Power Rangers: there sure have been a lot of them. You might remember them from your childhood, but they never really stopped going, at least not for more than a year or two at a time. In fact, there have 18 separate versions of the show, all of varying quality. So many that you might just need a big list to see where they fall in the grand scheme of awful to awesome.
And, so, using the finest research the internet has to offer (and not including seasons that were just renamed, such as Super Samurai) here’s every season of Power Rangers from start to finish, ranked in vague order of how much people seem to like them.
18. Megaforce/Super Megaforce (2013-2014)
The Basics: Intended as a ‘back-to-basics’ Power Ranger series, with a Zordon-inspired leader, a cast of homages to the original Rangers and the ability to use previous teams’ powers.
The Series: People love Power Rangers for all kinds of different reasons, which makes them so hard to rank. Still, it’s a rare unicorn of a fan who has anything kind to say about Megaforce, which was intended as a tribute to the good old days and fell flat on its face.
With a combination of incredibly poor acting, unoriginal plots and blatant butchering of the source material (Super Megaforce featured a switch to a pirate aesthetic…and nobody ever mentioned it), Megaforce did everything wrong it possibly could, which included reducing the grand finale — featuring every Power Ranger team in existence in one huge battle — into a dull exercise of wasted cameo appearances and one giant anti-climax. Even when the Rangers gained the ability to take on the appearance and powers of every Ranger team in history, it did nothing for the series, coming across as Megaforce trying to latch onto incarnations that were much more interesting and then dragging them down.
Plus, it says something when there’s a literal robot Ranger who emotes more convincingly than most of the main characters.
Theme Song: 4/10. Sure, it’s a cool theme, but it’s also a lazy remix of a remix that this series never quite lives up to.
17. Samurai/Super Samurai (2011-2012)
The Basics: The Power Rangers are descended from a line of samurai who pass the power down through generations, which is actually a nice twist.
The Series: Samurai was the first series produced after Saban won the rights to the series back from Disney… and it wasn’t exactly a return to form. Though not an exercise in drudgery in the same way as Megaforce, it was still bogged down by some of the problems; namely, the acting still wasn’t up to scratch (especially the endless carousel of child actors) and it let itself be strung along far too much by the source material.
The series also re-introduced us to Bulk without Skull — his nephew Spike forms the second half of the duo instead — giving us entire scenes of goofy slapstick nonsense that even five-year-olds would recognize as pure filler.
Samurai isn’t exactly offensive to canon, but at its best, it never managed much more than average.
Theme Song: 7/10. It sure felt good to hear that iconic theme remixed, but the Mickey Mouse Club roll-call was a criminal addition.
16. Operation Overdrive (2007)
The Basics: The Rangers are recruited to search for some magic stones.
The Series: If the above premise sounds thin, then it’s a good indicator of what can be said about Operation Overdrive. The series gave us perhaps the least popular team of Rangers to date, with some sub-par acting and just bad writing that made them either bland (looking at you, Tyzonn), brutally unfunny (looking at you, Dax) or just echoes of better characters from the past. The whole thing just lacked any sort of epic feel, instead being a generic Sonic-the-Hedgehog scramble for some vague magical jewels.
One the other hand, we also got the stellar team-up two-parter Once a Ranger, which brought back a squad of popular Rangers from previous seasons (lead by Johnny Yong-Bosch) who showed up, made the Overdrive Rangers look so very much worse by comparison and left us feeling both elated and kinda cheated.
Theme Song: 1/10- abysmal. Mostly the name of the show being yelled over and over while a down-on-his-luck rapper drones on about stuff you don’t care about.
15. Turbo (1997)
The Basics: What if the Power Rangers DROVE CARS?
The Series: Turbo shot itself in the foot from the beginning, since the Japanese counterpart was a sentai parody and thus even sillier than usual. It also came off the back of Zeo, itself pretty popular, and gave no real explanation as to why the Rangers suddenly needed to be riding around in cars, or why this makes them stronger.
Aside from a bunch of nonsense plots, including the team being baked into a giant pizza, the series did itself further damage by including Justin, a child Ranger who — despite a decent performance from his actor — just never fit in with his older cast members. The mentor (Dimitria) was no Zordon and the villain (Divatox) was a whiny brat without any redeeming qualities.
Things did improve towards the end, culminating in a genuinely rending finale in which the Megazords are destroyed, the Command Center blown up and Zordon captured by the forces of evil. Which then gave us In Space. See, it’s not ALL bad.
Theme Song: 6/10. It’s not one of the best but it gets the job done, plus the guitars-as-car-engines actually work pretty well.
14. Wild Force (2002)
The Basics: The Power Rangers harness the powers of wild animals to stop pollution. It also celebrated the tenth anniversary of the series.
The Series: We’re now heading into ‘meh’ territory, which more or less fits Wild Force to a T. The series tried to hit kids on the head with the environmentalism hammer until the whole thing just felt like an extended PSA. It also featured a princess who couldn’t shut up about saving the planet and has come under fire for being an almost shot-for-shot remake of the original Japanese series instead of telling its own story, production errors and all.
On the flipside, the Zords look magnificent and the team-up episodes are some of the best in the series; Forever Red united every single Red Ranger in history (sans Rocky) for a single mission, and features the return of classics such as Jason David-Frank (Tommy) and Austin St. John (Jason).
Theme Song: 6/10. Not at all bad, if a bit repetitive.
13. Lightspeed Rescue (2000)
The Basics: The Rangers are part of a Thunderbirds-esque rescue organization, where they save lives much slower than actual lightspeed but… y’know, fast enough.
The Series: Lightspeed Rescue is a weird one, as it finds itself both near the top and bottom of various ranking lists. Those who remember it fondly cite the amazing action sequences, all-American feel and the Titanium Ranger, who had no sentai counterpart but still managed to become mega-popular anyway.
Detractors will point out the sub-par acting and villains that mostly hover around the Divatox level of irritating for the entire series, both of which can easily ruin a whole season; Vypra takes the cake in this regard, as she had no personality beyond ‘token evil female’ and her performance was sheer cringe.
Overall, Lightspeed Rescue is your typical average season; love it, hate it or just regard it as average. It’s one big shrug, basically.
Theme Song: 6/10. Yeah, it’s alright.
12. S.P.D. (Space Patrol Delta) (2005)
The Basics: The Rangers are future space police.
The Series: SPD started off strong, and it featured a unique twist on the usual PR fare in that it took place in the future (and stayed there), plus the Rangers move up the ranks by color. The series also gave us some genuinely memorable characters, including quirky Green Ranger Bridge and commander is-an-actual-dog Doggie Cruger.
However despite starting strong, SPD fell victim to a few writing and character holes; namely the inclusions of Sam the Omega Ranger, with the personality of a wet tissue and a complete black hole of a backstory. The A-Squad Rangers are also just chucked in for a challenging fight with no more time spent on their characters or why they’re evil, and the premise suffered from delusions of grandeur somewhat; you know on a regular PR budget the whole ‘space police’ deal is going to have to be toned down massively.
SPD establishes itself as a fun romp, if not quite up there with the greats.
Theme Song: 7/10. It fits the tone and setting of the show, with a nifty guitar solo appropriately reminiscent of an 80s cop show.
11. Lost Galaxy (1999)
The Basics: They’re in space again, though this time protecting a colony ship heading from Earth to a new galaxy.
The Series: Lost Galaxy is sort of like fireworks in its execution: a few brilliant flashes of greatness, but a lot of plodding so-so in between. It never quite dips into awful, however, and when it shines, it does so magnificently. It was the first series to depict the death of a Ranger in the line of duty, it brought back fan-favorite Karone from In Space and the series featured complex questions of good and evil carried over and expanded upon from its predecessor.
On the other hand, there was a clear lack of direction in the writers room as the series fell into serious plot holes and made equally haphazard attempts to fill them in (they can go to the Lost Galaxy! No they can’t! Now they can! Except they can’t!) Production was troubled, with new weapons and power-ups introduced from out of nowhere to conveniently solve any problem. However, the series picked up towards the middle and continues fairly strongly with the introduction of the Magna Defender, who was the first Ranger ally to buck the trend of being a complete goody-goody in both word and deed, instead coming across as a refreshing anti-hero.
Theme Song: 7/10. Has just enough of the heart and energy that a PR opening truly needs.
10. Mystic Force (2006)
The Basics: The Rangers fight evil with the power of magic. Also, they have capes.
The Series: Mystic Force tends to be weirdly polarizing; fans either think it’s one of the greatest and most imaginative of the franchise, or they see it as a series that squanders its potential by neglecting most of the Rangers and never rising above a Harry Potter ripoff.
On the downside, Nick the Red Ranger does tends to pull all the attention to himself in the final arc like some kind of plot black hole, which mostly boils down to a generic ‘chosen one’ cliché. It feels undeserved, especially since the franchise is based around teamwork and Nick tends to steal development from his teammates, not being that interesting himself to begin with.
On the contrary, the core team of Rangers are still genuinely likable and rounded, and are themselves almost upstaged by a brilliantly-portrayed supporting cast who each get their own story arcs and character development (which is more than you can say for most similar characters- it took Bulk and Skull six seasons before they made themselves useful). The series also has a strong and mature over-arching plot that competently deals with betrayal, the loss of family and even a bit of discrimination thrown in at the end. Plus the series is all about the Rangers learning magic, which made even the filler scenes a lot of fun.
Theme Song: 8/10. It loses a couple of points for the grating rap, but the instrumental is one of the catchiest themes out there.
9. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (1993-1996)
The Basics: Don’t play games. You know what it’s all about.
The Series: It might not be the best, but for the series that set the phenomenon ablaze, it doesn’t matter. Five teenagers spend their waking hours fighting creatures made of putty, piloting giant robots and posing with such force that the air makes a whooshing sound whenever they move. It was mighty, it was morphin, it was a blaze of color that captured hearts and imaginations worldwide, and at its core, that was what made MMPR truly great: pure, distilled imagination fuel.
In terms of many of its successors, however, it doesn’t quite hold its own as a show. Many aspects have dated poorly, the whole splicing of Japanese footage was still a pretty new phenomenon and it really shows during the editing. For the perfect example, take a look at when Thuy Trang, Walter Jones and Austin St. John (Yellow, Black and Red Rangers) left the show; the transition episodes are a nightmarish mess of messy edits, bad dubbing and stale stock footage to make it seem like they were still around.
The quality varied over its three seasons, as did the acting, and it was prone to introducing plot points for convenience in the hopes that the little ones wouldn’t notice. Yet despite its flaws, MMPR has endured for a good couple of decades on a wave of nostalgia and fond memories, and probably will for a good long while yet.
Theme Song: 9/10. Catchy, punchy and everything an opening theme should be. The beginning also catches you up with a piece of monologue so iconic that you could recite it in your sleep.
8. Ninja Storm (2003)
The Basics: The Rangers are elemental ninjas (and later samurai).
The Series: Ninja Storm had a lot going for it, such as a willingness to not take itself seriously and some wicked-cool unmorphed fight scenes. The Rangers were only three to begin with, which once again let us get to know them just that little bit better; they’d later be joined by a few more, including snarky fan-favorite Cam.
The series really ramped up the humor side, which for the most part was well-received. Every gimmicky PR trope found itself called out and mocked, and even the main villain — Lothor — was more of a long-suffering obstacle rather than being pure evil, creating a series with some great fights but less of the heavy-handed emotions that had surrounded previous teams.
This worked against it in some areas, as constant jokes didn’t always land and Lothor came across as a lazy, whining non-threat whose main defining trait was breaking the fourth wall. While Power Rangers continuity has always been kind of loose (Lost Galaxy would have us believe that ordinary, 20th Century Earth has access to city-sized, intergalactic colony ships. Riiiiight) Ninja Storm was the worst of them all, portraying the Power Rangers as comic book characters; this would later be undone in grand style, over and over, making the change look pretty stupid in hindsight. The series is still remembered fondly, however, and it made some excellent use of the ninja theme.
Theme Song: 3/10. Disappointing, considering the strength of the material. It’s mostly a white-bread Frankenstein’s monster of all the themes that came before it, with no real tune and some nonsense lyrics.
7. Jungle Fury (2008)
The Basics: The Rangers fight with the power of their animal spirits, and also a lot of kung-fu.
The Series: The Disney era of Power Rangers was a tumultuous time, and no more so than in Jungle Fury. Penned in the midst of a writer’s strike, the show is often skipped over for sounding like a less-interesting version of Wild Force, with added martial arts.
Many would therefore be surprised to find a series with some powerful characterization and incredible stunts. The show went the Ninja Storm route of starting us off with only three Rangers, and it stayed that way for a good long while. Thus, we got to know Casey, Lily and Theo better than your average Ranger team, with Casey in particular turning out to be popular enough to make a cameo as a mentor in Megaforce. The suits have their own aesthetic, the martial arts are visually-impressive and the dialogue surprisingly funny at times.
However, the series chose to portray their villain as mostly-human, which means our fearsome main villain was ‘Jarrod’, a snarling mope who sounded like he couldn’t even locate America on a map, let alone imitate the accent. It didn’t help that he was one of a revolving door of villains, each of whom stuck around for about three episodes average before being replaced. The ending is also unforgivably anticlimactic, possibly due to aforementioned writer strike; basically, the core team wave their arms, chant some mystic words and the big scary dragon just disappears. Whoop. However, Jungle Fury is still well worth the watch, despite a few writing roadblocks along the way.
As a side note, the Dominic the Rhino Ranger is played by one of the evil Russian mobster bosses from the first season of Daredevil. Have fun getting that image out of your head.
Theme Song: 9/10. Sublime, dripping in vivid punk-pop harmonies and the type of theme music you’ll never want to skip.
6. RPM (2009)
The Basics: The Rangers defend the last city on Earth in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. It was pretty dark.
The Series: With Disney no longer interested in producing the franchise, RPM was to be the final installment. It would later be revived, but RPM still managed to establish itself as a stand-out season anyway, with its bold step of making the setting a ravaged world devastated by an evil computer virus.
It could probably be higher on the list if it weren’t for many fans stating that it doesn’t feel like a Power Rangers series — and it’s easy to see where they’re coming from. The spangly outfits, google-eyed cars, goofy twins and blocky villains often don’t mesh well with a world where the driving premise is ‘everyone you know is dead’, creating a weird hybrid that doesn’t seem like it should exist.
And yet you’ll still be glad it does, because outside all the dissonance, RPM is overloaded with sheer badassery. You really get a sense of the Power Rangers being a symbol of hope like they’ve never been before, and a few episodes set outside the domed city of Corinth give a heart-rending feel for the complete desolation and emptiness. The characters each receive their own backstories that show what they were doing before and during the end of the world and how they came to be heroes, and Doctor K (the resident mentor/gadget genius) has perhaps the saddest story of all, locked away in a think tank to the point where she doesn’t know how to interact with other people.
The series didn’t shy away from serious themes such as mafia corruption, ultimate sacrifice (named characters actually die in the flashbacks) and oh yeah, 99% of humanity being dead. Coupled with a flip-side of humor that found time to poke fun at Power Ranger conventions, RPM is the odd child of the family who you can’t help but end up liking anyway.
5. Zeo (1996)
The Basics: The original Mighty Morphin Rangers, with MORE POWER (and new outfits).
The Series: Heralding the first time the Rangers permanently switched costumes, Zeo was both a continuation of the original MMPR and something much better. The series had grown up and it showed with stronger plots, more character development and some better-written drama than ‘Rita’s new monster is trying to disrupt our episodic community event!’
The series had the advantage of holding onto some popular characters (Tommy, Adam etc.) and also the return of Austin St. John as Jason, who apparently stopped hating Saban at some point and took up the mantle of the Gold Ranger. With a similar theme and characters, Zeo acted as more or less MMPR mark II with some different aesthetics, and it did a great job of building on what had come before. The ending was ruined somewhat by executive meddling, but the blame for that one mostly falls on Turbo, so…
Theme Song: 9/10. Still uses the MMPR theme as a base, but is far from a lazy remix, instead being a pretty dang fine opening by itself with some great choir moments.
4. Time Force (2001)
The Basics: The Rangers are temporally-displaced time cops.
The Series: A Pink Ranger leading the team? Sheer madness.
Time Force pretty quickly became a fan-favorite season due to going full-gritty, far more than any that had come before. Of note are the mature themes and the fact that they weren’t afraid to straight up kill a guy in the opening episode to set the tone. It was also the first series to have a female team leader, showing the Pink Rangers don’t always have to be the designated ‘girly girl’ of the team.
Most aspects of the series were well-loved, from the characterization, the over-arching plot all the way to the awesome battle music. It might be an early season with some burgeoning special effects, but Time Force remains a season that even today’s youngsters can watch and appreciate.
Though as an aside, it does take some time to really get going. And that obnoxious evil henchwoman in the plastic armor and the ice-cream hat? Awful.
Theme Song: 7/10. Pretty nice, and you’ll definitely know the name of the show after one viewing (they yell it a lot).
3. In Space (1998)
The Basics: It’s in the title.
The Series: In Space acted as a finale of sorts, wrapping up the ‘Zordon Era’ that began with MMPR. It also came off the back of the not-so-great Turbo, and made it pretty clear that Saban could learn from their mistakes. The season turned out to be one of the best in PR history, with some brilliant character drama, complex villains and a finale that featured every villain in the history of the show (Rita and Lord Zedd included) launching a massive attack on the whole universe.
The strong, cohesive plot threads all came to a head in the finale, Countdown to Destruction, which had Zordon sacrificing himself to purify the universe from evil in a scene that made many a grown man cry like a small child. Also of note were Bulk and Skull, who finally showed their worth by leading the citizens of Angel Grove against a horde of aliens, their finest and most memorable moment. This, along with the strong undercurrents of nostalgia and solid writing, have made In Space a serious contender for the best Power Ranger series of all time.
Theme Song: 9/10. The first to completely break away from the MMPR theme, and it’s still awesome.
2. Dino Charge/Super Dino Charge (2015-2016)
The Basics: The Rangers have magic gems, and some stuff about dinosaurs.
The Series: Speaking of Saban learning their lesson, here’s some more credit where credit is due. This season came off the back of Samurai and Megaforce, which you might’ve noticed take the worst two spots on this list. Enter Dino Charge, which doesn’t even seem like it belongs in the same universe in terms of quality. Done away with was the stilted acting, cringing theme song roll-call, lack of writing direction and flat characters. Instead, we got a competent cast of new faces who each have not only their own personality, but also their own clear goals, insecurities, skills and quirky traits; a few of the more wacky, out-there characters include an actual cave man, a knight from the 1200s and a guy from New Zealand. It all makes sense in context.
The villains might not be the most compelling or well-designed (Poisandra and Fury…what were they thinking??) but even that problem clears itself up in Super Dino Charge as we get the dual-identity villain of Heckyl and Snyde; one looks like a dapper human and the other an armored tyrant. The fight scene choreography is through the roof, the Ranger suits look stunning and the series makes unique use of its dinosaur theme despite being the third to do so. Dino Charge is a return to form and then so much more.
Theme Song: 10/10. Perfection.
1. Dino Thunder (2004)
The Basics: More dinosaurs! Dinosaurs are cool, apparently.
The Series: The internet has spoken: Dino Thunder apparently takes the crown as the greatest season of Power Rangers.
Maybe it’s the small, personal starting team of three that put forth some strong performances and show genuine growth. Perhaps it’s the presence of Tommy Oliver as the wise mentor, and later a Ranger himself, or the strong bond that formed between the members of the team. Perhaps people just love how the villains include a genuine, terrifying threat (Mesogog) and a complex bad guy turned good.
Or maybe folks just really love dinosaurs and explosions. Dubbed as ‘MMPR Part II’, it nonetheless managed to show how the series had grown and matured, and managed to appeal to a far broader audience than just children. Production problems had Tommy frozen in amber for a good chunk of the series, but the main cast proved strong enough to carry the show on their own.
Whatever the reason, it looks like Dino Thunder just struck the perfect balance of drama, action, nostalgia and loads of silly, Power Rangers fun, all of which are the ingredients that make the franchise so popular in the first place.
Theme Song: DINO RANGERS ROAR! POWER RANGERS SCORE! SAVE US FROM… sorry, forgot what we were doing. What were we doing?
Got some different opinions, or think a certain series should be in a different spot? There are eighteen of them…surely they can’t all be in the right place. Let us know in the comments!
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