For those who aren't aware, Power Rangers is a television series that started in 1993 with "Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers". It's an adaptation of the Japanese "Super Sentai" series, and primarily utilizes action footage from that series as a cost-saving measure. Every year it's a new team with a new set of suits and a new enemy to face. Every few years it faces cancellation, but between a devoted fanbase and a significant financial return, it's never gone for long. We're now at the 20th anniversary of the franchise, and production company Saban has gone to length to commemorate the series' legacy with Power Rangers Megaforce.
So, what do I think of the premiere episode, "Mega Mission"? Oh man...
|Guys, I think in this case, it's okay to skip straight to Megazord time.|
|"Wrong, wrong, wrong!" God, someone wedgie this kid...|
We're then introduced to our new villains. They're giant bugs from outer space. "Humans are weak", "this planet will be ours", you know the drill. Sadly they're more of the same rubber-suited monsters with no noticeable depth or character beyond being evil conquerors. It's not hard to come up with villains with interesting motivations and complex personalities. See: Astronema (In Space), Ransik (Time Force), Mesogog (Dino Thunder). They may be evil, but they have personal history and interesting goals. If we don't care about the villains, it's not as significant when the Rangers finally defeat them.
The theme music kicks in and--hey, that's a pretty cool new music sting! Let's see if it can keep that energy throughout... wait a second, you're just copying the theme from the last series, Samurai! You honestly couldn't come up with a new theme? It's even worse because the Samurai theme is itself a cover of the original Mighty Morphin' theme. I accepted it for Samurai because it was Saban's first series after re-acquiring the franchise from Disney, but now it's just lazy. Saban, just go back to Ron Wasserman and beg him to start writing your music again. He's beloved by the fans and he's responsible for all your best music. Don't pull a Star Trek and fire your best composer when he's the one bringing in the fans. Tell him you're sorry, you didn't mean the things you said, and you want to make this marriage work. Flowers and chocolates might help.
A swooping landscape shot of the beach (hello, New Zealand!) leads us to the Ranger headquarters and home of the ancient being Gosei, and his robot assistant Tensou. Tensou looks like the love child of the Mars Rover and Wall-E, and Gosei...well...he's a giant Tiki head on the wall.
|"I've gathered you here to save the world from-- Why are you laughing?"|
We learn a little more about our Rangers here. Jake, our Black Ranger, is a friend of Noah's and fancies himself a bit of a ladies' man, in pursuit of "the hottest girl in school" Gia, our Yellow Ranger, who we earlier saw exhibit fast reflexes in catching a falling book and now we see her dutifully studying. Just as Jake finishes paying for some ice cream (with a $20 that Ernie insists on counterfeit checking...), the three are magically teleported away. Troy is seen practicing his martial arts kata on an empty rooftop, and is about to jump kick his water bottle right off the roof when he's transported.
|F**k yeah, littering!|
|Army of robots killing millions? Eh, let the little girl handle it, I'm napping.|
|And in the vacuum of space. Yes, really.|
Sometimes the card doesn't swipe, so you have to wrap it in paper or plastic.
|Available in booster packs at your local Toys R Us, kids!|
"Mega Mission" is a very straightforward introductory episode of the series. We get to know a little about each of the Rangers, a basic rundown of the plot, and by the end we have an established status-quo to default to at the end of every episode. Where it suffers is a lack of originality. There's homage, and then there's copying. Entire scenes and even the entire plot structure are lifted straight out of "Day of the Dumpster", the Pilot episode of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers. The theme song is an adaptation of the original theme, and the characters themselves are imitations of the classic Rangers. I'm willing to cut some slack and hope that they can develop into interesting characters over the course of the next few episodes, but so far all I want is for Noah to get smacked for being such a whiny nerd and for Troy to wake up and pretend to give a crap.
|"Let's save the world...I guess...ZZZZZZZZ..."|
I'm not in the target demographic for this show, I'm fully aware. Looking at it objectively, I think new viewers in the right age range will love this show for the same reasons we did when we were that age. I just wish it wasn't so similar to DotD that you could run the two side by side and have it look like a mirror image (except one's in widescreen HD). Like I said, I'm almost 25, so I don't expect the show to cater to my expectations. All the elements that make this show great are still present. I've just been watching long enough that I can spot the threads.
So welcome to Power Rangers Megaforce, the 20th anniversary of the franchise! Too bad you'll probably have to wait until the 21st to see all the cool stuff they're teasing you with now. Let's all head to Ernie's Brain Freeze, I hear he's got a new black light scanner.
|"$20? From a high school kid? Yeah right, like you have a job..."|