When Power Rangers: Samurai was announced, the hype was huge. Saban was taking over Power Rangers again, and they were moving to Nickelodeon. On top of that, it was a whole team of freakin’ samurai!
We counted down until the big reveal, and then the Rangers came. They had no introductions, already seemed to know each other, and the Green Ranger, on whom the first episode was focused, was completely annoying.
Samurai got a little better. The characters would develop some, an “honorable villain” was introduced, and… yeah, that’s about all I’ve got.
Here’s the thing with Samurai– they’re afraid to take chances. The villains have no menace to them, because they’re constantly cracking jokes. At 23 episodes, Power Rangers: Samurai was the shortest season of Rangers yet, and for all the development the characters get, it shows. The most developed character is… yeah, I got nothin’. Probably the Blue Ranger, because we know all there is to know about his character: He’s deadly serious, is 100% focused on training, and has no time or interest for anything else.
There could have been a more developed character. Farkas Bulkmeyer, veteran of seven Power Rangers seasons returns- but Saban couldn’t have that. They’ve mentioned in interviews that this is an alternate universe version of Bulk, along with his pupil, Spike Skullovich. Cee Lo Green sums up my response to that in two words.
For fans of the early show, Bulk’s presence on Samurai was like Tommy Oliver’s presence on Dino Thunder: A character who had completed the Hero’s Journey coming back as a mentor figure to impart their experience on a new generation. Obviously, no one expected Bulk to be killing Moogers left and right or teaching the rangers, but we expected the Bulk we’ve come to know and love over the better part of a decade; the Bulk who, along with his best friend, stood up to the invasion of Earth by the United Alliance of Evil. Saban’s comment? “Sorry, not him.”
At that point, all but the most devoted fans (read: reviewers who feel compelled to slog through this crap) said, “Sorry, not my show”.
Sure, the action is okay, and there are some interesting dilemmas dealt with, but this show is too shallow for anyone outside the target age range to really like. Samurai was split into two seasons for some ridiculous reason. The real end of Season 1 was Episode 18, in October. Episodes 19 and 20 were the first two episodes, displaced from the beginning of the season for no reason that anyone seems to be able to figure out, followed by a Halloween clip-show that does nothing but make fun of the Season in what has to be the worst Halloween Special I’ve seen in Power Rangers History, a crossover with the previous season that was yanked from future continuity, and then a Christmas-special-slash-season-finale that is another clipshow. In other words, twenty episodes, a basically non-canon special two parter, and two clipshows. Fuck this season.
What really cements my anger at this season, though, is the fact that it was cut in half as a cheap marketing ploy. On the 18th of this month, the second season, Super Samurai, starts. Let it ease my anger at the way this season ended and give me something fond to remember it by.
Oh, and here’s the trailer for Super Samurai: