Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Season 1, Vol. 1 (a J!-ENT DVD Review)
August 2, 2012 by Dennis Amith
For those who are nostalgic for this series or those who love sentai series in general, for those who are interested in seeing how Power Rangers in America began back in 1993, well… you definitely want to purchase the DVD release of “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Season 1, Vol. 1. For this many episodes included in the first volume alone, if you are a fan…then this DVD is definitely recommended!
© 2012 SCG Power Rangers LLC. All Rights Reserved.
DVD TITLE: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Season 1, Vol. 1
TV SERIES AIR DATE: 1993
DURATION: Episodes 1-30 (10 Hours)
DVD INFORMATION: 4:3, English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, Closed Captions
COMPANY: Saban/Shout! Factory
RATED: TV-Y7 FV
RELEASE DATE: August 21, 2012
Directed by Terence H. Winkless, Robert Hughes, Shuki Levy, David Blyth, Adrian Carr, Jeffrey Reiner
Written by Shuki Levy, Stewart St. John, Shell Danielson, Douglas Sloan, Cheryl Saban, Mark Hoffmeier, Julianne Klemm, Peggy Nicoll, Gary Glasberg, Jeff Deckman, Steve Kramer, Mark Ryan, Ronnie Sperling, Tony Oliver, Chris Schoon, Tomy Wyner
Executive Prodcuer: Shuky Levy
Supervising Producer: Tony Oliver, Douglas Sloan, Winston Richard
Produced by Ronnie Hadar, Jonathan Tzachor, Ken Fukuyoshi
Co-Producer: Paul Rosenthal, Ann Knapp, Ellen Levy-SarnoffMusic by Ron Wasserman
Cinematography by Llan Rosenberg
Edited by Charlie Bowyer, Adi Ell-Ad, sharon Janis, John Blizek
Art Direction by Steven R. Miller
Costume Design by Danielle Baker
Richard Steven Horvitz (voice of Alpha 5)
David Yost as Billy Cranston
Amy Jo Johnson as Kimberly Hart
Austin St. John as Jason Lee Scott
Thuy Trang as Trini Kwan
Walter Jones as Zack Taylor
Jason David Frank as Tommy Oliver
Paul Schrier as Farkas “Bulk” Burkmeier
Jason Narvy as Eugene “Skull” Skullovitch
Barbara Goodson as the vice of Rita Repulsa
Machiko Soga as Rita Repulsa
David Fielding as the voice of Zordon
Richard Genelle as Ernie
After 10,000 years of imprisonment, the evil sorceress Rita Repulsa and her loyal minions are freed when astronauts on a routine mission in space accidentally open her dumpster prison on the Moon. Filled with rage, Rita decides to conquer the nearest planet: Earth. But her archnemesis — the heroic sage Zordon — has been patiently waiting in preparation for this day. With the assistance of his wisecracking robotic sidekick Alpha 5, Zordon recruits a team of “five teenagers with attitude” — Jason, Zack, Kimberly, Billy and Trini — to receive superpowers beyond their wildest dreams so they can defend the Earth as the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Aided by giant robotic vehicles modeled after dinosaurs called Zords, the Power Rangers fight back against the evil alien hordes of Rita Repulsa.
1993. It was an intriguing time in the United States as we saw elements of Japanese pop culture starting to make its way to television. From Japanese animation being shown on television, so was a sentai series known as “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers”.
Based on the 16th installment of the Super Sentai franchise and known as “Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger” in Japan, “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” became an amazing hit as it aired on Fox Kids and made Saban Entertainment a household name for people growing up at that time. Instead of releasing the Japanese version of the series and providing an English dub, Saban Entertainment wrote new episodes and just used the footage featuring the action sequences including the rangers and their mecha vehicles incorporated to the new footage.
And with the 20th Anniversary of the Power Rangers in America taking place in 2013, Shout! Factory will be releasing the first 30-episodes of “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” ala “Might Morphin Power Rangers: Season 1, Vol. 1″ on DVD in August 2012.
The series was a simple story focusing on five teenagers in the fictional city of Angel Grove, California.
The five teenagers, who are good friends, included the fitness jock Jason Lee Scott (as portrayed by Austin St. John), the dancer Zack Taylor (as portrayed by Walter Jones), the gymnast Kimberly Hart (As portrayed by Amy Jo Johnson), the intelligent Billy Cranston (as portrayed by David Yost) and the always happy Trini Kwan (as portrayed by Thuy Trang).
While the teens put hang out at a teen Youth Center owned by Ernie (As portrayed by Richard Genelle) and are often upset at the local wannabe bullies Bulk (as portrayed by Paul Schrier) and Skull (as portrayed by Jason Narvy), everyone likes to have fun at the center.
While in space, two astronauts discover an extraterrestrial container and when they open it, they inadvertently release the evil alien sorceress named Rita Repulsa who was confined in the container for over 10,000 years. And now Rita has her sights of conquering the planet Earth with her evil space aliens and monsters.
The wise sage known as Zordon, who was responsible for capturing Rita and confining her, now needs to make sure Earth is protected. So, Zodon has his robotic assistant named Alpha 5, find five teenagers who can help defend the Earth from Rita’s attacks.
And the five teenagers are brought to headquarters to meet Zordon and Alpha 5 and find out that they have been selected to defend the Planet Earth from Rita Repulsa’s attacks. They will be given the power of the Power Rangers, dino-powered warriors of goodness.
Jason becomes Red Ranger, Zack becomes Black Ranger, Billy becomes Blu Ranger, Trini becomes Yellow Ranger and Kimberly becomes Pink Ranger. The five are given weapons and a vehicle to control. And when their opponent becomes too strong for all five to challenge, the five can use their vehicles to become one huge robot known as the Megazord.
As the five teens use their new powers to defend the planet from Rita Repulsa’s monsters, a new teenager with martial arts skills shows up in Angel Grove. His name is Tommy Oliver, who has the power of the Green Ranger, but is he friend or foe?
Here is a spoiler-less summary of the episodes featured in “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Season 1, Vol. 1″ (Note: The episodes are listed by production code order, not air date):
- EPISODE 1 – DAY OF THE DUMPSTER – Rita Repulsa has been released from her imprisonment, the sage Zordon selects five teenagers and gives them the dino-powers of goodness to protect the planet.
- EPISODE 2 – HIGH FIVE – Rita tries to trap the Power Rangers in a Time Warp.
- EPISODE 3 – TEAMWORK – When Kim and Trini try to shut down a local waste dump, they don’t know the waste dump is owned by Rita.
- EPISODE 4 – A PRESSING ENGAGEMENT – Rita tries to split the Rangers up during their battle with the King Sphinx.
- EPISODE 5 – DIFFERENT DRUM – Kimberly’s deaf friend has a problem fitting in at the Youth Center.
- EPISODE 6 – FOOD FIGHT – Rita sends Finster’s creation, the Pudgy Pig to the Youth Center’s International Food Festival.
- EPISODE 7 – BIG SISTERS – Kim and Trini become a big sister for teh mischievous Maria. But Rita kidnaps Maria and the Power Rangers must save her.
- EPISODE 8 – I, EYE GUY – Billy tries to help his youn, intelligent friend Willy with his Virtual Reality device for the Angel Grove Science Fair.
- EPISODE 9 – FOR WHOM THE BELL TROLLS – Trini brings her favorite doll, an elf named Ticklesneezer to Angel Grove High’s Hobby Week.
- EPISODE 10 – HAPPY BIRTHDAY ZACK – The Rangers and Ernie plan a surprise birthday party at the Juice Bar for Zack.
- EPISODE 11 – NO CLOWNING AROUND – Trini takes her cousin Sylvia to the fair but the fair is a front for Rita’s Putties and one turns Sylvia into a cardboard cutout. Can Trini save her cousin and bring her back to normal.
- EPISODE 12 – POWER RANGER PUNKS – When Billy and Kimberly’s drinks are spiked, they become bullies.
- EPISODE 13 – PEACE, LOVE AND WOE – Billy bumps into an intelligent girl named Marge and both decide to the upcoming dance together. But what happens when Madame Woe captures Marge?
- EPISODE 14 – FOUL PLAY IN THE SKY – Kim goes for flying lessons with her Uncle Steve, a pilot. But when Rita puts a sleeping potion in Rita’s drink, Kim must take over the controls of the airplane during flight.
- EPISODE 15 – DARK WARRIOR – Trini’s scientist uncle Howard drops by to showcase his new invisibility formula, which Rita wants.
- EPISODE 16 – SWITCHING PLACES – Squat and Bamboo play around with BIlly’s brain switching machine and causes him and Kimberly to swap bodies.
- EPISODE 17 – GREEN WITH EVIL, PART 1: OUT OF CONTROL – Tommy Oliver has come to town and Kimberly falls for him. But when Rita kidnaps Tommy and turns him into the evil Green Ranger, what happens when he infiltrates the Command Center.
- EPISODE 18 – GREEN WITH EVIL, PART 2: JASON’S BATTLE – Tommy transports Jason into the Dark Dimension.
- EPISODE 19 – GREEN WITH EVIL, PART 3: THE RESCUE – Jason is powerless in the Dark Dimension and must fight against Goldar and the Green Ranger.
- EPISODE 20 – GREEN WITH EVIL, PART 4: ECLIPSING MEGAZORD – Giant Goldar attacks Angel Grove, meanwhile the Power Rangers look for Zordon.
- EPISODE 21 – GREEN WITH EVIL, PART 5: BREAKING THE SPELL – The Green Ranger’s identity is revealed.
- EPISODE 22 – THE TROUBLE WITH SHELLSHOCK – Baboo and Squatt create a turtle monster known as Shellshock.
- EPISODE 23 – ITSY BITSY SPIDER – Trini and Billy try to save the Forest Spirit Statue from being destroyed.
- EPISODE 24 – THE SPIT FLOWER – Kimberly must design a flower float for teh big Angel Grove Parade.
- EPISODE 25 – LIFE’S A MASQUERADE – A costume party is being held at the Youth Center but Rita uses the opportunity to mine a special clay on Earth to make Super Putties.
- EPISODE 26 – GUNG HO! – Jason and Tommy team up for an upcoming Team Ninja competition at the Youth Center.
- EPISODE 27 – WHEEL OF MISFORTUNE – The Power Rangers are involved in a stage play of Rumpelstiltskin at Angel Grove High.
- EPISODE 28 – ISLAND OF ILLUSION, PART 1 – Rita sends the six Rangers to her transdimensional island where worst fears become a reality.
- EPISODE 29 – ISLAND OF ILLUSION, PART 2 – The Power Rangers are trapped in the Island of Illusion. Can they escape?
- EPISODE 30 – THE ROCKSTAR – Jason and his young cousin Jeremy get caught up in a plot by Rita and Scorpina.
VIDEO & AUDIO:
“Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Season 1, Vol. 1″ is presented in 4:3 and this is probably the best quality we are going to see of the series. As many ’90s shows (animated or live action) will not receive the HD remastering or cleanup (especially due to the costs involved in remastering and clean up), having owned the VHS copies including the old Matrix Interactive Xiphias multimedia CD of “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers”, this is probably the best quality that I have seen of the series so far.
But with that being said, the series does look soft, it does feature noise and occasional specks do show up here and there. It’s important to note that the series was low budget in the beginning, it combined Japanese footage with American-made footage, so the sources do differ at times. But back then, Saban made it work!
As expected on DVD, with ten episodes on a single DVD, you can expect mild artifacts and banding. But for those who recorded the series on VHS or bought the original VHS or low-res Quicktime multimedia CD like I did back then, this is probably the best looking version of the TV series on any media right now.
As for audio, the audio is actually quite clear via Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0. Dialogue and music is clear and I heard no audio problems during my viewing of the entire series.
There are no English subtitles but closed captions are included.
There are no special features.
Back in 1993, I was a big fan of “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers”.
At the time, I was running a Japanese animation and pop culture BBS and I remember myself and a group of other adult friends just being happy because we were starting to see Japanese pop culture, may it be anime or sentai (Japanese term for “squadron” but most often used for Ranger-type shows) on American television.
As a big fan of the anime series “Gatchaman” (also known as “G-Force” or “Battle of Planets” in the U.S.), I had this interest in sentai series. Mainly because I thought martial arts and the uniforms were cool, typically there was always a pretty starlet playing a member of the series and just enjoyed the series no matter how corny the storyline or adversaries would be or how the Yellow Ranger (Japanese scenes taken from Zyuranger) in action was played by a guy, while the America’s Yellow Ranger was a female.
My personal favorite in Japan was “Ninja Sentai Kakurangers” and also “Chojin Sentai Jetman”, but when I found out that Kyoryuu Sentai Zyuranger (Dinosaur Task Force Zyuranger) was coming to America with the name “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers”, suffice to say, I was excited to see how its American interpretation would be. Especially how it would utilize the Japanese scenes.
And at the time, I can easily remember guys go crazy over Amy Jo Johnson, people wanting to design and have a Power Rangers helmet or costume and saw the excitement with the addition of the Green Ranger/White Ranger Tommy Oliver.
But as the series became popular, I can easily remember news stories of parents of different countries complaining about the violence of the series and children using martial arts on their siblings or other kids. Parents going crazy with the introduction of Lord Zedd and automatically seeing a new person playing Rita Repulsa.
But possibly the biggest shock would be the contract disputes in season two involving Austin St. John, Thuy Trang and Walter Jones and Saban making their statement clear that any cast member can easily be replaced. And by mid-season, three new cast members appeared in the series.
So, “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” was an intriguing part of early ’90s pop culture. Many people were captivated by the show and even today, many young people including dedicated fans who have been around since 1993, continue to follow the series.
But for me, the first season is what I would always remember the most. A time that is nostalgic for me because I would chat about the series with many of our BBS guests and it was this excitement of wanting to see if other Japanese sentai or Tokusatsu (Japanese live action or dramas featuring superheroes) would come to American shores.
And because this series was so brand new and introduced people to sentai to larger audience, the original series holds a strong place in the hearts of many sentai fans!
So, here we are with the DVD release of “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Season 1, Vol. 1″. With 60 episodes in the first season, this DVD features the first 30. And watching these episodes takes me back to 1993, because I can remember chatting with people about these episodes, reading messages from the Amy Jo Johnson fans but seeing how people were really getting into the series by episode 17. The Green Ranger arc known as “Green with Evil” was so popular that many people would chime in on these episodes and what they thought of new character Tommy Oliver.
Watching it today, sure the series is corny. With the monsters ala rubber suits, a Black character as Black Ranger and an Asian as Yellow Ranger is a bit stereotypical and seeing the early ’90s fashion definitely makes this series a product of its time. But these episodes were fun to watch again and like any fan who is nostalgic for the series, it’s great to have this DVD set, especially containing 30-episodes being released for a wonderful price! I can remember paying a lot more for the VHS tape including the multimedia disc that had the bad quality, small low-res Quicktime videos at the time. The old multimedia discs were so bad that colors were faded, artifacts galore and they were split up into multiple media files.
So, it’s great to have this series on DVD. And like many ’80s or early ’90s shows, they are not going to be the greatest in clarity. Picture quality is slightly soft, there are white specks that can be seen as with noise and yes, there is interlacing and artifacts that are expected on DVD but considering the alternatives out there of watching this series on physical media, this is probably the best looking version you’re going to get for this first season.
I do wish there were special features included. With the 20th Anniversary coming up in 2013, fans are getting excited for the upcoming Power Morphicon, so it would have been great to include the unaired pilot, a revisiting of some of the original cast members.
Fortunately original talents such as Austin St. John, Walter Jones, David Yost, Jason David Frank, Paul Schrier, Jason Narvy and Rita Repulsa voice actress, Barbara Gordon, are still very active in the convention scene and enjoy meeting with fans of the series but unfortunately a true reunion with all six original members together would be impossible due to the unfortunate death of actress Thuy Trang (Trini/Yellow Ranger), who died in a car accident in 2001.
But it’s great to hear stories about how the show was non-union and how the talent had to participate in a dangerous stunts. And I’m sure there were more crazy stories that have yet to be told of how things were then for the original talent back in the beginning of the Power Rangers series.
I was also proud of the series back then because it featured a Black and Asian hero. Not sure if Saban was trying to be multi-cultural or politically correct but for me, how proud I was to see the casting of Walter Jones and Thuy Trang. As an Asian American, you just don’t see Asian heroes (outside of martial arts films distributed in America at the time), for me, to have a strong character like Trini, I was grateful for that. And I’m glad that to this day, people of different ethnicities are still featured in these character roles for the different Power Rangers series within the last 20 years.
But nevertheless, “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” was a big part of the lives of many children and young adults. I was one of those fans who enjoyed it back then and met many good friends who were fans of the series and as I got older, eventually having friends who were involved in various Power Rangers series, may it be as talent or on the technical end of the series.
Overall, Thirty episodes per season for a great price…fans will definitely want to check this DVD out! Sure it has the early ’90s style of corny dialogue but these episodes are still fun to watch! And many fans have waited a long time for these episodes to be released on DVD!
So, for those who are nostalgic for this series or those who love sentai series in general, for those who are interested in seeing how Power Rangers in America began back in 1993, well… you definitely want to purchase the DVD release of “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Season 1, Vol. 1. For this many episodes included in the first volume alone, if you are a fan…then this DVD is definitely recommended!
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