Thursday, July 25, 2019

Week of RangerBar 4: Pumping It Up

I got to Tacoma around 9:30 PM as Batz worked on getting the place ready. I checked out the new Power Rangers: Battle For The Grid console game and after a few hours, we picked up Tron getting in late from New Orleans. MrDire arrived from Kentucky Monday afternoon and Me0w from North Kansas City later in the evening.

The history making Week of RangerBar 4 officially got underway with the Day 1 staple of video games. I brought my Switch and we mostly played Super Smash Bros Ultimate, Battle For The Grid and had the "Fortnite Pacifists Class," with Lil Sorbo and Batz' girlfriend eventually joining us. Afterwards, we dressed up for the forth "Master Vile Villain Ball" and had pizza.

We ventured out to Des Moines to play around at Waterland Arcade and got Chinese food next door at Dragon Gate - in the midst of a downpour and nasty traffic unfortunately. Afterwards, we headed over to Uncle Cecil's for liquor tasting (Batz, Sorbo & I had previously been to), and then pretty much chilled at the Airbnb, while Batz picked up some special guests flying in from Toronto and took them to their hotel for the night. Since tacos was on the schedule, we eventually metup for a late dinner at Red Star Taco Bar around the block from RangerBar.

Tron fixed us breakfast sandwiches as we got up, Batz swung by, and along with Me0w - Tron, Batz and myself walked over to Safeway so Tron could get ready for the evening and grab whatever else was needed for RangerBar and the Airbnb (which we had Tuesday evening through Friday morning). Tron and Sorbo got busy getting food ready and I tried to help at RangerBar as Batz setup the hallway. His sister was the first to arrive and we put on The Princess Bride until the rest of the group started to trickle in. Soon our special guests - Jeff Parazzo and Kevin Duhaney (The White & Blue DinoThunder Power Rangers) arrived and were amazed at the RangerBar. Two really cool dudes who enjoyed getting to just hangout, chat, eat and have drinks - without all the normal convention stuff they're so used to. After a few hours, the food arrived for the nights event - the "Fred Dryer Dinner" - a tribute to the former football star, turned actor. Master Chef Tron served us all up about half a dozen courses while Dryer's show Hunter played on TV. After Jeff and Kevin left, the night kept going as we headed around the block to a bar/nightclub and then hungout at the Airbnb.

Around noon I took a nice walk (about an hour) from the Airbnb over to RangerBar and took a nap while Batz and his girlfriend ran errands and got ready for the evening. It was a great night with the group including Batz' sister joining us again and Shock Top Steve stopping by. Jeff and Kevin again hungout for a couple hours and Batz even arranged for a friends band to perform. There were fireworks as well. Around midnight, Jeff and Kevin said their goodbyes and got in some pics before flying out Friday morning.

For the first event of the day (what would end up being the final one at RangerBar), Batz fixed us a "Boujee Brunch" as we watched Power Rangers Beast Morphers. Later, we headed over to his girlfriends place and he put on the RangerBar "Cajun Country Music & Movie Festival," along with getting us pizza in addition to some exotic foods to go with the theme. Afterwards, we had a fun cupcake bake off event Me0w and Tron won.

We stopped at RangerBar, a tavern and got in a visit to the B&I Shopping Center. Then it was off to Montesano for the nights event - the "My Two Dads Murder Mystery," which we did at Gepetto's Italian Restaurant & Sports Bar. Afterwards, we got more drinks & hungout at Charlie's Sports Bar and then settled in our hotel room.

Left Montesano and hungout at Batz' girlfriends place. Later that evening, we had a quick "SlutRanger Smokedown," immediately followed by "The Tower 4D Experience" and then the "Michael Pare Ice Cream Parade" which I won easily having the most ice cream. The night wrapped up with watching Power Rangers Ninja Storm by candlelight to pay tribute to Shane the Red Ranger whose actor sadly passed away. Tron flew out early Monday morning, followed by Me0w and MrDire. Batz took me back to RangerBar so I could gather all my stuff and I left Tacoma at 4:30.

It was an awesome week with the largest out of state turnout and you couldn't have asked for better guests in Jeff and Kevin, as RangerBar celebrates 10 years with the very first event happening August 15, 2009 (My first event would come about 2 years later). Though the Airbnb situation got kind of dicey with 4 of us and really only 3 places to sleep it worked out having a place not too far. The biggest surprise to come out of it has to be Batz' girlfriend offering me her sweet kitty that I graciously accepted but will be a little bit longer before it's a done deal. Definitely look forward to trying to get another Ranger for Week of RangerBar 5 and whatever other surprises happen by then.


Saturday, June 29, 2019

Looking Back: Power Rangers Operation Overdrive

Like Mystic Force, I enjoyed watching Overdrive again a lot more than when it aired in 2007. Unlike the other Disney seasons however, it got off to a bit of a rocky start with one of weakest two-part premieres, bogged down with an emphasis on civilian powers and how easily the Mansion was discovered. I still kind of hate having Andrew Hartford as a mentor, and as annoying as Rose was a few times alongside Dax being way over-the-top all season, this group of Rangers would become one of my favorites, with Spencer and his quips/one-liners as a great supporting character. Also I realize I forgot how much of a good Red Ranger Mack was, one of my favorite Disney Reds along with Connor.

I really liked how Boukenger was adapted and still think Tyzonn's storyarc of working for Moltor, transforming and becoming the 6th Ranger, was pretty good, though not necessarily the best episodes of the season like I called it back then. I miss the days of having solid episode plots and a season long storyarc like tracking down all the jewels. Among the big plotlines, there were a couple of fillers I thought were excellent as well. For the most part, the way the different villain groups were handled, went pretty well. I especially liked Miratrix & Kamdor and their rivalry with Will (until their final battle anyway). Plus this cast really helped kickoff Power Morphicon and were some of the first Rangers some of us in the fandom (like myself) ever met. Gotta say it is a little weird looking back knowing that Samuell Benta would steal the signed banner and never be heard from again. We also got the last good anniversary season teamup episode to date in "ONCE A RANGER," one of the best returning groups of Rangers that would be hard to ever top. As far as the anniversary seasons go, I'd call Wild Force the best, followed by Overdrive, Megaforce and Ninja Steel.

Until Neo Saban, Overdrive was always the worst season but I can look back now and appreciate the heart & care Jackie Marchand and co. put into it. We would eventually come to find out they were given a smaller budget, preventing more of an Indiana Jones-style story they wanted but for what they had, with Bruce Kalish at the helm, it wasn't all that bad.

Ranking the episodes favorite to least favorite (Updated):
Both Sides Now
One Gets Away
Once a Ranger I-II
Pirate in Pink
Face to Face I-II
Man of Mercury I-II
Nothing to Lose
Things Not Said
Behind the Scenes
Red Ranger Unplugged
Home and Away I-II
Follow the Ranger  
Crown and Punishment 
Heart of Blue 
Ronny on Empty I-II
Kick Into Overdrive I-II
At All Cost
Weather or Not
The Underwater World 
Out of Luck 
Two Fallen Foes
Just Like Me
It's Hammer Time
One Fine Day
Lights, Camera, DAX
Way Back When

Original Wrap-up post

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

PRSNS and Neo Saban Sendoff

The final run for Ninja Steel episodes started out not bad but would soon change.

Though it was weird how the Rangers needed to earn the Blaze zords before the Prism would create them, I liked how they worked in the mysterious cloaked strangers (Wes, Gemma and Koda) as a teaser right before "DIMENSIONS IN DANGER" (or as I like to call it, "Forever Tommy").

Great callback to DinoThunder with Reefside and Tommy's house. I was amazed seeing him use all his powers and how they got all the morph calls perfect (Probably more JDFs doing than Production). Gotta wonder if Zeo Red and Black Dino Master Morpher Power Coins will be for sale at the next PMC. 

Not much of a group morph here unfortunately. Did they have to go cheap for the insta-morph effects? I feel like they're better than this. Even if we had more time, I doubt they would've had them do individual calls but at least a silent insta-morph would've been better than five in one shot. Everyone saying "It's Morphin Time" with the classic pose was pretty cool though. Also loved Falconzord returning. Man it had been SO long. Better fight than Cole destroying Serpentera too. >_>

With only one part, a little too much Ninninger footage and a fast battle, it wasn't great for an anniversary special. They didn't even acknowledge that Tommy and Kat were an item (let alone really give them anything together), which I was kind of surprised by. And aside from the zord portion of the episode, they reverted back on the BGM (before they went full MMPR ripoff), I assumed for dramatic effect. The stuff they gave Tommy was still better than just about all of the regular episodes, so for that, the most deserving 5/5 of Ninja Steel. I'd rank it between "ONCE A RANGER" and "LEGENDARY BATTLE" (the worst).

Following that we got the best filler episode of the entire two years in "LOVE STINGS" - classic love spell plot with Hayley and Preston actually acting like normal people with solid delivery - something Ninja Steel often struggled with. And speaking of struggling, it was pretty much back downhill after this with questionable plot points, execution of the episodes lesson and Victory & Monty getting completely ridiculous. They also manage to blow a chance at doing a good Metal Hero teamup with Sherriff Skyfire in a weird episode about respecting authority. And despite reusing the Halloween Intergalactic Court from Dino Super Charge, I enjoyed "MONSTER MIX-UP" and thought the cast did a great job pretending to be the monsters.

Getting to the finale, I liked Odius' final plan brainwashing civilians and using Mick to help her but the execution was poor leaving little reason to care. The Rangers find out the plan way too easily through simple eavesdropping. I did like evil Dane vs Brody & Levi for a minute while Hayley faces an evil (and unconvincing) Calvin, who of course is able to take out the satellite in one blast. The final battle needed some buffering such as trying to use Lion Fire first than to quickly conclude there was no point. And once Odius is gone, the Rangers just assume everything is fine, completely ignoring Badonna & Cosmo, who for being Generals, are killed off with very little thought. I just wish they had done more with Cosmo, besides when he came to Earth in "GRAVE ROBBER."

The Prism then takes back the power stars only to return them A THIRD TIME in "THE POISY SHOW" - a rather decent end to the Neo Saban era with Poisandra turning Galaxy Warriors into her own talk show with a Christmas special featuring the Rangers while Sledge teams up with Snowfright. We finally get the Sudarso Bro moment with the guys doing the classic morph pose and one last bomb takes out Sledge, Poisandra, Wrench and the entire Warrior Dome for good. Dino Charge was the only real good thing to come out of Neo Saban (especially the first half) in what was otherwise the worst seasons of PR ever.

I still gotta call Samurai and its bad start to Neo Saban the worst season, though ironically, also the best finale and end-of-season-arc (mainly due to translating Shinkenger) but it was sure rough getting there with little originality and childlike acting. Ninja Steel is next which had problems other seasons didn't... Some of the worst episode plots and plot execution ever... Refusing to have any genuine conflict... Ridiculous over-the-top comedy... An atrocious amount of closure... Kind of makes Megaforce look a little better now which had one of the best casts, one of the best midseason cliffhangers with the Armada arriving, a better school setting and plots, but still relied on too much sentai over originality, completely screwed the buildup to the Legendary Battle, and what could've been a good season long tribute to the PR legacy.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Arrowverse Elseworlds: Countdown to a Crisis

This years Arrowverse event really switched things up and was pretty fun to watch. Loved seeing Oliver & Barry adapt to eachothers powers/abilities, try to be kind of like eachother and learn more about themselves in the process.While I'm still not a fan of this version of red, I enjoyed Oliver try to be the Flash on the fly (of course still saying the catch phrase) and Barry getting the line in as well. A lot more great moments throughout this like the callback to Flash v Arrow and the AMAZO acronym.

Only thing missing from the Smallville tribute was Tom Welling as a stable boy (haha). And since I'm still on the DVDs (watching a season a year), the show has never really gone away for me.

Nice work with this version of Gotham though some of those city views were much brighter and lit than when I'm used to from the Fox show. I really just want a Superman spinoff after all this but I'll certainly take Batwoman. Plus, I liked how they got in the hallucinations of Merlyn & Thawne (Wells).

I thought Felicity would be in this more but after everything she's been going through, storywise I get it. Nice to finally see more Supergirl cast in a crossover. I wish Earth 90 Flash had stuck around but I simply took it as they never intended to have Shipp do more than stand around in the suit anyway. Also gotta wonder if Gary (from Legends of Tomorrow) was undercover.

Less characters and supporting cast but more focus on the core 3 was a good tradeoff I thought. I knew Elseworlds would possibly be setting up for the next crossover and sure enough I was still surprised by the cliffhanger ending, with Crisis On Infinite Earths announced for next fall. Can't wait to see how they pull it off, especially with the scheduling difficulties having everyone in Crisis on Earth-X had. I could see it launching the season next October as more of a mini-movie or at least filming it first if literally everyone is to be involved. And will it have an impact on the shows later this season? Gonna make for an interesting 2019. 🙂

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Power Morphicon 2018: Zordon Lives

Another long, exciting PMC Week kicked off Monday evening (8/13) as Batz and I left Ranger Bar around 5:30 to pickup Lil Sorbo and Batz' girlfriend before our road trip could begin. I was kind of surprised at how well I did in the car so long, a much different story than back in February, when I was just miserable taking the red eye with my folks to Houston (and then Mexico) for my sisters wedding. We reached southern California around 11:00 and after stopping for lunch at In-n-Out Burger, it was on to Disneyland the rest of the day Wednesday, my first time back since spending a day there in 2006. Thursday we did California Adventure Park and Disneyland once more on Friday.

Just before 6:00 I headed off next door to the Anaheim Convention Center and was glad I didn't make it much earlier after hearing how bad things had been with a very long, endless registration line (some apparently waiting as much as 5 hours) and the floor opening a half hour late. It only took me about an hour and a half to get my badge, enough time to check out the floor a bit and meet Claire Blackwelder (Kendall, Dino Charge) before No Pink Spandex Live started at 8:30. Afterwards, I got through the exodus leaving Disneyland to meetup with the gang again inside.

Saturday I saw Hasbro's toys presentation at 11:00, which I hoped would have something about next years Beast Morphers line but was mostly news about the Legacy Wars mobile game and a new HQ line of figures called Lightning Collection. Up next was the Ninja Steel Q&A and our Beast Morphers cast reveal with Instagram star/martial artist Jackie Scislowski quickly becoming my new Yellow Ranger crush. 🙂 I stuck around for the Mighty Morphin 25th anniversary panel at 1:15 and grabbed lunch after. Back on the floor, I met Brennan Mejia (Tyler, Dino Charge) and Nikolai Nikolaeff (Dominic, Jungle Fury), right before the panel with a mix of Disney era cast (Operation Overdrive/Mystic Force/Jungle Fury). New to the convention scene, he was pretty cool and gave out posters to all of us at the panel before he would be heading out shortly. I then got busy meeting more PMC first-timers - Katrina Browne (Kapri, Ninja Storm), my original Power Ranger crush Katrina Devine (Marah, Ninja Storm & Cassidy, DinoThunder), and Adelaide Kane (Tenaya 7, RPM). Also said hi to Kelson Henderson, who played several supporting characters in the Disney era and returned for Ninja Steel. I don't read the Power Ranger comic books but without much else to do with the floor closing 6:00, I went to the Shattered Grid live reading and boy was it a good idea. Cast & voice actor alumni did the characters, including Barbara Goodson reprising Rita Repulsa and a cameo from Rita's henchmen Squatt. Zordon himself lived again as well, thanks to David Fielding and some special equipment - the greatest moment of the ENTIRE weekend.

I metup with the gang after and it was time to start getting ready for the Angel Grove High School Prom '96 That Hashtag Show was putting on and the Ranger Bar Pink Dolphin Party in our hotel room for the night that would follow. Prom was fun and then our party got underway with a handful of folks coming to hangout including Christopher Khaymen Lee (Andros, In Space), dropping by with his posse later on. One of the last ones up, it was after 5am by the time everyone left and I called it a night (albeit a short one), while Lil Sorbo escorted a guy back.

Sunday I saw the Yellow Rangers panel at 11:00 and then met Kevin Kleinberg (Trip, Time Force) and got a few things at JC's Henshin Vault booth. It was also pretty cool taking in RJ Cyler being there, the only 2017 movie cast member to appear at a PMC thus far. He had a very solid line the entire weekend, alongside Jason David Frank who was swarmed his only day there Saturday. At 2:00 I caught the In Space panel (This year being the 20th anniversary of that season) and then said hi to Caitlin Murphy (Ronny, Operation Overdrive), one of the first cast members I ever met at the original PMC. At 4:00 was a rather luckluster Bulk & Skull panel, with Paul Schrier joined by The Bruce and some kids on stage, after Jason Narvy had to catch a flight earlier. PMC then had a short closing ceremony, confirming a return to Anaheim in 2020 to closeout the weekend. Team Ranger Bar soon headed off to get dinner and then the journey back to Washington began. After stopping for lunch before noon on Monday, we dropped off Batz' girlfriend, Lil Sorbo and then myself, getting home around the same time we originally left Ranger Bar.

As the convention continues to grow (setting a new attendance record this year), moving to Anaheim was definitely the right call, offering plenty of space on the floor including awesome displays of full suits and a wall of helmets to commemorate 25 years of the show from new owner Hasbro - a very exciting time to be having a PMC. I got off easier than others waiting in line to get my badge but pretty much anyone would say that have got to get things handled a lot better to avoid this mess happening again. Getting my gold membership perks and exclusives (shirts, hoodie, coins, pins, etc) went smoothly for me as well, waiting until Saturday afternoon, after the line had diminished. Navigating past actors tables still got tricky when people had lines but that's to be expected no matter the venue. I was a little disappointed by the lack of Dino Charge cast but was glad I got to talk to two out of the three who were there. With how poor Ninja Steel has often been, I don't plan on making them much of a priority next time, instead concentrating on recent cast I've missed (depending on who goes) and classic era almuni I keep missing or could repeat again after several years (2020 being the 10th anniversary of the first time it was in Pasadena). Also, it's still hard to top how likeable the Megaforce cast is off the show, the fun they have and talking to them all in 2016.

Being next door to Disneyland was big as well - pretty hot for all the running around but fun seeing the attractions and experiencing some fun & crazy rides. We had a nice AirBnB for three nights too. Props to the team - Lil Sorbo, Batz for handling where we'd be staying and his girlfriend for fixing us breakfast a couple mornings.

- Disneyland Gallery
- PMC Gallery
- Ranger Bar Facebook

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Super Stale Ninja Steel

Super Ninja Steel began just as bad as the end of the first-half, on par with Super Megaforce for bad anniversary seasons. First I gotta say, they really put together a great intro this year, I feel like one of the best since the original classic era. The presentation and flow of the clips is just perfect to me.

I liked how they tied directly into the end of Dino Super Charge with Sledge & crew coming out of the wormhole and taking the asteroid after Odius had it stripped. Things did get a bit sloppy, saying both "super ninja steel" and "ninja super steel," as well as Badonna switching groups, when we obviously never saw her before this. Once we returned to Summer Cove High School, things just went downhill. A new school year? Really? We're supposed to believe Odius waited about 9 months?! I do like having her as the main villain this year and never have I rooted for the enemy so much.

The Rangers fighting without their powers was good and I wish had gone on longer but instead getting new Ninja Power Stars was rushed and badly executed. And sure, a lot of exposition is nothing new, but it felt like they were really pushing it, trying too hard to make it clear what was going on. One of the worst midseason premieres of the Super halves. If only they could be two parts like the first premiere.

From there it didn't get much better with episodes continuing to be bogged down by lame plots. Calvin forgetting his anniversary with Hayley, thinking she was cheating on him with Preston, the Summer Cove students & Rangers becoming addicted to a handheld video game... We did get a good Levi episode mixed in (easily the best this year) and Sarah's mom & Hayley's dad kind of getting together was alright too. I like the Galactic Ninjas and Odius taking the power medallions, as well as having another episode with Sarah & her hoverboard. We barely get midseason cliffhangers anymore and ending the spring episodes with Odius defeating the Lion Fire Megazord & burning out the zord stars was pretty good. The bar is set so low now though and it's looking like we'll be back to lame fillers after "OUTFOXED" & "DIMENSIONS IN DANGER." Plus I enjoy how the BGM switched to a full on MMPR ripoff, but they're kind of crossing the line using a very similar Bulk & Skull theme for Victor & Monty.