Power Rangers RPM (2009) was the 17th season of Power Rangers (originally intended to be its last) and used footage from Engine Sentai Go-Onger. RPM was vastly different from its Sentai counterpart. While Go-Onger was a lighthearted, comedy-oriented series, RPM was very dark, widely considered the darkest Power Rangers series ever. RPM did use some of Go-Ongers themes, such as race cars, but was vastly different because RPM was based in a post-apocalyptic world in which everything outside the dome city of Corinth has become a wasteland. While also being very dark and serious, RPM can also be quite lighthearted filled with some silly characters and jokes that make fun of Power Rangers quirks such as the zords having eyes and the spandex uniforms. RPM, along with MMPR and In Space, is one of the most popular Power Rangers series ever. However, some fans criticize RPM for ripping off of Terminator and Mad Max, while others argue that RPM is too dark. Personally, I think RPM is an excellent series, and there's plenty to like about this series.
RPM has an excellent cast, complete with both good actors and good characters. Among my favorite characters are Dillion, Ziggy, Summer, Flynn, and Dr. K. Character development in RPM is much stronger than it had been in several years, each of them given backstories that are often tragic, such as Dr. K's being a military puppet, Dillion with his sister and the Venjix virus in his body, and Scott losing his brother in battle. I particularly like Dillion who's a badass and Ziggy who's hilarious. The story is great with the post-apocalyptic setting that at times can be chillingly dark, especially the first episode. The humor is some of the best in Power Rangers, particularly from Ziggy and all the lampshades used in this series. The villains are mixed, but solid. General Crunch is quite funny and the Venjix Virus, while not as hammy as other villains, still makes a pretty solid villain.
The second half of the season wasn't quite as strong as the first half, particularly because of the Dillion-Tenaya 7 story being a virtual carbon copy of the Andros-Astronema story from In Space. However, it did help with the tragic aspects of Dillion's character and it wasn't a jump the shark moment. Gem and Gemma are initially annoying but settle down as the series goes on, and work well with others such as Gem with Scott and Gemma with Flynn. Probably my biggest gripe is the music. The theme song, while IMO not as bad as some PR fans make it out to be, isn't exactly a good one and doesn't quite fit the series. Also, the background music played during the fight scenes also didn't match the scenes well and wasn't that good. Unfortunately, RPM inherited the awful G9 and G12 zord combinations from Go-Onger, but since many of these zords weren't used until late in the series, we don't have to see these combinations as much as we did in Go-Onger.
There's nothing ugly about this series.
A-, 9/10: Most of the flaws I mentioned are minor. Some of which are due to some of the footage it inherited or because of the change of writers during mid-season. Overall, RPM is an excellent season that is well made and much different from any other Power Ranger season.
My Favorite Episodes
Episodes 1-3: Probably the best introduction episodes ever in Power Rangers. We're introduced to the post-apocalyptic earth, as well as Dillion becoming the black ranger and kicking ass, including a prison fight and virtually making scrap metal of grinders.
Episode 5 (Handshake): Technically a filler, but had some really funny lines from General Crunch like "I have a question your most venjixness, are you going to super size the Naz Bot now or wait until the Rangers defeat it first." Also, Dr. K reveals her identity.
Episode 7 (Ranger Red): The character development episode for Scott, where we learn about his background.
Episode 8 & 9 (Ranger Yellow): A generally unpopular episode among PR fans, but I actually like the episode. I felt it was a good subplot for Summer and she seems to be heavily influenced by Ran/GekiYellow.
Episode 10 (Ranger Blue): We learn about Flynn's background. Also had some really funny lampshades at the beginning of the episode.
Episode 11 (Dr. K): The best of the character development episodes, and really makes you feel sorry for Dr. K when you learn what she went through.
Episodes 17-18: Some clues are given about Dillion's past, particularly his sister, and we get a full operation to destroy a Venjix weapons making factory. Also, this two part episode introduces the Whale zord.
Episode 20: As mentioned above, Gem and Scott worked well together, and this helped to advance Scott's character. Scott is always trying to impress his father, here he goes a bit too far.
Episode 21: Also mentioned above, Gemma and Flynn work well together. Here, Gemma and Flynn work together to create the Road Attack Zord.
Episode 28 (Run Ziggy Run): My favorite Ziggy-centered episode. Again filled with great Ziggy comedy, while Ziggy makes amends with Fresno Bob.