Cult TV Essentials

Cult TV Essentials: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers

On August 28th 1993 television changed forever. Little did we know that when Zordon spoke the words “Alpha, find me five teenagers with attitude” that the world as we knew it had ended. The Power Rangers had arrived! Now  twenty-five years later they still show no signs of going anywhere!

The initial show, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, ran for three seasons (145 episodes) and introduced the world to the town of Angel Grove, California, and its many inhabitants. In particular Jason (Austin St. John), Zack (Walter Jones), Billy (David Yost), Trini (Thuy Trang), and Kimberley (Amy Jo Johnson) – five teenagers who had the “attitude” Zordon required.

The show opens with two astronauts discovering an strange container that resembles a dumpster on the moon. Like anyone who finds a strange artefact they have no clue about the decide to open it. This unleashes the evil alien sorceress Rita Repulsa (Machiko Soga) from 10,000 years of confinement. Upon her release Rita decides to takeover Earth. This prompts Zordon, who was responsible for capturing Rita, to order his robotic assistant Alpha 5 to select five “teenagers with attitude” to defend the Earth from Rita’s attacks. These teenagers are given the ability to transform into the Power Rangers and are given gigantic machines called Zords, which can combine into a giant humanoid machine known as the Megazord.

As well as dealing with Rita, the Rangers also had to deal with school bullies Bulk (Paul Schrier)and Skull (Jason Narvy) and the day to day issues of being teenagers!

As the series progressed Rita came up with a new plan to defeat the Rangers. She would create her own Ranger by kidnapping and brainwashing (with magic) a young Angel Grove teenager who recently equalled Jason in a Martial arts competition – Tommy Oliver (Jason David Frank). Rita turns Tommy into the Green Ranger and presents him with the Sword of Darkness. The Green Ranger came closer than anyone to defeating the Rangers but failed. During that defeat Jason destroys the Sword of Darkness and frees Tommy from Rita’s control. Tommy then goes onto to join the Power Rangers (and become the most legendary Ranger in history).

Rita develops a grudge against tommy and focusing on attacking him and wants his powers back. Using a special wax that was touched by Tommy when he was evil, Rita uses a magic Green Candle to slowly remove his powers, returning them to her. In the end, Tommy loses his powers, but he prevents Rita from reclaiming them by transferring them to Jason who, feeling guilt for failing to protect Tommy’s powers, accepts them.

Later Tommy returns to the Power Rangers when the other Rangers’ Power Coins are handed over to Rita in exchange for their kidnapped parents. With Zordon’s help, Tommy regains his powers and successfully retrieves the other Rangers’ Power Coins. However, Tommy’s regained powers are only temporary and must be frequently re-charged by Zordon, who warns that the Green Ranger’s powers will ultimately fail. Despite this, Tommy remains determined to continue assisting the other Rangers as long as possible.

During Season 2, Jason, Trini, and Zack leave to join a youth conference in Switzerland, and are replaced by Rocky DeSantos (Steve Cardenas), Aisha Campbell (Karan Ashley), and Adam Park (Johnny Yong Bosch), respectively, and Rita returns and marries Lord Zedd. Then, following the final the loss of all the Green Ranger’s powers, Zordon and Alpha create, in secret, a new White Ranger to aid the other Rangers in battle. The White Ranger is later revealed to be Tommy, who also receives a new Zord, the Tigerzord, and becomes the new leader of the Power Rangers.

In Season 3, Rita’s brother Rito Revolto joins up with his sister to take out the Power Rangers. Rito destroys the Rangers’ Thunderzords and the Tigerzord. As a result, the Dinozords are also destroyed and the Power Coins are damaged beyond repair. Undaunted, the Power Rangers seek the aid of Ninjor, alleged creator of the Power Coins, who gives them new Ninja Coins, providing them with the even more powerful Ninjazords (which combine into the Ninja Megazord) and the Falconzord.

Also in Season 3, Angel Grove gains a new resident when Australian Kat Hillard (Catherine Sutherland) moves in and becomes good friends with Kimberly. As the plot unfolds it is revealed that Rita had captured Kat and put her under a powerful spell, giving her the ability to transform into a normal cat as well as a cat-like monster. Under this spell, she steals Kimberly’s Ninja Coin, vastly weakening and nearly killing her. Eventually, Kat overcomes Rita’s evil spell and returns Kimberly’s Ninja Coin to her.

Later, Kimberly gets a chance to pursue her personal athletic dreams so with Zordon’s approval leaves to train for the Pan Global Games. Kimberly selects Kat to replace her as the Pink Ranger. To start with Kat is unsure but becomes comfortable and capable of fulfilling her duty as a Ranger.

After many more battles Rita’s father, Master Vile turns up and reverses time, turning the Rangers into powerless children. These events culminate in the mini-series Mighty Morphin Alien Rangers.

 

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