Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Bruce Kalish Era, Power Rangers' Dork Age

Many Power Ranger fans have criticized the Disney Era in general, while others are even more specific, criticizing the Bruce Kalish Era. Before becoming executive producer and head writer of Power Rangers, Kalish actually had a descent resume that included shows such as The Incredible Hulk and The Famous Jett Jackson. After Doug Sloan and Ann Austin left during Dino Thunder, Kalish took over. His PR seasons (SPD through Jungle Fury) have been called PR's "dork age" with many of these seasons considered among the worst in PR's history. Among the various criticisms directed at Kalish include copying too much from Sentai source material while watering it down, failed comic relief, poor writing, overuse of explosions, and many unlikable characters during his time. Here's a look at the Kalish seasons.

Power Rangers SPD


Power Rangers SPD is a love it or hate it series. SPD is considered to be the best season during Kalish's tenure and many fans praise SPD, particularly for its cast, excellent acting, police drama, and strong character development early on in the series. Many fans also liked Sky's story with his father who was a former red ranger and was killed. However, others criticize SPD for the handling of the Omega Ranger scenario in which he was a CGI ball of light when he was unmorphed. This was due to executive meddling from Disney because they didn't give the producers enough money for a seventh full-time ranger actor. SPD is also criticized for it's plot falling apart in the middle and end of the series, in which the writing crew ran out of ideas and copied many filler episodes from Dekaranger. The series is also criticized for not bringing back popular PR actor Jason David Frank to reprise his role as Tommy Oliver during SPD's second team-up with Dino Thunder.

Power Rangers Mystic Force

Much like SPD, Mystic Force is somewhat a "Your Mileage May Vary" season. Some PR fans liked the magic theme to Mystic Force and felt that Mystic Force had a good story behind it. Others criticize the series for too much red ranger focus, particularly on one of the most unpopular red rangers ever, Nick. These fans also argue that the focus on Nick distracted the series from giving proper character development to the rest of the cast. Yet, more fans criticize Mystic Force for lacking originality, being a watered-down carbon copy of Magiranger with a different cast and without the family elements, although there are some family elements such as the pink and blue rangers being sisters as well as Koragg and Udonna being Nick's parents.

Power Rangers Operation Overdrive

Operation Overdrive was PR's 15th anniversary season, and was the counterpart to Boukenger, Sentai's 30th season. Operation Overdrive is considered by most fans to not only be the worst during Kalish's tenure, but the worst season ever, beating other unpopular seasons such as Turbo and Wild Force. Initially, fans had excitement about this season. With a treasure hunting motif, four villain groups to fight, and inheriting villains that were designed from previous years Sentai mecha's/PR megazords, it was seen as a season with so much potential. Among the criticism directed towards Operation Overdrive include bad writing, bad dialog, bad acting, and a very unlikable cast. Operation Overdrive's theme song is also considered to be the worst PR theme song in the franchise's history. Operation Overdrive's lone bright spot is considered to be the team-up two part episode "Once A Ranger" which was a tribute to the franchise's 15th anniversary. Once A Ranger included rangers from the previous four seasons as well as Adam, the 2nd MMPR black ranger, which was widely praised for his return. However, virtually nothing else is praised from this season.

Power Rangers Jungle Fury


Most fans who don't consider SPD to be the best during Kalish's tenure consider Jungle Fury to be his best work. Some fans like Jungle Fury for a somewhat likable cast and for having a descent second half of the season, with the present of the Spirit Rangers which were not present in Gekiranger. However, Jungle Fury also receives much of the same criticism that all Kalish seasons receive, such as overuse of explosions and copying too much from its Sentai counterpart, Gekiranger, while watering down the story. For example, while Rio and Mele turn good near the end in Gekiranger and die soon after, Jarrod and Camille live after turning good in Jungle Fury.

Overall, I think Kalish wasn't a good fit for Power Rangers. While he had a descent resume before, he was a Disney writer who was a bit of a hollywood outsider and didn't know the series or the fandom as well as Douglass Sloan or Judd Lynn did.


  1. I must be a minority. I don't mind it at all when it copies Sentai storylines. I understand that many find it boring, but right now, they're being different for the sake of being different and that's just not working for me.