Home > Reviews > In Memoriam: The Power Rangers: Part 3

In Memoriam: The Power Rangers: Part 3

I’m continuing my Power Rangers tribute (Part 1; Part 2) with some lists of favorite characters.

Top Ten Female Rangers

Roughly in order of preference:

  • Amy Jo Johnson (Kimberly Hart, MMPR Pink): Need I say more? Sheer pink perfection.
  • Rose McIver (Summer Landsdowne, RPM Yellow): Softly beautiful, not as stunning as some, but a strong, warm, enthralling presence with a throaty voice like velvet and hot chocolate and cozy backrubs all rolled together.  Summer was the heart and wisdom of the RPM team, and McIver was ideally cast.
  • Emma Lahana (Kira Ford, DT Yellow): Almost as gorgeous and charismatic as Amy Jo, likeable, a good actress and capable singer.
  • Erin Cahill (Jen Scott, TF Pink): Strong, beautiful, stalwart, a convincing leader.  An effective actress who had a good rapport with her love interest and the rest of her team.
  • Thuy Trang (Trini Kwan, MMPR Yellow): A gentle, serene, exotically beautiful presence.  Trini was the second-smartest member of the team, but able to translate team genius Billy’s technobabble into comprehensible terms.  So she was an accessible brainiac, a nice role model.   Sadly Thuy Trang was killed in traffic in 2001.
  • Anna Hutchison (Lily Chilman, JF Yellow): Similar to Rose McIver, a warm, kind, soothing beauty — though hotter and sexier.  Were this by looks alone, she’d be third.  Maybe second.
  • Deborah Estelle Phillips (Katie Walker, TF Yellow): The only one here who wouldn’t be on a top ten list by looks alone.  Not unpleasant to look at, but nowhere near in the league of the others.  I just found her to be a really engaging and talented actress.
  • Catherine Sutherland (Kat Hilliard, MMPR Pink #2/Zeo Pink/Turbo Pink): Amy Jo’s replacement, and thus sure to suffer by comparison, but still one of the loveliest lady Rangers and one of the more talented.  Plus: Australian accent!
  • Tracy Lynn Cruz (Ashley Hammond, Turbo/Space Yellow): It took me a while to catch on, but she was really sexy.  She’s the actress who made me understand the phrase “You’re beautiful when you’re angry.”  On those few occasions where she got to play the bad girl or show intense emotion, her smoldering allure became evident.  Totally wasted as a clean-cut, wholesome Power Ranger.
  • Melody Perkins (Karone, Space Pink #2): The shortest-lived Pink Ranger, filling in for about a dozen episodes when her predecessor had to leave the show.  She got three great episodes in a row dealing with how the former queen of evil adjusted to being a Ranger, but then was unfortunately marginalized for the rest of the season.  She’s here for those three episodes, for being really hot as a blonde in black leather, and for recognition of what might have been.
  • Honorable mention: Karan Ashley, Nakia Burrise, Patricia Ja Lee, Jessica Rey, Melanie Vallejo, Caitlin Murphy, Rhoda Montemayor: Mostly here for their beauty.  Vallejo would be higher if she’d had more to do.  And Ja Lee would be lower if she weren’t just so damn good-looking.  She’s probably the weakest actress ever to play a Ranger; she never seemed able to convey any emotion beyond the struggle to remember her next line.

Top Four Female Allies

Roughly in order of preference:

  • Dr. K (Olivia Tennet, RPM): The adolescent genius who invented the RPM tech and gives the best technobabble explanations in the history of the series.  Aloof, cold, mechanical, but with a truly moving, tragic backstory to explain it.  Over the series, she gradually regains her humanity, but remains perhaps the most poignant PR character ever.
  • Michelle Langstone (Kat Manx, SPD): A hot alien cat-woman who was the team’s tech whiz.  She got to be a Power Ranger for one episode, making her the only appealing female Ranger that season.
  • Monica Louwerens (Angela Fairweather, LR):  The originator of the “female inventor of Ranger tech” archetype, and a strikingly beautiful woman.
  • Udonna (Peta Rutter, MF): Technically a Ranger herself, but out of action for most of the series.  The Mystic Rangers’ wise mentor, ultimately revealed as Nick’s mother.  Not a hottie, but an effective presence.

Top Eight(-ish) Female Villains

Roughly in order of preference:

  • Hilary Shepard Turner (Divatox, Turbo): Viva la Diva! No villain has ever enjoyed being bad quite so much.  Not the sexiest villainess, but the template for sexy PR villainesses to follow (though most were henchwomen rather than archnemeses), and certainly the most fun as a performer.  Turner brought great comic flair to the role.
  • Melody Perkins (Astronema, PRiS): Yes, Perkins gets to be on the list twice.  Astronema is essentially the same character as Karone, except in her Borg-reprogrammed phase, but she deserves to be in this list for her importance to PR history.  Never the most convincingly menacing villainess, given her dainty face and voice and her garish outfits, but still an effective bad girl, and the incongruity was a hint of the hidden truth.  Perkins was sexier as Karone, though; Astronema’s look was too fake.
  • Adelaide Kane (Tenaya-7, RPM): Aside from being an Astronema rerun, an effective and very sexy villainess in her own right.  Snide, snarky, and confidently bitchy, and she looked great in that sleek catsuit (the camera loved shooting her from behind).  Were this by sex appeal alone, Tenaya would top the list.  If Astronema had been this hot as a bad girl, I wouldn’t have wanted her to be saved.
  • Holly Shanahan (Camille, JF): A chameleon monster with a striking human form, she loved her master Dai Shi and that love eventually redeemed them both.  An effective character played with strength and humanity despite being a monster.  Shanahan previously played Leelee in Mystic Force, another bad-girl-gone-good, but Camille was the more attractive of her two characters.
  • Carla Perez and Barbara Goodson (Rita Repulsa, MMPR): Certainly not on this list for sex appeal, Rita still deserves inclusion for her historic significance and her comedic value in the second and third seasons.  I haven’t counted Soga Machiko (Rita/Bandora in the Zyuranger stock footage in the first season) because it was the later version of Rita that I liked.  Goodson deserves inclusion for her memorable, beautifully shrill and grating voice characterization.
  • Kate Sheldon (Nadira, TF): A fun and attractive villainess, not so much evil as vain and materialistic, a shopping junkie who couldn’t be bothered to pay.
  • Jennifer L. Yen (Vypra, LR):  Only on this list by virtue of serious hotness.  The worst actress ever to speak a line in the PR franchise.  I imagine she was cast for her resemblance to the Japanese actress in the Sentai footage.
  • Archerina (Zeo): Okay, weird to include a robot on a list of sexy villainesses, but she was kind of fine in her way.

Top Ten Male Rangers

Looks aren’t going to be a factor in my deliberations here.  These are just in chronological order.

  • Austin St. John (Jason Lee Scott, MMPR Red/Zeo Gold): As I said before, not the greatest actor, but an effective “male action hero” presence, a good leader to start the series.
  • Walter Emanuel Jones (Zack Taylor, MMPR Black): Charming, talented, and an astonishingly good martial artist with (at least on the show) a trademark capoeira-like style called “hip-hopkido.”
  • Jason David Frank (Tommy Oliver, MMPR Green/White, Zeo/Turbo Red, DT Black): Not the most impressive actor in the original cast, but likeable enough, and his longevity earns him a place on the list for nostalgia value alone.
  • Sean Cw Johnson (Carter Grayson, LR Red): One of my favorite Red Rangers, a commanding lead for the Lightspeed team and an engaging actor.
  • Daniel Southworth (Eric Myers, TF Quantum): The most interesting sixth Ranger, Eric was a troubled and nuanced character with his own agendas, and Southworth made him intriguing to watch.
  • Firass Dirani (Nick Russell, MF Red): An effective, solid lead who did a good job with his character’s dramatic arcs.
  • Jason Smith (Casey Rhodes, JF Red): Pretty much ditto.  Likeable and capable.
  • David de Lautour (RJ James, JF Violet Wolf): Offbeat and freaky, a hippie-ish but wise mentor, effectively played as a comic-relief hero.
  • Eka Darville (Scott Truman, RPM Red): Tough but sensitive, a strong actor for a strong character.  A good leader with interesting issues.
  • Milo Cawthorne (Ziggy Grover, RPM Green): The funniest Power Ranger ever, fast-talking, bumbling, yet soulful and vulnerable.  A standout of the RPM cast.

Top Six Male Allies

In chronological order.

  • Paul Schrier and Jason Narvy (Bulk and Skull, MMPR through LG): The most memorable comic-relief characters, as I discussed in previous posts.
  • Ron Rogge (Capt. William Mitchell, LR): Founder of the Lightspeed organization, father of two of the Rangers.  Made a wrenching decision to give up his son to demons to save the boy’s life, and is haunted by it when his son returns as the Titanium Ranger.  The actor wasn’t spectacular, but he did well with some excellent material.
  • Edward Laurence Albert, (Mr. Collins, TF): Red Ranger Wes’s industrialist father, initially aloof and cold.  Discovering his son is a Ranger is the beginning of a long process of bonding.  The first time anything interesting was done with secret identities on PR.
  • Kelson Henderson (Boom, SPD; Phineas, MF; Norg, OO; voice of Flit, JF): A perennial player in the NZ era, becoming increasingly less visible (the four characters listed are respectively a human, a troll-like humanoid, a Yeti, and a small fly-robot puppet).  Phineas was his most effective and well-acted character; Henderson brought an excellent comic timing and vocal delivery to the role.
  • James Gaylyn (Col. Mason Truman, RPM): Father of Red Ranger Scott and military leader of Corinth, the last human refuge (so why he’s just a colonel instead of a general is a mystery).  Gaylyn was effective as an authority figure and as a father who was too distant from his surviving son, perhaps because of his pain at the loss of his elder son.  He had some good subtle scenes that were quite well-played.

Top Four Male Villains

Not counting sixth Rangers who started out as villains.  In chronological order.

  • Lord Zedd (MMPR/Zeo):  The first original American-created PR villain.  A creepy, freaky character design looking like a humanoid who’d suffered some horrible skin-flaying accident and needed a metal exoskeleton to hold his exposed muscles and brain together.  Of course, it looked nowhere near as gruesome as that description suggests, but that was what the design suggested to me.  I always imagined he must be in horrible pain.  Given an effectively grating voice by Robert Axelrod, he was an impressive villain for a goofy era of the series and turned out to be an enjoyable comedic character, especially once first-season villainess Rita tricked him into marrying her and the villains became one big dysfunctional family.
  • Ecliptor (PRiS): A villain with a heart.  Unremittingly evil, but he loved Astronema like a daughter, which made him intriguing.  Had an effective ongoing conflict with the malevolent Darkonda.
  • Ransik (Vernon Wells, TF): The first PR villain with a legitimate grudge.  A mutant ostracized by the perfected society of the 30th century, he turned to crime and conquest.  When he saw his crimes had almost cost him his daughter’s life, he turned himself in and eventually redeemed himself in a TF/WF crossover (though in an unfortunate triumph of conformist thinking on the part of the writers, he had to lose his mutant qualities and become fully human to do so).
  • Dai Shi/Jarrod (Bede Skinner, JF): An ambitious human possessed by an ancient evil, choosing the alliance willingly.  He literally goes back in time and erases his every benevolent act to make himself more purely evil.   Still, the love of his henchwoman Camille and the refusal of his archenemy Casey to give up on him end up redeeming Jarrod and he defeats Dai Shi.
Categories: Reviews Tags: ,
  1. Jingle
    December 26, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    great information.

  2. December 27, 2009 at 12:01 am

    I put Karan Ashley right below Amy Jo Johnson, close to a tie even. I found the Trini character to be quite dull, though she was a good fighter. The original Trini (see pilot) was also more interesting, even with the little screen time she had. Audrey DuBois quit because apparently, she didn’t think the show would be successful. I wonder if she’s kicking herself now…

    Personally I didn’t like the later version of Rita at all. Partially because Soga Machiko (RIP) image is so ingrained in the mind as Rita Repulsa, and the replacement seemed like a bad imitation, especially with the poor costume version.

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