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What to watch, read, and play before Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Once & Always

Celebrate the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers 30th Anniversary with the original Rangers

Logo for Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Once and Always
Image credit: Fox

The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was revolutionary to nerdy 90s kids like me. It was the first time many of us witnessed the brilliance of Japanese live-action superhero shows. I remember where and how I sat (cross-legged on the floor in front of the couch) when Power Rangers debuted in 1993. I was transfixed by the colorful heroes and kaiju action. I was immediately hooked, gravitating toward Zack Tayler as my ranger proxy. I still hold that campy show and its iconic cast in high regard.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Once & Always is an upcoming television special starring the original Blue and Black Rangers Billy and Zack, played by David Yost and Walter Jones, respectively. As the 30th anniversary of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers approaches, the old crew is suiting up once again. Steve Cardenas steps in as the Red Ranger Rocky DeSantos, and Karan Ashley returns as the Yellow Ranger Aisha Campbell. Johnny Yong Bosch is Adam Park, the second Black Ranger, and Catherine Sutherland plays The Pink Ranger Katherine Hillard.

If you are unfamiliar with the casts of the first few iterations of Saban's Power Rangers, I've compiled an eclectic array of Power Rangers movies, shows, and games to help jumpstart your love of the OG Rangers and set your fandom ablaze in anticipation of the 30th Anniversary show.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (1993 - 1996)

Title card for Mighty Morphin Power Rangers with a large lightning bolt
Image credit: Fox

The original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers show is the first, best, and most apparent entry for this list. Currently streaming on Netflix for all to consume, the OG Power Rangers was a triumph of children's television in the early 90s. Once that iconic music hit, you knew you were in for a wild ride. Can we also acknowledge how hard that song went for absolutely no reason? The guitar riff had no reason to cut so deep.

The show was chock-full of iconic pop culture moments. Everything from the music, the Morphing, the larger-than-life battles, and the corny lessons everyone learned at the end made the show incredible. There are so many interesting facts about the show's production, the impact of the Power Rangers merchandise, to the fact that Power Rangers continues to grow 30 years later. It all stemmed from the little composite show that could.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers comic series

Illustration Power Rangers team
Image credit: Boom!

If you are more of a comic book enthusiast, the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers comic series is an excellent continuation of the stories featuring the original six teenagers with attitudes. The ongoing series by Boom Studios follows the adventures of Trini Zack, Jason, Billy, and Kimberly as they take on Rita Repulsa, Lord Zed, Lord Drakkon, and a host of other baddies. The storytelling is incredibly engaging, putting our heroes in dire situations the live-action show couldn't imagine. The art is a treat for the eyes, making the entire package a joy to consume from beginning to end. If you are jumping in for the first time, the lengthy series contains volumes of Power Ranger goodness to absorb. If all that hasn't sold you, the Rangers team up with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, who wear turtle versions of the Ranger suits. You're welcome, world. Go read up.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers The Movie (1995)

Promotional image featuring Power Rangers Team

Ah, the live-action film Mighty Morphin Power Rangers The Movie. The campiest, strangest, and corniest entry in the MMPR saga. That isn't a knock, either. This movie is beloved by Power Ranger fans, many of whom were kids when they saw it. The film introduced the world to the Ninja Zords, the scene-chewing Ivan Ooze, and starred Karan Ashley, Johnny Yong Bosch, and Steve Cardenas as the relatively new Yellow, Black, and Red Rangers, respectively.

This film marked Saban's first original Power Rangers content using no archival footage from the original Japanese tv show Super Sentai. It's also the company's first foray into feature films. The MMPR movie is a time capsule, preserving the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers at the height of its popularity. It ushered in the next iterations of Rangers as original members rotated out and new "teenagers" rolled in.

Power/Rangers Bootleg Universe

Movie still featuring a pink helmet lying on its side
Image credit: Liongate

Power/Rangers is a short fan film released on Youtube and Vimeo in February 2015. Its gritty, violent, nihilistic take on the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers appealed to jaded adult fans of the original series. Once the nerd wire was aware of its existence, the film became an instant viral hit. Power/Rangers is written by Joseph Kahn and Dutch Southern, produced by Adi Shankar and Jil Hardin, and directed by Kahn.

Despite its over-the-top adult themes, the "bootleg universe" Power Rangers rekindled many people's interest in the original franchise. The action was well choreographed, the story was brutal, and some well-known character actors like Katee Sackhoff and James Van Der Beek dove in to lend their talents. To truly appreciate the absurdity of this fan film, you need to have lived through the MMPR era. That said, it is a fun watch for any long-time Ranger fan who isn't squeamish about watching your favorite heroes be less than heroic. I can only recommend this to people over the age of 35.

Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid

Digital illustration of two Power Rangers about to fight
Image credit: nWay

What better way to truly immerse yourself in the Power Rangers mythos than to play as your favorite Ranger? Power Ranger: Battle for the Grid pits Power Rangers and villains from across the series against each other in a cross-platform fighting game. Choose your favorite Mighty Morphin Power Ranger (ignore the other rangers) and mash buttons until every one of your enemies is defeated.

Fans of the comic series mentioned above will feel right at home with the games story lore. Lord Drakkon and his Mastadon Sentries have infiltrated the Power Rangers timeline and aim to destroy them. Its up to you to defeat wave after wave of incredibly difficult combatants and protect the universe from evil. You know the deal, Power Ranger business. It's a great gaming pass time for old-school Ranger fans, especially if you want to dominate your kids in yet another game. Or in my case, lose repeatedly to the computer because my hand-eye coordination is terrible.

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Carl Waldron

Carl Waldron: Carl studies the stats of old Marvel trading cards, collects dope domain names, and has a growing backlog of video games and comics he'll never get to play. He spends his time getting beat up by his kids, playing Destiny 2 (Titan Main), and designing things for money. Carl has written for DCComics.com, IGN.com, Multiversity Comics, and Newsarama, all while disguised as a mild-mannered Creative Director.


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