Starting today, Twitch is streaming all 23 completed seasons of Power Rangers as one of the most absurd marathon binge-watches in recent memory. If you, perhaps, don’t have the time to watch 17 days worth of television, then we’re here to help with a few suggestions for the episodes you absolutely need to watch (or rewatch).
Since Twitch’s stream includes all 831—eight hundred and thirty one!—episodes of the show starting at 11:00 am PT, from Mighty Morphin’ to Dino Super Charge, it’s actually really tough to limit ourselves to a list of the top 20 Power Rangers episodes. Instead, here are the 23 best stories of Power Rangers’ insane run; that still totals 47 episodes you should watch, listed by season. This is not a definitive representation, but rather a sample of what the Power Rangers melange has to offer.
Hey, it’s still a lot more reasonable than 831, right?
A definitive moment in Power Rangers history, as the team faces a sinister new minion of Rita Repulsa: Tommy Oliver, the Green Ranger! Tommy’s multi-episode introduction created a character fans would be fascinated with for decades to come, and cemented the series as a legend for many viewers. (Season 1, episodes 17-21)
This was originally meant to be the final story of MMPR if it hadn’t become an overnight sensation—and it really feels like it, with massively increased stakes as the Rangers find their Zords nearly destroyed and the population of Angel Grove captured by Rita. (Season 1, episodes 39-40)
Another game-changing moment in the franchise’s early history, as we bid farewell to the MMPR suits and say hello to the Zeo costumes. Plus, it resolves the cliffhanger of the Rangers’ home base, the Command Center, being blown the hell up at the end of the 10-part miniseries Mighty Morphin’ Alien Rangers. (Episodes 1-2)
This two-parter is the conclusion of Zeo’s ongoing mystery about the real identity of the mysterious Gold Ranger (who was heavily hyped, because he’s the “sixth ranger” equivalent á la Tommy)—as well as the return of some familiar faces in the form of Rita, Zedd, and Austin St. John as MMPR’s first Red Ranger, Jason, who would take on the Gold Ranger powers for a while. (Episodes 33-34)
The joy of Power Rangers is that it is cheesy as hell. Turbo in particular is quite goofy at times, but this episode is perhaps the peak of its silliness, in which main villain Divatox loses her mind, starts working at a pizza parlor, and then the Rangers are almost baked into a giant pizza by the monster of the week while the villains try to rescue Divatox. Incredible stuff. (Episode 22)
Power Rangers has always had a very sci-fi bent to it, but in In Space’s opening, it becomes very literal—building out of Turbo’s finale, which saw the team routed from Earth and forced to flee into space after the destruction of Zordon’s Power Chamber. (Episodes 1-2)
An absolute epic of a finale, this isn’t just the end of In Space, but pretty much the end of the first era of Power Rangers full stop, the culmination of an ongoing story that started with Mighty Morphin’. It’s the last appearance of Zordon, and of Rita and Zedd, and it marks what is pretty much the end of Power Rangers doing its own massive thing and going on to adapting each Super Sentai show every year. (Episodes 42-43)
Want an episode of Power Rangers that is basically nothing like the rest of Power Rangers? This episode is insane. It’s basically a kids show’s weirdly effective ripoff of Alien, features no in-suit Ranger action at all, and one of the rare moments the series tries to justify being space-themed while adapting a Sentai show that was distinctly not space-themed. (Episode 18)
One of the most interesting things about Power Rangers is the moment it diverges entirely from its Japanese source material and does something unique: in Lightspeed Rescue’s case, it added its own sixth Ranger, the Titanium Ranger, to a series that never had an additional member in Japan. Also, he’s introduced with a snake tattoo that’s slowly killing him? Man, this show. (Episodes 11-16)
Power Rangers loves itself an anti-hero addition, and Time Force’s introduction of Eric as the Quantum Ranger is no exception, giving the show a new hero that is distinctly at odds with the Ranger team—this time, without being influenced by villainous mind control. (Episodes 13-15)
Wild Force is a bit of a bland series in general, but this all-out episode for the franchise’s 10th anniversary, bringing back the Red Rangers from all the prior series, is a spectacular event. It’s often considered one of, if not the best, episodes of the entire franchise. (Episode 34)
Like I said: this show loves mysterious, antagonistic characters who eventually join the team. These two sets of stories set up the arrival of Blake and Hunter, a rival clan of Thunder Ninjas who think that the Wind Rangers’ master killed their parents—only for them to learn that it was secretly the villain they were working for. (Episodes 5-7)
Part pastiche of the dino themes of MMPR, and part Tommy Oliver fanservice (who returns as both the team mentor and, eventually, its Black Ranger), Dino Thunder’s opening story is downright hilarious. Also, Tommy roundhouses a dinosaur. Amazing. (Episodes 1-2)
I shit you not, this is an episode of Power Rangers where the Power Rangers watch an episode of Power Rangers. Specifically, they watch an episode of Bakuryū Sentai Abaranger, the Sentai show Dino Thunder is based on, reimagined as a Japanese show adapting the Dino Thunder’s own adventures into a TV show. It’s a loving tribute and acknowledgment of the show’s roots. (Episode 19)
Power Rangers premieres always go all out in terms of budget and making a big splash, but SPD’s first episode in particular is great for a return to the show’s love of scifi. This time, the Rangers are members of an intergalactic police academy run by a talking dog... named Doggie Cruger. (Episodes 1-2)
Aforementioned Police Commander-Dog Doggie Cruger transforms into the SPD Shadow Ranger for the first time. He doesn’t keep his Sentai equivalent’s extremely badass battle cry—“Cutting down hundreds of evil doers! Hell’s Guard Dog!”—but he gets the amazing moment of cutting down 100 enemy goons within moments of his fist morph. (Episodes 11-12)
If you don’t like it when Power Rangers focuses on the Red Ranger’s character at the expense of everyone else, then you’ll hate Mystic Force. But the finale is kind of worth it, just because the magic Power Rangers (and their majestic capes) fight a giant evil space squid that’s basically Cthulhu as the big bad. (Episodes 31-32)
Often seen as one of the worst seasons of the show—and very nearly one that got the franchise canceled under Disney’s ownership—Overdrive at least has a very cool 15th-anniversary episode, featuring a team of old Power Rangers as the “Retro Rangers” teaming up with the Overdrive team to fight Thrax, the son of Rita and Lord Zedd’s unholy matrimony. (Episodes 20-21)
As I’ve said before, Power Rangers is often at its best when it brings its own thing to the table that isn’t from the Sentai show it is adapted from. In the case of Jungle Fury, it added not one, but three new suited Rangers to the series: the Ranger’s masters, who (of course) were first mind-controlled into fighting them before joining them in battle. (Episode 23)
RPM was going to be the last season of the show, full stop, before Disney resold Power Rangers back to Saban. So the production team decided to go all out, adapting the kids-y racecar-themed Engine Sentai Go-Onger into... post-apocalyptic Power Rangers. Seriously, this episode opens with most of humanity being destroyed by the bad guys, and the remnants fleeing to a domed city called Corinth as their last hope. Heavy. (Episode 1)
An unprecedented run of episodes that focuses on each Ranger of the team culminates with this special standalone episode about the team’s mentor, Doctor K, covering her backstory before the events of the season. It stands out as one of the most well-written and heartbreaking character pieces in the show’s entire history. (Episode 11)
Power Rangers Samurai and Super Samurai, the series after Saban took control of the Power Rangers franchise again after eight years of Disney ownership, are dire. The follow-up to Megaforce is also very skippable, as it’s mainly a hamfisted way to connect footage from the sublime anniversary Super Sentai series Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger to the story and characters and team established in Megaforce, which was already a pretty dull and dry series itself. However, if you want to see a ton of Power Rangers fighting and teaming up from across the show’s history, the finale of the season is well worth a watch. (Episodes 19-20)
The introduction of the Dino Charge Gold Ranger isn’t that different in terms of previous “sixths” Power Rangers has added—when it comes to differences between Power Rangers and Super Sentai—but it’s a wonderfully silly twist on the source material nonetheless. In Kyoryuger, Gold is a feudal Samurai warrior who’s been held captive by the villains for centuries, and talks in archaic Japanese a lot. In Dino Charge, he’s Sir Ivan of Zandar, a 13th-century medieval knight who still runs into battle shouting “forsooth!” and “verily!” when he’s morphed. Never change, Power Rangers. (Episode 11)
Got recommendations of your own? Let us know what they are and why you love them in the comments!