Power Rangers RPM (GET IN GEAR!)

Cool fan art, Andie Masterson!

…if you’ve actually watched the show, and could resist yelling (er, well, typing) “GET IN GEAR!” you are a stronger person than I. So I’ll be straight up, I’ve been on a Power Rangers kick lately – for several reasons. One; it’s fun (so so fun), two; a lot of the actors who have played rangers throughout the MANY series of the franchise are actively involved in the fan community -I’ve been lucky and had brief interactions with Johnny Yong Bosch (Adam – the second/movie MMPR Black Ranger, Green Zeo Ranger, and first Green Turbo Ranger), Steve Cardenas (Rocky – the second/movie MMPR Red Ranger and Blue Zeo Ranger), and Jason David Frank (Tommy – the MMPR Green & White Ranger, Red Zeo Ranger, first Red Turbo Ranger, and Black Dino Thunder Ranger) which is really cool, and three; I’ve had a lot of anxiety issues lately – and one of the recommended ways to deal with it is finding distractions (temporarily, till your calmer/in a better space, cause then you gotta deal with it) – and Power Rangers RPM is a great one. I hadn’t seen RPM before (outside of Linkara’s excellent History of Power Rangers series), but it’s held high in a lot of Power Ranger fan circles. So I thought “what the heck, Netflix won’t let me download ‘Arrested Development’ while I’m out and about”.

To be blunt, Power Rangers RPM is fantastic. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s cheesy – but it’s the right kind of cheesy, it’s part of its charm, and it knows how and when to poke fun at itself (/the Rangers franchise as a whole and the tropes that its developed over the years). Heck, the Sentai it’s adapted from (Go-Onger) is very cheesy – (appearently it was done as more of a comedy/lighthearted series) so this part was unavoidable. But I’m glad it’s there – cheese is part of Power Rangers charm, it was something the movie from this year shoulda embraced more…but I digress. But the thing is that this show is enjoyable beyond the cheeseyness. It’s actually a pretty enjoyable show. It has well-developed backstories and characters, for example…

The wonderful Doctor K (played wonderfully by Olivia Tennant), the Zordon/mentor of the team, has a tragic backstory. A super-genius taken from her family when she was like 3 by the government, held forcibly in captivity in a think-tank, being made to develop many projects for said government until she escaped when she was 17 – being told “you can’t go outside, it makes you unwell” “happy birthday K, develop a protective code for us” – having no memory of her family, or even her name – and when she escapes, she accidentally releases the thing (the Venjix virus) that causes RPM’s post-apocalyptic setting. THAT’S A DEEP, MESSED UP, COMPELLING CHARACTER STORY…and this is for a kids show…heck, that’s better character background and motivation than for some adult shows. Most of the characters are well developed and have just as interesting backstories as well. Scott, the Red Ranger (played by Eka Darville aka ex-drug addict Malcolm from Jessica Jones) – motivated not only by doing the right thing but also showing his father (Coronel Trujerk) that he isn’t just a kid who tagged along with and is in his (deceased) brothers shadow, but a capable man and leader in his own right. Summer, the Yellow Ranger is formerly the worst – but when stuff happened (friends and family abandoned her, only her butler (also deceased) – who she treated like crap, and still showed faith in her) – she grew into a capable character, looking out for others (especially the mysterious Dillon). Ziggy, the Green Ranger – while seeming at the start morally ambiguous, you find out has a heart of gold (he got involved with a cartel, which he then deserted, taking all the medical supplies to an orphanage in dire need), and is outgoing and empathetic to others. Flynn, the Blue Ranger…that dude is just awesome, and always tries to do the right thing, even when it gets him in trouble, which happens. And Dillion, the Black Ranger – who has no memory of his past at the start of the show, and as it goes he finds out he had a sister (whom we know, but don’t know is related until later), AND is part robot AND infected with the Venjix virus. There’s also Gem and Gemma, the Gold and Silver Rangers – whom can be grading, but grow on you – they were trapped in the same place as Doctor K, and are very socially awkward – and almost like children, so you get to see them grow up a bit.

Docta K!!!

The villains aren’t anything to write home about, but they don’t have to be. They’re enjoyable, not annoying, and at times win – that’s something that didn’t always happen on the original MMPR, so that’s a definite strength. The main villains are Venjix (the big bad, keeps coming and evolving), his general Killabyte (he showed up halfway through the season, is interesting, possibly a British rogue, and harsh), and Tanya 7 (a partially human robot with a lot of character development) are the main focus on that side of things – and they work. The actress playing Tanya isn’t always the best actress, but for the most part does her job well and gets you invested in her character. Venjix is probably my favourite Ranger villain since Lord Zedd, he’s straight up evil, mostly competent, scores victories, and keeps going when he loses. But I’ll be straight up, this is the first Rangers season I’ve watched the whole way through since Zeo – so take it for what it’s worth – I just thought he was a solid bad guy.

So if you’ve got some extra time, and are feeling a bit nostalgic (or are a big time Power Rangers fan who hasn’t seen it yet) – give RPM a shot, it’s a great way to kill time (with a good show with compelling characters) and be a bit of a kid again (with cheesyness and a show that knows how to poke fun at itself).

Below, I’m attaching the History of Power Rangers episodes focused on RPM. Just cause.

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed, and God bless my friends!

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