The Series (3.5/5)
I was in Fifth Grade when Power Rangers (or Mighty Morphin Power Rangers as they were known at the time) came on the air. I was a huge Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan growing up, and at the time I felt like these spandex-clad fighters were pretenders to the kids-action show thrown left behind in the Turtles wake. However, as there were limited options on TV during my after school hours, I found myself watching the show almost by default, but would myself stopping sometime around the time the first Power Rangers movie came out.
What I remember of the show was some pretty cool fight scenes, and giant monsters battles right out of an old Kaiju film (I had no idea the battle scenes and costumes were Japanese imports at that age). I don't remember much in the way of plot, but I do remember 12 year old me certainly had a child-crush-thing on the original Pink Ranger (Amy Jo Johnson), so much so that years later I bought a really bad Vampire film called Cold Hearts just for her performance. During the years I watched it seemed the show was only concerned with the Power Rangers vs. Rita, occasionally a new character would join like the White or Green Ranger, but I don't remember much in the way of continuous plotting that being said the episodes were probably shown terribly out of sequence. When I received this box set that picks up roughly 5 years after my last go around the Power Rangers I admitted curiosity.
There was a little bit of nostalgia going back in, but then I realized it was nostalgia for the concept, as these episodes were unseen by me. So were these Power Rangers, it seems that after I stopped paying attention to the show someone took an idea from Doctor Who, and decided to reinvent the show every year. Rather than have Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Season 8, we have Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue, instead of Season 9 we have Time Force.
When I got the set I didn't think I would find myself very caught up in the show. That proved to be a incorrect assessment, each series had a story running through it. This made the show alot more interesting as I love sci-fi with a good mythology and continuity going that creates a world that is as interesting as the stories told it, and that appears to be going on here. The episodes while not having the greatest production values proved to a lot of fun, and a nice break from the usual horror films I watch at night. It was interesting to see the show go fully space-bound whereas I remembered the show being party in space when I was younger, but mostly a very Earthbound sort of science fiction.
With every series that passed watching the old Rangers go just as you get used to them, was a bit jarring, but it was interesting how the series creators would bring the last team back in many of the series as almost a passing of the torch (with violence). The only exception was in the Ninja Storm series, when the team from the prior series Wild Force did not come back. I don't know how this plays with the shows continuity, but it appears to be a matter of the Saban/Disney transition that occurred between the two series. And then just as I'm getting used to the format, and the changes I start getting my nostalgia buttons properly hit. During the Wild Force series, which ran during the shows 10th Anniversary they invited back all the Red Rangers for one episode entitled Forever Red. In the final series of the set I was struck by the presence of one of "My Rangers" Jason David Frank returning to the show as his character Tommy Oliver for the series, this time as the Black Ranger. During this series the show sort of went back to territory that was more familiar to me, not just with Tommy, but with visual themes, and ideas that seemed to harken back to MMPR.
I will admit I'm not coming into this from a fan perspective, but I had a lot of fun with Shout Factory's Power Rangers 8-12 box set. It was a nice re-introduction to the series after many years of not watching, and contains a fantastic set of interesting stories and episodes.
Power Rangers Seasons 8-12 is across the board a very pleasing release. The show is presented in it's native 1:33:1 aspect ratio, colors are nice and bright, natural where they need to be. The detail present is good, and flesh tones are accurate. Obviously, they aren't perfect, but they are very possibly taken from the best available material.
The audio is presented in the native original stereo soundtrack in English. The track is serviceable with dialogue coming through clean and clear as do the music and FX.
Shout! Factory have put together a nice slate of extras together for their Power Rangers 8-12 box set. The set kicks off with The Voice of a Ranger. This extra interviews various cast members about the process of looping their dialogue during the ADR process. It is a interesting little segment that covers a side of filmmaking that is not normally explored. The first four season in the box are granted an extra called Ranger Tales which interviews the cast and is sort of a behind the scenes look at the making of each season from audition to production. We also get Pure Titanium an extra that interviews the actor who portrays the Titanium Ranger. This is followed up by a Web of Fans which interviews cast members, and fans about the shows very large fandom. After this we have Return of the Ranger a 4 minute interview with Jason David Frank about his character between his various times on the show. There is also a short minisode that details what will occur in the next series of Power Rangers following Dino Thunder. The last substantial extra is a game-ish feature called Ninja Storm Katas. It is basically an interactive explanation of the Katas used on the show. The set also features the original show promos, and the set includes a booklet with episode guide.
Power Rangers Season 8-12 is an positively epic box set from the folks at Shout! Factory bringing together 5 fantastic seasons of the show with a good deal of extras. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.