Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Power Rangers: Does RPM hold up on its own?

Power Rangers RPM is, in my opinion, one of, if not the, best versions of the Power Rangers to date. A post apocalyptic society where an evil AI has taken over the world and the only safe place is a domed city, Corinth, safeguarded by the military and protected by the Power Rangers. One of my favorite parts about this show is that it makes fun of the Power Ranger tropes while also embracing them. However, if this is the main source of entertainment derived from RPM, can it hold up if you haven't seen other Power Rangers series'? Surprisingly, yes. Better than most other Power Rangers series' I've experienced.

The show actually does an excellent job of its backstory. The emergency evacuation broadcast, which also serves as the shows opening sequence, sets the scene in a manner that swiftly covers the main premise of the show, with further information being drip fed to the audience over time by use of the standard 'character with amnesia' trope.

The main characters have unique personalities, but they all fit into easily understood archetypes. This is necessary for a kids show and in fact they make a joke about it. Each character also has dedicated character development episodes. This helps to ensure no one character dominates, like Tommy in the original series.

While the character development can feel somewhat forced, especially with these episodes coming one after another, it's a kids show and they're very well done. Unlike other iterations, Power Rangers RPM has, with the exception of a behind-the-scenes episode, only episodes that contribute towards building the narrative and advancing the story. Even in this exception, they all stay in character during the episode. It is also the only Power Rangers in my memory where Morphing technology is not only explained by invented on Earth. 

But what about the heart of the matter - the humor? Despite making fun of Ranger tropes that have been around for the last 20ish years, they aren't afraid of embracing them. By establishing the tropes within their own series well before the punchline, they can still get a laugh even without experiencing any other series. These jokes might be better suited to people who have multiple iterations of Power Rangers under their belt, but it's still good on its own. My personal favorite is when the Blue Ranger takes advantage of the explosion that accompanies the Morphing sequence to take out an enemy squadron.

I have absolutely no qualms about recommending Power Rangers RPM. While I have a fondness for episodes of earlier seasons like Countdown to Destruction, the other iterations of Power Rangers have a fair amount of filler. By contrast, I would be willing to dub Power Rangers RPM as a no filler TV show under the my revised definition of filler, if it weren't for the aforementioned behind the scenes episode. RPM is the perfect way to introduce the series to someone who may be on the fence about Power Rangers.


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