The Final Frontier: Commentary on Power Rangers: Lost Galaxy

If Power Rangers in Space, with a close-knit team flitting about in space and visiting seedy locales and deadly forest planets, was Power Rangers meets Star Wars, then Lost Galaxy is Star Trek.  Here we have a core group that forms much of the command and security team, responsible for a large vessel filled with military and civilian individuals on a long-term mission, independent enough that the Commander of Terra Venture has effectively complete control over what happens to the station and the people that call it home.

When the “final” season of Power Rangers was more popular than anyone could have imagined (despite my losing interest halfway through the series as a child), Saban shrugged its shoulders and said “what the hell, let’s have another one”.  The result was Power Rangers: Lost Galaxy, probably the single post-Angel Grove season with the most ties to the season that came before.  The Megaship, which the Rangers use whenever they’re not on Terra Venture, was stolen (yes, it was stolen) from its role after the finale of PRiS left it decommissioned.  Tracheena is essentially a writers’ response to “make Astronema again, but different”.  And… yeah, I just jumped two thirds of the way through the series.  Oh well.

When Valerie Vernon had to leave the show for medical reasons, Kendrix sacrificed herself to save Cassie, the Pink Space Ranger, in the finale of a two-parter that saw eleven Rangers from two seasons (don’t ask me why Zhayne didn”t show up) face off against the Psycho Rangers from PRiS.  Rather than try and introduce a brand new Pink Ranger in a short span of time, the producers decided to have one of the girls from In Space reprise their role as a new Pink Ranger.  When Patricia Ja Lee left the show for her own reasons, Melody Perkins was called upon to be the first villain-turned-black corset wearing Pink Ranger and it was glorious.

Having Karone (with the occasional cameo by Astronema) back was the highlight of the show for me.  We already had the same villain quartet in Scorpius-Tracheena-Villamax-Deviot that we had had in Dark Specter-Astronema-Ecliptor-Darkonda, right down to Deviot causing Scorpius’s death and wanting to be his successor.  Karone being on the opposing side, and even having an unmorped fight or two with Tracheena, just made this all the more epic.

I just realized I may have an unhealthy crush on 10 years’ ago Melody Perkins.  Moving on.

As you can probably guess, Lost Galaxy was in many ways an attempt to duplicate In Space without being a blatant ripoff of In Space.  The villains meet in different ways, taking half of the season to form the quarter I mentioned and changing much more in the process.  While none of them ever were in danger of joining the Power Rangers, we go another step in exploring the perils of a noble warrior working for the forces of evil.

Lost Galaxy is so successful in copying the formula of In Space, in fact, that it comes with the same flaws.  Specifically, I mean the sixth ranger.  The introduction of the Magna Defender was done as well as the Silver Ranger (that is to say, as well as the Blue Centennial or the Phantom Ranger), but it was rather abrupt when Big Brother became the Defender and the constraints of a Sixth Ranger make him seem like less of a friend or a brother and more like a distant, lone wolf character that he never was when he was introduced.

Related to this issue- because the Lights of Orion were often used as an excuse to separate Max from the team- is all of the power ups they received.  It’s not the fact that they got power boosts that concerns me, but the fact that it seemed like more of a constant thing.  In MMPR, the Rangers would gain new powers after getting their asses beat.  Hard.  Here, it’s like more of an arbitrary reward.  It’s as though the marketing division were afraid toy sales would plummet the minute they stopped promoting new ones.

This was the last strictly linear Power Rangers season.  They would continue until Operation Overdrive having crossovers that defined continuity, but other than those special events (thirteen or so episodes in the next eight years), continuing cast members like Bulk, Karone and Professor Phenomenous would be a thing of the past.


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