Power Rangers Ninja Steel, “Return of the Prism” Review

***As big a Power Rangers fan as I am, I must admit: I’m a little behind on modern PR. Here’s where I attempt to fix that, as I check out episodes of Power Rangers Ninja Steel!***

SERIES: Power Rangers Ninja Steel
S24:E1 – “Return of the Prism”
William Shewfelt, Peter Sudarso, Chrysti Ane, Chris Reid, Caleb Bendit
Chip Lynn 
DIRECTOR: Peter Burger
January 21, 2017
Three new Power Rangers rise to face a new threat to Earth.

New around here? Check out the Power Rangers review archive!

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Power Rangers Ninja Steel kicks off with a flashback, as we see the Ninja Nexus Prism land in the Romero family’s back yard. Conveniently, they are a family of ninjas. A father and his two young sons. That worked out, didn’t it?

Dane, the family dad, is able to remove the Ninja Nexus Star from the Prism, within its crust of a metallic substance known as Ninja Steel. The Prism attracts the attention of our main bad guy this season: Galvanax. With him are Madame Odius and Ripcon. Galvanax quickly takes Brody, the younger brother in the family, hostage. Dane tells his older son, Aiden, to hide the scraps of ninja steel before slicing the Ninja Nexus Star into six pieces. In the process, he actually leaves Brody out there with Galvanax for quite a while. Father of the year, this guy.

A battle ensues in which Dane is briefly transformed into a Red Ranger. Moments later, the pieces of the star reemerge inside the prism, with Galvanax unable to extract them. Meanwhile, Dane has disappeared, Brody is taken by Galvanax, and Aiden is left behind…

Over the next decade, Galvanax turns his quest to extract the six Ninja Power Stars from the prism into an intergalactic game show called Galaxy Warriors (shown above), of which he is the reigning champion. I adore the game show concept here. It’s obviously very creative and ambitious, and something Power Rangers has never done before. The show takes place aboard Galvanax’s Warrior Dome Ship, on which Brody is imprisoned. The ship is filled with all kinds of monsters and creatures.

Because of the show’s relatively (and famously) small budget, we’re going to see a lot of reused and repurposed costumes from past seasons. In this episode alone, we see the suits used for Vexacus in Ninja Storm, Broodwing in SPD, one of Venjix’s robot bodies in RPM, among numerous others.

Brody, our Ninja Steel Red Ranger, is played by William Shewfelt. If you look at this kid’s Instagram, you’ll notice he may have the distinction of being the most shredded Red Ranger we’ve ever had. Also, according to Power Rangers: The Ultimate Visual Guide, Shewfelt was an economics student when he auditioned for the show. Can’t say I would have called that. Oh, and he’s also a singer. Just call him a renaissance man.

Kelson Henderson is back again as Mick Kanic, Brody’s friend and comrade aboard the Warrior Dome Ship. After playing so many roles on the series over the years, both as a series regular and a guest star, I can’t say I’m ever surprised to see him, per se. But it’s always a delight to see him.

At this very early juncture, Galvanax fails to impress. He comes off like a dopey brute, albeit an ambitious one. He actually seems more like a villain’s general than a main villain himself. But of course, he’s got plenty of time to prove me wrong.

Our Blue Ranger, Preston, has a really nice quirky charm to him. That’s what you’d hope to get from a magician character, I think. He even wears the suit and top hat. Kinda hard not to like him.

Preston is played by Peter Sudarso, brother of Yoshi Sudarso, who played the Blue Ranger in the previous series, Dino Charge.  There was a really cool moment at Power Morphicon several years ago where they surprised Yoshi with the announcement that his brother was the new Blue Ranger.

I call BS on Brody being able to not just steal the Ninja Nexus Prism, but then stealthily wheel it around under a sheet. That’s supposed to be the big valuable item on the ship, right? Wasn’t anybody guarding it?!?

Sarah, our new Pink Ranger, makes her entrance riding a Back to the Future style hoverboard to school. One she built herself. Keep an eye on Sarah for the next few episodes, and see if Ninja Steel makes you believe she could build a hoverboard. I believed Billy could build a flying car in Mighty Morphin. I believed Doctor K could create the Ranger powers in RPM. But this character creating a hoverboard? We’ll see…

Our comedic duo for the season are Victor and Monty, played by Chris Reid and Caleb Bendit. They’re off to a perfectly serviceable start. They mug for the camera like pros.

Preston and Sarah see the Ninja Nexus Prism (along with Brody, Mick, and their robot buddy Redbot) fall to Earth from the Warrior Dome Ship. They crash into the monstrous Korvaka on Sarah’s hoverboard as he’s about to dispose of Brody. The three teens are then able to each pull a power star from the Prism. I found myself wishing the power stars didn’t look so toy-like. Even on a show that’s largely a toy commercial.

Using the power stars, Brody, Preston, and Sarah are able to morph into the Red, Blue, and Pink Rangers. The Ninja Steel costumes may very well be my favorite suits in recent Power Rangers history. They’re very slick, and suitably ninja-esque. Certainly more so than the Ninja Storm suits were. You can buy the notion that they do high octane fighting in these things. Though ironically, as director and future series showrunner Simon Bennett would later reveal, these Ninja Rangers weren’t allowed to do a lot of ninja stuff, this being a kids show. They were allowed to be stealthy, and that’s about it.

Shortly before the Ninja Nexus Prism flies off into the unknown, Brody and the others decide to check out his old house. Brody seems to think that his brother Aiden will be there, which doesn’t really make sense. Why would he have stayed there? It’s been 10 years, and Aiden was only a kid when the attack happened. For Brody to think he’d find Aiden there a decade later is naive even by kids show standards.

The Earth didn’t move for me with “Return of the Prism.” It’s hardly one of the best premieres the show has produced. But it does a lot of things right. It introduces us to our heroes, setting up only three of them. Granted, they’re not all entirely likable. But things have room to breathe. It sets up our villains and status quo, though Galvanax fails to impress. It’s a start. Not a great start, but a start nonetheless.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Power Rangers Dino Fury, “The Invasion” Review

Orria, Power Rangers Dino Fury, The InvasionSERIES: Power Rangers Dino Fury

EPISODE: S29:E20 – “The Invasion”
STARRING: Russell Curry, Hunter Deno, Kai Moya, Tessa Rao, Chance Perez, Jordan Fite
WRITERS: Becca Barnes, Alwyn Dale, Guy Langford, Cameron Dixon, Steve McCleary
DIRECTOR: Craig Wilson
PREMIERE DATE: September 29, 2022

SYNOPSIS: Void Queen launches a full-scale assault on Pine Ridge.

New around here? Check out the Power Rangers review archive!

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

As the episode begins, a spaceship arrives just outside the city. This prompts Jane to say: “Finally, it’s Pine Ridge’s turn for some extraterrestrial action!” I assume that’s a cute little nod to the fact that plenty of other cities on this show have been invaded by aliens. Between that, and Javi’s line about “Lord Zedd, with Galvanax and Venjix…” this episode seems to know it’s the beginning of a finale.

The ship turns out to be filled with Rafkonians, who want Earth to be their new home. But the Rafkonian leader, Orria, calls humans “greedy and selfish and incapable of working together.” Zayto and Aiyon obviously object. But…yeah, she pretty much nails it.

Of course, she changes her mind by the end of the episode. But how bad is it when you’re so cynical that you’re actually siding with the alien invasion force?

Orria, group shot, Power Rangers Dino Fury, The Invasion

On the subject of Orria, she’s pretty awesome. Fighting the monsters with no powers, using just twin daggers? I love her! More please.

Izzy and Javi’s mother says that with the mayor out of town, their father is “in charge of civil defense.” Hold on…what’s this guy’s job again? Park Warden? I call B.S. There’s no deputy mayor or anything?

I understand why you can’t show blood on this show, or really any kids show. But if there were ever a time to show even a tiny bit of blood, it would have been during that last scene with Amelia and the injured Pop-Pop. Sometimes blood does wonders for drama. Just ask pro wrestlers.

Fearing he may die, Pop-Pop reveals that Amelia is an alien, given up by her parents at Area 62 when she was a baby. More than any other twist or turn this series has taken thus far, I can honestly say I didn’t expect that one. What’s Ollie going to say?!?

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Power Rangers Beast Morphers, “Beasts Unleashed” Review

*** You know what I am? A multi-tasker. That’s why, as Power Rangers Dino Fury is in full swing, I’ll also be looking back at Power Rangers Beast Morphers. Why? Because I can!!!***

Power Rangers Beast Morphers, Beasts Unleashed, image 1SERIES: Power Rangers Beast Morphers
EPISODE: S26:E1 – “Beasts Unleashed”
STARRING: Rorrie D. Travis, Jazz Baduwalia, Jacqueline Scislowski, Abraham Rodriguez, Teuila Blakely
WRITER: Chip Lynn
DIRECTORS: Simon Bennett, Yuji Noguchi
ORIGINAL AIR DATE: March 2, 2019
SYNOPSIS: An evil computer virus sabotages a city’s attempt to use the Morphing Grid for clean energy. Three new Rangers rise to take on the threat.

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

It’s fun to me that the Morphing Grid has, over time, become more and more of a character on the show. This thing, essentially used as a piece of expository tech dialogue way back in the Mighty Morphin days, has grown and grown to the point that it’s now an active piece of Power Rangers lore. And in the case of Beast Morphers, a pivotal part of the show’s premise. Morph X, a clean energy source derived from the grid, is being used not only to power the Rangers and their tech, but the city they reside in as well. That’s a really cool premise, and a clever way to use the concept of the grid.

But for crying out loud, is it “Morphin Grid” or “Morphing Grid?” Because I’ve heard it said both ways…

Devon Daniels, our new Red Ranger, reminds me a lot of Zack from Mighty Morphin. Rorrie D. Travis injects a lot of charisma into the character. Mere minutes into the premiere, I can tell he was a good casting choice.

Ravi, Power Rangers Beast Morphers, Beasts Unleashed

Jazz Baduwalia, who plays Ravi, is the first Indian actor to play a Power Ranger.  I remember being shocked when I heard that. Yes, diverse casting deserves to be celebrated. But the show also deserves to be called out for this one. Beast Morphers is the 26th season of Power Rangers, a show that has supposedly had diversity built into its DNA from the start. And yet there had never been a Ranger of Indian descent until now? To me, that’s more sad than anything else. Sadder still is the fact that we’re now on season 28, and we still haven’t had a Middle Eastern Ranger…

You really can’t blame Devon for sneaking into Grid Battleforce, can you? He’s a gamer, and Grid Battleforce sounds like it was plucked directly from a video game.

Devon’s dad, the mayor of Coral Harbor, references Rita Repulsa, Sledge, and Galvanax when talking about villains who’ve wanted to steal the Rangers’ powers. That’s a nice little moment, harkening back to not just the first season, but Dino Charge and Ninja Steel too.

Nate Silva, the genius “child prodigy” character played by Abraham Rodriguez, annoys me for some reason. Like Will Wheaton in Star Trek: The Next Generation, he’s got a very punchable face.

The Beast Morphers suits are…different. Even by kids standards, the spandex costumes on this show have always required a pretty big suspension of disbelief, not the least of which because of the zippers in back being clearly visible. In contrast, these suits appear to be made of a leathery material, with the zippers clearly visible in front for some reason.

Blue and Red, Power Rangers Beast Morphers, Beasts Unleashed

I don’t dislike them, though. They’re an ingredient that makes Beast Morphers stand out amongst other seasons. Would I want the suits to be like this every season? No. But as a one-off they’re perfectly fine.

For whatever reason, Power Rangers loves to tinker with the DNA of its heroes. Case in point, Beast Morphers is merging human and animal DNA to give the Rangers animal-themed super powers. The speed of a cheetah, the strength of a gorilla, etc. As far as the risk/reward ratio is concerned, I wonder how that stacks up against being bitten by a radioactive spider. Or perhaps a radioactive jackrabbit…

Yeah, the Yellow Ranger’s DNA was merged with that of a jackrabbit. Cheetah. Gorilla. Jackrabbit. One of these things is not like the others.

For the uninitiated, Power Rangers is made using footage from the Japanese show Super Sentai. So the producers of Power Rangers are to a large extent beholden to what the Japanese creators do. In this case, I’d love to be able to ask those creators…Why a jackrabbit?

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.