Last week I began a countdown of every single Power Rangers series, ranking them from worst to best, and giving my reasons for thinking them in those spots. Now, it’s time to countdown the ten best series in the Power Rangers lineup. Some will surprise you, some probably won’t, but all are as legendary as the name they all inherit: Power Rangers.
Let’s get this party started.
#10 Dino Thunder
Yes, all three significant appearances of Tommy in Power Rangers are in the top 10, sue me. And no, Turbo doesn’t count cause the majority of the time T.J. was Red Ranger. Moving on…
Dino Thunder was truly an attempt to get back to the roots of the Power Rangers series. That was obvious from the outset with the focus on dinosaurs (which were the Zords in Mighty Morphin) and of course of Tommy Oliver. But what could’ve been a simple rehash of old material turned into something special. Dino Thunder took the old formula and breathed some new life into the series in a big way. Not the least of which was because of the role of Tommy, who not only was a supplemental Ranger if you will, but a mentor to Connor, Ethan, and Kira. Hearing him relate to their troubles and talking about his own was very powerful, and inspirational.
Also, Dino Thunder really featured a cast (especially with the first three) of Rangers that you could see growth in. Connor grew up, Ethan became more confident and used his intelligence for more than just what he wanted, and Kira learned to trust others and be more friendly. It’s good to see growth overtime, and Dino Thunder had that.
Originally, I had Dino Thunder as my #6 series, but as I thought about it, I knew I couldn’t put it there. Mainly for two reasons. One, though Tommy was back, his role fluctuated in significance. To be fair this was because of real-life issues, which actually resulted in him being heard rather than seen. Also, the “evil” White Ranger Trent had a very mediocre story that honestly fizzled out near the end. Despite all that however, Dino Thunder is a true testament to what Power Rangers can be as a series. And it’ll always have a special place in my heart, as it was during one of their episodes that I truly decided to try and be a Power Ranger one day. A dream I have not given up on.
#09 In Space
Escalation is truly the word to describe the first five true series of Power Rangers (that’s Mighty Morphin-Lost Galaxy in case you didn’t know what I meant). When the first four series did literally everything they could do under the sun of Earth, they had to go into bigger pastures, hence…In Space!
In Space was a truly epic season from almost start to finish. It may have featured four of the Turbo Rangers, but the show had a totally different feel. The scope was unbelievably cool, as we saw villains from all over the literally galaxy under the control of one Dark Specter. But the real villain of In Space was Astonema, a villain so awesome she eclipsed all who came before, and many who have come since.
For me though, In Space was a true capper on the legacy that the first couple series started. As Zordon not only returned, but was a true focus of the series. And in the end we got a TRUE Legendary Battle, as all the past Rangers we met, from the Alien Rangers, To Phantom Ranger and Blue Centurion, and even good old Jason got to fight a galaxy wide invasion.
In Space really delved into the idea of escalation, as the stakes and the villains got bigger and badder as the season went on. The story was also good, as we learned about Astronema actually being Andros’ sister. And just when you thought she’d get a happy ending mid way through, she gets corrupted to the nth degree!
The ending was easily one of the best final showdowns in Power Rangers history, and as I said was a true bookend to the first couple series of Power Rangers. Which is why In Space can proudly sit in the No.9 spot.
#8 Ninja Storm
It’s hard not to love Ninja Storm, I truly believe that. And to this day it’s one of my personal favorites.
Ninja Storm was everything Wild Force wasn’t (Wild Force was its predecessor), great characters, great villains, great stories, and a true sense of purpose that worked in its favor. Ninja Storm rocked.
For me, Ninja Storm worked because it dared to be different. If you don’t believe me, look no further than the fact that the show started out with only three Rangers, a series first. This allowed us to look deeper into the lives of Shane, Tori, and Dustin before growing the ranks and showcasing the new Rangers.
Also, I would argue that the inclusion of the Thunder Rangers and the story behind them is one of the best in Power Rangers history. One to rival the legendary Green Ranger Saga to be sure. What I also liked about Ninja Storm was how it opened with Shane, Tori, and Dustin basically being told they were on thin ice in the ninja school. Why is that significant? Because you could argue that every group of Rangers before them were more-or-less right for the role for one reason or another. Here, they were the literal bottom of the class, but chosen to be Rangers. They had to adapt and grow in order to be the Rangers they were destined to be. Let’s not forget Cam either, who had to fight hard to earn the right to be a Ranger, even when his father said he would never be allowed to be one.
Now, the only downpoints for Ninja Storm were their Sensei and Lothor. The former was great master turned guinea pig…yeah. The later was an epic space ninja who at times was anything but epic. And don’t get me started on the nieces. I’ll give props to Lothor where its due, he ended up being rather epic, I just wish there was a lull in his evil at times.
Regardless though, Ninja Storm was an epic ride that made you believe in the power of ninjas, and then some!
#7 Jungle Fury
I think this will be one of the big surprises on the list for some people, but for me, Jungle Fury rocks.
This is another one that’s hard for me to explain why, but for all the right reasons. Maybe it’s just how it played out, maybe I just loved the entire team of Rangers this go round. Or maybe it’s the mythology that was worked into the show. Probably though, it’s all of the above.
Jungle Fury stands out to me on numerous levels. From the unexpected opening, to the epic climax at the end, it all just worked. I noted in Ninja Storm how I loved how they introduced the trio as less than worthy, Jungle Fury did the same here, but arguably to greater effect. It was fun watching Jarrod, an accomplished student with an ego, lose to Casey, a new recruit with a desire to help others. It’s the little moments like that make series more interesting, and throughout the series, Casey’s struggle to be more than just the cub who had a brave moment was powerful to watch unfold. A struggle that led right up until the end.
I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about the mythology that Jungle Fury used to full effect, the Pai Zhua masters and their abilities were cool in many ways. And it was great to watch the Jungle Fury Rangers learn from them, grow through them, and then have the masters come help out when the time was right. Jungle Fury and SPD have the tie for most Rangers in a series with 8, but for my money, Jungle Fury did it a little better.
However, the true standout for Jungle Fury was the villain, Dai Shi, an evil spirit who possessed the body of Jarrod after he freed him. Why was he a standout? Because he never stopped evolving. You first thought he would be a behind-the-scenes villain like all the others. But then he got his hands dirty time and time again. Then, whenever he got new generals, he learned from them to grow even more powerful, he was never satisfied. That’s the kind of villain you fear, and that’s why he was awesome.
On a personal note, my favorite character was RJ, the laid back master who showed everyone he’s more than meets the eye. He too made it on my All-Star Rangers team, and if you watched Jungle Fury, you’ll understand why.
There of course were cheesy moments in Jungle Fury, and not all the Rangers were epic like Casey and RJ, but overall Jungle Fury truly is one of the best.
#6 Lost Galaxy
There is so much to say about this series it’s crazy, it’s just that good, which is great, because it needed to be.
Lost Galaxy truly did it’s best to separate itself from the previous series, in fact the only connections at first were the Astro Megaship, Alpha, and Bulk. Everything else was brand new, and it showed.
Unlike In Space, Lost Galaxy truly (and literally) distanced itself from Earth, this time being set mostly on the space colony Terra Venture. Soon though, things get crazy (and epic), and five new Rangers are banded together to keep Terra Venture safe, and the galaxy alive. I mentioned before that RPM is the Ranger series I consider the darkest, and that’s true. But Lost Galaxy has the darkest moments of the franchise, period. Why? Because (even though they were changed later on) two Rangers die in this series. Mike, and Kendrix. The latter of which you honestly believed she wouldn’t come back from, a slight of hand (aka a happy ending) brought her back.
This allowed one of the other great things about Lost Galaxy to occur, Kerone to become a Power Ranger. After she was freed from being Astronema, you wondered what might’ve happened to her. Well Lost Galaxy answered in spades, bringing a powerful story to her appearance and placement on the team. One of redemption, and one she would not have to take alone.
Leo was not supposed to be the Red Ranger, but he was given the role after his brother Mike fell to his death (or so we thought). Leo constantly had to fight to prove himself worthy of the role he believed Mike was supposed to have. Especially since he believed that it was his fault Mike was dead. Him and Kerone were true standouts in the season from the team, and the bond they formed was very true.
More than that though, Lost Galaxy really turned the tables with their sixth Ranger, the Magna Defender. Not only was he not technically a Ranger, he was a man on a mission of revenge. His story resonated with many as he did all he could to get revenge of Scorpius for taking his son away from him. That included fighting the Rangers repeatedly. Seeing him find his peace in the end was a truly beautiful moment in the franchise, as he not only returned to his son, but he got his honor back as well.
But what’s a show without a villain right? Trakeena started off as an annoying, bratty villain, but she ended up being on the biggest villains in the franchise. Much like Dai Shi, her evolution was a welcome sight, and her numerous transformations showed that she more than just an evilly pretty face.
Lost Galaxy truly was the end of a long string of stories that started in Mighty Morphin. True, In Space was the capper, but Lost Galaxy was the epilogue, and what an epilogue it was. From then on, ever series had it’s own individual story not tied to previous series (crossovers not included), and so it was up to Lost Galaxy to wrap it all up nicely, it did so. Oh my gosh, it did so.
What? You want negatives?…nah, I’m done with that. It’s getting harder to find them!
#5 Time Force
This series could be defined as the “end of an era”, as Saban would lose rights to Power Rangers after this. But if it had to go out…it went out with a bang!
Time Force aired in the year 2001, and it used the new millennium angle to full effect, as they brought the future to the present in a big way.
The premise alone for Time Force was awesome, as four Rangers from the future had to come back in time to stop a villain who traveled back in time as well. In the process, they meet the ancestor of their now deceased Red Ranger, and ask him to help them in the present to save the future. Get all that?
All jokes aside, Time Force did an expert job of weaving the tales of the future into the stories of the present. From the powers of the new Ranger crew, to how things in the present had to be altered to save lives, even if it risked the future, and beyond, it was all great. More than that though, the relationships between the Rangers in Time Force were just so spot on. Including the on again/off again, I like you/I don’t like you, relationship between Wes and Jen. Cheesy at points? Sure. Did I care? No.
Wes easily stands as one of my top favorite Red Rangers, his selflessness in regards to his fathers wealth and how his father wanted him to spend his life (not in a good way for the record) was very cool. But he was also very lighthearted, making jokes, helping pick out “time appropriate” outfits for the others, he was a fun guy to be around.
Keeping up with the breaking of tropes from the series was the inclusion of Eric as the Sixth Ranger. A guy who hated Wes so much that he decided to only be a Ranger if people paid for his services, a notion fueled by Wes’ father. The two butting heads was great stuff, as one was full of arrogance, while the other was full of honor.
Ransik was a fantastic villain throughout the series. Equal parts power-hungry maniac, and sympathizeable villain, he was great to watch. This was magnified as the series went on and his backstory continued to unfold in unexpected ways, leading to the reveal of the true villain of the show.
And yet, the things that truly separated Time Force from the others is the ending. Cause it’s not a true happy one! Yes, Ransik is recaptured and the world is safe in the present…but the crew has to go back to the future! No jokes!!! Watching the tearful goodbye was a heartwrencher, especially for Wes and Jen, who finally admitted feelings for one another! WHY?!??!?! Though they would meet again in the Wild Force crossover, it was an ending many will cry over as they recall it.
So there is honestly no way Time Force can be ranked any lower than #5, it’s just too good.
Yes, I love me some SPD. SPD EMERGENCY!!!
And yes, yet again, two shows with similar plot points are next to each other, IT HAPPENS!!!!
Ahem, SPD truly is a standout for me in the realm of Power Rangers. It has some of my favorite Rangers of all time in Doggie Cruger and Skye. It has some of my favorite storylines in regards to the Rangers themselves, but overall it’s just a fun ride from start to finish.
If I was to summarize the entire series in one word it would be growth. Because by the end of the series, all the Rangers grew in one way or the other, and it showed. It wasn’t just Jack, who went from self-important, fight the system, short-lived Red Ranger dictator, to a class act. Or Skye who went from hateful second-in-command, to loyal and trusting friend. It was all the team, even Doggie Cruger, who you’d think didn’t need grow as a character, grew as a character!
SPD was really about five underdogs who grew up to be exactly what the world (and galaxy for that matter) needed them to be. And it was great to watch. So much so that it sticks with me to this day.
I mentioned some of my favorite storylines came from SPD, easily the one that’s most memorable is the story of Skye and his dad. How his father fell in the line of duty, and all he wanted to do was be the Red Ranger to honor his memory. That’s good stuff ladies and gentlemen.
Doggie Cruger also had good stuff, as his past was shown for all to see, with sometimes unexpected twists. I can still recall him in an agitated state in one episode chewing out the other Rangers, it didn’t matter he was a dog-like alien, when he yelled, you feared.
Can’t go any further though without mentioning Jack, who did something few Rangers have ever done, willingly walked away at the end. He truly believed he did all he good do as a Ranger, so he went back to helping the less fortunate as a civilian. That’s cool.
SPD is on my top 5 because it was fun, funny, deep in story, never afraid to throw in a twist or two, and was frankly just plain epic. Power Rangers to the rescue! Speaking of which…
#3 Lightspeed Rescue
If having Jungle Fury and SPD this high on the list didn’t surprise you, maybe this will. I believe with all my heart that Lightspeed Rescue is one of the best Power Rangers series ever, period. Double period!
Lightspeed Rescue was the first series since the beginning to truly be its own story, full stop. No tie-ins to the past series (again, crossovers not included), no returning characters, it was all new from the ground up. The new energy could be felt instantly, and it worked throughout the shows run.
One of the things that truly impressed me about Lightspeed Rescue was how it went about getting its team together. Instead of getting “teenagers with attitude”, or relying on the “chosen few”, they took a more logical approach. They went for the best people suited for the task ahead, and that’s what they got.
To this day, I will fight anyone who says that Carter Grayson isn’t the best Red Ranger ever. Yes, even over Tommy and Jason. Why? Because he was a true hero long before he became a Ranger. He was a firefighter, and his desire to help people, along with his sense of duty led him to becoming Red Ranger. And after his time as a Ranger was done? He went right back to being a firefighter. If you need any proof, watch “Legendary Battle” where him and Dana came rushing in to help people in need, he was wearing his fireman’s hat. Beat that!
Also though, Lightspeed Rescue is the ONLY Power Rangers series to truly deter from it’s Japanese counterpart, Super Sentai, with the inclusion of the Titanium Ranger. That’s fact.
Truly however, the focus on not just the Rangers, but the Mitchell family (William, Dana, and Ryan), and how they all play into the story. It’s great stuff, especially when you consider that Ryan was an original character for the show. Finding out how his father’s decision to save him affected both of their futures was jaw dropping.
Lightspeed Rescue is great to me because it did things its own way and it paid off big. From original stories, to great uses of characters, it was all top notch. If it weren’t for two other series being so memorable, this might’ve been my No.1.
While every good show has to start off strong in order to survive, it’s often when major change happens that a show’s true durability is tested. True, the original Mighy Morphin went through numerous changes in its run, but at the core it was the same. With Zeo came true change, both for the team, and the villains they would face.
Zeo is one of my personal favorite seasons ever, it has one of my favorite team lineups, one of my favorite theme songs, some of my favorite Zords, and some of the best Ranger episodes ever. Zeo just plain rocked. Also though, Zeo expanded upon what Mighty Morphin set out to do and capitalized on it. With more focus on powerful and dramatic storylines for the characters, and villains that were truly menacing and not just there for laughs.
In fact, Jason David Frank, aka Tommy Oliver, has noted numerous times that one of his favorite episode as a Ranger was here in Zeo, as he got to be on screen with his brother.
Onto the team itself, it was great to see the dynamic of the team change from Mighty Morphin to Zeo, as Tommy became the true leader of the team as Zeo Ranger 5 (aka the Red Ranger), Billy became a support role in the Command Center, and one former Red Ranger in the form of Jason came back as the sixth Ranger, Zeo Ranger Gold. These subtle changes made Zeo’s lineup as new as any lineup to come after, all the while still feeling familiar. That’s tough to do.
I could go on as to why I love Zeo, but for me it just sticks out as something special amongst the Power Rangers lineup, many an iconic thing happened through Zeo, stuff that still resonates to this day. And when it boils down to it, Mighty Morphin definitive kicked this party off, but without Zeo, it wouldn’t have lasted as long afterward as it has.
#1 Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
“Alpha, Rita’s escaped! Recruit a team of teenagers with attitude!”
It was ten words that started a legend, ten words that true fans know to this day, and those ten words are just the beginning of the reasons that Mighty Morphin Power Rangers is the greatest Power Rangers series ever.
For me there is no debate on this, there can’t be. You can argue that later seasons had better stories, sure, or better teams, or better themes, but for this Power Rangers fan? It honestly doesn’t matter, because this series is the most iconic, most remembered, and arguably most beloved series of Power Rangers, ever.
The thing I’ll never forget was that Power Rangers was never meant to be more than a localization of the Super Sentai Series from Japan. In fact, the original plan for MMPR was to have 3 seasons, 30 episodes each, then most likely end it. What we got instead was 3 season, 145 episodes, and the beginning of a legacy that continues to this day.
“What can’t I say about Mighty Morphin Power Rangers?” is probably a better question than what I can say about it. Because there’s just so much to say!
Let’s start with the team shall we? The original five Rangers: Jason, Trini, Billy, Kimberly, and Zach, are arguably some of the most iconic Rangers ever. I truly believe it’s because of the fact that we each resonated with one or more of them in a believable way. It’s not hard to see ourselves as one of those original five. Me personally? I was Billy (minus the intellect), I was a nerd, a kid with glasses who got picked on, and so seeing Billy go through the same things, but then going to save the world was inspiring! And I know others felt the same way.
Now true, at the beginning espeically, MMPR was a little cheesy, but for what was going on behind the scenes, that’s actually an acceptable negative. But truly, as the show grew on in episodes it got a LOT better. Most importantly though, it wasn’t afraid to change in order to evolve.
From new enemies, to new powers, to new Megazords, and of course new Rangers, MMPR can never be accused of idling in one place for too long. That’s the other thing that makes it great, you always wanted to see what might come next.
Truly though, what makes Mighty Morphin Power Rangers so amazing is the numerous iconic moments, characters, and stories attached to it. If you want proof look no further than the intro theme. An epic rock anthem to start off a kids show? Why not?!?! And to this day, that’s the most iconic Power Rangers theme, so much so that they have incorporated it in to the newest series since it came back under Saban’s banner.
Whether it’s Rita and Zed, Bulk and Skull, Zordon and Alpha, or any of the Rangers in this series tenure, MMPR was FULL of iconic characters, with plenty of story attached to each. However, the one story that everyone remembers is the Green Ranger Saga, a story that would alter history, and change lives forever.
Why? Because the Green Ranger was cool! And he was evil! The story of Tommy Oliver was a compelling one from start to finish. From unknowing (but powerful) pawn, to a friend who wanted to help his friends at any cost, to a warrior reborn with the power of the light, Tommy’s story click with all of us. It is because of that, that Tommy Oliver is known as the “Greatest Ranger Ever” both in status and in popularity.
Let’s not forget the Megazords either! From the Dinozords, to the Thunderzords, to the NinjaZords, Shogun Megazord, and the one and only Dragonzord, MMPR had them all! It was them that truly started a toy crazy that filled many a kids wish list (and yes, I was there too…I got the Dragonzord!)
In the end though, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers deserves to be No.1 because of what it did. It set up a mythology, a legend, a legacy, that continues 20+ years after it started. How can you top that? It’s MMPR that many fans remember, and to this day reference. They love it, we love it, I love it. That’s why it’s No.1.
I’m proud to be a fanboy for Power Rangers, my life honestly would not be the same without this series. I learned a lot from it, no joke. And if I’m ever lucky enough to have kids, and Power Rangers is still on, I’m going to try and get them into it as well…cause I’ll probably still be watching it!
I have a lot of dreams in my life, and as I mentioned above, one of them is to be a Power Ranger. I know it’s unlikely, probably near impossible, but I can’t stop hoping and dreaming that’ll I’ll be one some day. Cause if Power Rangers taught me one thing, it’s to never stop believing in yourself. Now, I’m pretty sure there’s only one way to end this. So from one Ranger fan to another, I ask you stand up, put your hands behind your back, and with all the passion you got scream out:
It’s Morphin Time!