Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Top 10 Best Season 1 Power Rangers Episodes

No more fussing about episodes I don't like this week. It's time to get into some of the real cream of the crop. The episodes you can show your kids, your nieces and nephews, your grandparents, and your racist neighbors to get them engaged in the cultural phenomenon that is Power Rangers.

I'll reiterate my rule from last week: Multi-part episodes are judged separately and not as a package deal. They vary so much in quality it would be a disservice to the individual episodes to group them together.

I'll be honest in saying this list was difficult to make. Every episode I've listed has changed positions at least once, but I think they're in the proper order now. Granted, if you asked me a year from now what my top 10 favorite episodes are in Season 1, I could change it around a bit.

Let me know your top 10 best Power Rangers episodes and we'll see how it compares with mine! In the meantime, let's get on with my jibber jabber. 

It may seem weird to put a clip show on the best of list, but allow me to back up my choice.

Unlike Crystal of Nightmares, this is a clip show that builds to its main premise. The Rangers are forced to confront bizarre unreal things that make them doubt the fact they can ever defeat Rita. We turn our rad 90's teenager stereotypes into human beings for a glorious moment. Instead of embarrassing themselves against some Putties while getting all spooked.

Not only that, but Island of Illusion Part 2 introduces the Megadragonzord, as well as giving us a much more satisfying use of the Ultrazord than Wheel of Misfortune provided. Compare that to the big climactic finish of Crystal of Nightmares. Some old footage of Scorpina and Goldar getting beat up. Yippee.

Unfortunately at the end of the day this is still a clip show. Although it's good that all six of the Ranger Teens go through their own trials, it becomes quite a drag when all the characters have to go through the same process until the episode is nearly over. It almost felt like seeing the same scene six times. When this episode is an excuse to show off old episodes, the last thing I want is to see something repetitive.

But ultimately, this is one of the better examples of a clip show I've ever seen. It has just enough to keep you invested in-between scenes of people regaling their old misadventures. Now THAT'S what I call a sticky situation!

Sometimes you don't care what happens when you tune into a show and just want some mindless action. That's what this episode is all about.

What's the sub-plot? Kids in a karate class beating the shit out of each other. What's the main plot? A big monster that trashes the Megazord while it keeps getting stronger. It's satisfying as all hell and gets your adrenaline going something fierce. So long as you're a kid and it's acceptable for a children's action show to get you pumped.

So why is the episode ranked so low? Well maybe I'm just a nitpicking whiner, but how many times do the Ranger Teens need to be told that the Hatchasaurus isn't going to die? You can't tell them right off the bat that the Cardiatron has to be defeated before Hatchasaurus is finished. Not if you're going to use the footage of the Rangers unceremoniously killing him repeatedly.

Also it feels odd how Tommy was banished to the Forbidden Zone literally one episode before this and there isn't one word said about him. He's immediately forgotten while Zack teaches some kid to stop stinkin' at karate.

So while the action is amazing, there's a bit of trouble making the rest of the pieces fit together. Still a great episode, just needed a little more oomph to stick the landing.

The introduction to Zyu2, and what an introduction it is.

The reasoning for Billy's fear of fish is comically done, but the exploration of his fears are a lot more interesting. Kimberly tries to coax him into being less afraid, Jason offers to take Billy swimming to show him there's nothing to be afraid of, but at the end of the day his friends are okay with him being afraid when he shows he isn't comfortable yet.

It's a respectful way to address a friend's phobia. Try and start slowly with them and move them out of their shell bit by bit. The resolution of Billy being brave and fighting the Goofish doesn't really pay that off, but it's Power Rangers. Every problem in this show can be solved in 20 minutes.

The battle scenes with Goofish are also really enjoyable. Goofish himself is a really sinister sounding monster, being played majestically by Robert Axelrod. His taunts to Billy about being the "weak link of his pathetic team" have some major brutality to them. His handful of fish throwing maneuver also never fails to put a smile on my face. Top it all off with him using his kickin' rad swordfish lance on the Megazord and you've got one hell of a nice fight going.

The unfortunate weak point of this episode is how tepid a lot of the Bulk and Skull material is. They catch onto their own pants with fishing hooks and fall into the water, they fish up a no fishing sign, then trip on a net. Even scenes in the first few episodes had better Bulk and Skull shenanigans, so why'd they have the B team write their pratfalls this week? It's nothing obscenely bad, just forgettable. So I can give it a pass.

What happens when noted best buds Tommy and Jason are turned into rivals by a shark-man? You get a damn fine episode that's what.

It's so rare on this show for the protagonists to experience any internal conflict. When we actually get some of that, even when it's caused by a magic spell, it resonates more than a bunch of teenagers being best pals all the damn time.

The moment in the Youth Center where Tommy and Jason are about to throw down in front of an audience is an excellent boiling point. We get some Wasserman rock while the two titans square off ready to kick each other's asses. We don't get that fight but the build-up is enough to satiate my inner conflict hunger.

This episode truly rocks. Other than the Power Blaster sequence being superimposed on Slippery Shark growing, I can't think of any questionable moments. Spot on effort all around.

In a show where the good guys always win and everything is all sunshine and smiles for them, nothing hits harder than an episode where they lose absolutely everything.

It's it a little cheap for the writers of the show to introduce the Ranger Teen's parents just to kidnap them, but I'll be goddamned if Goldar's ultimatum to the Rangers isn't powerful. Give me what makes you most special or I'll kill your parents. Then as soon as they make the decision he just laughs in their faces and disappears. It's ice cold and one of the best moments of the season.

For as much of an action fiend as I am, this episode manages to keep me engaged with next to no fighting. An incredibly brief and meaningless battle against the Dragonzord, and a Putty fight or two.

Otherwise it was all building to Goldar being a huge piece of shit and that's all I need in my life. I'm a simple man, what can I say?

An episode that tries desperately to shoehorn in two unrelated monsters, plenty of karate action, and a scene of Bulk sunbathing. Color me surprised they managed to pull all of that off so well.

It would be a lie if I didn't say I loved this episode for so long just because we got to see the Power Rangers fight two monsters in one episode. However now that I can look back with an adult's mindset, I can see what else worked really well. Like the scene of Bulk getting slathered in mayonnaise.

The episode seems like a Bulk focus and as such it has a lot of really funny material early on. Then when the plot switches to the karate commercial audition, the Ranger Teens battle some monsters while Bulk humiliates himself by flinging papers around. It's fascinating to observe a man who epitomizes a complete lack of dignity while at the same time appearing confident in himself. He's a living duality.

Oh yeah and Tommy is in a commercial, but who gives a shit about him?

One last thing! I have to correct a mistake I made. When I mentioned those stupid Thunder Slinger weapon that never showed up again, I said they were only used three times in Zyuranger. Once in the episode we got as Gung Ho, once in an episode that became Island of Illusion, and once in the fight against Madame Woe. I forgot that in the Sentai scene of the Rangers escaping Weaveworm's cocoon they were using the Thunder Slingers.

There we go, now I can finally sleep at night.

Oh yeah, my main man Frankie. How could I keep him off the top 10?

Call me shallow, but all I need is the Rangers getting their asses fucking BEAT. Sometimes you just need to see an absolute unrepentant whooping. Is that so wrong?

The civilian plot involving the Ranger Teens going to a costume party at the Youth Center works well enough with me. I used to just be sitting on my thumbs waiting for the Frankenstein monster to start beating some ass. As it stands now I still don't love these scenes, but seeing Bulk and Skull roughed up by a growling mongoloid monster is still worth the price of admission.

All I really need to say is that this episode was ranked lower before, but every single time I looked at that gif of Frankie using his pecs to deflect the Power Sword I realized how much better it was than I remembered. If that's wrong then I'll live my life as an outlaw.

Green With Evil is beloved by many fans for a lot of reasons, so what makes Part 4 the best in my eyes? Aside from it not being Part 3, it had one of the best reveals in all of Power Rangers. The Giant Green Ranger.

Nothing is more satisfying then the Rangers about to escape a lethal battle with Goldar and Scorpina only to be met with a giant sized Ranger. Something you as an audience member didn't even know was possible. Then the three villains all serve the Megazord a devastating defeat. It's utterly glorious in every way.

The rest of the episode? Pretty good. Giant Scorpina shows up, Bulk and Skull are trapped on a bus and Skull expresses his desire to pork Bulk's mom, and the Megazord falls into a volcano. The only down spot is how long it takes the Power Rangers to just get into the goddamned Megazord to fight Goldar. Still worth checking out for sure though.

Nothing quite like a mirror match episode. Especially one that pulls the concept off as good as this.

This really could have easily taken the number one spot, but that lame moment of Zordon "improving" the Power Weapons by giving them identical copies stuck in my craw just enough to kick this one down a peg.

Don't think that means this episode isn't incredible, because it totally is. Incredible action, addressing a character's flaws without miraculously solving them, and a fun dopey little scene with Bulk and Skull to wrap everything up.

This is some of the best Zyu2 we've seen so far, and it has so many cool little flourishes to it that I can't help but be charmed every time I watch it. I don't think there's a more accurate word to describe this word than "satisfying." It may sound like a backhanded compliment, but I mean it honestly.

Just about every scene in this episode leaves you more than fulfilled. It gives you more than what you wanted and provides you with a really satisfying feeling. It's exactly the sort of thing that you want out of Power Rangers. Though there's one episode I liked just a little bit more than this one.

The potential finale for Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. I'm thankful that this wasn't the last set of episodes we got but it sure would have been a good note to go out on.

Seriously, this episode is so much fun I barely know where to start. The Rangers go head to head against Cyclopsis and are trashed so thoroughly in a way that feels so much more dangerous than any threat they've encountered before. Everyone in town is whisked off to another dimension where they could all be murdered if this wasn't a show for babies. The Ranger Teens have to figure out a way to defeat their most deadly adversary yet and save their city.

I use the word "stakes" a lot in my reviews; mostly because it's what separates a good episode of Power Rangers from a mediocre one to me. This episode exemplifies what I want out of Power Rangers. You can throw a monster at me and tell me how terrifying it is, but you're doing the same thing to me every week. If you can't diversify the danger one of Rita's threat presents then it's going to become pretty clear how formulaic this show really is.

So when you up the ante by kidnapping every person that the Ranger Teens know and love, you can consider me engaged.

Part 1 of Doomsday feels like a much tighter package than Part 2. I explained why previously, but really it's just hard to top how utterly fucked the Rangers seem at the end of Part 1. Lokar is back, Titanus is gone, and Cyclopsis has just been reformed after seemingly being destroyed. It's one of the lowest points we ever see the Rangers at and there's really little chance that Part 2 can pay that off as well as Part 1 sets it up. Not that Part 2 is a bad episode, just not quite as good as this one is in my book.

Of course the cherry on top is Zordon's summoning of Titanus. What an excellent moment. Just further proves what a solid time this episode is. Can't recommend this one highly enough.

So that's all 10! Lemme know what you think and what your top 10 would consist of. I'm curious if anybody else out there has the same list as me. Thanks again for staying tuned, and keep paying attention. I've got other stuff planned until we start up with Season 2 soon. Take it easy pals.


  1. Really glad you did a top ten best list! And thanks for providing my favorite lunch break reading material, it's the highlight of my Tuesday shifts lol.

    My top ten looks a little different. I understand why you don't include multi-part episodes as one, but most of those are my favorites so it was harder for me to break them up. So here's my top ten:
    10- Island of Illusion- We get to see some character development, Mutitas is fun, and we get the one and only time all 6 rangers are in the cockpit of the Megazord/Ultrazord.

    9- Happy Birthday Zack- fun,nice to see Zack in the spotlight, one of the better early episodes.

    8- No Clowning Around- I don't know why, but I love this one. So different than all the other episodes. Awesome putty fight

    7- Lions and Blizzards- because.

    6- Birds of a Feather- Jason. Dragon shield.

    5.Doomsday- Megazord loses an arm. Stakes.

    4. The Green Candle- aka the episodes that really put me through the emotional ringer as a 5 -6yr old. Why didn't Zack grab the candle while Jason distracted Goldar?!?! WHY?.. O yea, Sentai footage.

    3. Return of an Old Friend- Stakes, drama, new Zord intros, kick ass new song, and green is back.

    2. Mighty Morphin Mutants- you said it best.

    1. Green With Evil- the Green Ranger broth the best out in the writers. Yes, part three is just filler. But as a whole this mini series is fantastic. Not only does it establishe this new ranger with an awesome costume and Godzilla as his zord, it also gives us the best character development for Jason, and establishes why he is the leader and a true bad ass. The other 4 rangers can't fight green without having to call the Megazord, but Jason takes him and Goldar un-morphed. He's the only one not willing to give up, and ultimately defeats their hardest enemy, and then brings him on their side.

  2. I've always liked the Teamwork, Green With Evil, The Spit Flower, Doomsday, Dark Warrior, The Green Candle, Life's a Masquerade and Mighty Morphin Mutant episodes as the ones that stand out in my mind.

  3. Hey, content I missed the first time around!

    First of all, I am shocked that the Lizzinator episode did not make your list.

    While I'm not sure what my definitive Top 10 would be, I would have to include these (in addition to some on your list already)

    Gung Ho is in my Top 10 simply because how cool is it when Tommy transfer the Dragon Shield to Jason (even if the "You're better with a sword than me" comment always bugged me because Jason won the sword fight with Tommy in Green With Evil). While I questioned why Tommy didn't call in the Dragon Zord to battle Titanus (I don't think it was explained why no zords), it was okay because it was pretty damn cool watching him take him on.

    The Green Candle Part 2 has an unmorphed Jason vs Goldar fight without Jason rolling around for 30 minutes in the fog, which is enough to put it in my Top 10. Yes, it makes no sense the other Rangers didn't go in with Jason (the Rangers, despite there being 6 of them, are not very good at splitting up to accomplish their goals), but the stakes always seem higher, and Goldar more dangerous, when a Ranger (usually Jason or Tommy) takes him on unmorphed.

    1. Color me as shocked as you are! I think my list was feeling a bit too Zyu2-heavy, and I got worried I was showing bias in my selection. If I were to redo this list, Lizzinator would probably outrank Island of Illusion.

      And that's a great point about Goldar. He's so rarely treated as a threat (especially in Season 2) that you forget he used to really be a dangerous son of a bitch. Until he turned into something for Zedd to put his fist inside.