Judge David Johnson activates his magic space watch and turns into a spandex-wearing superhero. Then the cops place him in protective custody.
This Zord-a be good.
Here we go kids: 2000+ minutes of Rangering!
Power Rangers: Lightspeed Rescue (2000-2001)
These new heroes are based in a secret underwater lair and when evil comes calling they deploy in a tricked-out Humvee (?!) and battle cannon fodder in slick rescue jackets. They bring the pain to a new level by activating their Lightspeed Rescue swatches and transforming into Power Rangers and yes, the Yellow Ranger still gender bends during the transformation process.
All PR elements are present and accounted for: intro to the monster of the week, some gentle melee with the foot soldiers, vehicular combat and the inevitable embiggening. The twist? Since these guys are rescue-oriented, their motorcycles have sirens on them! Added bonus: the first all-American Ranger with no Japanese counterpart, the Titanium Ranger. Five discs, forty episodes
Power Rangers: Time Force (2001-2002)
No fear! Remnants of the Time Force that put him behind bars in the future travel back with their future tech and anachronisms and green hair. They join the ancestor of their fallen brother the Red Ranger and put the team together to battle Ransik and his cronies.
Have to say, this iteration of the Power Rangers is tad bit darker than its
predecessors. Not a whole lot of course; you're still dealing with a group of
goody-two-shoes learning life lessons and punching robots and one of the mutants
is named "Fat Catfish," which is fantastic. But the main villain is
Mad Max nightmare with huge spikes on his shoulder and the Red Ranger gets iced
in the first episode. Bonus points for making the Pink Ranger the main hero!
Power Rangers: Wild Force (2002-2003)
Now, when danger strikes, they call down the Wild Zords from a magic floating animal reserve in the shape of a turtle. There's a lion and a tiger and shark and an elephant and an eagle. The Megazord they form into still looks like an indecipherable jumble of plastic.
As "grounded" as Time Force might have been, Wild
Force takes a flying leap off the deep end. This Jungle Book stuff was
laughably incoherent. Also, the Rangers' home base is a set from The Lion King traveling show and their
sensei is a hippie woman with a flower in her hair. On the other hand: punching!
Power Rangers: Ninja Storm (2003-2004)
As the Wind Rangers continue on their adventures they encounter a pair of Thunder Rangers (Magenta and Ocean Blue, I think) and unlock their fearsome Zord powers (which, for some reason, transform from an ocean liner, passenger 747 and a roller coaster).
A return to a lighter touch for the franchise, which, considering the
Rangers take their orders from a rodent, isn't very surprising. For sure there
is still plenty of Ranger action to be had and at this stage of the game you
know what you're in for. The primary villains are essentially palette swaps and
Power Rangers: DinoThunder (2004-2005)
A familiar face infuses some juice into the series as it churns through the
millennium stretch. With such a revolving door of cast members, it's good to see
arguably the most popular player in the series return to, er, turn into a
There you go. Quite the travelogue of the Power Ranger universe and it's a varied experience. Five seasons, five different iterations. Of course, regardless of the moniker, they're still the Power Rangers and they still go about business the same way against rogues galleries that possess similarly dumb strategies (dispatch a pile of morons to get kicked around, dispatch a rubber monster to get shot with laser blasts, dispatch a huge version of the rubber monster to eventually get shot with more laser blasts). A few perks as the show matured: the difference between the Japanese and American versions were reduced so the grainy dubbed stuff was minimized.
Credit to Shout! Factory for giving fans some great discs. Episodes themselves (1.33:1 full frame, Dolby 2.0 Stereo) are standard-issue, but the bonus disc of extras is a treat. You get a fun retrospective of the extensive dubbing process, cast interviews, a featurette on the Titanium Ranger, a hefty segment on the Rangers' fan base, some Ranger katas, a Jason David Frank promo and some bonus footage.
Morph me, Not guilty!
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