The new Netflix special is a big blast from the past, quips and all.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Once and Always will be a landmark special for the Power Rangers fan community when it hits Netflix on Wednesday. The 30th anniversary episode brings the spotlight back to several characters who joined the team during the series' first three seasons. The special does this while providing a tribute to the late actress Thuy Trang and her character, Yellow Ranger Trini Kwan.
In addition to bringing back many of the original actors who transformed into Rangers on camera, the special also brings back voice actors like Barbara Goodson and Richard Steven Horvitz. Goodson and Horvitz respectively brought iconic villain Rita Repulsa and the lovable robot Alpha to life in the original series.
This special also comes as the entire Power Rangers universe has gone all-in on Netflix. Other than this special, the upcoming Power Rangers Cosmic Fury is set to debut in 2023 on Netflix and -- eventually -- Netflix will also be the home of a new Power Rangers universe under showrunner Jonathan Entwistle (The End of the F***ing World, I Am Not Okay with This).
So with the special just a day away, you may want to know how you can watch it, who is in the cast and if the new special is worth the wait for longtime Power Rangers fans. We've seen an early screener of the special and can provide all the details you need to know about the Netflix event.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Once and Always will arrive on Netflix on Wednesday, April 19 at 12 a.m. PT/3 a.m. ET. The Power Rangers Twitter account posted a graphic converting it further for other international territories.
The Power Rangers special reunites cast members from the first three seasons of the Mighty Morphin series, some of which are working together for the first time in this special. David Yost (Blue Ranger Billy) and Walter Emanuel Jones (Black Ranger Zack) return from the show's original team. They are joined by Steve Cardenas (Red Ranger Rocky), Catherine Sutherland (Pink Ranger Kat), Johnny Yong Bosch (Black Ranger Adam) and Karan Ashley (Yellow Ranger Aisha), all of whom joined the series during Mighty Morphin's second and third seasons.
Charlie Kersh joins as new character Minh Kwan, playing the teenage daughter of Trini Kwan. Kersh's role is both a tribute to late actress Thuy Trang, who died in 2001, and also provides a way to connect back to how the Power Rangers were first described as "teenagers with attitude."
Voice actor Barbara Goodson reprises her voice of Rita Repulsa, who appears to have received a new life as a robot, according to the special's trailer. Richard Steven Horvitz will also continue to say "Aye-yi-yi" as Alpha, the droid that helps the Rangers from the Command Center.
I've watched an early screener of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Once and Always, and it feels a lot like an extended episode of the original series with a beefed up budget, better special effects and a lot of quippy one-liners. Every actor steps back into their roles, with Jones, Yost and Kersh getting much of the spotlight.
Without giving spoilers away beyond the special's trailer, the memory of Trini takes full-focus for Once and Always's narrative -- one that could provide a lot of catharsis for fans wondering how the special would handle the real-life absence of Trang. Yet by taking a direct approach, there are instances in which the tone of the special zigzags between emotional moments relating to loss and cheesy jokes more akin to the '90s series.
When it comes to the jokes and the zings though, they remain very consistent to my memories of the '90s series. That means some are good, some are bad and a few that address the intervening 30 years might leave you scratching your head. This isn't a bad thing, but if you haven't revisited the Mighty Morphin series in a very long time, you might have forgotten that cringey dialog is always a possibility in this universe.
What's especially great about this special is how it handles morphing and the Power Rangers giant Zords. The show's new special effects make for quick morphs that are a noticeable upgrade from how they were handled back in the '90s, and I'm especially obsessed with the animation-style used that re-creates how each Dino Zord appears. While the Zords themselves have identical designs to their '90s rendition, by moving them into a CGI animation style there is substantially more ways they can move and fight that simply weren't possible on the original show. It's clear that a lot of care went into re-creating these sequences, but it also provides a great example of what future Power Rangers series can do when depicting these giant robot battles.
Overall, it's a fun ride, but some moments might be a little too dark for younger kids that are currently watching the newer episodes of Power Rangers Dino Fury. This special will resonate the most with adults who grew up on Mighty Morphin and will scratch that curiosity for what happened with many of its fan-favorite characters.
While Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Once and Always is receiving global launch, you might still want to stream the show while using a virtual private network.
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Netflix is currently the home to all new Power Rangers series, which include the Once and Always special along with the upcoming Power Rangers Cosmic Fury series. The service currently offers subscriptions that cost between $7 and $20 per month in the US.