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Release company: Foreign Media Group Germany / Company of Kids International
Screen format: Color; PAL (can be played on a region-free player)
Running Time: 1000 minutes
Aspect ratio: 1.33:1 full screen
Languages: German 2.0 stereo / English 2.0 stereo (all episodes have the original English track)
Subtitles / Closed Captions: None
Packaging: Six disc set with five wafer cases inside cardboard slipcover
Disc One: Day of the Dumpster / High Five / Teamwork / A Pressing Engagement / A Different Drum / Food Fight / Big Sisters / Switching Places / I, Eye Guy / Foul Play in the Sky
Disc Two: From Whom the Bell Trolls / Happy Birthday Zack / No Clowning Around / Power Ranger Punks / Peace, Love and Woe / Dark Warrior / Green With Evil Part 1* / Green With Evil Part 2 / Green With Evil Part 3 / Green With Evil Part 4
Disc Three: Green With Evil Part 5 / The Trouble With Shellshock / Itsy Bitsy Spider / The Spit Flower* / Life’s a Masquerade / Gung Ho! / Island of Illusion Part 1* / Island of Illusion Part 2 / Wheel of Misfortune / The Rockstar
Disc Four: Calamity Kimberly / A Star is Born / The Yolk’s On You! / The Green Candle Part 1 / The Green Candle Part 2 / Birds of a Feather / Clean-Up Club / A Bad Reflection on You / Doomsday Part 1 / Doomsday Part 2
Disc Five: A Pig Surprise / Something Fishy / Rita’s Seed of Evil / To Flea or Not to Flee / Reign of the Jellyfish / Crystal of Nightmares / Plague of the Mantis / Return of an Old Friend Part 1 / Return of an Old Friend Part 2
Disc Six: Grumble Bee / Two Heads Are Better than One / Fowl Play / Trick or Treat / Second Chance / On Fins and Needles / Enter... the Lizzinator / Football Season / Mighty Morphin’ Mutants / An Oyster Stew
* = Slightly cut from original version, check “Video and Audio” section for more details
The entire fandom knows how MMPR came to be, so I’ll just keep it short -- Egyptian producer Haim Saban saw the Sentai show “Zyuranger” and proposed a TV show to Fox suits that incorporated the fight scenes from Zyuranger with American-dubbed voices and American-produced footage mixed in. And the rest is history.
The very season that started it all -- from lucrative merchandising, two theatrical film spinoffs and numerous incarnations -- “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” is very much a product of its time. From scrunchies to babydoll dresses, the show is littered with dated trends from the ‘90s (like scrunchies and babydoll dresses), which work against it.
While some casual fans cite the first season as their favorite, and aside from the nostalgia factor, the first season is quite frankly, terrible. After a while, the show’s formula gets tiring -- for the most part, an episode consists of one or two of the Rangers being the focus of the episode and have something planned, Rita Repulsa sends down a monster to destroy it/keep it from happening, the Rangers defeat it and go on as planned. And the Rangers are just plain stereotypes -- the smart Asian girl (Trini), the handsome jock (Jason), the cool token black guy (Zack), the girly-girl shopper (Kimberly) and the smart nerd (Billy) which make the series even more predictable than it is. The so-so acting and constant continuity errors and plot holes (whatever happened to Marge after “Peace, Love and Woe”?) compound the problem.
Even with the inception of the highly-popular Green Ranger (Tommy) -- who would stay on Power Rangers longer than any other character (“Mighty Morphin”, “Zeo”, first part of “Power Rangers Turbo”, and the highly-touted return in “Power Rangers Dino Thunder”) -- the show still stayed fairly predictable for the most part. Even though the show would take giant steps in terms of acting and writing in the next two seasons, the first season still hasn’t lost that nostalgia factor that made it so much fun to begin with. I still grin from ear to ear when I hear that familiar Ron Wasserman song, laugh at the wrong moments and just go with the flow. The first season is just mindless entertainment and if viewed in that context along with a heaping of nostalgia, it can be a lot of fun.
VIDEO AND AUDIO
Presented (mostly) uncut in its original 1.33:1 televised ratio in PAL format, the episodes look good. Not amazing or reference quality, but is in very good condition considering that the show is over a decade old. It might be the PAL format allowing for more lines of resolution than NTSC, or whether the international masters were in fine shape to start with.
As per the first two seasons, the audio is in Dolby 2.0 stereo, in both a German dub and the original English track. The dialogue comes through clear and audible, but I was definitely impressed with the clarity of the music and effects, which sound more crisper than they did on TV. The subwoofer also sees a bit of action, but it‘s still pretty middling (it mainly provides a nice bass line for the music). For what it is, it sounds good, although a Dolby 5.1 remix would‘ve rocked.
* NOTE: The first pressings of the set lacked the original English audio for the episodes “Green With Evil Part 1”, “The Spit Flower” and “Island of Illusion Part 1”, yet the next pressing rectified the problem (they did do a disc exchange program for those who had a set from the first pressing). Foreign Media Group was able to obtain English copies of the episodes from Disney, but some minor cuts have been made:
GREEN WITH EVIL PART 1: A few seconds of Tommy in the web cocoon after Rita first captures him.
THE SPIT FLOWER: A few seconds of the fight between the Putties and Kim and Tommy in the Youth Center.
ISLAND OF ILLUSION PART 1: Most of the Rita scenes have been cut down, probably due to strobing effects. (This episode also has the edited Jetix opening, where Saban’s name is removed from the opening credits.)
BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, AND PACKAGING
For what they had to work with, Foreign Media Group Germany came up with a fair amount of bonus material. The most notable bonus feature is “Jason David Frank Visits Germany” (which is pretty self-explanatory) and you can hear him talking even with the German dub. Another notable bonus feature is the inclusion of “Messages from the Power Rangers” ads, but they are dubbed in German (and should you understand German, they won‘t be of any interest to English-speaking fans). The last feature included is a set of screen stills from each show. The extras can only be selected if you press the German menu option, as the English ones are bare.
Considering that Foreign Media Group did a crappy job with their first Power Ranger season set “Power Rangers Time Force” in terms of packaging (as well as a German-language only option), they have completely redeemed themselves not only with the inclusion of the original English audio, but also in packaging. Rather than a digipak for the DVDs, the six discs are housed individually in five wafer cases (the final two discs are housed in the fifth case), which slide into a glossy embossed slipcover. The slipcover itself is also classy, using the teaser poster art from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie with the five Ranger helmet silhouettes (the White Ranger helmet is removed because the White Ranger doesn’t appear in the first season).