TV reviews

Power Rangers Ninja Steel 1×19 – ‘Abrakadanger’ – Review

Power Rangers Ninja Steel has only two episodes left of the season (three if you count the Christmas Special), and is still giving us poorly thought through and pointless adventure of the week stories rather than delivering anything close to a main story or season arc.

The latest episode sees Preston (Peter Sudarso) receive a book of magic spells and a dragon wand from Princess Viera (Ruby Love), whilst Hayley (Zoe Robins) plays tennis against Victor Vincent (Chris Reid). Along with the magic book, Preston is given a message from Viera telling him that he must learn the spells within the book in the correct order, if he skips ahead something terrible could happen. A good moral lesson for children, learn to do things properly and don’t try to jump to the end; not the best kind of message but one that makes sense at least.

Unfortunately, because the writers seem to be catering to an audience with an age of five, and because they treat the characters like complete idiots, Preston ignores this very clear message and immediately jumps ahead, resulting in him making Hayley invisible.

The result of this is that Hayley must try to play tennis against Victor under a baggy tracksuit and welding mask so that people can’t tell she’s invisible. It’s ridiculous. I can’t even see how children would find these events entertaining or funny. After a quick chat with Mick (Kelson Henderson), who has now simply become the moral lesson giver of the season, Preston sees that he needs to work hard at something and practice in order to become good, the same way that Hayley has worked hard at her tennis for the last year. The result of this? Preston masters all of the books spells and becomes a master wizard in an hour.

This is the kind of trap that the season has fallen into in the past. Last episode Redbot (Byron Coll) was forgiven for telling dozens of lies because he did one good thing. Earlier in the season Calvin (Nico Greetham) went from unable to even ride a bike to passing his driving test in a single afternoon.

Power Rangers has been heavy handed with moral stories in the past. It’s told some pretty ridiculous stories to get children to think about doing the right thing. But it has never been as badly handled as Ninja Steel. This season seems to be telling viewers that they can do anything they want, can pass any test, or master anything straight away with little effort. This episode could have had Preston learn a spell or two and end with him saying that he needed more practice to master them all, to tell children that time and dedication are important. Instead it takes fails as both a story and a lesson for children.

Whilst this episode did feature a monster with an absolutely amazing design and name, Abrakadanger, but is so overwhelmed by such a poor episode that I can’t help but feel robbed of what could have been one of the best monsters of the season.

Power Rangers Ninja Steel continues to miss the mark, to write stories that lack any of the charm or fun of previous season. It tells strange moral stories and includes such ridiculous humour that even the youngest of viewers will find it unentertaining. With only two episodes before the end of the season it looks more and more likely that the series will be unable to turn itself around, leading to one of the worst seasons of the franchise’s 25 year history.

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