‘Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation’ Is An Interesting Piece Of ‘TMNT’ History

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Saban

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Saban

Thirty two years ago Mirage Studios first introduced American audiences to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  The “heroes on the half shell” were created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird.  In the years since their creation, Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, and Michelangelo (and their rodent sensei Splinter) have gone on to become a worldwide phenomenon with various incarnations on both the silver screen and the small screen.  Some have been hugely popular such as the original 1987 animated series (perhaps the franchise’s most successful incarnation) and the 1990 big screen adaptation of the comic book.  That incarnation even spawned three sequels.  Other incarnations have not been so successful, such as the 2014 big screen reboot and its new sequel Out of the Shadows.  They are not the franchise’s only lesser installments.  In 1997 Saban tried its hand at its own take on the everyone’s favorite reptile heroes in the form of Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation.  That incarnation ultimately proved to be a bust for the company.  It only lasted one season and a total of twenty-eight episodes.  Now thanks to Shout! Factory fans of this short-lived series can own it for themselves on DVD.  That is because Shout! Factory released the series in its entirety early this past May.  While the series was obviously one of the least successful of the TMNT franchise it still is a good addition to any hardcore TMNT fan’s collection.  That is because it serves as a historical document of sorts showing everything that was done right and wrong with the series.  In examining those pros and cons in whole audiences will agree that while it might not be the best of the TMNT franchise’s installments it also is not its worst.  That (dis)honor still goes to Paramount and Nickelodeon’s 2014 big screen take on the turtles.  Keeping that in mind, this installment proves once more to be a worthwhile addition to any TMNT fan’s collection if only for historical purposes.

Saban’s 1997 live-action take on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise is by no means the franchise’s best incarnation.  In all fairness it is also not the franchise’s worst incarnation either.  Keeping that in mind, it is a welcome (and important) addition to any TMNT fan’s collection.  That is because it shows through its twenty-eight total episodes that Saban, with all of its successes, was not invincible at the time of the series’ run.  That is not entirely the fault of the people at Saban, though.  In examining for instance the timing of the series’ debut it had a lot working against it.  The series was meant to follow the events of the franchise’s original cinematic trilogy.  The problem is that that trilogy wrapped in 1993 with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III.  Saban’s live action series didn’t start until four years later in 1997, which was also only a year after the original animated series came to its own end.  When the story lines presented in each are taken into consideration and the timing of their beginnings and endings, they worked wholly against Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation.  Had Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation come earlier—perhaps during the animated series’ run as an alternate universe series of sorts—then it might have had more of a fighting chance.  But because of the timing of its debut and its plot line it is clear why it failed in the long run.  That is just one important part of the show that should be noted in examining what the series in whole.  the series’ writing, in the bigger picture of its presentation, played its own integral part in the series’ failure.  The same can be said of the look and the feel of the series.

The timing of Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation’s debut is a big part of what might have made the series’ run so short.  The timing of its release, when considered alongside the events of the franchises cinematic trilogy and its animated series, put a rather large nail in the series’ proverbial coffin.  The series’ writing is just as problematic as the timing of its release.  The series’ writers opened this series by introducing its key villain—Dragon Lord–early on.  The problem is that he wasn’t the series’ only villain starting out.  The writers incorporated Shredder into the story, too.  However, they wasted very little time taking him out of the story, too.  The way in which they wrote him out was rather anticlimactic to say the very least, too.  It almost leaves one asking why he was even used in the overall story considering how little impact his elimination had on the series’ overall story.  It could be argued that in so randomly eliminating Shredder, the writers were just throwing something out there just to see if it would work and make the series in whole anywhere near feasible.  While the overall story did work, it still ended up being relatively lackluster at best.  The same thing happened when the writers behind the TMNT animated series tried to keep that series going after the turtles eliminated Shredder.  They introduced a new villain—an alien from another world—but it just didn’t work, which ultimately led to the series’ end in Season Ten.  The same sort of mindset led to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III’s failure, too.  With Shredder out of the way at the end of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II it was as if the writers were asking where to go from there.  One can only assume that someone just said, “hey, let’s send them back in time on a quest and see how audiences react.”  While the end result was entertaining in its own right, it is still obvious that the movie’s writers struggled to come up with something to keep the movie (and the franchise) going.  This, again, goes back to the obvious practice of the writers behind Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation.  It is as if, again, the writers went into the series blindly and just threw in what they could as the series advanced.

The timing of Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation and its writing are both key elements that worked against the series in its short run on FOX Kids from 1997 – 1998.  They are not the only elements that should be considered in examining what the series got right and what it got wrong.  The look and the feel of the series are just as important to note as the timing of its run and its writing.  The look of the series will be examined first.  The costumes and the sets that were used in Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation are a stark contrast to those used by Saban’s Power Rangers franchise at the time.  That series had come a long way in terms of its look from the days of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers.  Some of the camp was still there in terms of its look.  But that look had also clearly evolved to a point since those days, too.  By comparison Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation took audiences back to the days of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers thanks to the campy look of its sets and costumes.  No effort was made by the people at Saban to make this series look anything like the franchise’s original cinematic trilogy, which again this series was supposed to be linked. Even the look of Shredder’s outfit barely made him look menacing.  He looked more like one of the then WWF’s costumed bad guys than any truly menacing villain.  That is thanks to the design of his outfit.  Even the look of the turtles was a complete change of pace from their look on the big screen and its previous small screen incarnation.  This is again even with the series’ alleged connection to the franchise’s cinematic trilogy.  The only part of the series that really bore any similarity (and that term is used very loosely here) to that trilogy is that of the turtles’ subway lair.  It is obvious that whoever designed their lair for this series did in fact make a concerted effort to connect the two universes.  Sadly it is about the only thing that actually connects the two universes in terms of the series’ look.  The rest of the sets and costumes are more akin to the MMPR series than anything seen on the big screen or any other TMNT incarnations.  By relation, the feel of the series is linked just as directly to MMPR as its look.

The look of Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation is an undeniably important part of the series’ life span.  That is because of how starkly it stands out from that of the rest of the offerings in the TMNT universes and even from that of Saban’s Power Rangers universes at the time.  The series’ feel is just as important to note as its look.  That is because its feel stands out just as starkly as its look.  The feel includes the series’ cinematography and the acting.  The cinematography throws back to the days of MMPR just as much as the costumes and sets that were used throughout this series.  That is evident in the scene transitions, the angles used within given scenes, and even the speed of the shot changes within the scenes, too.  The transitions from the general scenes to those of the dragons’ lair are key examples of that throwback look.  MMPR used very similar transitions when its scenes transitioned from Angel Grove to Rita (and later Zedd’s) moon base.  That is something that was gradually phased out as the Power Rangers franchise evolved over time.  The acting on the part of both Shredder and Dragon Lord plays its own part in the series’ feel.  The same can be said of those that brought Leo, Raph, Donnie, Mikey, and even Venus to life.  The camp in their collective work gives the series a fun, cheesy feel that interestingly enough will keep audiences entertained because of that cheese factor.  Again it is all a noticeable throwback to the days of MMPR.  Again in comparing this to the feel presented in the likes of Power Rangers in Space, the current installment of Saban’s Power Rangers franchise at the time, it is a completely different feel.  Good or bad is in the eye of the beholder.  In all fairness it likely played its own part in the series’ downfall since few programs if any had that same campy feel at the time.  So that probably hurt the series even more.  Between that and the show’s equally campy look, it becomes even more evident why the series’ combined look and feel might have hurt the series more than it helped.  That is especially considering the time at which the series was on television.  Speaking of the time at which the series debuted, it plays its own part in the series’ problems.  The writing behind the series plays its own part in the series, too.  Each element plays its own part in the series’ short run.  That goes without saying.  All things considered it becomes wholly clear why Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation is one of the least successful entries in the TMNT universe.  But when it is compared to those other entries in it still is not the franchise’s worst installment.  Keeping that in mind, it is still a welcome and important addition to any TMNT fan’s home collection if only for its historical value.

Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation is hardly the best offering in the TMNT universe.  It is not the franchise’s worst offering, either.  That (dis) honor belongs, to this day, to Paramount and Nickelodeon Studios’ 2016 big screen reboot of the original cinematic franchise.  Given, this series had (and has) a lot working against it.  But still in comparison to other offerings from the TMNT universe it could have been a lot worse.  Considering all of this it is still a welcome addition to any true TMNT fan’s collection whether for entertainment or for historical value.  It is available exclusively via Wal-Mart and can be ordered online via Wal-Mart at http://www.walmart.com/ip/Ninja-Turtles-The-Next-Mutation-The-Complete-Series/51301759.   More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

 

 

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‘Ninja Storm’ Is One Of The Power Rangers’ Best Series Since ‘MMPR’

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Saban

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Saban

There’s a storm brewing.  But this time it’s a good storm.  How can a storm be good?  It can be good when it’s a Ninja Storm.  Earlier this week Shout! Factory released Power Rangers Ninja Storm: The Complete Series on DVD.  And there is plenty to appreciate about this installment of the long-running franchise beginning with its writing.  The writing applies first and foremost to the series’ plot.  The fact that the writers would go back to the franchise’s interstellar/sci-fi roots this time out is impressive in its own right.  The ultimate reveal, which is made later in the series makes the plot all the more interesting.  That leads to another of the series’ most important elements, the writing within its episodes.  That will be discussed later.  Last but not least of note in this series is the work of the series’ cast.  Each element is important in its own right to the series’ overall presentation.  All things considered they make this series one of the franchise’s best so far in its post-Mighty Morphin’ era.

Late next year, Lionsgate is set to release the new big-screen reboot of Saban’s beloved Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers.  Needless to say it has already created quite a storm among fans of the beloved series.  Some people love it.  Others hate it.  Regardless which side one takes on the upcoming adaptation, audiences will just have to wait until the movie comes out to see how it actually turns out.  While they wait, Power Rangers fans have another classic Power Rangers series to take in.  It comes in the form of Power Rangers Ninja Storm: The Complete Series.  This installment of the long-running franchise is one of its best so far in its post-Might Morphin’ era.  This is due in part to the series’ writing.  More specifically it is due in part to the series’ plot.  The plot behind Power Rangers Ninja Storm follows a trio of Rangers, tapped to fight the evil interstellar space ninja Lothor.  It marks the first time since the days of the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers that the franchise has gone the full-on sci-fi/interstellar route.  The closest that any previous series came in that avenue, was Power Rangers Time Force.  Even that series didn’t go the full-on sci-fi route taken by MMPR (as it will henceforth be known here).  Lightspeed Rescue and Wild Force were more based in fantasy than science fiction.  Keeping that in mind, that approach in itself makes this series’ plot an important part of its presentation.  Add in the fact that for the first time the Power Rangers start out as a 3-person team and only grows to 6 members, and audiences get another important part of the series’ plot.  Again, none of the franchise’s former installments had taken that course.  Though, it did become more commonplace as the franchise progressed.  It makes this aspect of the series’ plot just as important to note as the larger story.  The two plot elements together show clearly why the series’ plot is so important in examining its writing.  The plot is just one part of the series’ writing that should be examined.  The overall writing within the series’ episodes is just as important to note as its plot.

The writing behind Power Rangers Ninja Storm’s plot is its own important part of the series’ writing.  It isn’t the only important part of the series’ writing to be examined.  The writing within the series’ episodes is just as important as the writing behind the series’ plot.  Audiences will find that the writing within the series’ episodes is relatively familiar from one to the next.  One episode that exemplifies that familiarity comes in the form of “The Wild Wipeout.”  It sees Tori end up in an alternate universe in which the Rangers are the villains, and Lothor and company the good guys.  It is a story line that has been used time and again throughout television’s modern history in so many series.  That includes series aimed at adults and children.  What sets this adaptation of the classic story line apart from others is that it also uses a sort of Wizard of Oz approach, leaving both Tori and audiences to wonder, was it all just a dream sequence, or actually another universe.  As if that isn’t enough, the writers also added in the story of Rangers being turned from the evil side to that of the good guys in the multi-part “Thunder Rangers” story arc.  It includes both the three-part “Thunder Strangers” story arc and its lead-in “Looming Thunder.”  The evil Ranger-turned-good story arc is an element that has been used in every installment of Power Rangers going all the way back to Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers.  Though, the writers this time have switched things up at least a little bit.  What sets this story line apart from those previous stories is that 1) it involves here not just one Ranger but two.  And in this case, the Rangers in question weren’t under some evil curse to start off their multi-part story arc.  Rather they had just been brainwashed by Lothor’s propaganda, not to reveal too much.  Though, they were eventually put under a brainwashing spell of sorts at one point.  Of course that was only a one-episode story line that saw the Rangers break that spell and win the day.  Audiences can discover that story for themselves.  If these episodes aren’t example enough, the writers also take on the evil twin story line in this series.  It’s yet another way in which the writing within the series’ episodes proves so important to the series’ presentation.  Any of the series’ other episodes could be cited just as easily in this argument.  Considering that it becomes increasingly clear why the writing within the series’ episodes is just as important to the series’ presentation as the writing behind its plot.  What’s more the two elements together make perfectly clear why the series’ writing in whole is so important to its presentation.  The writing is, of course, not the series’ only important element.  The work of the series’ cast is just as important to note as that of the series’ writers.

The work put in by the writers behind Power Rangers Ninja Storm is undeniably important to its presentation.  This is clear in examining both the series’ overall plot and the plot behind each of its episodes.  Of course in examining the series’ writing it becomes clear that the writing is just one of the series’ most important elements.  The work of the series’ cast is just as important to the series’ presentation as its writing.  While audiences might think that the actors who portrayed the Rangers are real stars of note here, that is not the cast.  That is at least the view of this critic.  In all honesty, the real stars of the series are Katrina Devine and Katrina Browne.  The pair portrayed Lothor’s nieces Marah and Kapri respectively.  While the pair ultimately turned out to be quite the devious evil duo, they do a wonderful job of tricking both Lothor and audiences.  The pair’s comic portrayal makes for so many laughs throughout each episode as they present themselves as stereotypical air headed valley girl types.  The personalities that they portray couples with their physical comedy to keep audiences entertained every time that they are on camera.  It would have been so easy for them to go over the top in their portrayals.  But they manage to successfully keep that reined in, thus leading to so many great moments right up to the point that they reveal their true personalities.  Even when they do reveal that truth they  are still just as great to watch.  To a lesser extent, Grant McFarland is entertaining in his own right as the evil space ninja Lothor.  Those that are familiar with the Power Rangers’ history will note a certain throwback to Robert Axelrod’s portrayal of Lord Zedd from the days of MMPR in McFarland’s take on Lothor.  He is clearly devious.  However one can’t help but laugh at his facial gestures and general reactions from time to time.  It is just a great reminder of the franchise’s old days.  The rest of the series’ cast impresses in its own right.  There is not denying this.  But the work put in by McFarland, and the duo of Devine and Browne is at least to this critic the most notable in this series.  In the end, their work couples with that of the rest of the cast to show in whole why the cast’s work is, in whole, just as important to the series’ presentation as that of the series’ writers.  All things considered Power Rangers Ninja Storm presents audiences with plenty to appreciate.  There is a lot of familiarity throughout this series and just as much new material.  All in all it makes this installment of the Power Rangers one of the franchise’s best in its post-MMPR era.

Power Rangers Ninja Storm is one of the best installments of the Power Rangers franchise to come along since the days of the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers.  That is due in part to writing that boasts its own share of familiar and new elements.  This applies both to the series’ plot and the stories presented within each of its episodes.  The same can be said of the cast’s work.  Grant McFarland conjures thoughts of Robert Axelrod with his portrayal of Lothor in this series.  Axelrod handled the role of Lord Zedd in MMPR.  Katrina Browne and Katrina Devine are just as entertaining as Lothor’s nieces even when their characters reveal the truth of their personas.  The rest of the cast impresses in its own right.  These three just shine brighter than the others in the eyes of this critic.  The cast’s work couples with that of the series writers to keep audiences engaged and entertained from one episode to the next.  The end result is a series that, again, audiences familiar with the Power Rangers franchise will agree it is one of the best installments to come along since the end of the franchise’s Zordon era.  It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered online direct via Shout! Factory’s online store now at https://www.shoutfactory.com/kids/kids-action-adventure/power-rangers-ninja-storm-the-complete-series.  More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

 

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Shout! Factory Goes “Wild” This Spring With Its Latest Power Rangers Collection

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Saban/Disney Enterprises

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Saban/Disney Enterprises

Shout! Factory is going wild this spring with yet another installment of the Power Rangers.

Shout! Factory will release Power Rangers: Wild Force next month.  The tenth installment of the beloved franchise, it will be released in stores and online on Tuesday, April 12th alongside Shout! Factory Kids’ new Pound Puppies DVD Showstopping PupsPower Rangers: Wild Force follows Cole Evans, Taylor Earhardt, Max Cooper, Alyssa Enrile, Daniel Delgado, and Merric Baliton as they fight Master Org and his forces and protect Turtle Cove.  Cole and his fellow rangers use the Wild Zords in their battle against evil.  They are aided by their mentor Princess Shayla in their battle with Master Org and his monsters.

Power Rangers: Wild Force is one of the most important installments of the Power Rangers franchise.  That is because it was the first (and only) season of Power Rangers to be released by Disney Enterprises.  It also was the last season of the franchise to be produced in the United States.  Every season of Power Rangers since has been produced in New Zealand.  This season also was the first since the end of the Power Rangers’ Zordon era to throw back to that era.  It did so with the “reunion special” “Forever Red” which brought back every one of the franchise’s Red Rangers that had come before Cole.  The premise behind the episode was that it was up to the ten-member team to stop the remaining generals of the Machine Empire in their effort to unearth and restart Lord Zedd’s zord, Serpentera.  Serpentera had been left buried on the moon at the end of the Zordon era.  As the season progresses, Cole learns his parents’ true identity and that of Master Org, which reveals quite the story in itself.  That in turn leads to quite the turn of events in this season, adding even more interest to the season’s overall story.

Power Rangers: Wild Force will be released on Tuesday, April 12th.  It will be available in stores and online exclusively on DVD.  It will retail for MSRP of $19.97 but can be pre-ordered at a discounted price of $16.97 via Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/kids/kids-action-adventure/power-rangers-wild-force-the-complete-series.  More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

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Shout! Factory, Saban Taking Audiences “Back To The Future” In New Power Rangers Season Set

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Saban/Saban Brands

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Saban/Saban Brands

Shout! Factory and Saban are taking audiences back to the future next month so to speak. That is because they are teaming up to release another classic season of Power Rangers in the form of Power Rangers Time Force: The Complete Series.

Power Rangers Time Force: The Complete Series will be released in stores and online on Tuesday, February 9th. The five-disc set features the full forty-episode run from the ninth season of Saban’s long-running sci-fi/fantasy series. This season marks the second time that the Power Rangers are presented to audiences as a semi-militaristic organization. It is not the last time that the Power Rangers would be presented in such fashion either. This season centers on the Rangers’ hunt for the evil criminal mastermind Ransik after he escapes their custody and slips from the year 2001 into the past (then present). It’s up to Pink Ranger Jen to lead the Time Force Rangers to find Ransik, apprehend him, and return with him back to 2001.

Power Rangers Time Force: The Complete Series will be available in stores and online on Tuesday, February 9th. It will be available exclusively on DVD and will retail for MSRP of $19.97. It can be pre-ordered at a discounted price of $16.97 via Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/kids/kids-action-adventure/power-rangers-time-force-the-complete-series. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

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Lionsgate, Saban’s New Power Rangers DVD Is A Great Treat For Any Power Rangers Fan

Courtesy:  Lionsgate/Saban/Saban Brands

Courtesy: Lionsgate/Saban/Saban Brands

Earlier this week, Lionsgate and Saban Brands released the latest collection of Halloween-themed episodes from Saban’s long-running Power Rangers franchise.  The new collection—Trickster Treat­—features four more Halloween-themed episodes from different eras of the hugely popular property.  What sets the episodes featured here is that they are a slightly more representative portion of the Power Rangers legacy.  That will be discussed shortly.  On a related note the writing within each of the featured episodes stands out in examining the whole of this compilation.  It is yet another reason that Power Rangers fans will appreciate this (apparent) second ever Halloween-themed Power Rangers collection.  Last of note in this collection is the work of the cast within each episode.  Even as many years have passed since Saban first introduced the Power Rangers to America, the work of each “season’s” cast has remained just as impressive from one season to the next.  That is just as evident in these four episodes as any of the franchise’s others.  Together with the work of the series’ writers and those charged with choosing the collection’s episodes, it rounds out the reasons that fans will enjoy this DVD and leaves fans hopeful that there will be more Power Rangers Halloween DVDs to come.

Trickster Treat, the new Halloween-themed collection of Power Rangers episodes from Lionsgate and Saban Brands is not the first of its kind from the two companies.  Nor is it the first collection of holiday-themed Power Rangers collections from the long-running superhero series.  However, it would appear that the new collection, which was released earlier this week, is only the second Halloween-themed collection to be released to date from the worldwide phenomenon franchise.  If that is indeed true, then it is a shock within itself.  That is because of the sheer number of episodes that could have been used over the years for other collections.  That aside, Trickster Treat still proves in the long run to be a good addition to any Power Rangers fan’s collection.  Its selection of episodes is the main reason for that.  Being that there is apparently only one other Halloween-themed Power Rangers collection available to fans—Power Rangers Samurai: Monster Bash–this collection’s selection of episodes is an improvement from that collection.  Whereas Power Rangers Samurai: Monster Bash featured three episodes and a bonus PSA, Trickster Treat features a fourth episode but no extras.  That lack of extras is not a setback for the DVD either.  On a deeper level, the episodes featured in this collection offer a little wider representation from the Power Rangers two decade-plus run than those included in Monster Bash.  The episodes in that set include one episode from Power Rangers Samurai and two from Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers.  By comparison Trickster Treat features one episode from the second season of MMPR, one from Power Rangers Zeo, one from Power Rangers Super Samurai and one from Power Rangers Megaforce.  It serves to show at least a small cross section of the Power Rangers’ history.  That is a lot more than fans got from Monster Bash.  And considering that Trickster Treat is allegedly only the second ever Power Rangers Halloween collection, this gives quite a bit of hope among fans for even more collections in the years to come with just as much representation if not more from the Power Rangers multitude of installments.

The selection of episodes offered to Power Rangers fans in Trickster Treat is by itself a solid reason for them to pick up this collection.  It is just one reason that fans will appreciate the DVD, too.  The writing within each of the episodes is another reason that fans will enjoy the DVD.  That is because there is such a notable difference in the writing style from one installment to the next.  The writing incorporated into “Zedd’s Monster Mash” (MMPR) and “It Came From Angel Grove” (Zeo) presents stories that are more kid (and family) friendly than those of “Raising Spirits” (Megaforce) and “Trickster Treat” (Super Samurai).  There is a lot more slapstick comedy and more relatable story elements in the episodes from those earlier installments than those from the later installments for lack of better wording.  For instance, “It Came From Angel Grove” utilized the commonly used dream sequence story element for its base.  From there, it proceeds to pay homage to the classic black and white horror movies of Hollywood’s golden era.  And it does so in a way that will entertain audiences of all ages.  “Zedd’s Monster Mash” on the other hand actually sends Tommy (in his White Ranger days) into a spirit world of sorts to battle a couple of previously perished bad guys by himself.  On a totally separate note, “Raising Spirits” (Megaforce) is a clip show at its roots.  Given the whole episode is not a clip show.  And that is actually a good thing considering that it would have been so easy for Megaforce’s writers to take that lazier road.  It shows that the writers in question didn’t want to do that but rather incorporate the element in question into the whole of what is overall an original episode.  “Trickster Treat” is its own original piece.  It could be argued that this episode pays homage to Wes Craven’s original Nightmare on Elm Street as the episode’s main villain gets into the Rangers’ dreams and causes them plenty of trouble.  Now how it managed to do so isn’t exactly explained away.  But that can be excused considering the episode’s execution.  Now in examining each of the presented stories, viewers will see the clear difference in each episode’s writing style.  The episodes presented in the latter series are less lighthearted overall than those of the Power Rangers’ earlier days.  Is that a bad thing?  No.  Not at all.  It is just interesting to note.  It is a welcome juxtaposition of writing styles as a matter of fact.  And with any luck fans will see even more of that variety in future Halloween-themed Power Rangers DVDs, going back to that core reason for the DVD’s enjoyment among fans.  Both reasons together make a solid argument in favor of adding this DVD to fans’ home collections.  And even together they are only part of what makes the DVD worth fans’ purchase.  The work of each installment’s cast rounds out the presentation’s positives

Both the episodes selected for Trickster Treat’s body and the writing of each episode therein are of equal importance to the whole of this new DVD.  The work of the episodes’ cast members rounds out the reasons that the collection proves to be a welcome addition for any Power Rangers fan.  While the franchise’s writing style has changed over the course of its two decade-plus run, one thing that has changed far less is the ability of its cast within each installment.  Jason David Frank is hilarious as a vampire in “It Came From Angel Grove.”  Watching him, it’s obvious that he had great fun going back to Hollywood’s golden era.  The same can be said of fellow cast mate Johnny Yong Bosch, who was the star of the episode.  The duo’s acting is so carefree throughout.  It is as if the episode’s director just gave them (and the rest of the cast) a certain free reign as they went through the episode.  By comparison, the cast of Super Samurai is just as entertaining as it weaves its way out of its dream-induced conflict.  Early on, there is a certain camp element as the Rangers’ outfits are decked out in Halloween costumes and the Rangers have to act out of sorts from the norm since they are in a dream. It could even be argued that there’s a hint of classic Japanese cinema in the cast’s acting here. And of course who could forget Paul Schrier and Jason Narvy (a.k.a. Bulk and Skull) in “Zedd’s Monster Mash.” Schrier and Narvy’s physical comedy and timing is impeccable. The duo’s Laurel and Hardy style comic acting played such a big role in the enjoyment of MMPR. That is just as evident here as Bulk accidentally eats a handful of red hots at one point and Skull breaks a handful of plastic knives trying to use them to carve a pumpkin. The pair’s reaction in each situation is timeless and will leave viewers of all ages laughing just as much today as in the episode’s original broadcast. It’s just one more example of why the work of each cast is just as important to the whole of Trickster Treat as the featured episodes and their writing. All three elements combined make Power Rangers: Trickster Treat another enjoyable new Halloween-themed compilation for fans. They collectively make the DVD so enjoyable that it will leave fans hopeful that there will be many more collections to come presenting even more incarnations of the power Rangers.

Power Rangers: Trickster Treat is only the second new Halloween-themed collection of Power Rangers episodes to be released in the franchise’s now two decade plus run on American television. Considering that, it has its share of positives. That is especially in comparison to the first collection released only a few years ago. The episodes present a good portion of the Power Rangers’ legacy even with just the set’s four episodes. The writing across all four episodes shows just how much has changed over the years but still done right. The work of each series’ cast is just as enjoyable to watch. All three elements together make this four-episode collection a good addition to any true Power Rangers fan’s collection and gives hope to those same fans for more releases in the future from the franchise’s other series. Power Rangers: Trickster Treat is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered online direct from Lionsgate’s online store now at http://www.lionsgateshop.com/product.asp?Id=32338&TitleParentId=10246. More information on this and other titles from Lionsgate is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.lionsgate.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LionsgateTV

 

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Saban, Shout! Factory’s New Standalone Power Rangers Series Is A Must Have For Any Power Rangers Fan

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Saban/Saban Brands

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Saban/Saban Brands

Next Tuesday, Shout! Factory will continue its ongoing series of Power Rangers installments when it releases Power Rangers LightSpeed Rescue: The Complete Series. Its release next Tuesday marks the first time that it has seen the light of day as its own standalone series/season set. Previously, it was released as part of the Power Rangers Seasons 8 – 12 mega-set in November of 2013. That set also included Power Rangers Time Force: The Complete Series, Power Rangers Wild Force: The Complete Series, Power Rangers Ninja Storm: The Complete Series, and Power Rangers Dino Thunder: The Complete Series. The total price of the five-season set averaged well over one hundred dollars. For many that price made the box more of a wish list item than a reality. By comparison, the average price for Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue: The Complete Series is only about fifteen dollars depending on the outlet. That and its more widespread availability together form the central reason that this new standalone series/season set will be of great interest to any Power Rangers fan. It’s just one small part of the whole that makes it worth the addition to any fan’s collection. The writing that went into PRLSR (as it will be called from here on out) plays its own part in this series/season set. Being a forty-episode run, the writers don’t waste any time moving the story along even from the show’s outset. Last but hardly least of note that makes this set enjoyable for fans is the work of the show’s cast. Keith Robinson’s take on Green Ranger Joel Rawlings while Sean Cw Johnson’s take on the Red Ranger Carter Grayson is just as solid on the opposite end of the spectrum. They aren’t the only cast members worth noting either. Whether for this reason, the set’s availability, or for the work of the series’ writers, Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue: The Complete Series (a.k.a. Season 8), proves in the end to be yet another welcome addition to any Power Rangers fan’s collection.

Shout! Factory and Saban’s upcoming Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue: The Complete Series is a great boon for any true Power Rangers fan. While it is not the first time that the series/season set has seen the light of day, it is the first time ever that the five-disc set has seen the light of day in its own standalone series/season set separate from the previously released Power Rangers Seasons 8 – 12 mega-set. That is the central reason that fans will want to add this latest set to their collections. Power Rangers Seasons 8 – 12 was not readily available to fans in stores. Nor was it cheap. It forced those that really wanted this season set to also go ahead and purchase the complete five-season set and do so online more often than not. It ran a little more than one hundred dollars. This set is much more affordable by comparison at roughly fifteen dollars. What’s more, odds are far greater of finding it in stores than the larger five-season set. That makes this standalone set just as valuable for fans as the larger collection regardless of their level of dedication to the show and in turn serves as a solid base for the rest of the reasons that audiences will appreciate this brand new box set.

The fact that Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue: The Complete Series will likely be more readily available for Power Rangers fans is a most important reason for fans to pick up this collection. It serves as a solid base for the set’s other positives including the work of the series’/season’s writers. The work of those behind this series/season’s scripts is definitely well worth the note. Being that this season ran only forty episodes in total, the writers didn’t waste any time establishing its story line or assembling the season’s team of rangers. The execution of the team’s assembly lasted the entirety of the very first episode. And even after the team was established, the writers didn’t waste any time through the course of the series’ episodes dealing with any extra story elements unlike with the previous installments of the Power Rangers. Rather, they hit the ground running so to speak. Background elements such as Joel’s infatuation with Ms. Fairweather (Monica Louwerens) and Captain Mitchell’s relationship with his long-lost son Ryan (Rhett Fisher) in the multi-episode Titanium Ranger story arc were limited in their approaches. Joel’s infatuation with Ms. Fairweather was made more of a comic element than anything serious, though there were some rare instances when the pair got to show a little bit of dramatic flair. That will be noted later. And while the Titanium Ranger story arc was itself a key moment in the series/season, its more dramatic elements were controlled so as to not let them get out of control. This allowed for the story of Ryan’s return (and turn) to the good side to more easily progress and be more believable. Interestingly enough, true hardcore fans won’t be able to ignore this story arc’s blatant similarity to that of the original Green Ranger story arc from Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. That aside, audiences will take note in regards to the series/season’s writing that this installment marks the first time ever that the Power Rangers went from being just a force for good, powered by fantastical powers to a more semi-militaristic organization (albeit a secretive one). It wouldn’t be the last time that the Rangers took such a form as they also appeared in that capacity both in Power Rangers Time Force and Power Rangers S.P.D. So to say that this series/season set the bar for later installments is the least. It really was a groundbreaking approach for Saban’s long-running hit franchise. That being the case, it rounds out the ways in which the series’/season’s writing proves to be key to its success. It still is not the last reason that fans will appreciate this latest installment of the Power Rangers ongoing saga. The work of the case is just as much to thank for this edition’s success and enjoyment.

The writing behind Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue was groundbreaking for the Power Rangers franchise at the time of its debut. That is because up until that point, the Rangers had been like so many other super-powered organizations. They were powered by fantastical, other-worldly sources. That was hardly the case in this installment. Rather here, they were created by a semi-militaristic source. That is actually just as believable as the source of the previous Power Rangers’ powers if not more so. It’s just one element of the series’/season’s writing so important. Even with the other elements previously noted, the writing in whole is only one more part–together with the set’s availability–of the set that makes it a must have for any true Power Rangers fan. The work of the show’s cast is just as important as its other noted elements. It has already been noted that in the case of Green Ranger Joel Rawlings (Keith Robinson–Dreamgirls, Dear John, This Christmas), Robinson’s portrayal of Joel is one example of what makes the cast’s work so entertaining. Robinson’s take on Joel makes Joel a fan favorite thanks to his comic timing and his surprising innocence. What makes this mix so impressive is the fact that Robinson balances it so well. He never lets that more emotional side overpower his comic side. Rather he lets it show just enough and at just the right moments to make Joel one of the true stars of the show. At the other end of the spectrum is Sean Cw Johnson as Carter Grayson (a.k.a. the Red Lightspeed Ranger). Johnson is given plenty of opportunities throughout this series/season to overplay his character’s All-American guy sort of character. Luckily, he didn’t do that. Rather, he embraced the role and made Carter into a persona that is the very definition of a leader. There is a certain humility about Carter throughout his time as the Red Ranger. It is a humility that interestingly enough even today’s young viewers might find themselves aspiring to emulate just as much as the young people of Mariner Bay. It makes Carter that much more of a believable character; perhaps even one of the single-most believable in the long-running history of the Power Rangers. Johnson’s is one more example of how the work of the Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue cast makes this season/series so enjoyable for any true Power Rangers fan. Any of the series’ other cast members could be used just as easily to exhibit the importance of the cast’s work. That would take some time to do, though. So considering this and the already provided examples, it is safe to say that the work of the series’/season’s cast is just as important as that of its writers and the general availability of this brand new box set in its overall success and enjoyment. All three elements combined together prove it to be a must-have for any hardcore Power Rangers fan.

Whether for its general availability verses that of the previously released Power Rangers Seasons 8 – 12 box set, the writing incorporated into this series/season, or for the work of the show’s cast, there is plenty to like about Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue: The Complete Series. It will be available next Tuesday, August 11th in stores and online and can be ordered online direct from Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/kids/kids-action-adventure/power-rangers-lightspeed-rescue-the-complete-series. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory and Saban is available online now at:

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

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Shout! Factory Goes Lightspeed Next Month With Its Latest Power Rangers Release

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Saban/Saban Brands

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Saban/Saban Brands

Shout! Factory continues its ongoing series of classic Power Rangers series next month when it releases Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue.

Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue will be available on Tuesday, August 11th in its entire forty-episode run. It will be available in stores and online and will retail for MSRP of $19.97. The second “post-Zordon-era” installment of Saban’s hit franchise, it is also one of the most standout installments of the franchise. That is because it is the first of the Power Rangers series to establish the Rangers’ powers through a terrestrial means rather than that of aliens from other worlds or mystical beings. In the case of this series this Power Rangers team is a semi-militaristic organization established to protect the colony of Mariner Bay. Even the team’s members are more relatable to audiences than before as each team member comes from a normal walk of life—a paramedic, a firefighter, a pilot, an extreme sports athlete and enthusiast, and a martial arts master. And instead of fighting aliens from other worlds, the Rangers in this case fight the evil Queen Bansheera, who is a demon, and her evil minions.

Over the course of Power Rangers Lightspeed’s forty-episodes, audiences see the return of the villainous Trakeena, from Power Rangers Lost Galaxy in the two-part episode “Trakeena’s Revenge.” This episode sees the Lightspeed and Lost Galaxy rangers having to team up when Trakeena returns to Earth with the aim of destroying it. Olympius and his evil forces cause their share of problems for Trakeena interestingly enough, proving that even among villains there is no honor.

In another of the series’ more notable moments, Carter is caught in a loop that sees him repeating the same day over and over again in “Yesterday Again.” With each repetition, Carter gains new knowledge in his fight to save the Rangers from being destroyed by Olympius.

“The Omega Project” is one more key moment from Lightspeed Rescue. This episode is one of the series’ rare moments in which the Rangers are taken out of Mariner Bay in order to save it. This episode sees the Rangers having to stop an asteroid pulled toward Earth by Olympius. It means having to initiate the “Omega Project,” which introduces the Omega Crawler and Omega Megazord. Both are formed through the use of the new Omega Zords.

The episodes noted here are just a few examples of what fans can anticipate from the upcoming release of Power Rangers Lightspeed. The series will be available in whole on DVD on Tuesday, August 11th. It will be available in stores and online and can be pre-ordered online now at a discounted price of $16.97 via Shout! Factory’s online store at https://shoutfactory.com/kids/kids-action-adventure/power-rangers-lightspeed-rescue-the-complete-series. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

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 reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.