Flashback: Power Rangers Dino Thunder Heads Back to Its Dino Roots

After some digging, this is one of a couple of reviews I had written years ago. In Red are my 2010 comments and reflections on the show and my own hilarious writing.

Power Rangers Dino Thunder Heads Back to Its Dino Roots
Originally posted: Friday, February 13, 2004

At this time last year, Power Rangers: Ninja Storm was receiving a less than stellar review from me. But this year’s Power Rangers incarnation is a different story.

The 12th season of the internationally popular series Power Rangers DinoThunder premieres this weekend on ABC Family and Toon Disney (next Saturday on ABC/KGO). And this time, it improves on the previous season.

There were high expectations for Ninja Storm last year, a new production company, a bigger budget. Unfortunately, while the potential was there, Ninja Storm ended up being a middling series with really no continuing storyline. The series picked up in its last couple of episodes, but they barely salvaged the season. I look back and yeah, it was middling, little did I know there would be lesser seasons ahead!

With the bar set lower this year, DinoThunder exceeds all expectations. Presumably with a bigger budget, better special effects, a legitimate story, and a good cast, this year’s Power Rangers should be a pretty good one.

Returning to its dinosaur based roots of the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, DinoThunder also stars Jason David Frank as Dr. Tommy Oliver, the same character he played on the first four seasons of the series. Well, more or less.

The new trio of rangers are Red Ranger Conner (James Napier), Blue Ranger Ethan (Kevin Duhaney), and Yellow Ranger Kira (Emma Lahana). Also in the cast is Katrina Devine, last seen as Marah on Power Rangers: Ninja Storm. Now she plays the overachieving Cassidy.

The series begins by showing Tommy’s adventure on an island which later implodes and sinks into the ocean. Fast forward “some years later” as Dr. Oliver starts his new job as science teacher at Reefside High.

We are introduced to soccer star Conner McKnight, wannabe rocker Kira Ford, and computer whiz Ethan James. The three are given detention by new principal Mrs. Randall (Miriama Smith, who also plays villainess Ilsa) and they accompany Dr. Oliver to a mysterious museum on the outskirts of town. It is then through several events (namely, an attack) that the three teens take the gems that ultimately give them their powers.

The two episode, one hour premiere played out like a movie, even like an episode 24 or Alias in the way new twists kept popping up. Reading that sentence again, I thought maybe it worked better back when 24 and Alias were fresh. But DinoThunder did have an exciting, twisty premiere. But the story didn’t get too convoluted. The special effects have also stepped up a notch with the new CGI zords morphing sequence, fight sequences, and the first attack on Reefside.

DinoThunder is off to a promising start that could become a great season. It definitely looks like it could. And it was!

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