In honor of the premiere of Power Rangers Dino Charge, we rank ALL of the other Power Rangers season!
Power Rangers is a legacy, one of the few shows to run almost non-stop since it's inception in 1993. Throughout those now 21+ years, the series has had its ups, its downs, and its mehs. I've been watching since the ripe age of 2 and loved the series even through its more questionable years.
However, sometimes nostalgia and memory play tricks on us, so this past year I completed a rewatch of the series, courtesy of Shout! Factory's Legacy Helmet set. In that rewatch I realized some series were better than I remember, some worse, and some still didn't make much of an impression. So I decided to rank all of the series from worst to best with a little explanation of why.
Quick note: I'm not including the "MMPR Reversioning" as a season. It's just a few Photoshop effects over a smattering of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Season 1 episodes, nothing to write home about. I'm also rolling the Alien Rangers episodes into Season 3. So keeping in mind this is just my opinion, let's get started, shall we?
21. Operation Overdrive
What went wrong? Well... Mostly everything. All of the characters were unlikeable, the very premise of treasure hunting was hugely hampered by the lack of budget, the acting was subpar, the team up was lackluster, and the icing on the crap cake? The theme song was one of the worst we've ever had.
While the big reveal towards the end of the series was interesting, it was totally undercut by being spoiled in the most hand-fisted way possible several episodes previous. It's strange, because everyone working on the show had turned out good material before. They just totally missed the mark here.
If Operation Overdrive's biggest crime is being flat out bad? Megaforce's crime is being just... boring. Nothing happens. The show feels like killing time with endless fights and little to no characterization for our main team. We're lucky to get more than two minutes with our Rangers out of suit and even less for the supporting cast.
The only saving grace of the season is the funky fresh, poppin and lockin Robo Knight who ultimately steals the entire show at the expense of everyone else. Trying to be just like Mighty Morphin Power Rangers without actually doing all of the things that made MMPR successful seriously hampered the show.
You know, if you watch Samurai and pretend it's an awful 4Kids dub of an anime? It's amazing. But it isn't, so we have to treat it as it is. Which is... awkward.
Everything in the show is nearly directly translated from its Japanese source material with little MMPR touches sprinkled throughout that make no sense. The acting is wooden all around, although with the dialogue given it's hard not to be. "Now what about what I throw at you?!?" Ugh.
At least we have Antonio's debut episode, which features quite possibly one of the most (unintentional?) homoerotic moments in Power Rangers history. After not seeing Jayden for years, Antonio decrees, "Believe it baby, I'm back. And I'm ready for some action."
18. Super Samurai
Pretty much copy and paste what I said above, with slight improvements all around and the best episode of both seasons in, "The Strange Case of the Munchies." Wherein the actors are finally allowed to act, Bulk and Spike get real interaction with the team, and we get the immortal Mentor line, "This is crazy!" We also have Lauren, a rare female Red Ranger in the series who acts rings around the rest of the team and is just the best on in every way.
[related article: Themes of Power Rangers - Feminism]
17. Super Megaforce
When Super Megaforce is good? It's amazing. When it's bad? It just makes you go, "Why?!" It's the oddest string of choices I've ever seen in a Power Rangers season, with arbitrary footage usage, questionable continuity nods, and a finale that should be spectacular but ends up falling flat.
The bright spot of the season is our sixth ranger, Orion. His debut episode is surprisingly solid and he gets to have some real character, unlike the others. With a tragic back-story along with some wacky misunderstandings of Earth, he always brings a smile to my face. But seriously, that RPM "tribute" was awful.
16. Mystic Force
I hope you like the Red Ranger. No really, I REALLY hope you like the Red Ranger, because Nick takes up almost all of the focus of Mystic Force and leaves next to nothing for the rest. Even episodes about other characters somehow became about Nick and his stupid blanket of angst. Which is sad, because there are things to like about the other Rangers and the supporting cast (all the love for Toby, no love for Daggeron.)
[related article: Ranking the Red Rangers]
While the season starts off okay, it descends into nonsense by the end with a badly rushed final arc and the worst finale in Power Rangers history.
If I was judging the premiere alone? SPD is one of the best. But the whole season fails to deliver. After the first ten or so episodes, the series loses all of its forward momentum and instead runs in place with characters learning the same lessons over and just being dicks to each other.
Some of this can be put aside when you look at the amount of love invested in the series by Greg Aronowtiz and its stellar cast. Seriously, the creature make up is something to behold. But everything to do with the Omega Ranger? Keep that away. I don't care about the production reasons; a ball of light is no Ranger.
14. MMPR Season 2
The start of the season features, "Missing Green" which is one of the few early MMPR episodes to really dive deep into a characters psychology and play with continuity.
But the moment the series loses Jason, Zack, and Trini? It spirals into absurdity. Having to write three Rangers out and bring three new ones in is handled as best they could, but it doesn't make for good television. "The Ninja Encounter" is a mess and while the season is able to recover by the end, that middle is just plain bad.
[related article: Themes of Power Rangers - Diversity and Tolerance]
13: Wild Force
Wild Force is a season that while mostly terrible, is bolstered by a few amazing elements. Those being, of course, its two team ups, but more importantly? The villains. Master Org, Jindrax, and Toxica. The latter two's relationship is what really helps keep this season together, having worked together for thousands of years.
The Rangers? I mean, I have a lot of love for Danny and Max's first focus episode, but on a whole? The Rangers never left much of an impression and the plots didn't do anything to help that.
[related article: The Power Rangers Seasons You Never Saw]
12. Jungle Fury
I remember a time when I couldn't stand this season. But on rewatch? It's surprisingly okay! Sure it has a few bad elements (some of the acting leaves a little to be desired).
But on the good end? I could talk about the American exclusive Spirit Rangers or the hilarious way the Rangers shout all of their fight dialogue, but let's be real. The man, the myth, the pizza slinger himself, RJ, dominates the season. Whether it's his unconventional wisdom, "Tomorrow, today will be... yesterday. I always love to leave my opponents with a confusing thought," his little hand jives, or the relationship with his father. David de Lautour brings his A game to the role and creates one of the most memorable Rangers ever.
11. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers season 1
You can't get more classic than Mighty Morphin Power Rangers season 1. There's a certain charm in the simplicity of what was basically Saved By The Bell with superheroes. Sure you had the, "Green With Evil" mini-series that sticks in people's minds, but you also had comedy masterpieces like, "An Oyster Stew."
[related article: Interview with Red Ranger Steve Cardenas]
The season was able to leap from the drama of a giant gold monkey about to kill some bullies on a bus (that counts for drama here) to a giant pig monster eating everything at a food festival. When you think about that? Season 1 is kind of beautiful. Not to say it's all-perfect, some episodes like, "The Yolk's On You" are forgettable, but it's a fun ride regardless. Just don't let your nostalgia cloud the fact that the season isn't perfect.
10. Lost Galaxy
This is one of those seasons that fans remember being far better than it actually is. It has strong points to be sure: the premiere, the Lost Galaxy arc, anything and everything to do with the Magna Defender. Karone also got to shine when she came back.
But then you've got flat out stupid plots that make no sense. Why would they think mystical powers thousands of years old are stuck in sunflower statues around the space colony that was only made a few years ago? However, the season is bookended with one of the best premieres and the best finale in Power Rangers history.
9. Lightspeed Rescue
This is the definition of an "average" season. It has solid characters, solid plots, and some damn good villains (we just won't talk about Vypra.) I know it's cliché to mention, but the standout element of the season is the first American original Ranger. The Titanium Ranger, played by Rhett Fisher, is featured in a storyline that, while far too brief, culminates in him fighting the manifestation of a snake tattoo that was about to kill him.
Oh Power Rangers, I can never hate you when I get to write sentences like that.
[related article: 52 Power Rangers That Will Make You a Fan]
8. Time Force
You know, with a few tweaks this season would have been perfect as one of those other syndicated TV shows that were all over the place in the late '90s. It's got all the silly elements (pretty much anything to do with them being Rangers) but it also has some damn fine storytelling. Wes dealing with his own destiny and Eric's anger directed squarely at Wes for not appreciating everything handed to him.
The Sci-Fi elements are strong, with the main villain being a product of genetic engineering, and time travel being the driving force of the season. It's just a shame three of the Rangers never get enough focus.
7. Ninja Storm
I admit, I love me some wacky. If I wanted to watch my superheroes be dark and gritty? I wouldn't be watching superhero stories; I'd be watching Mad Men. So when a season like Ninja Storm comes along? I consider it a gift because it goes whole hog (hilarious because they fight a pig monster!) with the comedy.
We've got adrenaline sports junkies as our main cast and while they bring the laughs, they also are able to deal with the heartfelt moments with no problems, the best examples being the introduction of Cam as the Green Samurai Ranger or Dustin being tricked by Marah into believing she's good. The comedy of the series makes these moments stand out and elevate it far above where fans normally consider the season to rank.
Do you hear that? It's the sound of fans crying in the distance. Look, I get it. Turbo pretty much abandoned all of the world building Zeo did. It introduced Justin who gets way more flack then he really deserves. It even had a theme of race cars. While I agree it had a VERY rocky start, once Tommy and the gang leave and we are introduced to TJ and company the show takes a quantum leap forward in quality.
Turbo embraces the silly in ways even Ninja Storm never could. It features not only the greatest episode in PR history, "Trouble By The Slice" but... No actually, that's all I need. That episode says it all. The Rangers fight a pizza monster that turns their cars evil with... EVIL PIZZAS. If only the whole season was like the second half, this would be number one. No doubt. Plus, TJ is the greatest ranger of all time. No argument.
[related article: Themes of Power Rangers - Empowerment]
5. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers season 3
You've got to admire a season that just shatters the status quo left and right while also doing some solid world building. When people remember MMPR being amazing? This is what they should think of.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers season three starts off with one of the best multi parters in the series history, "A Friend in Need," setting up the Masked Rider spin off and opening up the PR universe to well... the universe. After that we have a ton of mini series that write out Kimberly, bring in Kat, give us a whole new fleet of zords, and even turn the Rangers into little kids.
The season never lets up with how much it changed the Power Rangers Universe and also introduces a whole new team of Rangers, the Alien Rangers from Aquitar, led by the ever so kickass Delphine. First female team leader in Power Rangers history? That instantly earns it a ton of points.
[related article: A Close Analysis of The 1995 Power Rangers Movie]
What do you do when your show is on the brink of cancellation? In RPM's case, you go all out. Set in a post apocalyptic world but still having a good sense of fun (it's not dark and gritty, I promise) RPM stands out for some of the best character work in the series history.
No more is this exemplified then in Doctor K, the team's mentor. From being locked up in a government think tank as a young child to dealing with the guilt of ending the world, as we know it, it's some tough stuff. This is balanced out by the wacky antics of Green Ranger, Ziggy and the pyrotechnic loving Gold and Silver Rangers, Gem and Gemma. At times the series felt like it was trying to shed its Power Rangers identity, but it ends on one of the most PR style endings you could ever have.
3. In Space
Remember when I said MMPR season 3 opened up the show's universe? Well In Space explored it, literally. Carrying over most of second half Turbo's cast, the show was able to hit the ground running with some real weight and gravitas. Oh yeah, and our new Red Ranger doesn't know how to eat a banana. It's the little touches.
We even get a team up with the Ninja Turtles! The show keeps building on itself with some impressive twists and turns and when the secret of Andros' sister is revealed? The show kicks it into high gear. The only real blemish on the season is the inane Psycho Ranger arc, which has some cool moments but is just killing time. On the whole though, In Space is a triumph for Power Rangers.
Dubbed Mighty Morphin Power Rangers season 4 by some fans, Zeo really is the culmination of the previous three. It still has wacky plots of the day but it really starts to evolve these characters we've spent so long with and does a ton of that genius world building. I mean how awesome is it that former villains Zedd and Rita are now driving around the universe in a camper? Only in Power Rangers.
Zeo also introduces the Gold Ranger, originally voiced to perfection by Brad Hawkins, eventually becoming original MMPR Red Ranger, Jason. Let's be real though, the episode where the Gold Ranger debuts is a work of art.
1. Dino Thunder
It's like if MMPR was actually as good as you remember it being! Dino Thunder takes the series back to high school after a number of years and gives us not only fantastic characters but real growth for them over the season. For example, Red Ranger Conner starts off as a sexist asshole but slowly learns to not only treat everyone with respect but also that being a dick to girls actually doesn't work. This isn't just beaten into us through the dialogue; it's subtly shown in episodes that don't even focus on Conner. That's the beauty of Dino Thunder; it's always doing something with both the main and side characters.
[related article: Sentai to Power Rangers - The Great Adaptations]
While the show does stumble in a few places (let us never forget Smitty) it's still the best Power Rangers has to offer. The villains, especially Mesogog, can be genuinely terrifying. The plots still have a lot of wacky. We even get an episode fully devoted to showing off the original Sentai! Dino Thunder is what all seasons should strive to be. I'm not saying they should be exactly like it, but the time and care put into it? The character work? The fun? This is what PR should be.
So what do you think fans? Do you agree with my list? Disagree? Well let me know in the comments how you would rank all of the seasons of Power Rangers. I know every fan has radically different views of the show so I would LOVE to hear what you think.