Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Power Rangers Zeo Review


Power Rangers Zeo (1996-97) continued MMPR's story and used footage from Ohranger. Zeo was the first season to change the suits, the series title, and theme song every year. Zeo differed slightly from Ohranger's motif in that it wasn't a military organization, but was still largely technology based as well as having its powers centered around the Zeo crystal. Zeo also went back to using mostly Sentai footage as compared to MMPR season's 2 and 3 which used a lot of American footage. It also marked the return of Austin St. John who reprised his role briefly as Jason the Gold Ranger. Zeo tends to be viewed more like Lightspeed Rescue, as a rather average season. Personally, it's one of my favorite seasons and IMO a big step up from the dissapointments of the last half of MMPR S2 and S3 as a whole.

The Good
What I felt really makes this season enjoyable is that it really allowed for all the characters to develop and florish through the whole season. In particular, Rocky and Adam whom both received little development in previous seasons, really got a chance to shine here. The new characters, Tanya and Katherine, received much more development than the new cast received during MMPR S2. It was also refreshing to see the Sentai footage instead of the terrible American ranger fight footage present through the second half of MMPR S2 and S3. Though this season was episodic much like MMPR S1, the episodes were quite good with some very memorable episodes such as Instrument of Destruction and Another Song and Dance. It still had some good story arcs such as the mystery of the Gold Ranger as well as Tommy's relationship with his brother, both made for some interesting drama. Jason's return to the show was a nice touch although he wasn't as awesome as he was as the red ranger. The theme song was pretty descent as well.

The Average
The villains (the Machine Empire) weren't nearly up to the level as Lord Zedd and Rita but they were definitely better than Turbo's villains. It was also a bit of a dissapointment seeing Billy have a reduced roll during this season. Also, Eric Frank's acting, JDF's real life brother who played Tommy's brother, was kinda wooden. Though fortunately he's not present through the majority of the season.

The Ugly
The only major gripe I have about how this season was written was the whole Dear John letter scenario involving Kimberly and Tommy as well as the forced relationship between Tommy and Kat, and the crappy Christmas episode that followed. To be fair, Tommy and Kimberly breaking up was pretty realistic but forcing a relationship between Tommy and Kat was a bit much. What was also very ugly was how David Yost (Billy) was treated behind the scenes by the production crew.

My Rating
B/B+. This is a solid season, that I thouroughly enjoyed watching as a kid and still enjoy watching reruns today. By no means the greatest, but still fun to watch.

My Favorite Episodes
Episodes 1-2, A Zeo Beginning: A Zeo Beginning was a solid start to the season.
Episode 12, Instrument of Destruction: My favorite Bulk and Skull moment ever, involving Bulk's appreciation for Skull's musical talent.
Episode 14, Mr. Billy's Wild Ride: One of the few focus episodes that Billy received during this season, and it was a pretty dramatic one.
Episodes 18-21: A descent story arc concerning Tommy and his brother David.
Episode 28, The Power of Gold: The introduction of the Gold Ranger.
Episodes 33-34: This two parter involved the revelation of the Gold Ranger's true identity as well as Jason's return and assuming the Gold Ranger powers.
Episodes 41-43: A three parter that included Tommy getting kidnapped, brainwashed, and fighting against the rangers once again. Nothing like the Green with Evil arc, but still fascinating.
Episode 46, Another Song and Dance: One of the funnier episodes during PR's early history. This episode included Tanya and Tommy singing their morphing lines as well as zords dancing.
Episodes 47-48, Rangers of Two Worlds: First major team-up in Power Rangers history, involving the Alien Rangers and the Zeo Rangers. It was also Billy's departure, which wasn't well done, but the cool part was the team-up.


  1. Nice review Mr. Smith. =)

    I agree. Zeo was definitely a step up from MMPR.

    Though it still had enough problems for me to rank it rather low on the list . Most of the blame going towards the villains. Yes, I know they aren't the worst. But they were really god awful imo. The other major problem I had were the fight scenes. To me, it looked really annoying how Ohranger's kickass fighting footage was being mixed up with American footage (which imo was still crappy). The Dear John letter, Billy's role, and the lack of an ending were also major offenders to me.

  2. Since the Power Rangers showed up on Netflix, I've been going through since the beginning. I haven't seen any of this stuff since around when it aired. Quite frankly I enjoyed Zeo much more than the first 3 seasons of Power Rangers. I also found the early use of the Machine Empire far more enjoyable, they felt more creative than Rita and Zedd in the scheme ideas and they weren't constantly incredulous that they were defeated. Also they didn't throw a giant party every time they looked like they were the least bit winning. The Tommy/Kat thing I feel was far from forced. In fact they provided a much more reasonable build up to it than Tommy and Kimberly. Tommy and Kimberly just suddenly was kind of happening. But going back to Kat's introduction she showed interest in Tommy and continued to drop hints. They gave a reasonable amount of time after the Dear John letter to actually follow it up.

    This season may have been episodic, but so were the first 3 seasons. What Zeo did manage in comparison is that it not only allowed details from some of the standalone episodes to make for deeper character and story development, but it even made reference to MMPR story elements that hadn't been touched on since they aired, even in MMPR.

    I've never watched the Sentai counterpart, so I can't comment on how the footage was or was not properly used, but for the most part I felt the action fit well to the story they were telling, which wasn't always true with MMPR. In fact, MMPR action, in all seasons, felt forced a lot of the time.