Well, here we are, just about a year removed from the 25th anniversary of Saban’s pop culture defining Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Debuting in 1993, Power Rangers utilized existing footage from the Japanese superhero series Super Sentai to create a mish-mash kid-friendly adventure series. The show set the world on fire when it aired, with parents dashing out to stores in droves to get as many plastic replicas of weird monsters and teenagers in spandex as they could find. While the show hasn’t maintained the level of fever pitch popularity it reached upon its debut, the fact that it’s still going strong is a testament to the property, with new series and new comics, including Boom!'s soon-to-launch second on-going, Go, Go, Power Rangers.
But as you probably guessed by the title, not everything about Power Rangers could be amazing. Thanks to a rotating cast and story that changes every season, there are plenty of Rangers who just didn’t quite make the cut as the classic characters we know and love. Please note: we’re not judging the actors -- that’s a different list entirely -- but looking at the characters themselves. So, without any further adieu, here are the 15 worst Power Rangers in the history of the show.
15 ROCKY, MMPR RED II
You almost certainly already know this, but a bit of behind the scenes knowledge for you. Following a dispute over their contracts (specifically their pay), actors Austin St. John, Walter Jones and Thuy Trang left Power Rangers. As their characters were written out to attend a peace conference, they were replaced with new characters. Jason, the Red Ranger, and team leader was replaced by Rocky.
Now, this sounds fine in practice, but story-wise Jason had stopped functioning as a leader. When Tommy returned and became the White Ranger, he was handed leadership duties over the team because Austin St. John was already gone and they were lacking footage. As a result, Rocky almost immediately fades into the background, becoming a non-entity until he’s replaced with a 12-year-old. (Don’t worry. We’ll get to him.)
14 TROY, MEGAFORCE RED
There are a number of crimes with Saban’s Megaforce and Super Megaforce, including the criminal misuse of footage and concepts from the stellar Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger series. Trading in swashbuckling pirate adventures for a pretty straightforward rehash of the original MMPR formula, the 20th anniversary season went over poorly with fans.
Troy was one of the season’s weakest additions to the franchise. As the Red Ranger, he was the de facto leader of the team. The atypical Power Rangers' new kid in town, Troy was plagued with visions of the upcoming "Legendary War," but the reason for the visions is never really touched on, and they’re rarely referenced throughout the season. With a personality that shifts violently between episodes (Troy honestly spent an entire episode screaming about not letting go of weapons!), he might just be the weakest Red Ranger on this list.
13 PHANTOM RANGER
Briefly appearing during Power Rangers Turbo, the Phantom Ranger was more MacGuffin than Ranger. With only nine appearances total, he arrived to create a little bit of mystery, the Phantom Ranger arrived via spaceship to great fanfare, though he remained invisible and was only seen by one of the Rangers. Sometime later he left again, this time saying the Earth clearly appeared to be in good hands.
So who was the Phantom Ranger? It remains one of the season’s greatest untold mysteries. Producers confirmed a reveal was planned for what was anticipated to be the end of the franchise, "Countdown to Destruction," but was cut to save time. It doesn’t help that he didn’t really turn up or do much, creating a manufactured mystery that didn’t serve the plot much at all.
12 ANDROS, SPACE RED
The shift from Turbo to In Space was pretty notable, as the series matured a bit as it did. Notable was the addition of a new Ranger, the Space Red Ranger Andros. Raised on the space colony KO-35, Andros was hand-picked by Zordon to be one of the first Space Rangers. Andros was a loner, keeping to himself and having a tendency to go at it alone without help from his Ranger cohorts.
Sound familiar? That's because he’s a bit of a Tommy knock-off. Both tend to keep to themselves, both have a hard time functioning within the team at first, and both are ultimately portrayed as one of the greatest Rangers to ever exist. Andros, unfortunately, doesn’t have nearly the appeal that Tommy’s character would eventually gain, and the result is a Red Ranger that feels like the Dollar Store version of an existing character.
11 DAX, OVERDRIVE BLUE
Operation Overdrive had all the hallmarks of a great season. With a new team searching the world for a set of mysterious artifacts, the promise of high adventure got fans excited. Unfortunately, it became a season known for poor characterization and an over-saturation of villains. But few were as disappointing as Overdrive’s Blue Ranger, Dax Lo.
A Hollywood stuntman with dreams of stardom, Dax is poised as the season’s comic relief. Only one problem with that: he’s not funny. His jokes are often cringe-worthy and his character’s abundant enthusiasm made him a grating presence among a season filled with characters who were more serious and dripping with melodrama. As a Ranger, Operation Overdrive’s Dax is a relatively un-notable addition to the long history of otherwise excellent Blue Rangers.
10 DEX, MASKED RIDER
Thanks to a technicality, we can include possibly the most disappointing Sentai adaptation. Using footage from the beloved Kamen Rider Black RX, Saban attempted to create a Power Rangers spin-off, Masked Rider. Appearing in the three-part season opener "A Friend in Need," Dex is a Prince on the planet Edenoi, who is sent to Earth to defend it from an invading force.
On paper, Masked Rider probably sounded like a surefire hit. But it just didn’t seem to catch on with its strange, junior sci-fi feel. The alien Dex is a socially awkward individual all too willing to talk endlessly. Tagging along with Dex was Ferbus, a strange alien teddybear fused with a duck thing that didn’t help the perception that Masked Rider was aiming for an audience even younger than Power Rangers. Masked Rider failed to light the ratings on fire, lasting only 40 episodes.
9 JOEL, LIGHTSPEED GREEN
Joel Rawlings, an aerial stuntman, joined up with the Lightspeed Rescue Rangers as their Green Ranger. And in the long run, as a Ranger, he’s not THAT bad. But the second you saw him out of the suit, wandering around in his ridiculous 10-gallon cowboy hat, the writing was on the wall: this character is insufferable.
And boy, were fans right on that initial assessment. Joel is arrogant, cocky, and frequently disobeys orders. More a showboat than a hero, his attitude is grating, to say the least and makes him less of a team player than anything. Joel eventually matures to a degree over the course of a season, as demonstrated by his growing relationship with Ranger ally Ms. Fairweather, but it does little to shed the image of the cocky jerk he started the series out as.
8 TANYA, ZEO/TURBO YELLOW
Tanya’s a fine enough Ranger, serving as the Yellow Ranger for the Zeo and first Turbo era of the series, but she’s another example of a character fading into the background. Introduced during the "Zeo Quest" storyline, Tanya is brought into the team when Aisha, the current Yellow Ranger, switches places with her to better help care for a wildlife issue plaguing an African community.
Tanya is essentially a swap for Aisha, with their personalities being largely the same. And thanks to the handwave of “The Zeo Crystal did it,” there’s never a fallout or any issue to do with two teenagers swapping continents. Tanya largely falls into the background, rarely having much of an impact on stories until Turbo, where she gives up her powers to Ashley and retires from being a Ranger.
7 ANTONIO, SAMURAI GOLD
Antonio might be the most over-enthusiastic character to ever exist on Power Rangers, and that’s saying something. The best friend of Samurai Red Ranger Jayden Shiba, as well as a local fish merchant, Antonio surprised everyone by being a tech guru. He managed to create his own Samurai Morpher, no easy feat considering the forces he had to tap into with no prior experience.
But the over-enthusiasm proves to be grating. Serving as much of the comic relief for that season too, the excitable Antonio is so jazzed about things being gold that he makes Goldmember seem subtle. Antonio eventually earned the right to be a Samurai Ranger, proving himself to be a trusted member of the team, and indispensable in the season’s final battles, but it didn’t make him any less annoying.
6 SAM, SPD OMEGA
Power Rangers SPD took the popular formula of the franchise and made them a police force in the future. And it was pretty excellent. The characters are memorable and have motivations, the stakes feel real, and there’s more than a few surprises. But the series isn’t perfect, and it has a criminal offense: a terrible sixth Ranger.
A young boy saved by Z, Sam came from the future to help the SPD Rangers as the Omega Ranger. And as the Omega Ranger, he’s pretty great. He’s notably futuristic compared to his SPD counterparts, and really helpful. But Disney decided they’d save some money and just didn’t cast an actor, so outside of his suit Sam is a talking, glowing ball of light with no character development. It’s a swing and a miss for a character that otherwise could have been a classic.
5 JAYDEN, SAMURAI RED
Another entry in the poor Ranger during a great season category, Jayden Shiba of the Samurai Rangers is a pretty nonexistent character. He’s stoic and dedicated to training, so much so that it’s all he seems to really care about. He has something of a backstory; his father was the previous Red Ranger, and the powers pass down the line. But his backstory is largely cut short because of a late-season twist.
See, Jayden isn't the real Red Ranger. He’s a decoy to protect the real inheritor of the title, his sister Lauren. As a result, Jayden doesn’t get too in-depth of a backstory or much motivation, as his only goal is to be a target until his sister returns to seal that season’s big bad in the Netherworld. It winds up being Jayden who saves the world after all, but by then it’s too late.
The transition from Dairanger footage to Kakuranger footage was an interesting one. In Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie, the team travels to planet Phaedos where they are given new powers by Dulcea. The television show, however, ignored this in favor of an original plot where the Rangers quested for new powers.
At the Temple of Power, the Rangers met Ninjor, who functioned as an Extra Ranger for the third season of MMPR. Said to have created the original Power Coins, Ninjor is an ancient ninja master with the vocal tenor of Dudley Do-Right. A bit of a goof thanks to the character’s nature in Sentai footage, it was hard taking Ninjor seriously, and the producers must have felt the same way, as Ninjor only makes about a dozen appearances.
3 JUSTIN, TURBO BLUE
Hey, remember that 12 year old we said replaced Rocky? Following Power Rangers Zeo, actor Steve Cardenas fell prey to that true Power Ranger nemesis: contract disputes. Opting instead to focus on his career as a martial artist, Cardenas’ Rocky was written out in Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie as suffering a severe back injury. His replacement: Justin Foster, a 12-year-old genius who idolized the Power Rangers.
Sound stupid? It is, but it isn’t without precedent. The idea of a boy who morphs into an adult-shaped Power Ranger is actually a Super Sentai idea, hailing from Gosei Sentai Dairanger, in which 9-year-old Kou morphed into the KibaRanger. That footage was adapted for MMPR, where he became Tommy Oliver’s White Ranger. As for the American counterpart, Justin is ultimately harmless, but fans regard the attempt to skew towards a younger audience as poorly done.
2 RYAN, LIGHTSPEED TITANIUM
Lightspeed Rescue was a new start for the Power Rangers franchise, and one of the first to have no ties whatsoever to the previous series. With the Rangers functioning more as civil servants than superheroes, it was the first to have Rangers with public identities and treated more as blue collar heroes in the public eye.
That season’s sixth Ranger, the Titanium Ranger, was unique in that he was an entirely American creation. Ryan Mitchell was the son of the team’s mentor who was swayed by Vypra to fight the Rangers. The story was an updated riff on Tommy’s "Green With Evil" origin, but without a Sentai counterpart, it proved too expensive to film regularly. As a result, the character becomes an afterthought; so much so that during the 20th anniversary "Legendary War," no one in production seems to have realized his helmet was assembled incorrectly.
1 TOMMY, MMPR GREEN
There is absolutely no denying that Tommy Oliver is the most popular Power Ranger and legendary in his own right. The Green Ranger oozes cool, and as the White Ranger he led the team to greatness. Outside of the show, Jason David Frank is an ambassador for everything that makes Power Rangers great. But the first run of Tommy as the Green Ranger was awful.
This falls on the writers. Tommy’s Sentai counterpart, Burai, makes increasingly limited appearances and eventually dies. To cover for this, the writers made Tommy an awful, awful teammate. As the world nearly ended, Tommy is in detention... or off in the woods practicing katas... or lost his communicator. Tommy is nowhere to be found until it’s time to win the battle. Tommy Oliver became the greatest Power Ranger there ever was, but as the Green Ranger, he was the worst Power Ranger possible.
Got a Ranger we missed? Don't think someone should be on the list? Let us know what you think in the comments!