Power Rangers In Space Volume Two Is A Fitting Finale For Saban’s Original Power Rangers Franchise

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Fox/Saban/Saban Brands

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Fox/Saban/Saban Brands

The end is finally here for Saban’s original Power Rangers franchise.  What started out in 1993 lasted a grand total of six seasons.  Rangers came and Rangers went as did powers and incarnations.  Now in the long-awaited finale to the franchise that started it all, every one of the Rangers from the franchise’s first five seasons join the current team as they face off against every villain that the Rangers have faced up to this point in a battle for not just Earth but also the Universe.  This collection of episodes effectively ends the original Power Rangers franchise before it got re-booted in early 1999 in the form of Power Rangers Lost Galaxy.  Power Rangers In SpaceVolume Two is one of the absolute best groupings of episodes from the original series.  The primary reason for that is of course the writing.  While the final two episodes are the key focus of the collection, there was also the multi-episode story arc involving the Psycho Rangers.  Audiences also see something of a personal growth from Andros (Christopher Kayman Lee) in some episodes.  One in particular sees him take on a father-like presence when he saves the “servant” of an evil alien.  The stock footage and special effects that made the series so wonderfully campy continued on through this season, too.  That is another factor in this set that audiences will appreciate in viewing these episodes.  Rounding out the whole thing is the presentation of the episodes.  The episodes presented in this collection are much like those of the previous collections.  They are presented exactly as they were in their original broadcasts on Fox’s FOX Kids afternoon programming block.  Nothing was edited out.  And the footage looks just as it did in the episodes’ original broadcasts, too.  That factor rounds out the presentation in whole that is Power Rangers in SpaceVolume Two.  Together with the writing and the character development displayed throughout the episodes, it makes clearly visible why Power Rangers in SpaceVolume Two a fitting finale to one of the greatest children’s franchises in modern television history.

Power Rangers in SpaceVolume Two is a fitting finale to what is one of the greatest franchises in the modern history of television.  The franchise lasted a grand total of six seasons before being rebooted in 1999 in the form of Power Rangers Lost Galaxy.  What started as a cult hit in 1993 proved to be one of the biggest cultural phenomena by its end five years later.  One of the key reasons for that was the franchise’s writing.  That is evidenced clearly in the finale to Saban’s original franchise.  Most audiences will agree that the franchise’s two-part finale, “Countdown to Destruction” is the central point of this collection.  However, a closer look at the episodes shows that the buildup to that point is really what makes the collection work.  The writers build up to that final epic battle by forcing the Rangers to use all of their resources to face the Psycho Rangers multiple times.  They also face quite the test when their main resources are destroyed in their attempts to destroy Ecliptor and Tankenstein.  Audiences that grew up with this franchise will love seeing again how the Rangers tackle the situation with teamwork and the help of all of the previous Rangers.  The fact that the writers could interweave each story arc into one whole story without losing audiences along the way is a testament to their efforts.    On a side note, those that have continued watching the various incarnations of the Power Rangers up to this point can’t help but see a rather close similarity between “Countdown to Destruction” and the upcoming mega-battle in the Power Rangers Super Megaforce universe.  It would be no surprise if this is where that show’s writers got their motivation for the franchise’s next upcoming mega battle.  Again that being a possibility it goes to show once more the strength of the writers’ work even all those years ago.  It’s just one part of what makes this (final?) collection of episodes such a fitting finale for the original Power Rangers franchise.

The writing behind the episodes culled for Power Rangers in SpaceVolume Two is a solid starting point in an examination of what makes this collection so enjoyable.  In direct relation, the growth of the characters—Andros specifically—helps move this collection forward.  Audiences see him become increasingly welcoming to his fellow Rangers as the season progresses.  This is especially noticeable in “Andros and the Stowaway” in which he saves an alien that looks a lot like an anglerfish with legs from its evil master.  The care and concern given to the creature exhibits quite the emotional growth for him.  To an extent, one could almost argue that the creature—dubbed Seymour by the Yellow Ranger—is somewhat representative of his sister, who obviously turns out to actually be Astronema.  He cares for Seymour the way that he had never been able to look after his sister.  It’s subtle, but it’s there.   There is also the budding relationship between Ashley (The Yellow Ranger) and Andros in terms of character development.  The writers can be applauded here as they didn’t let that take too much of the time in any episode.  Whereas Tommy’s relationship first with Kimberly and then with Kat later in the original franchise, this relationship was kept more as an undertone of sorts.  It was another way for the writers to exhibit Andros’ personal growth from the standard lone wolf figure to the warmer, more…..human character.  One could argue even that it was one more way for Andros to heal from what happened and to give him a purpose to fight on and find his sister, whom he doesn’t realize, is actually Astronema, until these episodes.  Looking back on the balance of character development and the overall writing, audiences that grew up with these episodes will appreciate them even more when watching these episodes again.  The end result will be a heightened sense of nostalgia and in turn overall enjoyment.

The balance of character development and overall writing in these final episodes of Saban’s original Power Rangers franchise is of the utmost importance.  Those behind the show expertly balanced the two to make them some of the most enjoyable to watch.  The writers really show in their balance of the elements just how much this team of Rangers has grown together and how their battles against Astronema have shaped them both personally and by themselves.  It collectively makes for quite the interesting watch.  As important as these elements are to the overall enjoyment and success of Power Rangers in Space: Volume Two, there is one last element to examine.  That last element is the presentation of the episodes.  What audiences get in this set is one more collection of episodes presented exactly as they were presented in their original broadcast on Fox’s FOX Kids afternoon programming block back in 1998.  There has been no re-mastering or anything of the sort.  The stock footage from the Japanese series that inspired the Power Rangers’ various incarnations is here as are the campy but oh-so-fun special effects.  As a matter of fact, those that have HDTVs will love seeing the wires/strings used to make Ecliptor fly in various episodes.  And just as interesting is the appearance in Ecliptor’s final battle against the Rangers of a mysterious figure in the background of their battle.  A close look reveals what looks like a female villain in the background as the Rangers face Ecliptor for the final time.  But even when he is defeated, there is no mention of that figure.  One can’t help but wonder if that was the editors’ attempt to mix the Japanese footage with that of the American series as there’s no mention of said figure at all.  She is there, though.  Regardless, the original editors behind these episodes did an applause-worthy job mixing the elements.   And those responsible for transferring the original tapes to DVD are just as worthy of applause, too.  Their collective work alongside the work of the writers to develop the characters and storylines makes Power Rangers in Space: Volume Two all the more enjoyable for today’s kids and those kids at heart that remember watching these episodes as kids themselves.

A lot of work went into making the final episodes of Saban’s original Power Rangers franchise memorable for audiences.  That work was not lost on its fans.  And those that have not seen these episodes since their original broadcast will recall just how memorable they were and are when they purchase this box set and watch these episodes again for the first time for themselves or with their own kids.  Whether for the writing, the associated character development, or the original broadcast presentation of the episodes, audiences will see that there is a lot to like about Power Rangers in Space: Volume Two.  They will then see that this is truly a fitting finale for what is one of the greatest children’s series in modern television history.  It will be available in stores and online next Tuesday, October 7th and can be ordered direct from the Shout! Factory online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/kids/kids-action-adventure/power-rangers-in-space-vol-2.  More information on this and other releases from Shout! Factory is available online at:

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

Facebook: 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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

The Beginning Of The End Is Here For Saban’s Original Power Rangers Franchise

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Saban Brands

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Saban Brands

The countdown to the end of the original Power Rangers franchise is on.

Shout! Factory, in conjunction with Saban Brands, released Power Rangers in Space: Volume 1 this week. The first of two volumes, this collection of episodes begins the countdown to the end of what is dubbed by many as the “Zordon era” or in layman’s terms, the original Power Rangers franchise. Not only does this latest collection episodes mark the end of an important era in the Power Rangers franchise, it also marks the end of the show runners’ practice of employing a set group of actors for multiple seasons. After the end of Power Rangers in Space audiences would see each team of Rangers in a different setting within each season.

Power Rangers in Space: Volume 1 is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered online now direct from the Shout! Factory store at http://www.shoutfactory.com/product/power-rangers-space-vol-1. More information on this and other releases is available online now at http://www.shoutfactory.com and http://www.facebook.com/officialshoutfactory. 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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

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 https://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 https://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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.