Superheroes: My Favorite ‘Mighty Morphin’ Rangers

Screenshot of Jason David Frank as Tommy Oliver in ‘Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers’. Copyright of Saban.

Hi! It’s Annie!

Recently I’ve been going down the nostalgia train that is the amazing ‘Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers’. Because my mental health has severely needed an old comfort. If you’re familiar with ‘Mighty Morphin’, you know that the series went through several rangers. The colors changed hands, for the most part, generally once in the series. And though I love all the rangers, I thought I would talk about my favorites to wear those iconic colors and why I love these characters so much. It’s really a difficult choice between all the characters, but I think the importance of each character was determined in the way the team changed. Because the group dynamic was definitely different if even one character was gone or different. So I’ll inevitably also be talking about some of the relationships between characters. And, yes, that includes some of the relationships that you’re already thinking. So, with all that out of the way, let’s just get into it!

Tommy (Green vs White):

So, with both the Green and White rangers I think it’s pretty clear that there was only one person who took both of those titles. At least in the ‘Mighty Morphin’ series. So, I’m instead going to compare Tommy’s time as both ranger colors. When Tommy wore the Green Ranger suit, half the time he was evil. But I think we can all agree that Tommy had one of the best redeemed hero arcs of the time. I would argue that he still has one of the best redeemed hero arcs. Tommy was a formidable villain, which was why Rita chose him in the first place. Anyone could see that his martial arts skills matched Jason, if not surpassed him altogether. I think the fact that Tommy alone during this period could reasonably take on all five other rangers is proof enough of this. Tommy’s evil nature didn’t last long though, and in the end they were able to break him out of Rita’s spell. But Tommy’s powers as the Green Ranger were never the same after that. He eventually lost them, and for a while we didn’t see much of Tommy. Which was a shame. In reality, Jason David Frank had signed up to do a different show and they were going to cast an entirely different sixth ranger. This idea didn’t last long with fan pushback, and Jason David Frank agreed to return. This time as the White Ranger and the leader of the group. (Which Austin St. John may or may not have known about but all of that’s a lot of drama I’m not going to get into.) Tommy was a natural leader right off the bat though and his powers were restored. And there’s a certain level of badassery with every Tommy color, but I think white was when we saw the best of Tommy. And let’s be real, seeing him descend in the White Ranger suit was iconic. I have a soft spot for the Green Ranger, but I think the White Ranger steals this round for me.

Winner: White Ranger

Red Ranger (Jason vs Rocky):

Now we’re actually getting into characters. Jason was the original leader and was originally conceptualized as a pretty stereotypical jock. But that’s not how he came across to audiences. Jason was absolutely the person there who was more of leader. He was already a martial arts teacher and took care of kids, and he also demonstrated a level of bravery and understanding for the danger of the situation that the other rangers didn’t have as immediately as he did. Jason is one of those characters where he comes on screen and you feel like everything is going to be ok. I mean, just look at how many times he’s saved Tommy. Jason even had to be dragged away from saving Tommy once so that he could, well, save Tommy. (It’s a long story). Rocky is a character that I also really like. But I definitely don’t think he was given as much depth as Jason right off the bat. Even though Rocky was in for multiple seasons (including Zeo) he felt like the forgotten member of the team often. So much to the point that his personal stories often felt shallow and I couldn’t really determine what his hobbies were. Most of the time he was the dumb one, in contrast to Jason’s cool intellect in tight spots. I liked Rocky, but the writing was unkind to him in both content and dialogue. In particular, some of his jabs at Billy weren’t very funny. Jason over-all seemed to have much more respect for everyone around him.

Winner: Jason

Blue Ranger (Billy):

There is no Blue Ranger other than Billy. And there’s also no other colors that Billy takes on. So this is just Billy appreciation, because Billy has always been one of my favorite rangers. If you haven’t watched the season two episode of ‘Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers’ titled ‘Opposites Attract’, I highly recommend you go watch it. It’s a Billy-centric episode. And while the romance plot wasn’t my favorite, there’s a scene in it where Billy takes on a hoard of villains completely by himself in one of the best choreographed fight scenes in the entire show in my opinion. Billy is intelligent, incredibly kind, and one of the most badass rangers. Billy deserves more love. I know he already has a lot of fans, but I feel like he often falls by the wayside in comparison to Tommy, Jason, and Kimberly. Billy is a badass. There’s nothing else to say.

Winner: Billy wins at life.

Yellow Ranger (Trini vs Aisha):

Obviously, another set of characters that I absolutely love. Trini was an overall kind person and an environmentalist. She was constantly ready to kick ass and take names, but help someone else out of the way first. Trini was also one of the most observant members of her team, sometimes discovering weaknesses of monsters that other characters hadn’t even noticed yet. But it was hard not to notice that she was often eclipsed by Kimberly. Especially because they were always seen together in earlier episodes of the show. And most of the time scenes with them together highlighted Kimberly more than Trini rather than giving them a more equal share of the spotlight. Aisha didn’t have this problem. It was as if, with the addition of the new female character, the writers knew that they couldn’t pair the female characters forever. Especially because Aisha was introduced as being best friends with two other members of the team. Adam and Rocky. Aisha was often better able to make herself heard over everyone else, and her personality always shone through storylines that didn’t even focus on her because of that. Trini and Aisha were both inspirational in their own ways. In the end, I think Aisha was able to take more screen time for herself than Trini was afforded.

Winner: Aisha

Black Ranger (Zack vs Adam):

Once again, I love both of these characters so much. This one kind of pains me at the same time I have to admit that I’m biased. Adam has been one of my favorite Power Rangers since I was a kid. But the original Black Ranger was Zack, and he was amazing at it. The mix of dance and martial arts was something that translated to the screen beautifully. It was fun to see! Zack had an amazing energy that the team needed, he made things more lighthearted when things got too dark for the other members. But there’s something about the way Adam was written that always gets me. Adam was written to be sensitive. Which is not something you often see in male characters at that time and it was brought out of his character naturally. Adam’s character dealt the most directly with feelings of insecurity and because of that he later helped other characters with their own feelings of insecurity. I know it’s a little unfair to bring up ‘Power Rangers Zeo’ (which has my favorite theme song of any ‘Power Rangers’) because that’s not the series we’re talking about. But I have to bring up when he encouraged Tanya to break up with her boyfriend because her boyfriend was angry at her for being better at baseball than he was. And then telling Tanya that she deserved better. I think we all need an Adam in our lives. Anyone would benefit from having a friend with that much support and empathy. And, let’s face it, it’s Johnny Yong Bosch.

Winner: Adam

Pink Ranger (Kimberly vs Kat):

This is a debate that often sparks controversy and overall hatred. Especially towards Kat. Which I find incredibly unfounded, I personally love both characters. But a lot of the infighting came because of Tommy, unfortunately. And I really don’t like the idea of two female characters being pitted against each other because of a man, but that’s what a lot of people still do. Many people hate Kat for “stealing Tommy”. I’ve even heard fan theories that Kat wrote the break up letter to Tommy that Kimberly sent, which is one of the most absurd things I’ve ever heard. I love this show, but it is still a children’s show. I think the writers intentions were pretty clear and they were because they wanted Tommy in a romance (for some reason) and they knew that Amy Jo Johnson wasn’t going to come back. Anyways, I digress. Kimberly started out as a very stereotypical valley girl, and that made it difficult for me to connect with her at first. Between the pink and Beverly Hills lingo, it felt like I was watching ‘Mean Girls’. After only a few episodes, this let up. Kimberly started being much more relatable and she even had an amazing talent for making other people feel comfortable. Kimberly wasn’t demure, which was awesome. She was outspoken and empathetic. Kat was a bit more quiet than Kimberly, but she packed just as much empathy. Kat also often took leadership initiative in later episodes. But I think Kimberly was definitely given more time to shine. Especially if you consider how much the writers tried to force Kat into Kimberly’s positions, such as Tommy’s girlfriend, which even Kat’s actress has complained about. Kimberly, in the end, was more well-rounded as a character.

Winner: Kimberly

I know a lot of people aren’t going to agree with me on any of these. Or at least very few. I know that not choosing all the original members isn’t going to be looked on very kindly. But this is just my personal opinion! I invite you to have your own opinions, that’s part of what fandom is all about! I personally love ‘Power Rangers’! It’s always been one of my favorite shows of all time and it was probably the main show I grew up watching. Revisiting it has really made me relax and get into a better mindset. And of course, it’s always nice to see Tommy again. And if you’re dressing up as a Power Ranger for Halloween this year; hell yeah!! I hope you all have an amazing and safe Halloween!

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

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