In late August 1993, right before I started 4th grade, Fox relaunched their Saturday morning kids lineup including a live-action action hero show - The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers!
Evil alien sorceress Rita Repulsa is released from "dumpster" prison and decides to destroy and wreck havoc on the nearest planet - Earth. Learning of her return, the sage Zordon commands his robot assistant Alpha 5 to find 5 teens (in fictional Angel Grove, California) to combat her attempts.
Selected are Jason as the Red Ranger and unofficial leader of the group, peppy cheerleader-type Kimberly as the Pink Ranger, token Asian girl Trini as the Yellow Ranger, geeky Billy as the Blue Ranger, and token black guy Zack as the Black Ranger. The 5 are given the power to morph into their respective Power Ranger outfits thanks to power coins that fit in their belt buckles and each have a signature weapon and Zord combat vehicle, in which when all 5 Zords combine, they create the Megazord - a giant robot looking vehicle that basically puts the finishing moves on any of the monsters that Rita unleashes. Every fight seems to consist of the Power Rangers fighting some of Rita's cronies in hand to hand combat, followed by battling whatever monster she has released on Earth that week first with their weapons, then together in their Zords. When the monster suddenly becomes stronger and/or bigger, then they combined into Megazord to deliver the final blow!
Rita begins to "wise-up" and decides to fight the Power Rangers with one of their own - new teen at school Tommy, who is at first known as the Green Ranger and wields Rita's "Sword of Darkness." He does almost succeed in defeating the Power Rangers, until Jason destroys the sword and Tommy comes out of the spell Rita has initially placed on him, causing him to switch sides and fight along side the other 5 Power Rangers.
In season 2 of the series, there is a new villain in charge - Emperor Lord Zedd who instantly overthrows Rita and sends her back into her space "dumpster" prison as he decides he wants to conquer Earth. Seeing the defected Tommy/Green Ranger as a threat still, Zedd finishes Rita's attempt to destroy the powers she originally gave him, however Zordon and Alpha hatch a plan to make Tommy into the new White Ranger and the new leader of the Power Rangers.
Also near the end of season 2, it is announced that Jason, Zack and Trini are being sent to Switzerland to represent their city in some World Peace conference, thus also leaving the Power Rangers and having to transfer their respective powers to 3 new "chosen" teens - Rocky, Adam and Aisha. Rita and Zedd also get married as Rita returns from her prison and drinks a potion that makes her look younger and she gets Zedd to fall for her.
In season 3 - the last of the original Mighty Morphin Power Ranger series - Rita's brother Rito shows up and destroys the Power Ranger's Zords beyond repair and they must the original creator to construct new, better ones. Also, Australian girl Katherine comes to Angel Grove and it is learned that Rita has put a spell on her, making her steal Kimberly's power coin. Katherine comes to and breaks out of it, returning the coin to Kimberly, but by then she has been too disconnected from her powers and Zordon declares she has fulfilled her duty as Power Ranger and Katherine takes her place in the series as the Pink Ranger.
Zedd and Rita are also joined by Rita's father Master Vile, who uses time against the Power Rangers turning them into powerless kids - this event spawned the spin-off Mighty Morphin Alien Rangers and pushes the series into the phase, known as Power Rangers: Neo
The 2 longest running characters throughout the entire franchise were the comic relief team of Bulk and Skull - 2 wannabe bully types who often find themselves in humorous and clumsy situations.
I'll be honest, I only really watched the first 2 seasons - I've never been a fan of cast changes and so once the cast started changing, I stopped watching. As I mentioned, I was in 4th grade when the show debuted - a little on the older end of the kid demographic, so that probably also explains why I didn't keep up with the series after the first few seasons; past 4th/5th grade, it wasn't cool and you'd get teased. But I LOVED the show during the first season! Kimberly the Pink Ranger was of course my favorite and out of the boys I liked Jason best, but later my affection grew more towards Tommy, as he had long hair.
I remember they had all the toys and actions figures and Zords you could collect (buy) and put together into Megazord... I had the action figure you see here of the Pink Ranger where with the press of a button, you had the Pink Ranger in uniform, helmet and all, and then press the button on the back and her head switched out to normal Kimberly sans pink helmet. She also came with her white bow and a blaster gun. I remember buying it at Toys R Us and since I didn't have any of the other Power Ranger toys, she often fought battles alongside my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle action figures (I had most of those!).
Where are the original Power Rangers now?
- Austin St. John, who was Jason the Red Ranger, hasn't done much aside from Power Ranger appearances and practices different types of martial arts.
- Jason David Frank, who played Tommy the Green/White Ranger, is currently a professional MMA fighter.
- David Yost, who played Billy the geeky Blue Ranger, has come out as gay and has done both acting and producing on several TV projects.
- Walter Jones, who played Zach the Black Ranger, has done a handful of TV appearances including the Disney Channel original movie Brink!, a guest role in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a guest role in Family Matters, a 1st season supporting character in FX's The Shield, and a cameo in Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. He was also featured in a PetCo commercial. In 2009 he was also arrested for a DUI, but the charges were later dropped.
- Amy Jo Johnson, who played Kimberly the Pink Ranger, has had probably the most successful post-Power Ranger career, with regular roles in TV series such as Felicity, The Division, Wildfire, and currently Flashpoint, as well as starring in various movie roles (Disney's "Susie Q", VH1's "Sweetwater") and various guest/minor roles in both TV and movies.
- Thuy Trang, who played Trini the Yellow Ranger, didn't get a chance for her post-Power Ranger career to take off. She had a role as one of the villains in The Crow: City of Angels movie, and a small part as a manicurist in Leslie Neilson's spoof Spy Hard, but she died in a tragic car accident in 2001 - it is believed that she wasn't wearing her seatbelt and died as a result of injuries that could have been prevented.