Power Rangers Turbo Vol. 2 To Be Released Next Week

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Saban/Saban Brands

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Saban/Saban Brands

The countdown to the end of Saban’s original Power Rangers franchise is on. Shout! Factory will release Power Rangers: TurboVolume 2 next week.

Power Rangers: TurboVolume Two will be released Tuesday, June 3rd on DVD. Volume Two picks up right where Volume One left off. Tommy, the last of the original Power Rangers and Kat, the second Pink Ranger both depart and are replaced by new Rangers as are Yellow Ranger Tanya and Green Ranger Adam. With a whole new team in place, it’s up to them to stop Divatox once and for all before it’s too late. The Rangers’ battle against Divatox and her evil brother General Havoc leads to what would be the final, epic chapter in the original “Zordon Era” of Saban’s Power Rangers franchise.

Power Rangers: TurboVolume Two will retail for SRP of $19.93. It can be ordered direct from Shout! Factory’s online store at http://www.shoutfactory.com/product/power-rangers-turbo-vol-2. 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 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 Turbo One Of The Best Of Saban’s Original Franchise

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Saban Brands

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Saban Brands

Shout! Factory has spent just over a decade bringing some of the most well-known and beloved movies and television shows in modern entertainment history.  That dedication to bringing so many great titles back to life has put Shout! Factory at the forefront of the home entertainment business.  This critic’s own opinion is that that dedication has even pushed Shout! Factory past even bigger companies such as Warner Home Video and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment just to name a couple.  Two years ago, Shout! Factory announced a partnership with Saban Brands that has since then cemented even more Shout! Factory’s reputation as a leader in the home entertainment industry.  That’s because the partnership gave distribution rights to Shout! Factory for many of Saban’s Power Rangers series including Saban’s most famous series, Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers.  Shout! Factory started releasing Saban’s Power Rangers series two years ago, starting with the complete seven-season box set.  Last month, it took one more step closer to the end of its deal with Saban with the release of Power Rangers Turbo Volume OnePower Rangers Turbo is one of the more pivotal installments of the original Power Rangers franchise.  That is the case first and foremost because of the show’s writing.  Another reason that this latest installment works so well is its look.  And having finally been released on DVD, the series’ packaging actually plays just as much of a role as the aforementioned factors in its success and enjoyment.    All three factors together make this first volume of episodes from Power Rangers Turbo another must have for any fan of Saban’s original Power Rangers franchise.

Power Rangers Turbo is one of the most important installments of Saban’s original Power Rangers franchise.  That is the case first and foremost because of the series’ writing.  There is much to be said of the writing in this “season.”  The most noticeable aspect of the season’s writing is that unlike the previous Power Rangers movie, Saban has actually this season in to the movie Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie.  At the same time, this season is also a continuation of the previous Power Rangers installment.  The writers are to be commended for having been able to connect both elements together without allowing the franchise to become bogged down.  Even more important to consider from this season is that the writers made this season a major turning point in the original Power Rangers franchise.  It could be said that they made this “season” the beginning of the end for the “Zordon era.”  Zordon is replaced by a new mentor of sorts named Dimitria.  Alpha 5 is replaced by the next Alpha model, Alpha 6.  And the last of the original rangers, Tommy, leaves the series.  He’s not the only ranger to leave, either.    As a matter of fact, audiences see what is an entirely new team this season during the two-part story arc “Passing The Torch.”  As if that’s not enough, Ernie’s juice bar owner Ernie (played since the days of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers by Richard Genelle) also leaves.  He is written out early in this half of the season thanks to an explanation by Lt. Stone (Gregg Bullock), who ends up taking over Ernie’s juice bar.  So there are lots of changes going on in this half of Season 5 (a.k.a. Power Rangers Turbo).  Most impressive of all is that even with all of the changes that take place in Season 5, the writers still manage to keep everything balanced.  And that is a testament in itself.    Just as much a testament to Power Rangers Turbo is the production values displayed in this season.

The look of the franchise employed by those behind the Power Rangers franchise was something special throughout all seven seasons of the franchise’s original series.  This season is included in that run.  The reason that the series production values were so special is that even in Season five, the series’ heads were still incorporating elements of the Japanese series on which the Power Rangers franchise had been based from Season One.  Even in Season Five, it had more of that familiar “gritty” look established from the franchise’s inception.  These same values would continue on into Season Seven (a.k.a. Power Rangers Lost Galaxy).  After that, the franchise’s look noticeably changed.  So it is nice to see that those behind Power Rangers Turbo maintained the not so perfected, spit-shined look established early on in the franchise’s life.  It’s one more piece of the whole that audiences will appreciate in viewing Power Rangers Turbo: Volume One.

The look of Power Rangers Turbo and its writing are both pivotal to this season’s enjoyment and success.  The packaging of Power Rangers Turbo: Volume One is the last aspect of this set to examine in the set’s enjoyment and success.  There are those that have lambasted Shout! Factory for splitting the show into separate volumes going all the way back to its release of the original Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers installment of the franchise.  This season is no different. Those that have come down on Shout! Factory for this course of action have not seen the bigger picture. Fans of the Power Rangers franchise are very particular individuals. Not every fan likes one entire season or another. In the same vein, not every fan likes the same episode or episodes. By splitting up the seasons, Shout! Factory is allowing that worldwide legion of fans to choose the episodes and seasons that they want to see rather than forcing them to buy entire seasons that they might not like. Looking at the packaging from this angle, Shout! Factory is to be commended once again. And those charged with packaging this set are to be just as commended for the fact that they have packaged the discs in exactly the same fashion as previous Power Rangers sets. Each of the set’s three discs is placed on its own spot inside the case. The first two discs are placed on either side of a standard “insert” that protects them from each other. The third disc is placed on its own spindle on the back side of the case. For those that perhaps like this season better than others, or even just this half of the season, this actually does save space on their racks. So those naysayers that would prefer to lambast Shout! Factory for this should keep this in mind. They should also keep in mind everything else mentioned about this set as a reason for picking up Power Rangers Turbo: Volume One.

Power Rangers Turbo: Volume One is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered online via the Shout! Factory online store at http://www.shoutfactory.com/product/power-rangers-turbo-vol-1. More information on this and other releases from Shout! Factory is available online at http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial and http://www.shoutfactory.com. 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. 

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.

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.

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.

It’s Morphin’ Time Once Again Thanks to Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Saban Brands

Shout! Factory has done it again.  This company that specializes in nostalgia television has brought the children of the late 80’s and 90’s another childhood favorite in the original Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers.  That’s right, everyone.  The team that started it all back in 1993 is finally seeing its adventures released both in a triple disc set containing the show’s first thirty episodes, and in a box set containing the entire original Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers series.  For the sake of this review, the main focus is going to be on the very first release that is Season 1 Volume 1.

In Season 1 Volume 1, fans see the very first team of rangers assembled by the interdimensional leader Zordon, and his robot assistant, Alpha.  Fans will also get to see the complete five-part “Green With Evil” story arc in which long time ranger Tommy is introduced to the show.  And in one of the better stand alone episodes, fans see Billy, the Blue Ranger, face Bulk and Skull with a little help from Trini’s uncle, Howard.

The massive franchise that is the Power Rangers all started with the episode, “Day of the Dumpster.  Audiences discover that Rita escapes when her “space dumpster” is opened by a pair of curious astronauts.  When Zordon and alpha learn of Rita’s escape, the first team is chosen.  Jason, Billy, Zack, Trini, and Kimberly are transported to Zordon’sCommandCenter.  What fans will really get a kick out of is Alpha’s response.  He pleads with Zordon, saying, “Not teenagers!”  Zordon’s comment that sets up Alpha’s response adds to the moment of laughs.  He tells Alpha, get me five overbearing, overemotional humans!”  Who wouldn’t laugh at that joke?  At first the Rangers don’t’ believe Zordon.  But when they have to face Rita’s Putty Patrollers, they morph for the very first time, and are sent back to Angel Grove to face Rita’s henchman, Goldar.  Goldar almost has the Rangers beat until they get the Megazord’s Power Sword.  Seeing that, Goldar retreats back to Rita’s moon base.  In the end, the Rangers all agree that they’re in it for the long haul, and vow to protect the world from Rita and her attacks, thus marking the beginning of the now long running Power Rangers franchise.

The very first season of the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers could be summarized as a season of firsts.  It’s the season when the original team of Rangers is formed.  And it’s the season when the very first “extra’ Ranger is introduced.  The five-part story arc, “Green With Envy” sees the introduction of new team member—and long time Power Ranger—Tommy.  Tommy starts out in this story arc as a new “kid” in Angel Grove.  Rita sees this and takes advantage of it, putting a spell on him, forcing him to serve her and fight the Rangers.  He serves her as the evil Green Ranger.  But when the rest of the Rangers realize it’s just because Tommy’s under a spell, they learn that they have to destroy his Sword of Darkness to break the spell, which Jason does in a final showdown.  Rita’s spell is broken, releasing Tommy.  When he agrees to join the team, Zordon reveals to the Rangers, the very first brand new Megazord alternate combination when Tommy’s Dragonzord combines with three of the Rangers’ zords to make the Dragon Megazord.  Of course, as any true Power Rangers fan knows, Tommy’s first incarnation as the Green Ranger is short lived, thanks to Rita.  But he would later return to the Power Rangers as the White Ranger.  And years later, he would return as the head of the Power Rangers Dino, too, making mention of the original Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers team.

The firsts experienced in Season 1 are great moments for this show.  But they aren’t all that made the show great.  There were also life lessons in the show, such as in the episode, “The Dark Warrior.”  Blue Ranger Billy learns about facing bullies in this episode, when Bulk and Skull start harassing him.  Thanks to teaching from Trini’s uncle Howard, he learns how to handle them without fighting.  And of course, Howard’s (Trini’s uncle)  invisibility formula helps, too.  That formula is also the basis for the Rangers’ adventure in this episode.  Rita sends down the Dark Warrior to steal the formula and use it to make the Rangers disappear.  That, of course, doesn’t happen, as the Rangers defeat the Dark Warrior, and Howard retrieves his formula that he had accidentally misplaced.

Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers Season 1 Volume 1 is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered direct from Shout! Factory’s store at http://www.shoutfactorystore.com.  To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go 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.