We are six episodes into the latest season of Power Rangers and thankfully Power Rangers RPM continues to live up to the immense potential they showed in the one-hour premiere back on March 7th. (Read a full recap of the first episode here.)
Since the news started spreading that Disney was going to end the 16 year old series a few weeks ago, there is new talk (mainly from Bandai, who holds the toy manufacturing rights) that the series will be back for its 17th season next year.
Disney is still mum one way or the other.
Regardless, RPM has lived up to all the pre-show hype that was drummed up, not by Disney themselves, but from a 3-minute rough trailer that was uploaded by a mysterious leak. The trailer seemed more like a preview for a Battlestar Galactica-type of apocalyptic drama than a kids show.
Executive producer Eddie Guzelian (who was axed halfway through production, for reasons he still hasn’t been informed of) said in an interview that Disney had asked him to make the show appeal to an older audience, spice things up for the franchise which has slowly been fading over the last couple of seasons.
And from what we’ve seen in the first 6 episodes, it seems as though he delivered.
The pilot especially showed that this season of Power Rangers would be like no other. The season opened with an all-out attack by a mechanical army on terrified humans. It was chaos as we learn the world has been taken over by machines and a computer virus called Venjix and that human’s only refuge is the domed city of Corinth. (See, even the premise is BSG-like.)
The city, sealed off to the outside world for fear that the only refuge in the world would too be taken over, essentially ending human life as we know it.
Outside of Corinth was desolate, desert wasteland. Debris, scrap metal (and probably skeletons if the show still wasn’t marketed to kids) scatter the landscape.
This isn’t the cutesy, corny stuff we’re used to seeing on Power Rangers, even though there have been “Woah, is this really a kid’s show?” moments in the past. (To name a few, the episode “The Master’s Last Stand,” Time Force’s suicide bomber-monsters)
But watching RPM, you can definitely see that a lot more effort has been put into the writing and even production. More than we’ve seen in a long time.
The characters are very distinct this time around as well. Amidst the initial chaos, we meet mechanic Flynn, who has taken over driving a military school bus to get people safely into the dome. (He’ll be the Blue Ranger.)
Then there’s Scott, son of Colonel Mason Truman who is in charge of the city’s defense. Scott, as Red Ranger, is the team’s leader and takes his position very seriously, especially after his brother has been presumed dead in the outer lands.
Our Yellow Ranger, Summer, can probably be seen as the #2 in the team. She and Scott had been together fighting and saving lives it seems for a long time. And she’s good on a bike.
A year later, in the desert, we meet the mysterious Dillon (who later becomes the Black Ranger) who we discover is half-human, half-Venjix robot. He comes across Ziggy wandering around in the desert, and he soon becomes sort of a sidekick to Dillon (and stumbles into becoming the Green Ranger as well).
And so we take off from there.
While there still are those various lighter moments that one can expect from Power Rangers, the season overall has been a breath of fresh air. Not following the usual formula for the franchise, better dialogue, hints at a more mature story, and a great cast; this season is off to an awesome start.
And if this season does end up being the final one of the franchise, and if they keep up the quality for the rest of the season (even as we get into the 2nd half of the season with the new executive producer) I don’t think it could end the franchise on a better note.