Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Five Things Dino Charge Simply Must Have

News of Judd Lynn's return to Power Rangers has inspired hope for a return to form for the franchise. Before reality sets in, here's a list of five things I believe Dino Charge simply must have.

5. A Mentor

"I'm going to murder you."

Let's get real for a moment. Power Rangers hasn't had a mentor figure since Jungle Fury. Sure, you have Doctor K, Ji, and even Gosei serve their purpose of handing out power ups and arsenal or expelling expository dialogue. But when was the last time we had a mentor who.... was a mentor to the team? We need a wise old sage who's seen a thing or two. Who has something of value to teach the Rangers, and in turn, the intended audience.

4. Secret Identities

"Oh, goodness. Look at my wrist. I gotta go."

The juggling act of a super hero with a secret identity is not only an integral component of early Power Rangers, but a staple in the entire super hero genre. How the Rangers struggle to keep their powers a secret adds storytelling variety to a series vulnerable to monotonous repetition. Watching the Rangers balance saving the world and homework is a key ingredient.

3. A New Beginning

"Not bad, rookie."

When Abaranger came around, the dinosaur theme was as good an excuse as any to bring the series back to its roots. Teenagers with attitude. Kyoryugerr is presenting a similar opportunity, and after a 20 season team up event, this seems like a good time to start fresh. Lay the groundwork for a new Ranger era. Seal the deal with a well placed torch passing cameo from Austin St. John. 

2. A Story to Tell
All things were possible in Dino Thunder.

The best seasons have a story to tell. It doesn't have to be a complex or particularly complicated story, but a coherent one. This means riding that line of knowing when to draw from the source material and when to veer in a different direction. The Sentai is your road map, but don't stray away from taking detours or finding a new, better way to reach your destination. Make the journey an interesting one.

1. Characters

Run up to any 25 year old and yell "MAKE MY MONSTER GROW!" 
They will instantly know exactly what you're talking about.

Power Rangers has never been a source of nuanced, complicated characters. And it doesn't need to be. We don't need well written characters, we need memorable ones. Villains with big, larger than life personalities. Monsters of the week with distinct voices. Bumbling bullies. Kind hearted allies in the fight against evil. Rangers with unshakable resolve and a cringe inducing need to always do the right thing. In short, give us someone to root for.

That's my two cents. What do you think Dino Charge simply must have?

Friday, May 17, 2013

Power Rangers Super Megaforce - Cameo Catastrophe Chronicles

Updated 5/17

For centuries, groups of brave warriors known as Power Rangers have been called upon to protect our world from evil. Now, the future of humankind rests in the hands of a few ordinary teens with one extraordinary destiny.  The 20th Season of Power Rangers will include flashbacks, weapons, and characters from previous seasons, and promises to be the most exciting season yet!
March 18, 2013

Donovan Grobbelaar posts a photo via Twitter of the Black Wildforce Ranger on set for Super Megaforce. Speculation about possible cameos for the upcoming season begins:

March 19, 2013
Ciara Hanna via Instagram:
April 21, 2013

Blake Foster via Twitter:
New Zealand ??? Whattttt???? Here I come #justinstewart #spandexshape #bluecrew
Roger Velasco via Twitter:
Black is back! It's where its @...

 April 24, 2013

Hector David Jr. via Twitter:
"New Zealand... Nuff said''

April 25, 2013

Alex Hartman photographed on the set of Super Megaforce:

April 26, 2013

Rangercrew via Twitter:
The casting team has reached out to most of the cast members from the original Saban era.

April 27, 2013

Jason Faunt via Twitter:
Gonna miss L.A. Next month, from Detroit to Vegas to New Zealand... #allover the world..

 April 29, 2013

Samuel Benta announces via Twitter he will be returning to Power Rangers. Learn more about Benta here.

April 30, 2013

Najee De-Tiege via Twitter:
Its a Official Saban Brands Contacted me & my Cast to come Back 2 NewZealand, & Film Some Power Rangers Episodes!...

May 2, 2013

Steve Cardenas via Facebook:
Th offer was too low and there's not a lot of character development. Just basically going to be in the background as an extra. I would've loved to do it but I could possibly take that amount of time away from my business for that little amount of money. I'm sorry but I believe that it's them that's letting the fans down because they want to get away with paying too little. I hope you understand.

 May 3, 2013

Rangerboard member kalenabear writes:
I did not hear from the direct source yet (meeting up next week!), but another TF ranger will likely not be returning for the same reasons as Cardenas. She was only offered to be in one scene, so it wouldn't have been worth the time & money. I think E is also filming a small indie film this month. But who knows, Faunt may pull her into it. Again, I'm just hearing this from management!

May 4, 2013

Rhett Fisher via Twitter:
Guess who was invited to do a cameo on PR Megaforce and then un-invited the next week because of budget restrictions. #majorletdown#titanium
Amit Bhaumik via Twitter:
Budget limitations are "change that fight scene on the Eiffel Tower to an abandonded warehouse" not "cut one of the guest stars."
In Addition:
Sadly, Rhett wasn't the first to be asked to come back this season only for Jonathan to change his mind afterwards.

May 6, 2013

Jason David Frank via Facebook:
"I'm sorry to inform you that I will not be able to attend Puerto Rico Comic Con 2013. Although I enjoyed my time in last year's event and planned on meeting more of my fans this year, due to circumstances beyond my control, I will not be able to attend. It was a very difficult decision, however, I have decided to partake in a new filming project out of the country that interferes with the event. This is a very important project that I cannot miss."
 Karan Ashley announces via her online radio show that she declined an offer to return for a cameo appearance. She reveals that a generic e-mail was sent out to every past Ranger.

May 7, 2013

Matt Austin via Youtube:
First. I don't know what email Saban sent out. As far as I know - nobody in Disney era cast recieved a letter. Second. I totally get Karan. PR is one of the most top rated kids series in the world - the actors get paid peanuts to do it relative to any other show on television that doesn't play in every foreign market on earth. I actually make more at my current joe job per hour than they ever paid. They make tons of money off of licensing and merchandise, that doesn't trickle down to the actor. To ask cast (except me apparently) to go down to Z, essentially for free when you subtract food/airfare/hotel and the time away from responsibilities at home - is a LOSS. This is one of the major reasons why you started to have a rotating cast. So there aren't any contract negotiations. You have the cast. You milk them and then you cut them off. It's one of the reasons SPD/Mystic Force didn't have a team up. Wish it were different. I love the show and I love the fans. #Buttery
In addition:
Last thing i'll say on this & you may Tumblr away at will. Saban probably doesn't even know who Bridge is, let alone who I am... and they will most likely never hire me as an actor or filmmaker. What has Saban done for you? You guys shat on Disney when they took over the franchise. Sure Disney might have messed up PR continuity, but they cared about the stories they were telling and the people involved. Say what you will, but this is the company we should be saluting for bring us more Star Wars.

May 9, 2013

Rangercrew owner Fury Diamond writes:
Jason Smith will appear in his own "tribute" episode.
David Yost via Twitter:
I've been contacted.
Rangercrew owner Fury Diamond posts the generic Ranger e-mail:
We had been entertaining the possibility of past Rangers joining us for the longest time and didn't think it was possible to do. Due to so many requests from a number of past Rangers (as well as an overwhelming amount of requests from the fans, too!) we, as a production, talked it over and agree that it is a fabulous idea that we would like to make happen. This is also a wonderful opportunity to acknowledge all of the loyal fans and thank them for their support over 20 years. We want this to happen and we want as many of you as possible over here with us!!

Next comes the nitty-gritty of organizing such a task. The unfortunate reality is that including past Rangers was not part of our original budget. In order to include as many of you as possible in this shoot, we do not have massive funds at the individual level to offer each of you. We do hope that you bear this in mind as you consider our offer.

Your travel would depart LA on approx: May 22nd to arrive in NZ on May 24th, this day would be for fittings, then filming would take place on May 25th and 26th. May 27th would be a sightseeing day that we will organize, with your flight departing that evening

Please consider what this would mean to the fans to have so many past Rangers together in the same place at the same time.
New Zealand is a beautiful country and the current Rangers and crew here would all be honored to have you join us for this special 20th anniversary. We will try our best for sunny weather while you're here, too!

We truly wish that we were able to offer you more, and we hope that you will still consider this opportunity to join us as a Ranger once again.
It would be tremendous to welcome you here.

May 10, 2013

Pua Magasiva via Twitter:
(When asked about being asked to return) no afraid not my man
SPD weighs in via Twitter:
(when asked about being asked to return)
Brandon Jay McLaren: Not I
Matt Austin: Nope. But I think "Sam the speck" was.
Chris Violette: they dropped us like its hot!
Brandon Jay Mclaren: The viaduct wouldn't know what hit'em
Chris Violette: let's just fly in anyway haha
Bruce Kalish: Sam's living with me. I got him a green card and did cameo in IM3
Rangerboard member kalenabear writes:
Hung out with Erin (Jen, PRTF) last night and she confirmed that she'll be out of the country in the last two weeks of May (not in NZ), which is when Super Megaforce would be filming the cameos, per Fury's message. Then Erin sent me this today, referring to Tokunation's article,

"So, a friend just sent me the article below.
Oh no! I don't want fans to be upset with me!
I TRULY want to do it, but the show is not Union anymore. The bottom line is I can't risk union status to do it. :-(. I have been so sad over not being able to. How can I reach out to my fans and let them know?
Sally Martin via Twitter:
 (when asked about being asked to return) Nope I didn't
Melanie Vallejo via Twitter:
(When asked about being asked to return) I'm not sure what that is..? So no...
David Yost via Twitter:
Megaforce=No 4 me. They lost me when the offer started "Dear Power Ranger" & had several grammatical errors. #donewithabusiverelationships
Alan Palmer via Twitter:
(When being asked about being asked to return) No, we didn't. It would have been a blast!
Rangercrew owner Fury Diamond posts this message from Valerie Vernon:
One month wasn't enough time..especially when you have kids. If I was given two to three months to plan for it I could have gone. I'm so bummed! I was looking forward to seeing some of my old friends! Maybe they'll do another one soon! I'd love to be in the next one!

May 13, 2013

Jason Faunt via Twitter:
It's official, I will be heading to New Zealand to film power rangers for the reunion, will be playing the role of Wes!
 Rangercrew owner Fury Diamond writes:
One of my sources has confirmed that 10 past cast members have signed contracts and already completed their fitting. Some of these cast members are not active with the fandom and Power Rangers conventions. Jason Faunt confirmed earlier today and Danny Slavin may be one of the other cast members. The Samurai Cast members are not included in the 10 members.

Several cast members got the invite but didn't get the uninvite letter. They are waiting for production to make a decision. These cast members are very excited to return.

My guess is that the production team only allocated for 10 past cast members.
In addition:
Jessica Rey has been invited and would LOVE to return for the fans. Her manager is not getting a straight answer from production, which is confusing because Jessica has supported the show at fan conventions and online forums throughout the years.

Some of the cast members, including Jessica, got the invite and still waiting for the confirmation or uninvite email. The filming is on May 25-26th so it'll be a shame if they send them an uninvite at the last minute. Props go to the cast members who are truly interested in returning but can't due to (1) last minute invites which leads no time for planning, (2) uninvite emails, or (3) invite followed by no response.
The same day, Fury Diamond leaks a list of confirmed Rangers:
I got off the phone with my source with a fun list of confirmed cameos. I am waiting confirmation for the final one. They said that only 10 members were confirmed. I don't know whether they are planning for additional cameos since several cast members are still waiting for confirmation / uninvites.

Jason David Frank
Danny Slavin
Melody Perkins
Reggie Rolle
Selwyn Ward
Sean Johnson
Hector David Jr
Brittany Pirtle
Jason Faunt

The 10 cast members may not get a tribute / focus episode. They are only filming for two days. A few of my sources hinted that the past Rangers will be under used.

I wouldn't be surprised if they appear in a single scene in the final episode. I'm still glad that we are getting some great cast members. It's just a shame that several cast members (who are interested in returning) were declined.

May 14, 2013

Catherine Sutherland via Facebook:
I know you are all anxious to know about the reunion episode but please don't jump to conclusions that rangers are not returning because they are not being paid enough money. There is a lot involved. Be patient. All will be revealed...

May 15, 2013

Walter Jones via Twitter:
I just want to say sorry to all the Power Ranger Fans! I will not be in Super Mega Force. It would have been great though!

 May 16, 2013

TMZ writes an article titled Black Power Ranger - Also BOYCOTTING REUNION in Support of Blue Buddy:
Now original Black Power Ranger Walter Jones tells TMZ he was treated pretty badly, too ... and he's following his friend's lead.

"I'm very sorry to disappoint the fans as I would have loved to be a part of it," Jones tells TMZ. "David, who I still keep in touch with regularly, is a very great guy and it would have been fun to work together again on something we helped originate."

But sources close to the situation tell TMZ the alleged abuse isn't the only factor ... that both Yost and Jones are holding out in part because the show isn't offering enough money to make up for the way producers treated them.

May 16, 2013

Rangercrew owner Fury Diamond writes:
My source hinted that Jason Smith has written a few episodes for Power Rangers Super Megaforce. Jason is known for his acting role on Home and Away and Power Rangers. Jason started writing episodes for Home and Away last year.
 Nakia Burise via Facebook:
Hi everyone, many people have asked me if I will be a part of the PR reunion. Unfortunately, PR did not follow through with what they said. So I will not be a part of the reunion. ..and money had nothing to do with it. Thanks for everyone's support.
Blake Foster via Facebook:
Hey guys, I'm sorry to announce that it looks like I will not be appearing in the Power Rangers Super Megaforce reunion. Like with many of my fellow cast-mates, Saban Brands did not follow through with the terms that we discussed. I'm not sure why, but I guess that's just the way it goes ...money was not the issue. I am not here to dog Saban Brands -- not my style, but I didn't want you guys continuing to hold onto false hope. Thanks for your continued support. #BlueCrew

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Power Rangers Megaforce "Mega Mission"

What Happened

Power Rangers Megaforce is the story of a narcoleptic teenager named Troy. While experiencing delusions of grandeur on a bus ride to his new high school, he sees a spandex clad flash mob charging an army of mechanical men. This is the most normal thing that will happen to him today.

After arriving late to his first class, Troy is introduced to four good natured classmates with many great qualities. They would make a formidable fighting force, should a talking wall decoration ever summon them to fight the forces of an evil space alien invasion.

Meanwhile, an evil space alien invasion is about to begin. Some kind of alien, hovering above Earth in his space ship, decides the planet is no match for his army and decides to invade. Once Earth is under attack, Troy and his friends Gia, Noah, Emma, and Jake are teleported into a dark cave that is ventilated with a single fan spinning at a snails pace.

There they meet Olmec, a giant talking head mentored by Zordon, and his counterpart Wall-E. They present the five teens with awesome Ranger powers and send them on a mission that is mega. The teens use their new powers to defeat the aliens and save the city. The team returns to their new base and Olmec congratulates them on their first victory as the Power Rangers Megaforce!

Permission to fangasm? Granted.

What Worked

  1. The episode opens strong with premonitions of the Legend War. It even includes an American exclusive shot or two, reassuring the Sentai aficionados they have some unseen footage to look forward to. The fact that it pops up in the opening titles too gives me hope this isn't the last we'll hear about the Legend War until the finale.
  2. Power Rangers returns to high school and it works pretty well here. Mr. Burley is a welcome addition to the cast of characters, and pulls off an eccentric, but not too over the top teacher. The return of Ernie's as a place for the Rangers to hang out outside of class is a fun nod to the past.
  3. The first unmorphed fight was well choreographed with each Ranger attacking in a unique style (or in the case of Noah, hiding). It blended will into the morphed footage, which did a good job of demonstrating each Ranger and how their tech works.
  4. Initially, the announcement of using Goseiger footage for the anniversary season was confusing at best. After seeing the footage in use though, the Gosei aesthetic mirrors MMPR pretty well.

My mentor Ernie placed me here to serve smoothies to the planets youth.

What Kinda Worked
  1. Mega Mission is clearly intended to be an homage to Day of the Dumpster, but plays more like an outright remake. That's not a bad thing, but I feel like there were a few missteps.
    • There's no refusal to the call to adventure by the Rangers, and they seemed way too willing to believe everything that just happened to them.They were in disbelief for all of two seconds before charging onto the battlefield. Shortening the following fight could have given this scene more time to breath and be a bit more believable.
    • Some of the direct references felt unnecessary or out of place. The Kimberly line at the end didn't fit the tone of the scene and felt out of character for Gia.
    • It was nice they brought the Juice Bar back, but did it really have to be called Ernie's?

  2. The base of operations looks a little cheap at times. It's hard not to chuckle the first time Gosei speaks. The Ranger statue decorations lining the walls are a nice touch, though. I'm curious to hear an in-show explanation for why the base is lined with past Rangers, unless it's strictly because 'it's an anniversary season!' Then I will be sad.
  3. A few nuggets of continuity were tossed around this episode. How they decide to follow up on these callbacks, if at all, will effect my opinion of said callbacks. 

'Creeping Loogie' needs to be added to Urban Dictionary.

What Went Wrong

  1. The villains are exceptionally generic this year. None of the monsters have any presence and I wouldn't have known who was in charge if not for one of them being called 'Master.'
  2. It seemed a little early to toss out the first Monster of the Day. Having the Rangers scrape with one of Malkor's generals would have helped the flow of the episode.

Bottom Line
Mega Mission is a solid opener that offers hope that Megaforce will be a worthy anniversary for Power Rangers.
3 bananas out of 5

Monday, July 2, 2012

Power Rangers Megaforce Graphic Novels by PAPERCUTZ Confirmed

Courtesy of Fury Diamond of Rangercrew:

Papercutz will be releasing Power Rangers Megaforce Graphic Novels next year! Special thanks goes to Papercutz for sending me the latest information.
Power Rangers Megaforce Issue 3 "Gamer's End" Ranger Theo heads to a gaming con to cheer one of his buddies. But Creepox is there, and he lures Theo into a back room to show him a new video game that looks suspiciously like the convention floor. Unfortunately for the Rangers, it is not a game at all - the fight is on, and it's being unwittingly controlled by their friend!
Power Rangers Megaforce Issue 4 "Panic in the Park" Why is the Yellow Ranger missing while her friends engage in an epic showdown with one of Admiral Malkor's minions? Is the villain somehow using the most innocent Ranger as part of an even deadlier plan?
You can now pre-order Issues #3 and #4 on Amazon.
Issue 3: Gamer's End. Releases Jan 8.
Issue 4: Panic in the Parade. Releases April 16.       

Friday, June 29, 2012

Power Rangers Super Samurai 'Trading Places'

What Happened
As the Fire Ferrets prepare for the Pro Bending championship match, Amon issues a warning to Republic City that they must cancel the event.  Korra and Lin convince the council to let the match continue.. Wait, this isn't right.

"With my last breath, I curse Tarlock!"

What Worked
-Anytime this series makes reference to the past or foreshadows future events I must award it a gold star.  We were treated twice this episode with Switchbeast mentioning his boss, who i'm assuming will be Serrator (thanks Clash of the Red Rangers!), and Mike recalling a past monster fight.
-The whole trapping people in objects schtick reminded me of the Mighty Morphin' days, and not in a bad ways. 
 -Most of the body switching gags were admittedly pretty amusing.  Adding a sense of urgency with the cat eating Antonio and Bulk on the wrong side of a boot helped the momentum of the episode.  
-Say what you will about Alex Heartman, his performance as Jayden as a lawn gnome was impeccable.

Some comment about the wooden performances in 
Samurai are probably in order.

What Went Wrong
-This felt like a half-hearted attempt at a Mike focus episode.  It seems a little weird that the Ranger characterized as the loner would be apprehensive about fighting nearly solo.  Maybe it could have been about Mike becoming so reliant on others after joining the team that he needed a situation like this to break his overdependence.  Or maybe i'm making too much out of that scene.
-There goes Ji again, overlooking the female Ranger in favor of giving Mike the power up.
-I don't think Mike thought through the possible rammifications of putting the soul of a monster of the week in a Ranger body.  Thankfully Switchbeast was too stupid too summon a Zord or Symbol Power a portal to the Sanzu River or something.
-As with Shell Game, I feel the biggest flaw with both episodes is how unremarkable and forgettable they are.  Once could argue that describes Samurai and Super Samurai as a whole, but this string of episodes in particular leave very little to reflect on.  Other than Kevin wearing a tutu, of course.

I'm really looking forward to episode 30 to see if 
Kevin's choice has to do with his lifestyle.

Wait, What?
-According to Emily, the power of the Black Box allowed Mike and herself to pilot the Megazord by themselves.  Nevermind the fact that the team had reverted back to normal already and could have joined in the fight.

What to Remember
-Super Samurai Mode (Green) Debut

Bottom Line
Super Samurai fanatics aside, you'll probably find yourself wishing you could trade places with someone watching a different program.
2 bananas out of 5

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Power Rangers Super Samurai 'Shell Game'

What Happened

The Rangers must defeat a new foe with an impenetrable shell before he destroys the city.  Without the aide of Antonio, the team must rely on teamwork and the new Super Samurai mode to defeat the Nighlok.

This is 'Fran picks up Lilly's Solar Morpher' level of cruel 

What Worked

-I thoroughly enjoyed the fight sequence with Armadeevil.  The different tactics used by the Rangers helped prevent the monster fight from becoming another by the numbers brawl.  The different elemental attack combos were great.
 -Some of the physical comedy from Bulk and Spike, as well as the visual gags involving an unaware Antonio made for some genuine humor. 

Ladies and gentlemen, your 6th Samurai Ranger.

What Went Wrong

-This episode began with another clumsy attempt at foreshadowing the events of the episode.  Still not quite as as obscene as the intro to I've Got a Spell on Blue.
-The Bulk and Spike subplot was frustrating.  It was a funny concept, but as the episode wore on I realized nothing significant would come of it.  They were basically an excuse for Antonio to not have his morpher.  They served their purpose for the episode, but there were so many more potential yuks to be had.
-Antonio really looked like a dunce, sitting there fishing while the city was engulfed in flames behind him.  Minor point.

The yellow, hanging non sequiturs make their triumphant 
return.  Continuity!

What to Remember

-Super Samurai Mode (Blue) Debut

Bottom Line

The missing phone and missing Ranger was a sleight of hand designed to trick you into believing that Shell Game was anything other than filler.
2 bananas out of 5

Monday, June 11, 2012

Power Rangers Super Samurai "Super Samurai"

What Happened

When the Sanzu River begins to seep into the city, the Nighlok Arachnitor uses it to replenish his strength and continuously attack the city.  The Rangers have to hold off the monster's attacks long enough for Antonio to unlock the Black Box and release Super Samurai Mode. 

"I'm gettin' too old for this schtick."

What Worked

-The Bulk and Spike stuff felt much more woven into the episode than what we've seen previously.  They're still inconsequential to the overall outcome of the episode, but at least now related to the events happening.

-The unmorphed fight between the Rangers and the Moogers was well executed, and blended very nicely with the Japanese footage.

-The Super Mega Mode is another great looking US original suit.  Unfortunately, it's strictly Megazord cockpit attire yet again.
 -The random moment when Arachnitor frightens a herd of sheep, then proceeds to chase them.

"No offense to the Elvis Jacket, but this would be much 
more useful in combat."

What Went Wrong

-With a name like Super Mega Mode, this series has almost reached critical mass in terms of unoriginality.  With Power Rangers Megaforce on it's way, I don't suspect much improvement in the near future.
-I was on board with the Rangers temporarily losing their powers, and having to fight off the Moogers until Antonio could activate the black box.  However, I felt like there was so much untapped potential in this episode that could have elevated it to a really stellar season premiere.
What did Antonio do differently to unlock the new powers?  There should have been some new technique or creative, unconventional method of opening the box.  Similarly, I feel the team should have earned the Super Samurai Mode.  Maybe they've become too reliant on their Symbol Power and Ranger forms, and then suddenly lose their powers.  They're forced to rely on their training and teachings, being reminded never to take their power for granted.  When the battle is all but lost, they receive the Super Samurai Mode.  Or something.
-The Nighlok Arachnitor and the Sanzu river seeping into the city never felt particularly menacing or worthy of the Rangers having to kick it up a notch with a new power up.  The Sanzu puddles were plugged with relative ease, and the Nighlok didn't do much to demonstrate his strength in battle.

We'll have to be... SUPER SAMURAI.
No joke here, this was actually how they ended the episode.

What to Remember

-Super Samurai Mode (Red) Debut

-Super Mega Mode (Red) Debut

-Claw Armor Megazord Debut

Bottom Line

Super Samurai is a slow start to a season overwhelmingly labeled as 'SUPER.'
2.5 Bananas out of 5