No intro. Let’s just get right into it…
Power Rangers Super Megaforce was the most disappointing thing since Power Rangers Megaforce. What was supposed to be an anniversary season celebrating 20 years of Power Rangers ended up failing on so many levels. It isn’t easy for a show to keep going for this long. While the days of making knock-off shows to compete with Power Rangers is over, there isn’t another show like Power Rangers on television. It’s still a big hit and in general there’s a lot for the kids to enjoy so it’s not a surprise that it goes on. Still, the dip in quality and writing is clearly evident and it’s sad to see that they didn’t go all-out for this season of all seasons. I apologize if this post seems rambly and crude but at least I’m apologizing for it.
Before we get into Super Megaforce, let’s talk a little about Megaforce. Since Power Rangers Samurai, we’ve been getting 40 episode seasons across two years. First there was 20 episodes of Samurai. Then the following year we got 20 episodes of Super Samurai but they’re meant to be one show. In 2013, we got 20 episodes of Megaforce which was an adaptation of Tensou Sentai Goseiger. In 2014, we have 20 episodes of Super Megaforce which is our adaptation of Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger. There’s your main problem right here. The timing was perfect for Saban Brands to just do two years of Gokaiger but for some reason the first half was Goseiger. Thinking rationally, I feel like Saban Brands would’ve just went with two years of Gokaiger as it would’ve been a 40-episode anniversary season. I’d put the blame on Toei for this because I’ve heard of some garbage rule that Power Rangers can’t skip a Sentai season. A season of Sentai generally runs for 50 episodes. Now Saban Brands has to do Goseiger in 20 episodes and Gokaiger in 20 episodes. This is Sparta… I’m sure I’d have less problems with Super Megaforce if we actually got 40 episodes of it.
My issues with Super Megaforce extend far beyond cramming two 50-episode shows into two sets of 20. Here’s a summary of Megaforce. Troy the Red Ranger has prophetic dreams of a whole bunch of Rangers in a big battle in the first episode of Megaforce. This is supposed to lead into the big battle with tons of Rangers right? Takes forever just to mention the dreams and then they’re forgotten. Bad writing… Anyone remember Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers? Of course you do. How many Zords did they have? The core five that make up the Megazord, then Dragonzord, and Titanus. Well, these days multiply the Zords by infinity and beyond because we gotta sell more toys. Megaforce has so many Zords I can’t even keep track of them. Some don’t even make it past one or two appearances. This isn’t an issue until we see how the Rangers obtain them. They pretty much do nothing out of the ordinary and their “mentor” Gosei just hands them the Zords saying ” ‘Ranger’s name’, you have demonstrated great ‘insert Digimon crest here’, so have some Zords.” With only 20 episodes to introduce every Zord which I assume Saban Brands is contractually obligated to do so because of “selling toys”, it’s just too much. The last thing I’ll mention is that the show needs to learn about “show, don’t tell”. Hate to bring up Mighty Morphin’ again but anyone remember how many community service and events/gatherings there were? They preach about helping out and whatnot to teach kids good values. That happens here too. There’s tons of talk about how the earth is great and we need to keep it that way. The problem is that they just talk about it. We never see the Rangers actively participate in such things. Wouldn’t it reinforce the message better if we see our heroes do just that? Instead of having them talk about it while standing still, have them talk about it while picking up trash. The characters are for the most part blank slates with generic traits. He’s the smart one. She’s into nature. He’s the goofy one. There isn’t much to describe them with compared to some of the better Power Rangers shows. There’s far more problems but this isn’t a Megaforce review. Reason this was important is that being a continuation, these issues also carry over to Super Megaforce.
The first major issue I’d like to address with Super Megaforce is suit usage. Unlike Gokaiger which had 35 years to address, Power Rangers only had 20. You’d think Power Rangers would only use suits from the seasons they adapted, right? What a huge surprise it was when that wasn’t the case. In several episodes we see Rangers that were only in Sentai or pre-Mighty Morphin’. Who greenlighted this? Who thought this was a good idea? They’re not even selling toys for these Sentai Rangers, so what’s the point? Some are introduced with generic names like “Blitz”, “New Powers”, and “Dragon?” but in episode 19 some of those same suits now have different or switched names. They can’t even keep this consistent? I suppose Power Rangers exist all over the universe. It isn’t impossible that there could be more teams out there but why would the Power Rangers on earth have access to ones we’ve never seen before? Some are from the future or different dimensions but at least those were from Power Rangers so I can give that a pass. I wouldn’t be as bothered about this if it weren’t for the lack of actual Power Rangers suits. I can’t believe time was spent using pre-Mighty Morphin’ teams instead of having someone keep count that they make use of all the Power Rangers teams first. Gokaiger knew to let the Rangers turn into every team together at least once and let every suit be used even if it wasn’t with their respective team. Not one Super Megaforce Ranger turned into someone from Lightspeed Rescue. Some teams we only see one Ranger used and only once. That’s pretty disgusting, guys. Downright embarrassing… This right here is what made Super Megaforce fail as an anniversary season.
As a continuation of Megaforce, you’d expect them to drop those suits and just have some plot reason for using the Gokaiger suits, right? Well, they don’t. The Gokaiger suits are now an upgrade. We have to waste time seeing them turn into Megaforce, then break out their Super Megaforce Morphers and turn into that. So, what? They carry two Morphers around now? Here’s the problem. Sometimes, the Rangers just go straight to Super Megaforce. So what’s the point of keeping the Megaforce suits then? This also forces the shooting of new footage for the Megaforce suits that they normally wouldn’t have to bother doing. The time and resources wasted on that could’ve been used to shoot awesome stuff with the nearly two decades of Power Rangers suits they have. We know they borrowed the newly-made Sentai suits from Japan. Do something with them! Again, another stupid idea that makes no sense and ends up hurting the show. Wasting screen time on the Megaforce suits is just pointless.
Now let’s talk about Orion, the Silver Ranger. His introduction was pretty good. The fact that he actually had a back story was the biggest plot twist in a show that explains nothing. He’s the lone survivor of another world where all life was eliminated by the bad guys. He finds the Silver Morpher and goes to earth so he can get revenge on the bad guys. Succeeding in wiping out a population is pretty dark for Power Rangers but at the same time shows that the bad guys are an actual threat. They eliminated life on one planet and that shows us what’ll happen if the Rangers fail to save our planet. Hey, they showed and told! As a character, they try to play up the fact that he’s an alien and doesn’t understand earth culture but there’s so little of that. He works at a frogurt place for no reason. He’s really good friends with the other Rangers because the show says he is. We don’t see them hang out much as humans so in the second to last episode when “His lifeless planet needs him. He has to go now.”, it isn’t believable when he tells each Ranger what he learned from them. Sigh… right back to show, don’t tell. And what’s up with Emma the Pink Ranger acting like she had a connection/crush with him? This was never developed properly. I see there was a bit of effort put into Orion’s character but it was never put into motion. Most episodes he’s not even around. It’s almost like it was a bother to include him sometimes. He’d be absent in most of one episode but pop in morphed at the last second. Insert Gokaiger footage and done. This was a wasted opportunity because we have a tragic back story and a potential revenge plot that just didn’t see the light of day. There are some sixth Rangers I really don’t care for but I can’t even say I don’t care for Orion. I wanted more of him and what we got was just another disappointment to add to the pile. I pretty much blame the 20-episode season for this. While I think the character could’ve easily been handled far better despite that, time was an issue that had to be worked around and priorities were all over the place.
When asked what he didn’t like about Super Megaforce, the actor who played Orion @CameronJebo tweeted this. (I cannot for the life of me figure what I’m doing wrong with embedding tweets, so copy and paste it is.)
“Treating the fans like vegetables. We need smarter writing man!”
Harshly put but I know that he’s just as disappointed as I am. In fact, as an actor and Power Ranger fan himself, he should be more disappointed than I am. I respect that he’s willing to give his honest opinion that a show’s bad even if it’s one he’s on. You usually don’t do that if you want to keep working. At the time, the show wasn’t even finished airing in America yet but it’s nice to know he understands how the fans feel.
I could talk all day about the story and individual episodes but as usual my posts are beyond long so I’ll only talk about two major issues with the episodes. The first is all the filler episodes. When you have 50 episodes to pick from and only 20 to make, you don’t pick the ones that have nothing to do with anything. If you thought they’d be fun for the kids, I can’t fault you for that but are you trying to tell a story or make an entertaining show? You can do both but it’s bad when you waste time on irrelevant things and you didn’t make storytelling the focus. By wasting time on standalone episodes that don’t contribute much, the important stuff gets rushed and the story becomes incoherent. Like I said, the guys making the show have a serious problem with priorities and it shows. The other issue is with the Vrak is Back two-parter. Vrak was the main villain in Megaforce and instead of just dying there, they left him alive for Super Megaforce. In pure Super Megaforce fashion, Orion is
written out captured which lets Vrak shut down the Super Megaforce powers. The Rangers now have to use classic Megaforce to defeat Vrak and friends. These two episodes are just Goseiger footage. There was no reason this needed to be a part of Super Megaforce except someone thought it was a good idea to have it here instead of the previous and correct season. Was this the reason they kept the Megaforce suits? It makes no sense. You’ve got irrelevant filler and a two-parter that was clearly meant for Megaforce. What’s going on here?
I was lucky enough to get a chance to meet the actors and they were lovely people. The way they interact with the kids who see them as heroes is always a treat to see regardless of the season. I just feel really bad that as an older viewer, their acting was wasted. I can tell they’re trying but their characters are so bland that I can see how it’d be difficult for them to get into “character”. It gives the show such a soulless feeling when these are our mains. If you look up Youtube interviews, they’re so upbeat and seem like a great bunch of people to hang out with. I wish these guys got to play characters similar to themselves instead of… well, almost nothing. In the second Vrak is Back, Andrew Gray gave me some Troy I hadn’t seen before in a scene where he tried to talk a brainwashed character out of being evil. It was supposed to be an emotionally tense scene and despite how poor the lead-up to it was, he was good. Yet, any other moment with Troy he’s supposed to be a solemn and serious guy. He gives “inspirational” speeches that seem flat and every other time he has his serious face on. The show doesn’t justify Troy’s behavior by telling us enough about him for us to care. Knowing that the Silver Ranger in Gokaiger was a Sentai fanboy, I feel like Cameron Jebo could’ve pulled that off fine. Instead they gave him a tragic and dark back story that went nowhere and kept him offscreen most of the time. Plus, the hyper and energetic movements of the Silver Ranger in the Sentai footage just doesn’t fit Orion. More things that don’t make sense, I suppose. I just wanted to say that for all the problems in Super Megaforce, the actors and actresses aren’t one of them.
This’ll be the last thing I’ll talk about. Long before the show aired, there was news that some of the previous Ranger actors would be appearing in this season. While it would’ve been nice to have more come back, there was a big fiasco going on with why many didn’t return. Shooting in New Zealand and lack of proper pay/respect didn’t help. Anyway, there were behind-the-scenes pictures taken and it looked like there would be some awesome things to come. Unfortunately, they were flown in to do essentially nothing and only show up in the finale. Some of them didn’t even get lines and the total time all of these actors spent on screen was less than five minutes. I get that Power Rangers is its own thing but if they took a page from Gokaiger and had certain episodes with one returning actor from a season interacting with the current Rangers and repeat that, no one would complain. Now, they did do one and a half episodes like this but these actors don’t come back for the finale where the other returning actors were. Fans really expected more to be done with these returning actors. The other issue is that many former Power Rangers actors live in New Zealand where the show’s filmed. No one thought to call them? Certainly cheaper than flying in the ones that did show up in the finale. Some of the writers and people who did voice work in this season also used to act in Power Rangers. Why not use them? THEY’RE RIGHT THERE!!! It’s so frustrating that many of the issues brought up could’ve been remedied by common sense.
Everybody remembers Tommy, right? I like him too but unfortunately he’s sort of become the end all be all of Power Rangers. This is evident with the Legacy line of toys that’s been coming out. To be fair, his fame wasn’t unearned. He’s had the longest tenure as a Ranger and gone through many suits. Of course he’d be iconic to the franchise. This was too much though.
The way this hyped up the Green Ranger just irritates me. It’s essentially a slap in the face to the other returning actors. I don’t know how they feel about having almost no time on screen but way to make it seem like they were irrelevant. Not only that, let’s spit on the theme of teamwork that’s been part of Power Rangers since day one. Who needs teamwork when you have Tommy? I think the worst part is that while he got the most lines, you don’t even see the Green Ranger do anything so he wasn’t the difference maker here. There was no payoff to the hype. They couldn’t shoot the Green Ranger doing SOMETHING?
I felt it was going to be difficult for me to say anything that hasn’t been said and I’m not sure I did. There just seemed to be a lack of effort, common sense, and a huge problem with priorities. This season was supposed to be for the kids who watched an older season as a kid and are now adults. It was also a way for the kids of today see the suits we grew up with in one show. I can’t understand the logic behind using Sentai suits nobody knows about, especially today’s kids. It’s not like they can buy toys of them. How does this benefit anyone? Why did you even want to shoot original footage with these suits? The characters are bland, underused, and underdeveloped. This is one of the most disappointing pieces of media I’ve seen in my life. This is not good. As a Power Rangers fan, this was awful and will forever be a stain on the franchise.
Now if you’ll excuse me I’ll be working on my version of the show.
Rangers of Gosei Robattling away! It’s time to kiss your bot goodbye! It’s…
*The role of Super Megaforce Pink has been replaced by Megaforce Pink (because someone at Mega Bloks thought it’d be funny to leave pink out of the set)*