The idea for this list came up when I suggested that the Power Rangers would win in a fight with the Avengers. This will probably go down in history as the biggest landslide defeat I will ever suggest in the Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny genre. NOBODY was with me on this one, and I had to admit they had some good points. I'm not going into it here, because that debate lasted days, and it's not the focus of this list.
While I was arguing, I realized that for all that awesomeness, there has been some really weird stuff going on in the Power Rangers universe over the years. And I'm not just talking about the one-off monsters who bake the Rangers into a giant pizza, or that time Chad dated a mermaid, or that time Lord Zedd spun the Earth to turn back time. Those are weird, but they're at least logically consistent. The following is my list of the Top 10 WTF moments in Power Rangers history.
10: Set The Bar Low (Mighty Morphin')
We're starting off right at the beginning of the franchise. Rita Repulsa, evil witch queen extraordinaire, is freed from her golden garbage can prison on the Moon and decides to conquer Earth. Meanwhile on Earth, ancient wizard Zordon and his robot assistant Alpha 5 detect Rita's escape. To stop her, Zordon tells Alpha to recruit a team of heroes. Well, that's not quite what he says. To quote him: "Teleport to us five overbearing and overemotional humans."
|Make sure they're color-coordinated too!|
9: Time To Run (Time Force)
In the finale of Time Force, Ransik's forces are overrunning the city, and unstable time rips are threatening to destroy reality. To save his friends, Wes tricks them into entering their time-travel ship and triggers the autopilot to send them back to the future. They awaken in the year 3000 and are informed that Wes managed to save the city, but at the cost of his own life. Unable to accept this, the rest of the Rangers go against orders and race to get back to their time-ship.
|I cannot IMAGINE how much those vinyl suits chafe while sprinting.|
8: Death in the Family (Lost Galaxy)
To say that Power Rangers are familiar with perilous situations is to say that the Atlantic Ocean is a bit moist. They fight monsters on a weekly basis, and losing typically means death for them, and by extension the human race, at the hands of whatever malevolent entity they're pitted against. This aspect of the job is downplayed most of the time, since the demographic for this show is pre-teen, and dark themes aren't common in kids shows. It's extremely rare for anyone to even mention death in the PR universe, let alone to actually die. If anyone ever does die, it's usually off-screen in the distant past, functioning as character development for someone else.
When the Lost Galaxy Rangers teamed up with the Space Rangers to fight the Psycho Rangers (yeah, I know...), Psycho Pink is the only survivor of the initial battle. To get the power to finally kill her counterpart, she seeks out an ancient sword to use to destroy the Rangers and the space station colony they inhabit (just go with it). The sword absorbs ambient energy to grow stronger, and after battling the Rangers begins to overload and threatens to annihilate the area. Kendrix, the Pink Galaxy Ranger, enters the energy storm to destroy the sword, despite the protests of the other Rangers. She reaches the eye of the storm, destroys the sword...
7: Zordon Kidnaps Children (Mighty Morphin')
Yeah, this happened. In the VHS special "Alpha's Magical Christmas", Alpha 5 and Zordon are alone in the Command Center on Christmas Eve. The Rangers are at the North Pole helping Santa get the presents ready for all the kids of the world, and Alpha is lonely because he's all alone on Christmas...which he says to Zordon, who must be a little offended, I would think. Anyway, Alpha decides to decorate the Command Centre in the hope of convincing the Rangers to visit, and to cheer him up, Zordon arranges for dozens of kids from around the world to be teleported in to keep Alpha company.
|Weren't you in Rocky IV?|
|Seriously, it even LOOKS like a death march.|
6: Bludgeon Baby (RPM)
AW COME ON! I wasn't serious!
Okay, here's the setup: A mother is taking her infant child to the park on a sunny afternoon. Suddenly, she's approached by a pack of Grinders, the robotic foot-soldiers for the season's villain, Venjix. Things look bleak before the arrival of Scott and Ziggy, the Red and Green RPM Rangers respectively. While Ziggy protects the mother, Scott leaps in bravely to protect the infant. Naturally, he'll try to get it to safety in it's stroller...
|I really wish I could edit video.|
5: Surf Ninjas (Ninja Storm)
In this season, the Rangers are Ninjas with elemental affinities that allow them special powers. The Blue Ranger is water, and she can do crazy stuff with water. The Red Ranger is air, and he can fly and do stuff in the air. The Yellow Ranger is earth, and he can burrow underground and do ground stuff. Suspension of Disbelief is crucial to enjoying a show like this, but there are times that it gets stretched just a little too thin. As one of their battle tactics, when Red and Yellow are faced with a monster, we get this ninja technique:
|REALLY wish I could edit video.|
4: Take a DEEEEP Breath (Multiple Seasons)
The Power Rangers exist in a different universe than our own. Before you slap me, you need to understand that I'm not just talking about being fictional. I mean the laws of nature are fundamentally different. I could bring up the existence of alien life, or the mermaid thing, whatever. But the biggest and most obvious difference: We can breathe in space. It's hinted at in the first season, when we establish that Rita's palace is on the moon, which has an Earth-like atmosphere and gravity. And we see it in later seasons when the Rangers are walking around on the Moon with no difficulty, or riding a motorcycle in space.
|He's skidding to a stop. In SPACE. This angers me.|
|I will never stop hating this picture.|
3: Travel In Style (Lost Galaxy)
No! Bad list, bad!
After a spell is recited from an ancient book, the spaceship colony Terra Venture is transported through a portal into another galaxy. The colony is then approached by another ship for communication. This is another one of those moments that really has to be seen to be believed, but all I can do is describe it for you. Mike contacts the ship's senior staff and informs them of the situation.
Mike: Sir, there's a vessel approaching.
Captain: What kind of vessel?
Mike: Well...it's a castle, sitting on a dinosaur, flying towards us.
|This was the plot of a Doctor Who episode. Several, even.|
2: Denial or Senile? (Lightspeed Rescue)
Lightspeed Rescue is unique among many of the other seasons for several reasons. For one, the Rangers are all adults, and rescue workers at that. There's a firefighter, a paramedic, a pilot, an athlete, and a lifeguard. For another, they're not operating in secret. The Rangers are government employees operating from a military base without secret identities. This makes a lot of sense. Monsters have been attacking the planet for years, so it's only natural for the government to put something in place to protect the people. Forming their own team of Rangers? Yeah, why not? But let's get to the point.
A little girl accompanies her mother to work in an office building (I assume it's Take Your Daughter To Work Day), where the mother is kidnapped by aliens. The little girl escapes and goes to get help. Apparently, nobody believes her. I know kids make things up sometimes, but given the nature of the series you'd think people would give her the benefit of the doubt. But the real crowner is this elderly secretary who delivers this gem: "You know there's no such thing as monsters."
|Kids today, with their abduction stories...|
1: Heroes In A Half-Baked Shell (In Space)
Prepare for the epic team-up that nobody asked for...
|I refuse to believe this happened.|
So, the mind-controlled Turtles save the Rangers from a monster as part of a ploy to get access to the Ranger's spaceship and take control of it for Astronema. When they first meet, the Rangers are flabbergasted that the Turtles exist at all. This is perplexing to me, because there are two possibilities at play here. Either the Turtles are fictional in the Ranger universe, or they aren't. If the Turtles are fictional, then it makes sense that the Rangers would know them because they'd have seen the comics, cartoons, video games, etc. If the Turtles are real, then how would the Rangers know them? It's not like the Turtles are world-famous in their own movies and TV shows, they live in secret. You know, like NINJAS. And all of this applies in the reverse too, when the Turtles insist to Astronema that the Power Rangers are fictional. All the evidence we see indicates that the Turtles and Rangers exist in the same universe, because Astronema goes straight to New York to capture the Turtles. So the fact that they're surprised by each other's existence is insane.
Eventually the mind-control is undone, everyone teams up to beat the bad guys, you get it. This probably seemed like a gold mine to Saban at the time. Kids like Power Rangers, kids like Ninja Turtles, let's put them together and rake in the cash! Ironically, the two series ended up going in total opposite directions. Ninja Turtles was riding a popularity wave in the mid 90s with the games and comics, but their popularity dropped with the horrible live-action show. Power Rangers was in decline after the previous season (Turbo suuuuucked!), but ratings skyrocketed during In Space enough to bring the series out of cancellation (this would become a recurring trend for the franchise). And while we still enjoy the adventures of the Power Rangers to this very day, that enjoyment comes along with some really messed-up stuff.
Editor's Note: I really wanted this to be a video list. I spent weeks working with different (free) editing programs to put it together, downloading specific episodes to get the footage I needed. Three things kept me from actually going through with it.
One, YouTube is notoriously strict when it comes to using footage and audio from copyrighted sources, even if it falls under Fair Use laws. If the video gets flagged, YouTube takes it down. From there, I have to file a DMCA counterclaim, which forces the copyright owner to either let the video go back up, or officially charge me with copyright infringement. Legally I'm clear since this counts as criticism and/or review (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_dealing#Canada), but I really don't need the hassle of a court case. This is why Blip is cooler than YouTube...
Two, I have a lisp and I hate it. I'd rather not expose you all to my slippery S sounds unless it's necessary (imagine if I had said that out loud...), so that settled things rather easily. Maybe I can pick up a book on lisps and do some exercises, who knows.