With a franchise that has as long and as storied a history as Power Rangers, there are bound to be arguments that pop up constantly about the show. One argument that doesn’t really see as much light when compared to others is which episodes of Power Rangers were the best. It makes sense; there are definitely a lot of options to parse through, mostly because the show is slowly nearing 1,000 episodes. Even then, what defines a good episode of Power Rangers? Is it how much action there is? How good the character development is? The monster of the week? Or something else entirely? At the end of the day, it comes down to one thing: I call it as I see it.
Power Rangers can be great for a variety of reasons, and lord knows that this list proves it. Sometimes the show can be goofy and stupid, which is awesome. Sometimes it can have poignant character moments, which is equally enjoyable. There is no one single way to make a good episode of Power Rangers. That diversity is what makes the show so fascinating and likable, that no one season or episode is the same in tone, action, or theme.
For this list, I narrowed down what I believed the be the ten best episodes of the series from all across the franchise’s history. Some seasons had numerous entries that could be called the best, while others barely crossed my mind (sorry Mystic Force fans). For the sake of simplicity, I’m including multi-part episodes in this list since they do technically tell one overarching story, albeit in more than one episode. Now before you cry foul that such a decision invalidates this list, most major episodes of the show occur in multi-part episodes that people usually point to as being the best of the show, so doing a list without them seems disingenuous. Plus, as I was compiling the shortlist of potential entries for this list, I had 18 episodes to choose from with only six of them being multi-parters. Even then, only four actually made the list.
I’ve also decided to include multiple episodes per season on this list so as to really show off the quality of the episodes on display. It’s not my fault that some seasons have better episodes than others, so who am I to say that seasons like Megaforce or Turbo can only have one entry for this list? Just kidding! Those seasons are nowhere near this list. These are the best of the best and if there’s an episode that I left off, just know that I had a lot of options to choose from, so there will be no one true perfect list. Still, here are what I consider to be the top 10 best episodes of Power Rangers
10) The Samurai’s Journey – Ninja Storm
Ninja Storm was the first to introduce many long-standing traditions for Power Rangers. It was the first season to air exclusively on ABC Family, the first season to have its production run by Disney, and the first to be filmed in New Zealand as a cost-cutting measure. It was also the first season to start off with a core team of three Rangers, an act that was seen as fresh and unique at the time. But for all of the newness that Ninja Storm brought to the table, for better or worse, it at least delivered a classic introduction for the Wind Rangers’ sixth Ranger.
The premise of the three-parter “The Samurai’s Journey” is that when the Rangers lose their powers, their technical support Cam, who is also their mentor’s son and a cynical bastard du jour, takes it upon himself to travel back in time in an attempt to find a way to rejuvenate the Rangers’ powers. In that time, he meets a younger version of his father, his deceased mother, discovers that he has an uncle, and finally gains that power of the Green Samurai Ranger before returning to the present to help his friends.
What makes “The Samurai’s Journey” work so well is that it fleshes out, in my opinion, the best character in Ninja Storm. Cam may have been sarcastic at times, but he still cares about his teammates and can kick-ass with the best of them. In fact, that’s one of the highlights of “The Samurai’s Journey,” seeing some impressive martial arts fights unmorphed in the past. Once he returns to the present with his Samurai Ranger powers, Cam morphs and saves the day with a pretty cool set of powers. Plus we get to see him use the wonderful Lightning Riff Blaster, which an electric guitar that doubles as a gun. That is awesome.
The only thing that keeps this entry from getting higher on the list is that while the first two parts are rock solid, the third episode feels needlessly tacked on and could have been a standalone episode unrelated to “The Samurai’s Journey.” By that point, Cam already got his Samurai powers and saved the Rangers, but outside of Cam turning into a bug and lamenting his first proper mission being a failure because of it, it doesn’t relate too much to what happened previously. Still, kick-ass martial arts and competently aping Back To the Future is always a plus in my book.
9) Loyax’ Last Battle – Lost Galaxy
Lost Galaxy is a frustrating series to watch. When it’s good, it’s really good, but it meanders around so much that it’s hard to really get a consistent vibe on the show. You can tell that the series was still trying to figure out how to move forward given that each season would now be completely independent of each other, leading to stretches of episodes that are very hit or miss. The eponymous Lost Galaxy doesn’t appear until we’re three-fourths of the way through the season and it feels like an afterthought at best. Bulk is introduced in the first episode as a possible ongoing comic relief character, only to appear in three or so episodes. It just seems like the creative team didn’t really have a gameplan for what to do here.
Where Lost Galaxy really hit its stride was in single episodes that took on a noticeably darker tone that what the franchise was used to at this point. “The Rescue Mission” was pretty much a kid-friendly Alien clone and “Power of Pink” featured the first death of a Power Ranger on screen. Yet those episodes didn’t have the thematic weight that “Loyax’ Last Battle” had. The premise was simple; an old hero turned villain wanted to have one final, honorable battle before he died, so he decided to challenge the Yellow Ranger, Maya, to a fight to the death.
There are some very grating moments in the episode, like the sexism that Loyax has because Maya’s a girl. Somewhat excusable given that he’s ancient and from a different time, but less so when Maya’s teammates say that she’s pretty good… FOR A GIRL. I’m glad this trope died out in the 90s. Still, the two eventually develop respect for one another after having to work together to escape a cave after Maya gets injured and Loyax’ poor eyesight prevents him from seeing. For a one-off monster, Loyax has a fascinating backstory that I wished was developed further. He was a hero who turned evil not because of any deed he committed, but because he felt that evil would eventually win so he wanted to join the winning side. Despite that, he still retains his honor and chivalry as a knight. That’s a backstory that deserves more than one episode.
It’s a pretty strong episode overall, but it’s the ending that really cements its status as an all-time great. The final shot of the episode is just beautifully composed and speaks leagues more of the relationship that Loyax and Maya developed in the span of 30 minutes than any words could have done. Well done Lost Galaxy.
8) Lost and Found in Translation – Dino Thunder
Power Rangers is no stranger to really stupid humor. Over the course of over 25 years, the Rangers have been baked into pizzas, been sent back to the Wild West, built flying cars, and pretended to star in Hollywood movies. They even delved into the world of fart jokes and, yes, it was as bad as you think it was. For all of the seriousness that the show can portray, never forget that the series is still a kids show at heart. As long as it can entertain children, it fulfills its mission statement. It’s when it can entertain both children and adults that special episodes deserve to be mentioned.
“Lost and Found in Translation” is one of the weirdest episodes of Power Rangers, and for good reason. The episode is literally just watching the three main Dino Thunder Rangers sit around and watch TV. The catch is that they decided to watch Abaranger, the Super Sentai season that Dino Thunder is based on. It’s extremely meta watching the Rangers watch a Japanese version of themselves fighting a monster, acutely aware that they’re not those Rangers, except they are because Dino Thunder just wholesale rips footage from the Sentai, as does most seasons of Power Rangers.
I don’t really have much to comment on besides that. It’s a premise that I’m surprised hasn’t been used more often, especially in the early days of Mighty Morphin. It’s a basic and silly concept for an episode that attempts to bridge the gap between Western fans who prefer Power Rangers versus those who prefer Super Sentai. The general consensus by the end of the episode, both in-universe and out of it, is that both may be different, but they’re still good, so what difference does it make which you prefer? Just kick back, relax, and watch some spandex fights in your preferred language of choice.
7) Things Not Said – Operation Overdrive
I hate Operation Overdrive. It is universally regarded as one of the worst, if not the worst, seasons of Power Rangers, and for good reasons. The characters are all assholes, the acting is notably worse than usual, the fight scenes are lacking, there are too many goddamn explosions, the villains are all grating, and the premise just reeks of wasted potential. It’s frankly embarrassing that Megaforce/Super Megaforce was able to be even worse than this show since the bar was set so pathetically low. But for all of the rightful hate and revulsion I may thrust upon Operation Overdrive, goddamnit is “Things Not Said” absolutely brilliant.
The problem is that I can’t tell you why it’s so brilliant. Unlike with most of the episodes on this list, the reason why this episode works so well is because of a shocking twist that radically changes the dynamics between the Red Ranger, Mack, his father/team mentor, Andrew Hartford, and the rest of the team. There are tiny bits of foreshadowing dropped throughout the show hinting at what’s to come, only for “Things Not Said” to hit you like a ton of bricks. It’s not just because the season was so bad that it inadvertently made my thoughts on this episode better because it had some level of quality to it. No, it’s really just that good of an episode and features some insults slung between the Mack and his father that hit like gut punches to the soul.
It actually makes me mad that this episode exists within Operation Overdrive. I want to hate this season completely, but “Things Not Said” makes it impossible to do so. This is a twist and an episode that would fit in more with a darker season like RPM, both in tone and plot significance, which would have elevated that season to even loftier heights in my mind. Instead, it turns what many view as the worst season of Power Rangers into the second-worst season for me. That’s not an easy feat to accomplish when one of your main Rangers is one of the most hated characters in the entire show’s history, but a feat is still a feat.
6) Five of a Kind – In Space
Growing up, I remember having a VHS tape called “Power Rangers: In Space.” The VHS was officially licensed by Saban and FOX Kids and contained spliced together versions of a series of episodes dealing with the Psycho Rangers (evil Power Rangers essentially). I must have watched that tape to death when I was younger. Oh sure, I was mesmerized by the action and how terrifying the Psycho Rangers were, but I primarily watched it for one episode to the point where I would just rewind and fast forward to it every time I decide to watch it. Until the mid-2010s I didn’t even know it had an original name, “Five of a KInd.”
The episode follows the team hot off the heels of barely defeating Psycho Pink before being targeted by the Psycho Rangers once more with Psycho Blue wanting to kill his color counterpart this time. However, instead of just throwing themselves at the Psychos and shooting them with shiny new weapons until they won, “Five of a Kind” actually had the Rangers developing unique strategies to fight the Psychos and eventually take down Psycho Blue. Alternating opponents to throw him off, confusing Psycho Blue by turning everyone into a Blue Ranger, and throwing his game off even more by making him believe that there’s a Psycho Ranger parallel to the Silver Ranger. They’re all smart tactics and make the fight stand out from other generic monsters they come across.
“Five of a Kind” showed actual strategy when fighting against the Psychos, not only showing just how challenging they were as enemies but also reiterating just how capable our heroes were in tough situations. In Space served as the climax for the Zordon-Era of the show, lasting over six years, and with synchronous teamwork like this, it’s hard to argue that “Five of a Kind” and In Space, in general, doesn’t show the Power Rangers at their A-game. Speaking of…
5) Countdown To Destruction – In Space
Serving as the LITERAL climax to everything the series was building up to at that point, “Countdown to Destruction” was hinted at and alluded to for well over a year. In it, the United Alliance of Evil (the main group of big bads since the show’s inception), had launched their plan to take over the universe and all seems lost for the Rangers. Their Zords have been trashed, the Rangers are at their weakest, and all Earth gets invaded by Astronema’s foot soldiers, declaring her victory over humanity. It truly does feel like the end of the Power Rangers, both as a team and as a show, and it was. Thanks to low ratings, In Space was meant to be the finale to the series, so it was time for everyone to go all-in on this ending.
It has everything you could ask for of a series finale. Every major villain reappears. Side characters from across the franchise check in to fight the villains. The Rangers reveal their identity to the world. Bulk and Skull, comic relief characters for over six years, lead the charge against Astronema’s forces as the Rangers fight back. All of it culminates in Andros, the In Space Red Ranger, fighting against Astronema (did I forget to mention they’re siblings?), before Zordon, the team’s mentor and founder, asking Andross to kill him to release a massive way of energy that would wipe out the disparate villains from across the universe.
I know that the word epic gets thrown around so much that people have pretty much become desensitized to it, but “Countdown to Destruction” is exactly that. It ends the Zordon-era on a single, definitive note with the heroes winning and the Power Rangers saving the universe. For fans that had been following along since the Mighty Morphin days, it was a treat to see everything reach a natural conclusion. Could it have been better? Sure it could have. I personally would have loved if previous Rangers joined in on the fight since lord knows they’re still around and had access to their powers, but that’s just splitting hairs. Not only did “Countdown to Destruction serve as a great Power Rangers episode, but it’s also just a great series finale. Power Rangers finales are usually grand and high octane, but “Countdown to Destruction” set a lofty standard that has arguably yet to been surpassed.
4) Forever Red – Wild Force
“Forever Red” is exactly how you should do an anniversary episode. Serving as the 10th anniversary of Power Rangers, the episode went all-in on delivering a faithful and loving tribute to everything that Power Rangers is and was at that moment in time. While you can say a lot about the season that spawned this episode (I personally really enjoy Wild Force despite its flaws and heavy environmental themes), I have yet to find ANYONE who said they didn’t like this episode.
In it, every Red Ranger from across the franchise has come together in order to defeat a villain with ties to a previous villain and who has commandeered a giant Zord called Serpentera, a Zord so powerful that no Ranger team thus far had been able to destroy it. All of the episode is shot with original footage, not reliant on any Sentai counterpart, and because of that, it’s chocked full of love and reverence for Power Rangers and Power Rangers only. The fight scenes on display in the episode are kinetic, lively, and it’s great to see more complicated stunts being done with classic suits that never really got a chance to use extensive wire-work or techniques like slow motion to emphasize their fighting prowess. Every second of the episode is loving constructed from a place of adoration and respect for the franchise, one that unfortunately would not be present in the 15th or 20th-anniversary episodes (I actually liked the 25th anniversary).
The one glaring flaw with “Forever Red” that kept it out of the Top 3 was the finale. To say that the ultimate resolution was unsatisfying would be a huge understatement. It feels cheap and rushed, even by Power Rangers standards. To make a long story short, the episode went way over budget, Disney did not want to pay for it because they already paid for a very expensive two-part team-up episode that season called “Reinforcements From The Future,” so the showrunners had to go to the toy manufacturer, Bandai, for funding, which they agreed to as long as they plugged a new toy and used that to save the day. Actually, when you say it out loud it’s pretty complicated but you get the idea.
The point is, 95% of “Forever Red” is wonderful and is a faithful and genuine tribute to 10 years of Power Rangers. This is how you make a Power Rangers episode that honors the franchise.
3) Doctor K – RPM
This episode hurts so good. RPM was the most mature and serious the show has ever gotten and most likely will ever get, and its thanks to episodes like “Doctor K” that it earned that title. However, serious does not always equal good. A dark subversion does not matter unless there’s actual thematic weight to back it up. RPM works as a deconstruction of Power Rangers because it has reverence and respect for what came before it, while something like Power/Rangers, the Adi Shankar bootleg parody, does not.
The first batch of episodes in RPM spent their time fleshing out its core cast of characters with the final backstory episode being spent on the team’s mentor, Doctor K. We learn all about their backstory and how absolutely tragic it has been and inadvertently led to the events of the series, aka robot apocalypse. Themes like lost innocence, dehumanization, and isolation are all given space here and are framed in such a sad light that only the most stone-hearted person can refuse to feel anything. All of this is presented around Paganini’s Caprice No. 24 in A minor, often regarded as being one the most difficult songs for a solo violinist to perform. Trust me, that decision makes a lot of sense in context, especially given Doctor K’s character.
Making an episode like “Doctor K” should be illegal. Considering that this is from the same franchise where an episode features a rapping pumpkin, such sophistication and talent is shocking, to say the least. You still have your standard Power Rangers tropes, there is a monster that needs to be beaten by the end of the episode after all, but it feels like an afterthought to the tragedy that Doctor K had to endure. Doctor K was somewhat quirky and distant up until this point, but the episode paints their traits as something spawned from something much more sinister. To say any more would be the give the game away, but this episode turned by me into a believer of what RPM could be capable of. I stand by it being one of the best seasons in Power Rangers solely because of sensational episodes like “Doctor K.”
2) Reinforcements From The Future – Wild Force
The Power Rangers team-up episode is a tradition that’s been a part of the franchise for decades. The current team joins forces with their most recent predecessors, or even older Rangers if it’s an anniversary episode, to defeat some random villain that may or may not have a connection to the previous team. Usually, all of the footage is unique to Power Rangers and not taken from the original sentai, and are usually some of the highlights of the entire season. Some seasons choose to not have a team-up for logistical reasons, i.e. budget or production changes, but when it happens it’s usually a sight to behold. But when looking at the best team-up in the series history, “Reinforcements From the Future” just narrowly beats out “To The Tenth Power” from Lost Galaxy.
In the team-up, The Wild Force Power Rangers team up with the Time Force Power Rangers to defeat mutant pollution demons that traveled back in time to unleash chaos on the past. Over the course of the two-parter, we have standard moments where the cast from the previous show reunites, the two teams work together, and eventually, the bad guys are beaten. So what makes this two-parter so good? EVERYTHING.
First thing’s first, the Time Force cast were all generally likable and had solid acting abilities, so seeing them return is a treat. They never overshadow the cast of Wild Force and actually develop a rapport with the other team, most notably with Taylor, the Wild Force Yellow Ranger, and Eric, the Quantum Ranger. Plus we get moderate advancement not only for the Wild Force Rangers but more resolution for the Time Force Rangers. That’s not to say that the ending of Time Force left viewers unsatisfied, but it answers a few lingering questions and even offers a redemption arc for the villain of the season.
The fight choreography is stellar as usual, but it even goes above and beyond, featuring an entire extended sequence where the Pink Time Force Ranger, Jen, tries to take on the mutants unmorphed single-handedly in what can only be described as a badass gunfight straight out of a sci-fi blockbuster. The teams work in sync at all times and it results in a textbook example of how to do a team-up well. Not just in Power Rangers, but between any superhero team.
1) Green With Evil – Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
Sometimes I like to be a contrarian. I don’t usually follow the same trends as most people and will often differ in my opinion in what I believe is the best or worst entry in a long-running series. I’m plenty aware that not many people like “Lost and Found In Translation,” but I love it to pieces. But when I was creating this list, there was no question what was going to be at the top. “Green With Evil” is what defined early Power Rangers and set a standard for storytelling that has been next to impossible to topple. Upon rewatch, I was almost certain that it wouldn’t live up to the hype that fans have heaped onto it for decades but, damn it, some things are regarded as being the best for a reason. “Green With Evil” is, without a shadow of a doubt, the best episode/storyline in Power Rangers.
The five-part saga deals with the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers facing their biggest threat yet at that point; an evil Power Ranger. The Ranger is Tommy Oliver, who assumes the power of the Green Ranger after being manipulated by the season’s villain, Rita Repulsa, via mind control. What follows is the Rangers attempting to fight him, only to have their asses handed to them repeatedly, and trying their best to save him from the dark side and join their team.
What really works about the storyline is that while it’s told over the course of five episodes, each episode feels entirely different. It’s all paced very marvelously too and we see early on that Tommy is not a threat to be taken lightly. He destroys the Command Center and thoroughly trounces the Rangers by the end of the first part, and continues to obliterate them at every turn. Up until this point, we were used to seeing the Rangers always win, but that changed as soon as Rita utilized Tommy as her Green Ranger.
It would certainly be a stretch to say that “Green With Evil” could function as a standalone movie, but when watched back to back, it really does come across as well-paced massive episode with dramatic stakes and palpable fight scenes. There are numerous Zord battles and the odds always seemed stacked against the Rangers, yet they persist. It all comes down to a final episode where the Green Ranger is defeated, Rita’s mind control is stopped, and Tommy joins the Power Rangers officially.
“Green With Evil” is the storyline that made Power Rangers an entertainment staple in the 90s. The episodes came a little over a month after the series premiered and boldly said that Power Rangers wasn’t just a mindless action show for kids. It had stakes, plots, and characters that were worth being invested in. There’s a reason why Jason David Frank, Tommy’s actor, is still heralded as being the greatest Power Ranger of all time. This established the trope of an evil Ranger that can be seen in nearly every season of the show, and yet all pale in comparison to what the creators pulled off in “Green With Evil.” To this day, most people can’t look at any Green Ranger without thinking of how they pale in comparison to the OG Green Ranger, and for good reason. When people think of the Mighty Morphin era, aka the most popular era of the show, this is what they think of first. For five days straight in the Fall of ’93, every kid had their eyes on “Green With Evil” and now 27 years later, it still holds up as the single best episode, er, episodes of Power Rangers.