“Power Rangers: Samurai”
Overall Episode #: 701
“The Team Unites”
Original Airdate: Feb. 7th 2011 – Nick / Nick 2 / Nick HD
Continue reading past the break for my review of the “world premeire” of “Power Rangers Samurai”
RANGERS TOGETHER! SAMURAI FOREVER!
…..just when you thought it was safe to start watching kids programming again….
and in full force no less.
Last year, Saban Brands reaquired the rights to “Power Rangers”-a franchise they had created in 1993-and make a STUPID amount of money off of. Seriously, I think there is footage of Haim Saban “Scrooge McDucking” into a big pile of money somewhere from the mid 90s. You couldn’t go anywhere, or do anything, without seeing, or hearing those three little words ring out somewhere:
ITS MORPHIN’ TIME!
Now since then, Power Rangers has fallen a few pegs. The sale to Disney-and later seasons having mediocre content (although RPM, Disney’s final OFFICIAL Power Rangers Season. MMPRv2 does not count. At all, we pretend it didnt happen, was pretty bad ass) left the franchise pretty much on life support. Than Saban got it back-and thats when the world EXPLODED.
Legitimate news outlets covered the story. The viral marketing began-Comic Con appearances by suit actors from the original MMPR, Facebook, Twitter….than the announcement of a new season-“Power Rangers: Samurai” would be coming out in Early 2011. The fans were ECSTATIC. The marketing went into high gear. We got random shots of official Samurai Rangers wandering around New York City. We got clips, teasers and trailers put online. Hell, the Power Rangers were IN THE MACY’S THANKSGIVING DAY PARADE! Something I’m not even 100% sure happened during the HEIGHT of their popularity. All of it boiled to a head-and Monday, February 7th 2011 was marked on every fans calander. 2-7-11-the day Power Rangers was REBORN.
So how was it?
In a word? Good.
There’s a rumor floating around that the episode that aired, “The Team Unites” was infact the 3rd episode of the series-and not really the first. The story followed the episode of Shinkenger it was based on to a T, and it looks as if thats going to be the motif of the series, almost doing straight covers of Shinkenger episodes.
I for one, like the idea-because I loved Shinkenger, and the actors they chose for this season are not terrible. I dont know how early on in production this episode was shot-so some of the more wooden deliveries could be chalked up to “its still early on, and they were still feeling each other out.” I thought all the actors were solid, and outside of a throw away line or two, we dont really hear or see much from the girls. I like this also, because alot of other seasons have been criticised for being too [Insert Ranger Here] Centric. RPM was very Dillon centric-but that kind of made sense, since he was tied directly to the bad guy. Once Tommy was introduced in MMPR, the show basically became The Tommy Oliver Show featuing The Power Rangers. This first episode was about Mike (Ranger Green) and Jayden (Ranger Red), and it did everything a premiere episode is supposed to do. It introduced us to the bulk of the heroes, (Jayden, Mike, and Kevin-as well as Master Ji.) it also introduced us to the main vilians, although it was a little confusing-since it was entirely dubbed Shinkenger footage, all with rubber suits. So if you werent paying attention, you could of easially confused the two male voices. I’d assume Dayu would be pretty easy, since she was the only villian chick. Also, if you pay attention to look and voice, Octoroo is the small squid guy, and Master Xandred is the big hulking angry guy. Their voices fit their characters very nicely.
I will say this, the Monster of the Week was WAY TOO FRACKING CHATTY. Seriously. I dont mind the puns and the quips, but JESUS LORD stop it…I really hope as the show progresses, this eases up-especially when they get to the darker arcs of Shinkenger (i swear to god, if Juzo starts making fart jokes…I riot..)
While there were subtle nods to the early days. The theme song (which you can see at the top of the post) is a direct cover / remix of the original MMPR theme. Most of the background music was actually remixed versions of older MMPR songs-which I thought was a great nod to the olden days. Bulk is back (seriously, has this guy done ANYTHING but Power Rangers? No? Who cares! ITS BULK!) with a new partner, Spike-the son of Bulk’s best friend Skull (…..i know…im confused too). They are introduced in their new ‘clubhouse’ where they are learning the ways of the Samurai….this not only brings up a funny little bit involving Bulk getting pie faced by a thing of white paint-BUT also one scary thought…..but ill get to that later.
The story revolves around Mike being unable to sense attacks. So he goes off on his own, endangers his friends-and gets his ass kicked by the villian of the week. Eventually conflict is resolved, the Rangers re-unite, and go into Mega Mode to fight the giant monster and summon their “Folding Zords” (because Origami is just too Japan….wait…they morph using Kanji…..okay whatever Saban.) and form the Samurai Megazord, kill the monster, and resolve the issue of the day. Pretty much the same formula used since day one.
Hey, if it aint broke, dont fix it.
Now some people lambast this episode, because it may or may not be the real “First Episode”-and somewhere, there is an episode explaining how the Rangers get together. Im sure there is-but for what the show is designed for: Entertaining kids and selling toys. It did its job. I’m of the school of thought who is okay with “The Team Unites” being the real “first episode”. I like the idea of the producers taking the “Batman 89” approach-and just going right into the action. I’m the footage that would of been in the first two episodes of the series-will be used as flashbacks for each Ranger-just like RPM did to go into detail of each Rangers backstory.
Overall, I give the show a 3.5/5, It could of been much worse (Wild Force…) and it could of been much better (In Space…)
Oh yes, that one scary detail that the more I think about it..the more I fear its true: The Gold Ranger.
In Shinkenger, Genta became the Gold Ranger. He was a childhood friend of Takeru’s, who sold sushi. He didnt train to be a samurai, but he studied and developed his own fish based mojikara to become ShinkenGold. He was very…elastic..in his motions-and could even come off as a comic relief character with super powers.
Bulk and Spike are training “in the ways of the Samurai”. Spike is apparently of comparable age to the rest of the Rangers (late teens, old enough to drive, but not old enough to drink.). Spike appears like he will have a very..elastic personality when it comes to his motions-just like “Daddy Skull” (it still hurts my head too.) He’s the comic relief character-currently without superpowers.
I know the idea has been mentioned on RangerBoard, and on Twitter and YouTube-but the more I think about it, the more it makes sense. I know they casted a “Wesley” who was penciled in to play the Gold Ranger, but this is when the Ranger names were different still. Once Reese became Jayden-this “Wesley” pretty much fell from the face of the planet. Nobody has confirmed nor denied his involvement, and the actor has been all but silent about it. This leaves me with the ever sinking suspicion that Spike might end up becoming the Gold Ranger…..which kind of scares me.
I will admit, MMPR – In Space saw Bulk and Skull evolve from local douchebags to out and out heroes, and this would kind of put the crowning achievement on that, with one of them (or..their offspring..rather) actually BECOMING a Power Ranger. It’s going to be interesting.
With that, I must say…
RANGERS TOGETHER! SAMURAI FOREVER!!