photo credit: Joe Bollingbroke
Today (20th April), marks the 20th anniversary of Power Rangers Zeo. The first episode, A Zeo Beginning Aired in the US on April 20th, 1996. But before we get into plot, lets take a look at production.
After the movie aired, Power Rangers was in decline. The show's third season was still number 1 in the TV ratings charts, but the popularity of Power Rangers was staring to slip. Toy sales were also down. Saban needed to get a fix on maintaining Power Rangers as the number one phenomenon it was at the time. After going through some decisions, one of which was killing off characters, they finally settled on adapting the next series of Super Sentai, Choriki Senti Ohranger and changing the cast around. This allowed Saban to not only use more stock footage than previous seasons, but also keep costs low by recycling old Ohranger toys from Bandai. Although early season ratings were immensely popular, the show's ratings once again started to decline. It was being beaten in the ratings by Goosebumps and Beetleborgs. This caused Saban to re-hire Austin St. John in the role of Jason and make him the Gold Ranger, which did the trick.
As for the plot, the show is a direct continuation from MMPR season 3. The Orb of Doom is destroyed. Master Vile is defeated, the rangers have found the pieces of the Zeo crystal and have returned to normal. However, Rito and Goldar destroy the command center with a bomb. This picks up right after this. The rangers pick their way through the wreckage of the command center, find the Zeo Crystal and make their way into the Power Chamber, where they meet with Zordon and Alpha.
Meanwhile, Rita and Zedd's Moonbase is attacked by King Mondo and the Machine Empire. Rita and Zedd are forced to flee to the M51 Galaxy to escape destruction. At the same time, Tommy, Rocky, Adam, Tanya and Kat are given the powers of the Zeo crystal to become the new Zeo Rangers. Billy stays behind to be their technical adviser. Armed with new powers, weapons and zords, they take the fight to King Mondo.
The constant battles wear down the Rangers until they meet a new ranger, wearing shiny gold armour. Who is he? The Gold ranger is eventually revealed to be Trey of Tiforia. During a battle, Trey's powers become unstable and are passed to veteran ranger, Jason. Fed up with defeat after defeat, Mondo obtains the Sword of Damocles, but is killed by the Super Zeo Megazord. This starts a shift of power, with Rita and Zedd sending in their replacement, Louie Kaboom. He ends up betraying Rita and Zedd, taking over the Machine Empire all by himself. Louie is killed by Mondo's son, Gasket and his wife Archerina. However, Mondo is repaired and restored as king of the Machine Empire.
As this happens, Jason's life force is being drained by the gold powers, as they weren't supposed to be used by humans. A battle begins anew over the fate of Jason and the Gold Powers. However, Trey returns and takes back the powers. As his final act, he grows the rangers and himself to giant size to battle Mondo once and for all. With Mondo retreating to lick his wounds, they're dealt one final blow. Rita and Zedd give them a peace offering, which turns out to be a bomb which blows the Machine Empire to scrap.
The show is currently available on DVD and on Netflix. it's an interesting series and one that really should be watched today.