Ever since the Power Rangers first graced our screens back in 1993, they’ve been a vital and thriving part of geek culture. Over the course of 25 years, 26 seasons (and counting) and at least 19 different iterations of the Teenagers With Attitude, the franchise has had its ups and downs, but also a stalwart audience of devoted fans. While there are some seasons that are considered to be superior in many ways, for a lot of fans there’s something about the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers that still secures a place in most fans' hearts.
It’s not just the fans that love the adventures of the Mighty Morphin gang. Not only was there a fun reboot movie in 2017 -- appropriately titled Power Rangers -- but there has been a wildly successful reimagining of the original characters over at Boom Studios, which has been producing multiple comics series that explore the adventures of that original team from their early days up through the show itself. Perhaps the reason why people love that original series is just nostalgia, but more likely it’s the fact that Mighty Morphin provided the archetype for the entire franchise moving forward. With that in mind, CBR is looking back at the series with the funniest Power Rangers memes!
15 SAY IT AGAIN
When you have over 800 episodes in a franchise running a quarter of a century, you’d be forgiven for suffering from a little repetition now and then. It could even be why the show has been so successful for so long: after all, repetition is at the heart of pretty much all superhero stories.
This meme might be making a joke, but it’s got a point: the Rangers have a habit of saying the same thing over and over again, but there’s a reason for that. Like superhero comics, the core story underneath every episode can’t really deviate from a specific structure. Heroes face a villain they cannot defeat, they dig deep and discover strength they never had, they overcome the adversity. It’s a format that works and has worked for Power Rangers for 25 years. That and the sweet Zords that make for great toys make the Rangers a phenomenon that is here to stay!
14 MOON BASE
Say what you will about conspiracy theorists, but they are persistent. Take a look at any conspiracy website and you’ll find people that still think the moon landing was faked, or that the Earth is still flat. If they lived in Angel Grove, however, they’d have one huge thing to talk about -- the fact that there’s a witch living on the moon sending monsters to attack the planet.
As anyone who’s seen the opening credits to Mighty Morphin can tell you, Rita Repulsa was first uncovered from her 10,000-year slumber by some astronauts, but what happened to those astronauts? And what are the government doing about this Moon Witch? It’s a conspiracy! Or… it’s the start of a series that will capture the hearts and minds of kids everywhere (not to mention their parents' wallets).
The 2017 Power Rangers movie introduced a lot of new elements into the Mighty Morphin mythology when it rebooted the franchise for a new audience. By the time the movie came out, it had been 22 years since that original series had been on the air, meaning that not only would there have been rebooted elements of the storyline, but the look of the heroes would need a significant upgrade.
While lycra jumpsuits might have worked on a TV show with a restrictive budget, on the big screen the Power Rangers would need something more. Like a lot of superhero costume updates, the producers of the movie went for an abundance of armor plating. The same thing happened to Ezra Miller’s Flash in the Justice League movie, but putting the Rangers in armor suits gives them more than just a passing resemblance to Marvel’s Invincible Shell-Head, Iron Man.
12 EXPLOSIVE LANDSCAPE
It’s no secret that Power Rangers reuses a lot of material from the long-running Japanese show Super Sentai. Anything that doesn’t involve American actors chatting without helmets on is probably lifted straight from the Sentai, meaning the show becomes something arguably much greater than it would have been if it was fully American made.
There are plenty of quirks that Power Rangers took on as a result of this collision of cultures, the most obvious of which is the spectacular style that’s given to the action scenes. The kind of brightly-colored battle sequences filled with dramatic explosions was never before seen by western audiences, which is probably why Power Rangers became as successful as it did. It doesn’t quite explain why the grass randomly explodes behind the Rangers whenever they happen to be standing in formation, but when it looks this good, who cares?
11 BRO CULTURE
You could argue that Power Rangers is a pretty masculine show, what with the storylines focusing on muscular martial arts contests and giant robots stereotypically targeted at an audience of young boys. There’s something about the wholesome message of the show, however, and the diversity and sense of universal inclusion that’s pre-built into the series that makes it a show for everyone.
Little boys may have grown up wanting to be the Red Ranger, or (more likely) the cool new mysterious Green Ranger, but girls too had role models in Pink Ranger Kimberly and Yellow Ranger Trini. Not only that but there’s a tradition of diversity that continues throughout the show’s history, meaning that fans of all kinds can find a hero to relate to. You may find the majority of the toys in the boy's section of the store, but it’s time to throw those old stereotypes away.
If there’s one Ranger that deserves a Lifetime Morphin Achievement Award, it’s Tommy Oliver. Ok, so we made that award up, but if it did exist, the first recipient would have to be the one played by Jason David Frank for the last 25 years. While casual fans may only know him as the Green Ranger from the original Mighty Morphin days, he’s stuck with the franchise right until the present day.
During the first three seasons of the show, Tommy Oliver underwent the change from Green Ranger to White Ranger after the Dragon Power Coin was destroyed. Since then he’s continued on the show to become the Red Zeo Ranger, the Red Turbo Ranger and the Black Dino Thunder Ranger. He even returned for 2014’s Legendary Battle to celebrate the show’s 20th Anniversary, donning his Green Ranger costume one last time.
9 CUSTOMER SERVICE
Hey, we all fall on hard times, OK? It’s not easy being a Power Ranger, and it’s not like it pays the bills, so when the Teenagers with Attitude turn into the Adults with Mortgages, maybe they need a little Mighty Morphin Side Job to help pay the bills.
That helmet may muffle his speech, but even sitting at a desk with a headset on, the Green Ranger looks cool. Maybe it’s the Golden Dragon Shield that makes him stand out from the crowd, or the confident posture he’s pulling as he’s clearly closing a deal with some powerful new client he’s on the phone to, but either way maybe the new season of The Office isn’t going to be so bad after all.
8 TOO MANY COOKS
Over the last quarter century, the Power Rangers franchise has evolved and grown in many ways, but after the first couple seasons or so they slid into a steady rhythm of switching the cast out for a brand new team of Teenagers with Attitude. It happened slowly at first when the mantle of the Red, Black and Yellow Rangers fell to new actors, but pretty soon Power Rangers would have a whole new cast, with new powers and Zords, almost every season.
This isn’t a bad thing, as it keeps the show fresh and allows for the cast to remain young even as the show grows old around them. It’s dictated in part by the footage they can acquire from the original Super Sentai show, but either way, by the time we get to the Legendary Battle in 2014 (which incorporates every Ranger ever), we’re talking about hundreds of heroes.
As crazy crossovers go, this one is right up there, and casual fans may not believe it to be real but it absolutely happened: the Power Rangers once faced off against the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It happened in the series Power Rangers in Space, and it’s as wild as you expect it to be.
In the third episode of the season, Power Rangers in Space crossed over with the live-action TMNT show Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation when the villain Astronema brainwashed the Turtles into fighting the Rangers, allowing for that classic crossover trope -- the misunderstood conflict! The episode was called “Shell Shocked” and wasn’t exactly a high-point for Power Rangers, but Saban was really trying to inject some enthusiasm back into the Turtles franchise, so having them star in their most popular show was a smart thing to do.
There may have been many different Megazords over the years, from the Turbo Megazord to the Galaxy Megazord, to the Ninja Falcon Megazord, but is there any creation as iconic as that original Dino Megazord from the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers? There’s something about the style and originality of that Zord that excited a whole generation of fans and made them fall in love with this franchise.
Much like Voltron, the Megazords have always been formed when all the individual Zords of the Power Rangers join together to form one giant robot, one capable of battling the over-sized monster of the week that Rita has unleashed. As soon as kids set eyes on that Dino Megazord, they knew what they wanted for Christmas, making that toy one of the most sought-after for the year of release.
There’s something instantly recognizable about the original aesthetic of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, and it has a lot to do with the over-simplified color scheme that the show adopted. The Sentai scenes that Saban adapted was so bold and bright that the American scenes had to follow suit.
For the most part, whenever you see the Rangers in their standard civilian clothes, you’ll see them like in the meme above: color coordinated to match their heroic alter-egos. It makes the show look brighter and arguably even iconic, as well as making it obvious for kids watching just who is who. How the characters didn’t have their covers blown by all dressing in these primary colors, however -- colors that conveniently match those Power Rangers everyone is talking about -- is anyone’s guess.
4 REALITY BITES
You have got to hand it to Jason David Frank. The guy has dedicated the last 25 years of his life to the Power Rangers franchise and seems to genuinely love being a part of something like this. The majority of actors from those early seasons have gone their separate ways by now, but when the call is made for the Greatest Ranger of All Time, Frank always picks up the phone.
Aside from appearing in over 230 episodes of Power Rangers over the years, it’s been established in canon that Tommy Oliver is history’s greatest Power Ranger. So much so that when the 20th Anniversary of the show was celebrated with the Legendary Battle -- a conflict that incorporated every Power Ranger ever -- Jason David Frank returned as the Green Ranger to take center stage.
At this point, Power Rangers has been a part of the cultural landscape for 25 year, meaning that fans of the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers have grown up with the show in their lives. Some of us drifted away from the show(s) as we got older, but for many fans, it’s been a lifelong love of a highly successful and ever-changing franchise.
As with anything that geeks love, there’s plenty of merchandise available for those adult fans that have a lot more disposable income than they did as kids. You can buy statues, Legacy series Megazords, full cosplay outfits and more that help to scratch the itch of those fans who may have grown older without growing up. What’s more, there are new comics, new TV episodes and even a new movie for fans young and old to continue to engage with this franchise.
2 BATMAN V POWER RANGERS
When a franchise lasts as long as Power Rangers has and the fans grow up alongside it, it can sometimes be easy to forget that it’s primarily a show for kids. It’s true of the original Japanese Super Sentai and it’s true of the American Power Rangers series too. How does a kids show handle violence, however, when the majority of an episode's runtime is devoted to battle scenes?
Well, if you’re a Power Ranger, it turns out that when you get struck by weapons, you don’t bleed... you spark. It’s become something of a unique trope for Power Rangers by now, but the original Japanese footage has a flurry of sparks burst from the Rangers whenever they get hit. That visual trick not only provides a rather elegant solution to graphic violence on the show, it is also visually engaging in a way that doesn’t compromise on the drama.
1 GROWING PAINS
It happens to us all: if you’re a lifelong fan of something, especially TV shows, there comes a time when you will inevitably grow older than the characters themselves. If it’s a show from your childhood that you rewatch over and over again, it can be somewhat jarring when you see what the actors look like in the modern day.
Fans of Power Rangers never have to wonder what Tommy Oliver, aka the Green Ranger (as well as a bunch of others), looks like, as the actor Jason David Frank has returned to the franchise fairly regularly over the years. Aside from being a skilled MMA fighter and martial arts specialist, Frank has donned the brightly colored Ranger costumes many times over the years, meaning that even if you don’t know anyone else on the show, there’ll always be one familiar face.