Created by Haim Saban and Shuki Levy, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was the start of the legendary Power Rangers franchise, which consisted of Japanese footage mixed with American footage about rubber-suited monsters getting their arses kicked about by people in primary-coloured spandex. In the case of Mighty Morphin, it really centres around five teenagers (later six) with “attitude” being recruited by the mystical Zordon and his robot sidekick Alpha 5 to combat the Empress of Evil, Rita Repulsa along with her band of freaks. To stop her and her continuous horde of monsters, the Rangers enlist the aid of their giant combat assault robots, the Zords that can combine together to form the Megazord.
When general audiences think of Power Rangers, they naturally think of it as a children’s programme that is incredibly goofy, ridiculous and campy, so to them they would regard this as being nothing more than lame. The thing is though, Power Rangers was always meant to be for kids to watch even though adults can also find pleasure in it, so its simplicity makes it easy to understand and follow for the younger audience, plus the cliché theme of teamwork and good triumphing over evil is still a great message for audiences to be inspired by. That is what made the Power Rangers franchise so accessible and memorable for audiences and why the show has lasted for so long after Mighty Morphin. Plus, its earlier seasons can be seen in the same vein as the 1960s Batman TV series in which they both follow similar plot formulas and having a cheesy factor to them.
At the centre of this first season are the five teen Rangers themselves, but while these characters have personalities they don’t have much of a character arc to them and don’t really have much of an “attitude” due to them being just plain ol’ goody-goods always promoting teamwork, friendship and so on. Maybe this was intentional since it would make them identifiable and relatable for young audiences to look up and aspire to; Jason/the Red Ranger was the brave team leader, Zach/the Black Ranger was the "smooth" dancer, Billy/the Blue Ranger was the smart and resourceful one, Trini/the Yellow Ranger was determined and helpful, and Kimberly/the Pink Ranger was humble and graceful.
But by the seventeenth episode, the series hanged dramatically by introducing the character that would cement the franchise’s popularity and continue to have a huge impact on the franchise for many years after in the noble and selfless Tommy Oliver/the Green Ranger. However, the most interesting and dynamic characters, as well as the real stars of the show, are the comic relief duo of Bulk and Skull, who are simply the Laurel and Hardy of this generation. They are the real heart of the show, and while they were bullies with somewhat predictable comedy, they are the most fun to watch with great comedic timing and played by two great actors in Paul Schrier and Jason Narvy who put a lot of effort in their comedy. The less said about the guest actors though the better since their acting ranged from mediocre to terrible, while Alpha 5 being pretty annoying especially with his constant catchphrase of “Aye yai yai yai yai yai!”
What made the series work the most was in its action since no other show at the time was showing this level of action and complex martial arts fighting, especially in a show that was aimed at kids, even if occasionally the seams would fall apart between the American and Japanese footage (particularly the Green Ranger’s shield). While it is true that the monsters were goofy and the jokes incredibly cheesy, the show still maintained a unique charm to it that makes it click, and as the show went on, the storylines got more investing with the stakes getting bigger than before, particularly in the multi-parters. Even though 60 episodes can be too much even for the average viewer and most of the episodes followed the exact same repetitive formula that can be pretty tiresome, the first season of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers proved to be an awesome start for the show that would only get better from there.
MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS: SEASON 1 / CERT: PG / DIRECTORS: VARIOUS / SCREENPLAY: VARIOUS / STARRING: AUSTIN ST. JOHN, THUY TRANG, WALTER EMANUEL JONES, AMY JO JOHNSON, DAVID YOST, JASON DAVID FRANK, MACHIKO SOGA / RELEASE DATE: 26TH JUNE