I’m a fan of “Power Rangers”, though not on the same level as Transformers, evidently. It had brightly coloured heroes who punched and kicked their problems into oblivion, and they were (ostensibly) around my age when they debuted.
Although there are now 24 (24!) seasons of Power Rangers (wait, how come they haven’t won an award for longest running something-something?), I still think Season 3 was the best. It’s possibly because the core season (before the Alien Rangers of Aquitar came to relieve them in the last 10 episodes) was only 31 episodes long (the first 2 episodes were a tie-in to “Masked Rider” so they don’t really count), which was about half the length of Season 1. At the same time, they had more storylines than Season 1 did.
I followed “Power Rangers” up till “Power Rangers Lost Galaxy”, and then sporadically after that. Mostly, I checked out the special episodes like “Forever Red” or if that season had a unique premise, like “Power Rangers SPD” where the Power Rangers were basically second stringers. That season also received quite a bit of flak for departing from the usual “Power Rangers” formula.
I still think that the third season of “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers”, which is also the third season overall of the whole series, is the best. Yes, it was cheesy, but here’s why it was awesome.
1. The status quo changed every few episodes
OK, it’s not like the entire premise of the show changed (oh wait I forgot about the Alien Rangers) or they had a major cast overhaul regularly. But every few episodes, there’d be a tweak to the status quo. There was Kimberly’s departure and the introduction of Katherine. The Rangers’ Zords were stolen, and although they got new ones, it took a few episodes for them to retrieve their old Zords. It seemed like the Power Rangers were in genuine danger during the series thanks to the changes. And because they were in genuine danger (for once), it actually added tension to the show.
2. Mid-season upgrade
The Power Rangers went from Ninjazords to Shogunzords halfway through the season. Although the Shogunzords were presented as a substitute to the Ninjazords of sorts, it was pretty obvious that they were upgrades. The Shogun Megazord had a giant flaming sword compared to the Ninja Megazord’s fists! Ironically, they were introduced in reverse order in the Super Sentai series they come from.
Also, they had this Metallic Armour upgrade late in the season. Although they only used it once or twice, it did feel like they levelled up. It’s rewarding and compelling to see your protagonists grow and evolve.
3. Better storytelling and foreshadowing
Yes, “Power Rangers” isn’t know for its great writing. But compared to Season 2, the storytelling in Season 3 was much better. The heroes searched for MacGuffins and lost them, and Kimberly’s departure was foreshadowed from the start of the season so when Katherine was introduced, we all knew she’d be the replacement Pink Ranger.
Compare that to Season 2, where the episodes all followed the exact same monster of the day template. Even the two-parters of Season 2, which I suppose were meant to be interesting, also had the same template.
Plus, they introduced the Zeo Crystal mid-season that laid the seeds for Season 4’s Power Rangers Zeo. I was pretty impressed that they wove it in so early. They were actually planning ahead!
4. We were used to Aisha, Adam, and Rocky by then
Okay, let’s be honest, Aisha, Adam, and Rocky are like the Sailor Jupiter and Sailor Venus of the Power Rangers. They’re bland and boring, and any attempts to characterise them failed. I think there was one episode where Billy had to go along with the three of them and he looked so miserable.
But we got used to them being there just to make up the numbers. The real story was about Tommy and Kimberly’s relationship, and Billy’s genius.
5. They replaced cast members more gracefully
I’ve said more than enough about this, but yes. They made a story arc out of it, and Kimberly left with no hard feelings. Instead of, you know, being replaced with silhouettes and weird-sounding voice actors.
Aisha’s departure was kind of weird, but it felt like it was the logical conclusion to her quest.
6. Better special effects
I remember my friend screaming at me “the episode description says we see the visual dismemberment of the Zords!” Visual dismemberment was quite a big thing back then, since you don’t really see dismemberment on children’s shows.
You have to give it to them, they really showed the Thunder Megazord’s limbs falling off. And the Tigerzord’s head fell off, showing you the wiring and circuitry inside. It was like, woah. They had money to do this. They’re serious about destroying their previous Zords (if you remember, the Thunderzords were upgrades of the Dinozords).
They also got different sets of costumes – a ninja costume for lighter fights, shiny Metallic Armour for… more fights? They also had two Megazords, and although this was really a function of the Super Sentai show that Season 3 took the footage from, it looked like it was all part of better special effects at the time.
7. Ninja themed
Finally, it was ninja-themed. We had that irritating, blustering Ninjor, but besides that, they were ninjas and Power Rangers. It was pretty cool. I mean, anything with ninjas is, right?
So here’s my take on the best season of “Power Rangers”. I’d say that “Power Rangers in Space” and “Power Rangers SPD” come in close though.
What do you think?
Marcus Goh is a Singapore television scriptwriter, having written for Police & Thief, Incredible Tales, Crimewatch, and Point of Entry. He’s also a Transformers enthusiast and avid pop culture scholar. You can find him on social media as Optimarcus and on his site.
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