August 2013 marks the 20-year anniversary of the pop culture and media sensation known as the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Yes, you’re old. Back when our lives revolved around going to school, playing outside, and watching TV, MMPR controlled our Saturday mornings and conversations at the lunch table, similarly as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles did only a couple years before. Simply put: it consumed you.
But can you remember why this show was so great? As adults we know the Power Ranger franchise is nothing but a gimmicky, campy marketing ploy of a remake from some bizarre long-running Japanese show. But we look back on ourselves and still think yeah, that show was the shit. Even with its cornball humor and mind-numbing fake karate, we loved it because that’s what kids like. Regardless of the punchline Mighty Morphin has become, it has definitely stood the test of time. And with all the spin-offs and re-imaginations, you have to look back and appreciate the many great memories it brought us.
So without further adieu, here are the ten best MMPR experiences.
10. “The Green Candle”
Season 1, Episode 34-35
Aired: November 17-18, 1993
This was one of the deeper episodes of the series, a simpleton way of killing off the Green Ranger. Jason was given the ultimatum of helping save Tommy and preserve his powers, or help the other rangers in stopping Zords from destroying Angel Grove. For the folks who liked the Red Ranger also liked where the show was heading.
9. “Calamity Kimberly”
Season 1, Episode 31
Aired: November 5, 1993
The epic level of this episode shot from one to ten towards the end with Zord battles. The Power Rangers managed to showcase every level of the Zords, including the rare Ultrazord, being the only time shown in the first season.
8. “Return of the Green Ranger”
Season 2, Episode 44-46
Aired February 15, 20-21, 1995
This episode was great in that it pitted the evil Green and good White Rangers against each other. There was also a weird subplot where the other Rangers are sent back to 1700s Angel Grove, where everyone had English accents. Then again, all we cared about was the dream-like battle between the good and evil Tommy’s.
7. “The Ninja Encounter”
Season 2, Episode 22-24
Aired: November 2-4, 1994
Midway through season 2, the MMPR had already weaned out the the original Yellow, Red, and Black Rangers, respectfully. The editors found hilariously cheap ways to integrate old clips of the previous actors, behind the head shots, or just omitting them from the scene all together. This three-part episode was all about the initiation of the three new Rangers, and was most memorable because it premiered the new members that series creators would later include in Might Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie.
6. “Day of the Dumpster”
Season 1, Episode 1
Aired: August 28, 1993
Every time this episode came on, you just had to watch it–not to mention it’s the pilot. Rita breaks free, and Zordon has to protect the universe, hiring five teenagers to do his dirty work. You were drawn into these characters and the actual freshness of the show. It pretty much sets the basis to the formula the show still uses 20 years later.
5. “Mighty Morphin’ Mutants”
Season 1, Episode 59
Aired: May 16, 1994
This was a season finale that just drove kids crazy. It was a basic layout for a MMPR, but the villains were none other than replicas of the rangers themselves. Best part about this was the evil Rangers had slicker black costumes and the fights were flabbergasting. It was great choreography, indeed.
4. “The Mutiny”
Season 2, Episode 1-3
Aired: July 21, 29, and August 8, 1994
Lord Zedd was introduced here, as a creepier, badder villain than Rita. Zedd also looked scarier (think Master Shredder after he drank the ooze), had tougher Zords, and was seemingly unbeatable. He managed to completely destroy ALL of the Power Rangers Dinozords. This 3-parter was shown at night, and added more to the grand scheme of things.
3. “White Light”
Season 2, Episodes 17-18
Aired: October 17-18, 1994
Though it was one of the highlights of the MMPR series, the unveiling of the White Ranger was done in a nonsensical fashion. Probably because through the process, many of the OG Power Rangers were changed, without explanation in the show. Also, Jason/Red Ranger was demoted, a painful sight for fans. Much speculation was discussed on the playground, as many believe the White ranger would be Jason, since he was arguably the favorite Ranger next to Kimberly. But as we know, Tommy was reborn.
Season 1, Episode 39-40
Aired: November 29-30, 1993
On the presumed series finale of Season 1, a dark turn was taken with a set of episodes aptly named Doomsday. The stress from this ordeal brings back Tommy, who had lost his Green Ranger status at this point. His return and the near-complete destruction of the Rangers and Zordon was as intense as any episode had ever been. Epic, epic ending.
1. “Green with Evil”
Season 1, Episode 17-21
Aired: October 5-9, 1993
This five-part episode came about introducing Tommy and his rise to become the Green Ranger, then eventually the longest running character in the franchise. It was a story arch that kept us glued to our televisions for all those days. It was an interesting sight to see, too, when he was increased to Zord size and whipped the Power Rangers’ ass.