Monday, May 21, 2018

Looking Back: Power Rangers Mystic Force

I like watching these Disney era seasons again several years later (In this case it had been a bit over 11 years since Mystic Force aired). I remembered it as being not that good, a common theme I'd say from around mid-SPD through late in Jungle Fury. Back then, it was fun to pick on the shows flaws (and listen to Rangercast do so), which led me to start blogging about every episode, which you can find here. But that was then. Now I appreciate Mystic Force a lot more.

The magic theme and Underworld really worked for me and the backstory of the great war that took place was fun to see again, which I now highly regard as the best structured story of the Kalish seasons (To this day, the only magic based season of Power Rangers). We had some good episodes adapting Magiranger footage which I loved (most notably "THE GATEKEEPER," "HEIR APPARENT" and "LIGHT SOURCE" two-parters). The humor was handled good too with Phineas and Clare doing most of it (Oh how I miss that today). Looking back, I kind of think of it as a precursor to Super Megaforce using Gokaiger. This season also gave us one of my favorite Green Rangers (Xander) and a fun guy in Chip (Yellow). I liked having John Tui back right after SPD as Daggeron, and Barnie Duncan playing Toby (and doing a brief Piggy cameo from SPD) was awesome.

Mystic Force still had some glaring problems... Nick, one of the worst Red Rangers of the shows history helped contribute to a bit of a downturn in the second half as he really got a lot of the focus, as well as how they kind of rushed through The Ten Terrors. Vida (Pink) was also pretty bad (especially early on), while Madison (Blue) just never got much focus. This season also infamously dropped the ball by making what many thought was a different show than what the premiere trailer looked like. After the premiere, the forest creatures weren't seen again until the finale, which had a laughable final battle with the seasons big bad getting overstuffed on magic to defeat him. They went a little too far with all the revivals as well, I thought.

The flaws are only part of an otherwise good story and while there are several seasons better, we've seen a lot worse over the years since. In 21 seasons (season 1 - Ninja Steel) I'd rank Mystic Force right in the middle.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

PRNS Wrap-up: Ninja Epic Fail

Ninja Steel first-half concluded with the final six episodes, a fitting end to a season that at times was so offensively bad, even worse than all of the Bruce Kalish years. First up, decent 3/5 for "MONKEY BUSINESS" - one of those wacky-monster episodes that had Phonepanzee recording the Rangers voices. I liked the idea of recreating scenes with Redbot being the hero but the book deal plot was pretty lame, giving his episode a 2/5. "ABRAKADANGER" was also not executed that well, leading to a slightly better 3/5. That was an awfully thick book for having only ten spells and this makes me wish Mahou Sentai Abrakaranger would be a real thing someday. Nice focus on Haley with the tennis match.

We then got my favorite Sarah episode of the season. I liked how involved her mom tried to be and the hoverboard is still my favorite thing. Even though Victor & Monty really blew it at the end and Mick didn't bother to check outside what was going on, I'll stick with a 4/5. But Mick acknowledging they were almost out of the ninja steel after it was ALSO MENTIONED a few episodes prior, was another example of the idiotic writing this show has... which leads to the finale.

I gotta say it didn't start out too bad. Galvanax has the Power Stars, then Brody gets away as the others are taken to the ship. Making Mick a Red Ranger was one of the few things this season got right though it was pretty half-assed how they did it with his and Dane's stars magically coming out of the prism from Brody's shattered star. I would've liked it a lot more if Dane had been possessing the prism this entire time. What lame excuse will he have to not be around for most of Super Ninja Steel? Plus I liked how it was the season finale of Galaxy Warriors.

As if Victor & Monty escaping from making the villains suffer bad gas wasn't bad enough, the Rangers defeating Galvanax by using a group Ninja Star Morph was also terrible, not to mention the asteroid coming in just in time to knockout the ship. Also it was just odd having the Samurai instrumental playing even though they weren't even doing a zord fight. I almost thought Princess Viera would show up with the Lion Fortress and I got the impression the ship went a LONG way... maaaybe the Dino Charge dimension where Sledge is alive? It's sounding like he'll be a short cameo, but I do look forward to what happens there. Glad to see Cosmo Royale survives the wreckage. The amount of closure just so everything can be remade with the asteroids ninja steel was absolutely ridiculous, worse than the Dino Charge team assuming all the villains were gone. And as much as I like seeing John Sumner (Fresno Bob) return as Santa and having the Christmas episode after the finale, it wasn't that good. Those were some very questionable times Sarah time-traveled to, to get the individual Power Stars, when she simply could've gotten them all at once. Any why must be school ALWAYS be used as the hangout? 3/5 for both episodes.

For now, I'll rank Ninja Steel 19 out of 21 seasons, between Overdrive and Megaforce. The biggest problem to me? Worst episode plots ever. Even Overdrive had Marchand/Tellegen backing it and at times they scored with the episode plot. Not the case now, being stuck with the worst writing team ever. I can't help but wonder how a Ninninger rip would've compared, rather than doing so much of their own stuff , including twice reusing (Thanks to Julian Do, we know they've consistently shot 82-84% original footage the past three years). Hopefully we'll see cameos outside of the teamup as it's gonna take a lot to make this anniversary season better than the previous.