Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
(often abbreviated as "MMPR
") is a live-action television and movie series, based on the Super Sentai
series Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger,
literally Dinosaur Squadron Beast Ranger
and often abbreviated as Zyuranger (after the Kunrei-shiki romanization). Although Zyuranger was the main Sentai used for MMPR, it also uses elements (mecha and monsters) from Gosei Sentai Dairanger
, literally Five-Star Squadron Dairanger
, in its second season and Ninja Sentai Kakuranger
, or Ninja Squadron Kakuranger
, in it's third season. The Super Sentai
genre was already one of Japan's hottest tokusatsu properties. The show first aired on Fox Kids
on August 28, 1993, and ended on February 17, 1996. On January 2, 2010 a reversion
of the series with a new logo, comic book-referenced graphics, and alternative special effects began airing on ABC Kids
Although it was a children's series, it became known as one of the cultural icons representing the 1990s.
The theme music, "Go Go Power Rangers," was often parodied, and many of its subsequent incarnations contain the words "Go" or "Power Rangers" in their theme music.
The various Power Rangers over the years have been replaced, partly based on evolving storylines, and partly because the actors behind these characters were rumored to be holding out for greater pay.
Before Power Rangers would become a worldwide hit during the decade of the 1990s, Haim Saban, the creator of Power Rangers and other Tokusatsu adapts that became Saban adapts (like VR Troopers, Big Bad Beetleborgs and Masked Rider) which were around the recent and frequent years of the show's rising and falling popularity status streaks, during the 1980s struggled to adapt the Super Sentai series to the United States. Super Sentai however, has been very popular in Japan for the past 35 years. Like in Sentai, it also involved around a group of 5 heroes (in some shows, fewer) with gifted and special powers (technical or magical) who are sent to battle the dark forces of evil which consists the heroes' main villains and monsters. Their henchmen (aka. "Footsoldiers"), on Sentai's part, are called "grunts", while their monsters are often called "Monster of the Week". Each one of our heroes received gigantic robots called mecha. They could be used to fight off monsters when they grew to gigantic size. The mecha could usually form together to form one superior gigantic robot. Each year our heroes would defeat their enemies and our story would be finished. The next year a new threat and a new set of heroes (with a new back story and brand new powers) would be introduced and the cycle would repeat itself. The Super Sentai show was a success in Japan. Although it seemed simplistic by design Super Sentai shows usually had some story of storyline and even had some adult situations (Sentai is a kids show but in Japan kids shows have much less content restrictions than in the US).
After watching Super Sentai, Saban figured out how to produce his planned Power Rangers show by mixing American footage with the Japanese Sentai stock footages to have action scenes to fit with each story of each Power Rangers episode ever produced and aired. During the time, various children's networks turned down Saban's idea for Power Rangers. However, in the 80s, the USA Network had aired a parody dub of Kagaku Sentai Dynaman. Sentai footage was being bought from Toei by Saban at the time. When Saban wanted to create a television show called Power Rangers, he would use the American footage and Sentai footage to be collided together while he hired an all-American cast of actors to play these characters as the two footages varied ratios in order for Saban to make a unique TV series that appealled to mostly children (starting with later incarnations of Power Rangers, the show became much more attractive toward teens and adults, as of 2011, rather than its regular target audience). By the earlier 1990s, Saban finally found a TV network to air Power Rangers, and of that was Fox, part of its Fox Kids network programming block.
The first Super Sentai show Saban wanted to adapt for the first season of Power Rangers was 1992's Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger, whose series had a Dinosaur motif and theme to its concept. Saban attempted but failed to gain the footage from Zyuranger's predecessor Choujin Sentai Jetman, also the last Super Sentai series not to be dubbed In order to create a unique cast of characters, he wanted them to be based on their Sentai Ranger equivalents. The young actors to play the original team of Power Rangers were Austin St. John as Jason Lee Scott (the Red Ranger), Amy Jo Johnson as Kimberly Ann Hart (the Pink Ranger), Walter Jones as Zack Taylor (the Black Ranger), Thuy Trang as Trini Kwan (the Yellow Ranger), and David Yost as Billy Cranston (the Blue Ranger). Zyuranger involved five ancient warriors who were awakened to use their dinosaur powers to fight an evil witch. Power Ranger utilized the footage of Zyuranger but had a much different storyline. The first series, titled Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, was about an evil witch, Rita Repulsa, who was freed from her prison on the moon after 10,000 years of imprisonment. An ancient wizard named Zordon recruited five "overbearing" teenagers. Rita Repulsa was taken from the Sentai footage of Zyuranger's main villain, Witch Bandora . Dubbing was used to give the villian an American sound, done by Barbara Goodson. A pilot episode to Power Rangers was then filmed but was never aired (until 1999 when it was finally aired as "The Lost Episode"). The title of it was "Day of the Dumpster". The Rangers' civilian forms were obviously based on teenage stereotypes (i.e. jock, nerd, valley-girl, etc.). After the first official episode of Power Rangers aired on August 28, 1993, the show became a smash hit on TV, as it began a toyline by Bandai (who also produces the Super Sentai toys), video games, comic books and a single feature film (which was released 2 years later following Mighty Morphin's third season in 1995). Power Rangers was a huge success from the get go, easily becoming the most popular kids show on television. Toy sales grew out the roof and toy stores were easily sold out. Kids couldn't get enough of their other favorite superheroes.
One move that greatly attributed to Power Rangers' fast growing popularity was the introduction of a new character. His name was Tommy Oliver and he was the evil Green Ranger sent by Rita to destroy the Rangers ( Saban Entertainment had earlier requested that Toei create a sixth ranger in Zyuranger). Tommy was played by Jason David Frank. Soon it was revealed to the Rangers that Tommy was under an evil spell. After being freed from the spell he joined the Rangers. After the 5-parter "Green With Evil", Tommy became a popular character within Power Rangers and has stayed in that position of popularity with fans since. Kids loved Tommy so much that when the producers were forced to write him off, there was a huge backlash of letters asking that Tommy be kept on. The writers of MMPR listened to the fans of the show and decided to keep Tommy around as a guest charachter (even though his counterpart in Zyuranger, Burai, was killed off). MMPR was so popular that Saban Entertainment commissioned Toei to create new Zyuranger footage specifically for Power Rangers since they ran out of original footage from Zyuranger. Fox extended Power Rangers' first season and the new Toei footage was used to produce the additional episodes required. The extra footage has always been referred to as Zyu2 footage.
Despite the first season's popularity, Saban renewed Power Rangers for a second season in Fall 1994 and by that time, ratings went through the roof, stronger with such high ratings. The first 14 or so episodes of season 2 detained Zyu2 footage while Saban began buying only action footage and monster costumes from the following Sentai series Gosei Sentai Dairanger. When Saban began production on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers' 2nd year, he didn't want the main Dairanger costumes as upgrades of the Power Rangers' main morphed forms, instead they only wanted the zords from Dairanger and Tommy's White Ranger costume, based on the Kiba Ranger from that series. Season 2 also introduced the series' first ever all-American made Power Ranger villain, Lord Zedd. After his introduction to the show in the season 2 3-part opener "The Mutiny", Zedd became a fast growing and popular villain toward fans since his inception on Power Rangers. Saban didn't want the costume of Dairanger's main villain for Lord Zedd (though the costume was used for Master Org in Power Rangers: Wild Force, which was 9 years later). Most of the footage in Power Rangers' 2nd season was 100% American-produced and 50% Sentai created. The two-parter "White Light" sought the return of Tommy Oliver, this time as the White Ranger. Since his return, fans enjoyed seeing him as this new Power Ranger though the Green Ranger powers (which were originally created by Rita) were no longer more. After Tommy's return to Power Rangers, the show introduced 3 rookie teens that later became Power Rangers- Rocky DeSantos (Steve Cardenas), Adam Park (Johnny Yong Bosch) and Aisha Campbell (Karan Ashley). They took the places of 3 of the 5 original Power Rangers that were commissioned (according to the writers of the show) to the Angel Grove Peace Conference- Jason, Zack, and Trini.
Some of the episodes seen on Netflix and outside of the US vary from their original Fox Kids broadcasts. See article: Domestic vs. international masters
Long ago, the ancient wizard Zordon did battle with the evil witch Rita Repulsa. After long years of battle, he managed to defeat her in a game by using five magic coins. As punishment for her loss, she was sealed in a canister on Planet Nemesis, a planet that travels close to Earth every 10,000 years. However, before being sealed away, Rita trapped Zordon in a time warp, preventing him from participating in further battle against her.
Millennia later, Rita and her minions escaped their prison thanks to two unaware astronauts, and set out to conquer Earth. Zordon, desperate to stop her, had his assistant Alpha 5 recruit five "teenagers with attitude" to do battle with her. They were granted the powers of the dinosaurs, and became Power Rangers.
After several battles, Rita created an evil Power Ranger using a magic coin that she stole from Zordon which was infused with the power of the Dragon. This Green Ranger caused major damage to her foes, until he was freed from her control by the other Rangers. Grateful, and now burdened with responsibility, he joined the Power Rangers.
Following several more defeats, Rita's fortress was invaded by Lord Zedd. Disgusted with her failure, he took over and sealed her away again, launching his own campaign against the Power Rangers. Despite his defeat of the Green Ranger, he was unable to beat the Rangers' new powers of the mythical beasts (their new Thunder powers). Things were complicated by the creation of the White Ranger, and the return of Rita, who gave Zedd a love potion. It was later discovered, after Zedd took an antidote, that he loved her anyway.
Rito Revolto later came to Earth and managed to destroy the Rangers' previous powers. Undaunted, they sought the aid of Ninjor, creator of the powers, who gave them the new Ninja powers. After several more battles, Zedd and Rita were joined by Rita's father, Master Vile. Following his failed attempts to defeat the Rangers, he turned back time, Turning the Rangers into Powerless Children and eliminating the threat of Ninjor. These events culminated in Mighty Morphin Alien Rangers, leading up to Power Rangers: Zeo.