One of the dangers of having access to a Netflix account is that you get access to a lot of 90s cartoons and kid shows. Given that those shows are infinitely better than the garbage that children watch these days, I personally often cannot resist the allure of a trip down nostalgia lane. That has reintroduced me to the show that captivated my mind in its youth.
Power Rangers was my jam. I often credit my long hair to my idolization of Tommy the Power Ranger (there actually is some truth to that, sadly) and I spent many hours in my beach club sandpit with my best friend as we forced kids we didn’t like to be putties so we could play power rangers. But my friends only consider Mighty Morphin to be an acceptable destination on the road down Nostalgia Boulevard.
While Mighty Morphin is up and away the best Power Rangers series, Zeo was also very good. While every other series nowadays features a cast change, Zeo was a straightforward continuation of Mighty Morphin. Four of the five rangers returned as well as Zordon and Alpha. Billy the Blue Ranger even returned in a supporting non-Ranger role. Even Lord Zedd, Rita Replusa, Bulk, Skull, and Ernie came back as Jason, the original Red Ranger, returned halfway to become the Gold Ranger. The show had updated costumes, Zords, and primary villains, but the rest was the same.
Zeo eclipsed its predecessor in many ways. The removal of Billy from ranger status was welcomed as Billy was a terrible power ranger but a funny character. The transition of Goldar and Rito into comedy partners with Bulk and Skull was a good move as well. By season three, the villains of Mighty Morphin were stale and using far too much comedy. The Zord sequences were much better and Zeo allowed the 6th Ranger to remain a figure in the distance rather than take over the whole show like Tommy did. Zeo took less time to figure out its identity than Mighty Morphin did.
The other problem is that the prime of Mighty Morphin is reduced to a small number of its 150 episodes. Most people would agree that Tommy as the Green Ranger was the best era of Mighty Morphin The problem is that there aren’t very many episodes. Tommy was frequently written out while he was losing his powers. Once you’ve finished those episodes, the show goes down hill from there.
Season three of Mighty Morphin was terrible. The Zords switched basically every five or six episodes and the whole ninja thing was lame. It was obvious that the switches were just becoming a way to milk the cash cow in the form of new toys, which provided more revenue than the show itself. I also didn’t like the removal of putties as grunt soldiers for Tenga Warriors.
When I want to watch Power Rangers, I sometimes pick Zeo. That might just be because my Power Rangers palette is a little more developed, but I’m making no apologies. The show has its merits.