley).  The trio would end up taking the places of Zack, Jason, and Trini respectively.  This cast shakeup is an important part of the show’s second season because other than the introduction of Tommy in Season One, it marks the very first real major cast change in the long-running franchise’s history.  It wouldn’t be long though, before more cast changes would happen.  By the time the show reached its next incarnation, Power Rangers Zeo, Kimberly, Billy, and Aisha would all be replaced.  And Jason, the original Red Ranger, would also return, albeit for a short time.  The changes would go on from here.  That’s what makes this very first major shakeup such an important part of Season Two.

The introduction of new soon-to-be team members and the re-introduction of another are big parts of the success of Season Two Part One.  Just as important in the first half of this season’s success are the show’s writing and its general production.  In comparison to more recent incarnations of the Power Rangers franchise, the original Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers presented a product that was more…raw.  It didn’t have that sleek, spit-shined feel that so many newer PR shows have had.  There’s something special about that feel, from the special effects of the time to the animatronics of Goldar and the other baddies to the general shooting.  It’s completely different from the shows that would follow, making it that much more special.  The writing is just as impressive as the production.  Sure some of the writing seems as cheesy and campy as the production at times.  But it doesn’t feel forced like the franchise’s more recent series.  It just feels more natural.  That combination of more natural writing also led to more natural acting from the cast.  It made the cast more relatable to young viewers.  That ability of the show to reach its young viewers, combined with the show’s more natural writing and production went a long way toward making Season Two just as successful as the show’s debut season.  And thanks to Shout! Factory and Saban Brands, those audiences who first saw this show as kids can re-live all that joy again in the first half of Season Two.  Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers Season Two Volume One is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered online via the Shout! Factory store at http://www.shoutfactory.com/?q=node/216673.  Audiences and fans of the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers and other classic shows can get more info on this show and more 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.

Pull Out Those Morphers, The Rangers Return Again!

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

The Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers are back again, courtesy of Shout! Factory.  Everyone’s favorite super powered teens are back with the second thirty episodes from the iconic show’s first season.  Season 1 Volume 2 sees the Rangers’ friend Tommy take center stage in another pair of episodes.  And in what is one of the very first ever turning points for the Rangers without the Green Ranger, the team has to face Goldar in his own zord, Cyclopsis.  The rangers are almost defeated by Goldar and Cyclopsis in the two part episode, “Doomsday.”  These and the set’s other classic episodes will take any kid at heart back in time, creating that sense of nostalgia that so many of Shout! Factory’s releases generate.

Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers Season One Volume Two is a nice addition to the home library of any old school Power Rangers fan.  This second half of Season One sees the original sixth ranger, Tommy return after having his powers taken away by the evil Rita Repulsa in the two part episode, “The Green Candle.”  This episode sees Tommy lose the powers imbued on him by Rita when she creates a green candle.  The candle in question burns brighter and faster every time that Tommy morphs and fights Rita’s evil minions.  Eventually Tommy loses his powers.  But it isn’t the last that fans see of him as his powers are returned albeit for a short time, just in time to save the Rangers in the third of the set’s two-part episodes, “Return Of An Old Friend.”  The Rangers aren’t the only ones in danger in this episode, as they have to figure out how to get their mentor, Zordon, back.  It all leads up to the season finale, “An Oyster Stew.”  This episode would be the last featuring the original Megazord.  As the show shifted into its second season, the Rangers would gain new Zords when their original Zords are defeated courtesy of new baddie, Lord Zedd.  His appearance would mark the beginning of a whole new chapter for the original Rangers.

The episodes contained in Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers Season One Volume Two will take any Power Rangers fan back to their childhood.  It’s even another chance for those same grown up audiences to experience this groundbreaking kids’ show with kids of their own.  They do their own part in the overall enjoyment of this new set.  They aren’t all that make it successful, though.  As with Season One Volume One, the main menu of both discs will add even more nostalgia for the show’s fans.  Rather than just being any ordinary episode selection menu, the menu is set up against the backdrop of the original show’s power chamber.  Sure it’s something minor.  But sometimes, it’s the little things that matter most.  There’s even a sound effect that is supposed to be coming from the tube in which Zordon appears.  Again it’s a minute detail.  But that the people behind this would take the time to add in such detail makes this another impressive addition to the set.

The main menu and the episodes themselves come together to make Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers Season One Volume Two an overall enjoyable viewing experience.  There is at least one more factor that audiences will appreciate from this set.  It’s a factor that has in its own way made Shout! Factory a leader in the DVD and Blu-ray market.  That factor is the double disc set’s packaging.  While there is a generally increasing move towards slimmer cases for box sets, Shout! Factory was one of the few leaders in that pack from early on.  Many of its box sets would be released in single DVD/Blu-ray sized cases.  But in opening the cases, audiences would find multiple discs thanks to an insert that would place discs on either side, along with discs placed in standard spots inside the case.  This more ergonomically sound packaging is used yet again in this new set.  It’s an ergonomically sound set.  It’s easy to carry and it takes it little space on DVD and Blu-ray racks.  As the old adage goes, less is more.  And that less space taken up not only makes for more space for other DVD’s and sets but it also makes for that much more overall enjoyment of and appreciation for yet another impressive release from Shout! Factory and Saban.  Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers Season One Volume Two is available in stores and online now.  It can be ordered online direct via the Shout! Factory store at http://www.shoutfactorystore.com.

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.

New Collection Holiday Fun For Any Power Rangers Fan

Courtesy: Lionsgate

The Power Rangers are back with three more holiday themed episodes courtesy of Lionsgate.  Lionsgate recently released another compilation featuring a trio of Halloween themed episodes.  This time, fans new and old get three Christmas themed episodes.  Two of those episodes are culled from the Power Rangers’ early years.  The third is a retrospective by a member of the newest team of rangers, as the Rangers count down to Christmas.The feature episode of Power Rangers Samurai: Christmas Together, Friends Forever sees the Samurai Rangers in the holiday spirit.  The team is decorating for Christmas.  As they do, Emily (the Yellow Ranger) decides to send an e-mail to her sister, telling her all about the Rangers’ past year.  She tells her sister about each member of the squad, going all the way back to the day that the team members met.  She starts off telling about Mike (the Green Ranger).  She explains how things started off for Mike, but that he eventually came around and became the Ranger that he was at that Christmas.  From there, she tells her sister about Kevin and Mia before eventually making her way to Jayden and Antonio.  The most moving moment of this episode comes not in Emily reminiscing, but in Mike’s reaction after he receives his gift on Christmas.  He keeps thinking that he’s not going to get anything.  But after the rest of the team members have their gifts, he gets quite a surprise.  Viewers can find out what that surprise is for themselves.  What makes the moment even better is that his surprise becomes an even better surprise for a certain other pair of characters.   Again, viewers will have to find out for themselves who that pair is.

From the current team of Rangers, audiences are treated to a pair of adventures from previous Ranger teams.  In the first of the teams, the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers have to face off against one of Lord Zedd’s minions as he sends Rito Revolto and Goldar to the North Pole to take over and force Santa’s elves to make toys that will take over children’s minds.  The Rangers teleport to the North Pole, and with the help of Santa’s elves manage to trick Rito and Goldar and tie them up, thus saving the day.  While the Rangers may have saved the day, there’s still one problem they have to deal with back in Angel Grove.  And unwittingly, even Bulk helps to solve the problem, too.  It will end up leaving any viewer with that warm holiday spirit filling them.

In the last of this new set’s episodes, Tommy and the Zeo Rangers have to face off against King Mondo once again.  Mondo pulls a plan to make the Rangers fight about each other’s different religious traditions.  This episode is simply put, an episode that teaches about religious differences and tolerance.  It’s a valuable episode for any young viewer, even today.  And combined with this new set’s other pair of episodes makes for another enjoyable set for any Power Rangers fan.  It’s available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered direct via Lionsgate’s online store at http://www.lionsgateshop.com.

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.

Lionsgate Brings Fans More Morphin’ Fun For Halloween In New DVD

Courtesy: Lionsgate

Safety is one of the biggest concerns each year on Halloween.  Safety for adults and children alike is a big concern.  That being the case, so many families might be looking for ways to celebrate with family and kid friendly Halloween parties in the safety and comfort of their own homes.  With those parties come family and kid friendly specials.  Lots of specials are released each year.  And now, another one has been released for all the fans young and old of Saban’s hit Power Rangers franchise.  Out in stores today is the single disc Halloween themed compilation, “Power Rangers Samurai:  Monster Bash.”  The new single disc compilation contains a special Halloween themed episode from Power Rangers:  Samurai, along with two bonus episodes from the classic original Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers for fans of that original incarnation of the long running franchise.

The main episode included in this trio of Halloween themed Power Rangers episode sees a bunch of the monsters beaten by the Samurai Power Rangers gathering for a Halloween party.  While they’re there, all the vanquished Nighlok monsters share their stories of how they almost beat the Samurai Power Rangers.  Meanwhile, the evil Lord Xandred is moping on his ship because he hadn’t been invited to the party.  Thing is that he’s reminded later in the episode that the gathering is of Nighlok monsters that were dead.  Fans of Warner Brothers’ classic television series, Batman:  The Animated Series will recognize this story style as that show ran a similar clip show in the episode, “Almost Got Him.”

“Party Monsters” is a good episode for younger Power Rangers audiences.  Parents of the new Power Rangers fans will enjoy this three episode compilation too, as it also includes two bonus episodes from the original Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers series.  In the first of the two bonus episodes, Kimberly has to face off against Bulk’s sidekick, Skull in a game show.  The two are vying for a new car.  It just so happens that the game show is a Halloween themed game show.  Kimberly and the Rangers have to leave the show early as they have to face Rita’s Pumpkin Rapper monster.  With Tommy’s help, the Rangers are able to defeat the Pumpkin Rapper.  And in the end, things don’t turn out too well for Bulk and Skull (whose real name is revealed in this episode, too).  Audiences will have to see for themselves what happens to them when they check out this DVD.

In the second of this compilation’s bonus classic episodes, the Power Rangers are setting up for a big costume party at the Angel Grove Gym and Juice Bar.  Along with the party, there will be a costume contest.  So Rita takes full advantage of that.  She sends a Frankenstein monster to the party to infiltrate it and get the Rangers.  But the monster is mistaken for just another party-goer.  That is until Billy secretly trails him to a cave where Rita’s henchmen are making a new kind of super putty patroller.  He ends up having to face Rita’s monster before escaping and going back to tell the other Rangers about what he’s seen.  The Rangers end up having to call in the Megazord to face the Frankenstein monster.  But it’s not until Tommy comes in with the Dragonzord and combines it with the Megazord that the Rangers are finally able to finish off the monster.  After defeating the monster, the Rangers go back to the party, and find out a surprise as to who wins the costume contest.  Of course, again, audiences will have to find out who won for themselves when they check out this DVD.  “Power Rangers Samurai:  Monster Bash” is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered online via the Lionsgate store at http://www.lionsgateshop.com.

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.