Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
|Mighty Morphin Power Rangers|
Logo for the original Power Rangers series
|Also known as||MMPR|
|Created by||Haim Saban
|Directed by||Adrian Carr
Terence H. Winkless
Jerry P. Jacobs
|Starring||Austin St. John
Walter Emanuel Jones
Amy Jo Johnson
Jason David Frank
Johnny Yong Bosch
|Voices of||David Fielding
Richard Steven Horvitz
Robert L. Manahan
|Narrated by||Dave Mallow (series announcer, "Today on Power Rangers" segments)|
|Opening theme||Ron Wasserman|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||3
|No. of episodes||145
32 (Re-version) (list of episodes)
|Executive producer(s)||Haim Saban
James Simone (Re-version)
Dan Evans III (Re-version)
|Location(s)||Santa Clarita and
Los Angeles, California
|Running time||20–21 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Saban Entertainment
Renaissance Atlantic Entertainment
Toei Company, Ltd.
MMPR Productions, Inc.
Saban International (previously)
ABC (ABC Kids) (Re-version)
August 28, 1993January 2, 2010 – November 27, 1995 - August 28, 2010 (Re-version)
|Followed by||Mighty Morphin Alien Rangers|
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers is an American live-action superhero children's television series that premiered on August 28, 1993, on the Fox Kids weekday afternoon block (later weekend morning block). It is the first entry of the Power Rangers franchise, and became a 1990s pop culture phenomenon alongside a large line of action figures and other merchandise. The show adapted stock footage from the Japanese TV series Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger, which was the 16th installment of Toei's Super Sentai franchise. The second and third seasons of the show drew elements and stock footage from Gosei Sentai Dairanger and Ninja Sentai Kakuranger, respectively, though the Zyuranger costumes were still used for the lead cast. Only the mecha and the Kiba Ranger costume (worn by the White Ranger) were retained from Dairanger for the second season, while only the mecha from Kakuranger were featured in the third season, though the Kakuranger costumes were used for the miniseries Mighty Morphin Alien Rangers. The series was produced by MMPR Productions and distributed by Saban Entertainment (later Saban Brands). The show's merchandise was produced and distributed by Bandai Entertainment.
In 2010, a re-version of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, with a new logo, comic book-referenced graphics, and extra alternative special effects, was broadcast on ABC Kids, and Bandai produced brand new toys to coincide with the series. The first 32 of season one's 60 episodes were remade with the revision graphics.
The series also spawned the feature film Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie, released by 20th Century Fox on June 30, 1995. A new film distributed by Lionsgate, simply titled Power Rangers, was released at Regency Village Theater in Los Angeles on March 22, 2017 and was released throughout the United States on March 24, 2017.
Season 1 (1993–94)
The series takes place in the fictional town of Angel Grove, California. On an exploratory mission, two astronauts discover an extraterrestrial container (referred to as a dumpster as a result of its smell) and breach the unit, inadvertently releasing the evil alien sorceress Rita Repulsa from 10,000 years of confinement. Upon her release, she and her army of evil space aliens set their sights on conquering the nearest planet: Earth. The wise sage Zordon, who was responsible for capturing Rita (and also being enemies back on Zordon's homeworld, Eltar), later becomes aware of her release and orders his robotic assistant Alpha 5 to select five "teenagers with attitude" to defend the Earth from Rita's attacks. The five teens chosen are Jason Lee Scott, Kimberly Hart, Zack Taylor, Trini Kwan and Billy Cranston. Zordon gives them the ability to transform into a fighting force known as the Power Rangers; providing them with an arsenal of weapons at their disposal, as well as colossal assault machines called Zords, which can combine into a giant humanoid machine known as the Megazord.
The series begins with five teenagers combating Rita and her seemingly endless array of monsters, while also dealing with typical teenage problems and clashing with local bullies Bulk and Skull. However, consecutive failures lead Rita to adopt a new method for conquering Earth and destroying the Power Rangers: by attacking them with one of their own. Using her magic, Rita kidnaps and brainwashes a local teen whose fighting skills prove to equal that of Jason's in a martial-arts contest held in Angel Grove. The new teen, Tommy Oliver, passes Rita's tests, becoming the Green Power Ranger. Entrusted with Rita's Sword of Darkness, the source for the continuance of the evil spell he has fallen victim to, Tommy comes dangerously close to defeating the Power Rangers, especially when Rita causes a solar eclipse that temporarily drains the Megazord's power. However, the Green Ranger is ultimately defeated, and the Sword of Darkness is destroyed by Jason. Now free from Rita's spell, Tommy chooses to use his Green Ranger powers to assist the other Rangers in defeating the evil that gave them to him in the first place. His Zord, the Dragonzord, is reconfigured to enable it to help form more powerful Zord combinations alongside the other Dinozords.
As time goes on, Rita focuses on eliminating Tommy in order to regain the powers that she believes belong to her. 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. However, Tommy later returns to the team 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.
Season 2 (1994–95)
Lord Zedd, Rita's superior, arrives at Rita's Moon Palace, where he takes her place and throws her into a space dumpster again. He then begins his own campaign to conquer Earth. In order for the Power Rangers to compete with Zedd's monsters, which are superior to the ones Finster made for Rita, Zordon and Alpha upgrade the Dinozords into the more powerful Thunderzords (which combine into the Thunder Megazord). However, Tommy is forced to retain use of the Dragonzord, due to his powers being too weak to support a new Zord.
After several defeats, Zedd's attack on the Rangers progressively becomes more violent. He focuses his attention on eliminating Tommy, whom he sees as Rita's biggest mistake in giving him the Dragon Coin. The Green Ranger's powers were rapidly deteriorating, but Zedd's efforts had enhanced the process. He eventually does so with a special Green Crystal, using it to take away the Green Ranger's powers. The crystal also powers up Zedd's Dark Rangers, but when Tommy smashes it, the Dark Rangers powers are transferred back to the regular Rangers. Nevertheless, Zedd finally succeeds in taking the Green Ranger's powers (in which Rita Repulsa later uses to empower Tommy's clone to battle against the Rangers before reclaiming it once more). Following the loss of 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 revealed to be Tommy, who in addition receives a new Zord, the Tigerzord, and also becomes the new leader of the Power Rangers (replacing Jason).
During the Team Ninja Trials in Angel Grove, the Rangers become friends with three teenagers from Stone Canyon: Rocky DeSantos, Adam Park and Aisha Campbell. During an ensuing battle with Zedd and a magical serpent, Rocky, Adam and Aisha discover the Rangers' identities and, having been entrusted with their secret by Zordon himself, the three newcomers become allies of the Rangers.
Later on, Jason, Zack and Trini are selected to represent Angel Grove at the World Peace Conference in Geneva, Switzerland, and the Rangers are faced with the task of finding replacements. In order to transfer the powers of the Red, Black and Yellow Rangers, they must find the Sword of Light, which is located on the Deserted Planet. Zedd pursues them across the galaxy in Serpentera, his massive personal Zord, and destroys most of the Deserted Planet. Serpentera runs out of power before being able to finish the Rangers, and they return to Earth safely with the Sword of Light. Zordon then chooses Rocky, Adam and Aisha to replace Jason, Zack and Trini as the Red, Black and Yellow Rangers, respectively.
Sometime before the power transfer, Rita had returned to Earth when Tommy made his debut as the White Ranger, and fell into the hands of Bulk and Skull, but the Rangers sent her back into space. She later returns to the Moon while the Rangers are in Australia, and with the help of Finster, she gets a special "makeover" to gain a younger and "prettier" face. She then uses a love potion on Zedd, who is in a deep sleep during his centennial re-evilizer, and he falls in love with her when he wakes up. They get married and thus join forces to make an even more terrible threat for the Rangers, but not even this can prepare them for what is to come.
Season 3 (1995)
Rito Revolto, Rita's skeletal brother, comes to Earth and, with the help of a group of monsters, 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.
An Australian girl named Kat Hillard moves to Angel Grove. She befriends Kimberly, and displays an intense affection for Tommy. Later it is found 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 the Pink Ranger, whose life force, like that of the other Ninja Rangers, is connected to her Ninja Coin. It is during this time that the Rangers acquire their most powerful Zords ever: the Shogunzords (which combine into the Shogun Megazord). Eventually, Kat overcomes Rita's evil spell and returns Kimberly's Ninja Coin to her. A short time thereafter, Kimberly gets a chance to pursue her personal athletic dreams. With Zordon's blessing, she leaves to train for the Pan Global Games, choosing Kat to replace her as the Pink Ranger. Though her initial fear and hesitation keeps her from contributing fully to the fight against evil, Kat eventually becomes both comfortable and capable of fulfilling her duty as a Ranger.
After several more battles, Zedd and Rita are joined by Rita's father, Master Vile. Following his failed attempts to defeat the Rangers, he reverses time, turning the Rangers into powerless children. These events culminate in the mini-series Mighty Morphin Alien Rangers.
The Power Rangers
- Jason Lee Scott
The original Red Ranger (as well as the original team leader); portrayed by Austin St. John.
- Trini Kwan
The original Yellow Ranger; portrayed by Thuy Trang.
- Zachary "Zack" Taylor
The original Black Ranger (as well as the original team's second-in-command); portrayed by Walter Jones.
- Kimberly Ann Hart
The original Pink Ranger and the first Pink Ninja Ranger; portrayed by Amy Jo Johnson.
- William "Billy" Cranston
The original Blue Ranger and the Blue Ninja Ranger; portrayed by David Yost.
- Thomas "Tommy" Oliver
The original Green Ranger and later the White Ranger and White Ninja Ranger (as well as the second team leader); portrayed by Jason David Frank.
- Adam Park
The second Black Ranger and the Black Ninja Ranger; portrayed by Johnny Yong Bosch.
- Aisha Campbell
The second Yellow Ranger and the Yellow Ninja Ranger; portrayed by Karan Ashley.
- Rocky DeSantos
The second Red Ranger and the Red Ninja Ranger (as well as the second team's second-in-command); portrayed by Steve Cardenas.
- Katherine "Kat" Hillard
The second Pink Ranger and the second Pink Ninja Ranger; portrayed by Catherine Sutherland.
An inter-dimensional being trapped in a time warp, he is the wise mentor of the Rangers, who also bestowed their powers. 10,000 years ago, Zordon led the fight against the forces of evil, specifically Rita. Finally, he was able to imprison the evil witch and her minions in a dumpster on the moon. He once had a corporeal human form, but now appears as a floating head in an energy tube. Initially voiced and portrayed by David Fielding, and later voiced by Bob Manahan.
- Alpha 5
A multi-functional semi-sentient automaton from Edinoi, Alpha was Zordon's trusted robotic assistant, responsible for the daily operations and upkeep of the Command Center. Voiced by Richard Wood.
- Farkas "Bulk" Bulkmeier and Eugene "Skull" Skullovitch
Two bullies at Angel Grove High School. Bulk, the leader of the duo, was prone to dragging Skull into wacky schemes, which usually failed miserably and ended in humiliation or injury. In the second season, the two decide to discover the identities of the Power Rangers after they were saved by the Rangers in "The Mutiny". In the third season, they enroll in the Junior Police Force in order to impress girls. Thanks to the efforts of their superior officer, Lt. Stone, the duo become good-natured goofs. Portrayed by Paul Schrier (Bulk) and Jason Narvy (Skull).
The owner and proprietor of the Youth Center, he could often be seen behind the counter of the Juice Bar, and would sometimes dispense advice to the teens. Portrayed by Richard Genelle.
- Mr. Caplan
The very stern and quite abusive principal of Angel Grove High School, who often encouraged his students in their extracurricular activities. He wore a toupée to cover his bald head, which serves as a common running gag during seasons 1 and 2. Portrayed by Henry Cannon (uncredited).
- Ms. Appleby
A teacher at Angel Grove High School. Portrayed by Royce Herron (uncredited).
The girl of Zack's affections, he was constantly attempting to impress and go out on a date with her, much to her annoyance. She would often demean Zack for his attempts. She later disappeared in Season 2. Portrayed by Renee Griggs.
- Jerome Stone
A Police Lieutenant with the Angel Grove Police Department. Portrayed by Gregg Bullock.
- Prince Dex/Masked Rider
Portrayed by T.J. Roberts
The creator of the original 5 Power Coins and Dinozords that were used by the original 5 Power Rangers, even though it was Zordon who distributed them. Voiced by Kurt Strauss.
- Alpha 4
A fictional robot and the predecessor to Alpha 5, and has exactly the same voice (performed by Richard Steven Horvitz) and body design, with the exception that the yellow lights on his chestplate on either side of the lightning bolt were slightly farther apart.
- Wild West Rangers
The Old West ancestors of Rocky, Adam, Aisha and Billy, and temporarily obtain Ranger Powers when Kimberly is transported to their time. As Rangers, the Wild West Rangers have outfits identical to those of their descendants, except for the addition of cowboy attire.
- Rita Repulsa
Portrayed by Machiko Soga in Season 1, and Carla Perez onwards; voiced by Barbara Goodson.
- Lord Zedd
Portrayed by Ed Neil (uncredited) and voiced by Robert Axelrod.
Portrayed by Takashi Sakamoto, Kazutoshi Yokoyama and Danny Stallcup (former two uncredited) and voiced by Kerrigan Mahan.
- Rito Revolto
Voiced by Bob Pappenbrook.
Portrayed by Ami Kawai in Season 1, and Sabrina Lu in Season 2 (1 episode only); voiced by Wendee Swan
Rita's chief monster maker in the first season. Portrayed by Takako Iiboshi (uncredited) and voiced by Robert Axelrod.
One of Rita's henchman. A short, fat, blue creature resembles Bulk. Usually blamed for Rita or Zedd's failures. Portrayed by Minoru Watanabe (uncredited) and voiced by Michael J. Sorich.
One of Rita's henchman. A tall, bat-like creature who wears a monacle resembles Skull. Usually chastises Squatt when Rita's plans fail and too is often blamed. Portrayed by Hideaki Kusaka (uncredited) and voiced by Colin Phillips.
- Master Vile
Voiced by Tom Wyner (uncredited).
Voiced by Robert Axelrod.
- Hydro Hog
Voiced by Brad Orchard (uncredited).
- Putty Patrollers
Warriors made of clay who act as Rita Repulsa's foot soldiers, the Putties are often sent to wear the Rangers down before a monster battle, as well as for sabotage and other special missions. In Season 2, Lord Zedd upgrades the Putty design, completely replacing Rita's original design. Zedd's Putties are superior to the original Putties and are more expendable. However, Zedd's Putties also have a big weakness—striking the Z-logo on their chests causes these Putties to explode into pieces.
- Tenga Warriors
Crow-like soldiers that are able to speak, they are introduced in Season 3 when Rito Revolto takes them with him to the Moon as a wedding gift, and replace Zedd's Putties in attacking the Power Rangers. The Rangers normally use their Ninja Ranger powers to fight them. Unlike the Putties, the Tenga Warriors are not expendable and they return to the Moon when defeated. The Tengas originated in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie (going by the name "Tengu Warriors") under the command of Ivan Ooze. The name changed between the movie and television show was because of copyright complications with the movie's producer 20th Century Fox.
Haim Saban first came across the parent series, while on a business trip to Japan. Based on the series popularity in Japan Saban quickly realized there was potential for an American adaption. He and his business partner Shuki Levy quickly produced a pilot and according to Levy, "shopped it around for at least five years, but nobody wanted it." eventually however Fox Kids decided to pick it up.
After all available stock footage from Zyuranger was used for the first 40 episodes of season one, Saban commissioned Toei to produce 25 new monster costumes and new battle footage using the existing Zyuranger suits. Saban was able to produce 20 additional episodes using 15 of the monster suits. This new footage has been referred to as "Zyu2" by Power Rangers fans. Saban then used the remaining suits and footage for the first 12 episodes of season two.
Following production of the first 20 episodes of season two, Austin St. John, Thuy Trang and Walter Emanuel Jones left the show over contract disputes. To disguise this incident, a combination of body doubles, voice doubles and stock footage were used to continue featuring the characters Jason, Trini and Zack for eight episodes. The subplot of those three Rangers leaving Angel Grove for the World Peace Conference was made to bridge the transition to their replacements (Rocky, Aisha and Adam). While the reasons for their departure was debated for many years, in 2014, Austin St. John would confirm that the departure was due to the low salaries the stars were being paid; St. John stated "I could have worked the window at McDonalds and probably made the same money the first season. It was disappointing, it was frustrating, it made a lot of us angry." In a 2012 interview with Amy Jo Johnson, she stated St. John, Trang and Jones wanted to become part of a union; this led to them being replaced.
After the casting of Steve Cardenas, Karan Ashley and Johnny Yong Bosch, the production moved to Sydney, Australia for roughly four months to shoot Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie, which was released the following summer before the start of season three.
Reception and controversy
Despite the success of the series, it was also subject to much controversy from parents who felt the show was too violent for young children. The show had aired before television stations issued content warnings such as parental guidance or fit for viewing persons Twelve years or over, the V-chip, and television ratings. In the US, numerous complaints were sent to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). In 1993, the Canadian broadcast rights to Mighty Morphin Power Rangers were jointly purchased by the YTV cable channel, and the series played to a receptive audience every weekday afternoons on YTV, the latter trailing the American broadcast by several months. However, due to complaints sent to the recently formed Canadian Broadcast Standards Council and a negative assessment from that body over the show's violent content, YTV removed the series from their line-up. Despite not actually being a member of the CBSC, YTV complied and pulled the series before the end of its first season; Global (which was a CBSC member) ultimately did the same. While a phone-in poll was conducted to see if viewers wanted MMPR back on YTV, no further installments of the Power Rangers franchise aired on the network until 2011's Power Rangers Samurai, although commercials for toys and videos were still advertised on it. Later Disney-era versions of the series were broadcast on Family.
Early on in the series, some fans and critics noted that some racial overtones could be construed in the colors of several of the Rangers in the first few seasons being based on the actors' skin color or ethnicity. Austin St. John, who is of partial Native American ancestry, was cast as the Red Ranger, and Walter Emanuel Jones (an African American) and Thuy Trang (whose family was of Vietnamese ancestry) were the Black and Yellow Rangers respectively. Years later, when brought up on VH1's I Love the '90s, Jones and Amy Jo Johnson (as well as other celebrity commentators) made fun of how the original line-up had Jones' role as the Black Ranger and Trang's role as the Yellow Ranger because the actors and characters were of African and Asian descent, respectively.
In Malaysia, the phrase "Mighty Morphin" was censored and removed from the logo due to the word "morphin" being too similar to the drug Morphine.
In mid-October 1994, the murder of a young Norwegian girl by two of her young friends prompted Swedish-owned TV3 to pull MMPR from its broadcast schedule in all of its market countries. However, MMPR was not related to the event. Instead, the young children responsible were fans of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon.
In 1994, the New Zealand Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) upheld several complaints from members of the public about the level of violence in the show. The main concern of those complainants was that the show portrayed violence as the primary means of resolving conflict, and that this was influencing children to behave more violently more frequently. Immediately following the BSA decision, the second season of the show was all but cancelled by Television New Zealand. New Zealand is the only country in the world where this show has been prematurely withdrawn from public broadcast to date. DVD and video releases of the more-recent Power Rangers series that were filmed in New Zealand can be found at The Warehouse, although general sales through video stores and other retailers are scarce. Later series in the Power Rangers franchise, such as Power Rangers: Mystic Force and Power Rangers: Jungle Fury, were filmed in New Zealand, but the programs were still not shown in the country, until 2011, when Samurai premiered.
In a 2010 interview with fan blog "No Pink Spandex", David Yost revealed that he had left the show in the subsequent Power Rangers Zeo production due to homophobic reactions to his sexuality, citing that he walked off set one day because "[he] was called 'faggot' one too many times." He also stated that the producers would often ask other cast members what they thought about his homosexuality, and this made him uncomfortable as well. Shortly after this interview, producer Scott Page-Pagter stated that Yost left over a pay dispute and that the allegations of homophobia are false; he added that Yost did not get along with any of the crew. In the Power Rangers Zeo episode where Yost's character appeared for the last time, "Rangers of Two Worlds", footage from previous episodes was used as well as vocal work from a separate, uncredited actor, to conceal the fact that Yost was not present during filming. A tribute to the Blue Ranger and Billy was seen in the closing credits of this last Billy episode.
Between 1994 and 1996, Saban Home Entertainment and WarnerVision Entertainment released VHS tapes of the series in the U.S. In 2000, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment released seven compilation VHS tapes. In 2012, Shout! Factory released 19 disc to Comic-Con International and a 20 disc set exclusively to Time Life of all three seasons and Mighty Morphin Alien Rangers. In that same year, Shout! reissued the 19 disc to wider retail. They also released two volumes for both season one and season two of the series, as well as the complete third season. In January 2014, the entire series, as well as the remaining 17 seasons in the entire Power Rangers franchise, was released in 98 disc set. The series has also been released on VHS in the UK and Australia, and Region 2 DVD. The first 30 episodes of season one have been released to Region 4 DVD.
The following video games have been developed based on the television series.
- Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Game Boy) (1994)
- Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (Sega Genesis, Game Gear) (1994)
- Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (Sega CD) (1994)
- Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie (SNES, Genesis, Game Boy, Game Gear) (1995)
- Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Fighting Edition (SNES) (1995)
- Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Mega Battle (PlayStation 4, Xbox One) (2017)
- Power Rangers: Legacy Wars (2017)
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Several comic book series were based on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. From 1994 to 1995, Hamilton Comics produced three separate series totaling thirteen issues altogether. Marvel Comics produced two series, the first with seven issues based on the second season and the second with five issues called Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Ninja Rangers/VR Troopers which was a flip book with adventures based on the third season on one side and of VR Troopers on the other. The Power Rangers also appeared in the Masked Rider comic book from Marvel. In March 2016, BOOM! comics released a new Mighty Morphin Power Rangers comic series based off the original series.
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