Power Rangers Time Force is the eighth incarnation of the Power Rangers franchise, and the ninth season overall. It utilized footage from Toei Company, Ltd.’s 24th Super Sentai series, Mirai Sentai Timeranger. It was the last entry in the original Saban Entertainment era.
|Time Force HQ in the year 3000.|
In the year 3000, the world had become a perfect utopia thanks to the efforts of the Time Force: a peace-keeping law enforcement organization that had rounded up every criminal. However, one still remained at large: Ransik (the first human-like male antagonist of the franchise, played by Vernon Wells). Ransik was a mutant born of a chemical accident and was, according to him, shunned by society because of his imperfect appearance (which was partially inspired by Mortal Kombat’s Kano). A scientist, Dr. Fericks (Jeff Griggs), tried to help Ransik by developing a serum to keep him from mutating further, but Ransik destroyed his lab, left the scientist for dead, and stole both the serum and plans for Cyclobots that allowed him to build his own robot army.
|Ransik kills Alex.|
Ransik decided he needed a change of scenery to accomplish his goals of world domination and attempted to escape to the past. Alex Collins (Jason Faunt, who previously auditioned for Leo Corbett in Lost Galaxy), the Red Time Force Ranger, attempted to stop him but Ransik fatally struck him down. Ransik, along with his spoiled money-obsessed daughter, Nadira (Kate Sheldon), stole an entire prison full of cryogenically frozen mutant convicts and escaped to the year 2001. Alex’s fiancé and teammate, Jen Scotts (Erin Cahill), wanted revenge and stole the experimental Time Ship to follow Ransik. Her team came with her as well: vain racecar driver Lucas Kendall (whose personality was a combination of the Sentai’s Blue and Yellow, played by Michael Copon); super strong Katie Walker (Deborah Estelle Phillips); and telepathic Trip (Kevin Kleinberg) from the planet Xybria. Unfortunately, the Time Ship was wrecked in the process, stranding them in the past. Another bit of bad luck: the remaining Chrono Morphers were locked, making them unusable until they were accessed by someone with Alex’s DNA.
|The Time Force Rangers.|
Ransik thawed out the various mutants held in the prison in order to have them do his bidding along with the Cyclobots. When a mutant exposed their DNA to the atmosphere, they were able to become giant-sized. While battling Ransik’s forces in the fictional city of Silver Hills, California, the Time Force were aided by the ancestor of Alex, Wesley Collins (also Faunt in a dual role that was originally going to be played by twins); a spoiled rich kid who would come to learn responsibility from their interactions. He unlocked the Morphers and allowed them to become the Power Rangers. Jen, initially always angry after losing Alex, refused to let Wes remain as the Red Ranger at first. But, eventually, she softened toward him and, as the series progressed, they developed feelings for each other. This was the first entry in the franchise where a Pink Ranger was the team leader, even though Red was ultimately still the main protagonist of the show. For the duration of their stay in the past, Wes set the Rangers up in an abandoned clock tower his father owned and they operated a former business that was there, Nick of Time Odd Jobs, for money.
|The Time Force time portal in the year 3000.|
Because time travel was harmful for humans and the Time Ship was the only one of its kind, the Time Force couldn’t send any reinforcements to the past to aid the Rangers. However, with the aid of their robotic owl, Circuit (originally named Digit, voiced by Brianne Siddal), they were able to summon their Zords, the Time Flyers, and the Time Jet, an aircraft that served as transport for the Rangers and could become a blaster for the Time Force Megazord. They were knocked through a time portal by the Transwarp Megazord back in the year 3000. The Timeforce Megazord was the first in the franchise to have different modes: Blue was optimized for speed; Red was optimized for power; and Jet Mode was a large aircraft capable of creating a cyclone used for defense. They also had ground transportation in the form of Vector Cycles that were found on the Time Ship.
|Piloting the Time Force Megazord.|
The Rangers had a large arsenal available to them. Their primary weapons were the Chrono Sabers, twin blades that could combined into a double-bladed lance, as well as the Chrono Blaster (unique to the series as the Sentai had no ranged sidearms). The Sabers had attachments that allowed them to become Electro Boosters, turning them into blasting weapons. The Vector Weapons were large cannons that could be combined into the Vortex Blaster which could freeze or knock out a foe. Unlike other incarnations in the franchise, Time Force didn’t destroy their foes but captured them instead. A defeated foe would revert to a shrunken action figure-sized state that the Rangers could use their Time Force Badges to encase in a cryo-containment unit for storage in an industrial fridge the Rangers acquired. Their Visual Scanners, an earpiece that could become full eyewear, allowed them to track the DNA of specific people. Every weapon and Zord in the Time Force arsenal had the ability to freeze time for a brief period.
|Gluto, Ransik, Nadira and Frax in the year 2001.|
Ransik’s primary henchmen were Frax (Eddie Frierson) and Gluto (Neil Kaplan). Frax was a robot and the remnants of Dr. Fericks. He worked his way onto Ransik’s team in order to eventually betray him and get his revenge for Ransik’s part in his human demise and for the general mistreatment of robots. He would break off on his own and create giant mechanical menaces. Gluto was the dumb muscle of the group. He had an unrequited crush on Nadira and constantly tried to win her affections.
|The Qauntum Ranger joins the team.|
The only recurring civilian character in Time Force was Wes’ father, Albert Collins (Edward Albert). Collins was a ruthless business tycoon who saw the profit-making opportunities in everything and tried to groom Wes into one day taking over for him. He softened as the series progressed, and while hurt and angry that Wes struck out on his own, was proud of his son. Collins’ butler, Philips (Douglas Fisher), was more fatherly towards Wes and was always ready to offer Wes advice. Collins would create the Silver Guardians, a law-enforcement organization designed to protect Silver Hills. For a price. They were led by Eric Meyers (Daniel Southworth, who previously auditioned for Adam Park in Mighty Morphin and Chad Lee in Lightspeed Rescue), who discovered Wes’ secret identity and wanted powers for himself. When the Quantum Morpher was discovered by archaeologists, Eric obtained it to become the Quantum Ranger. That gave him access to the most powerful Zord, the Quantasaurus Rex, which could become the Quantasaurus Megazord. Initially selfish with his powers, Eric soon became an ally of the Rangers and made this the first team with two Red Rangers.
|Jen giving into her anger and contemplating murder.|
Power Rangers Time Force debuted on FOX on February 3, 2001. Because of the darker tone of the series, with elements such as Ransik’s origin and Jen’s brief anger-fueled homicidal streak, FOX thought about airing the show on Sundays in primetime after The X-Files. But, ultimately, they decided to keep it on Saturday morning as part of the Fox Kids programming block for brand consistency. The series was completely written by story editor Judd Lynn and his usual writing partner, Jackie Marchand. Initially, they planned for the series to feature the Rangers travelling to various time periods, but that was changed when they learned that in the Sentai the Timerangers only travelled to the year 2000 and stayed there. Composers for the series included Lior Rosner, Jeremy Sweet, Inon Zur, Glenn Scott Lacey, Shuki Levy and Haim Saban (as Kussa Mahchi). The episode “Quantum Secrets” was dedicated to the memory of Minoru Uchiyama, the costume designer and make-up artist for various Super Sentai series, and “Circuit Unsure” was dedicated to the first Mighty Morphin Yellow Ranger, Thuy Trang, who had died in a car crash on September 3rd.
|Alex returns and meets his ancestor.|
Because of their activities in the past, the Rangers had managed to alter time and Alex was once again alive. Although not quite as antagonistic as his Sentai counterpart, Alex went from simply being by-the-book to a complete hard ass; looking to supplant Wes as the Red Ranger and assume leadership of the team. Before revealing himself to the team, Alex anonymously helped the Rangers by sending them the Shadow Winger after the Megazord was damaged, which could also become the Time Shadow Megazord or merge with the other Megazord to become the Shadow Force Megazord. He also sent The Strata Cycle to help Wes defeat a powerful foe and protect Jen in the process when he was unavailable to go in person. It was originally planned for Alex to become the Quantum Ranger, but this was changed to Eric as he was closer to his Sentai counterpart.
|The uniting of 12 Rangers.|
The annual team-up was between the Time Force Rangers and the Lightspeed Rescue Rangers. Lightspeed villain Vypra (Jennifer L. Yen) had been resurrected and sought revenge, especially against the Power Rangers. She joined forces with Ransik to revive the super demon Quarganon (Ron Rogge, who played the absent Capt. Mitchell in Lightspeed), and the Lightspeed Rangers joined up with Time Force to stop them. This was the first crossover to feature the sixth members of both teams, which predated the Sentai crossovers by two years, due to the presence of Saban’s original creation, the Titanium Ranger (Rhett Fisher). The entire Lightspeed cast reprised their roles, however Pink Ranger Alison MacInnis took ill during the dialogue re-recording sessions. Catherine Sutherland, the former Pink Ranger from Mighty Morphin through Turbo, was called in to finish re-recording MacInnis’ dialogue for her morphed appearances.
|Wes and Eric fight alone.|
The series ended with Ransik surrendering to the Power Rangers after he accidentally hurt Nadira during battle with them. This made him the first big bad in the franchise to do so. It was originally intended for Jen to stay in the present with Wes when the Rangers returned to their own time, but that idea was scrapped. Eric was also meant to die like his Sentai counterpart, but Saban filmed two versions in anticipation of FOX vetoing the death, which they ultimately did. Wes and Eric would go on to head the Silver Guardians together, but as a not-for-profit agency. This was also the first season since Turbo where most of the Rangers’ arsenal wasn’t destroyed in the final battle.
|Nadira sabotages Circuit.|
This was the first, and. so far only, Power Rangers series to be nominated for an Emmy Award. The cast and crew had such a great time working on Time Force and got along so well that plans for a second season or even a film were considered. Unfortunately, those ideas were not able to come to fruition. The box office failure of Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie squashed any future movie plans producers may have had for the franchise. Longtime franchise writers Lynn and Marchand both left MMPR Productions at the conclusion of the season over the constant battling against producer/director Jonathan Tzachor’s desire to make the series closely follow the Sentai’s plots. There was also the looming threat of a writers strike in 2001 which would have significantly halted production.
|Wes and Jen say goodbye.|
The final blockade for a second season began several years prior. Back in 1996, News Corporation’s Fox Children’s Productions and Saban merged to form Fox Kids Worldwide, which resulted in the Fox Kids programming block becoming dominated by Saban-produced entertainment. They later acquired The Family Channel, renaming it Fox Family Channel in 1997. By 2001, Fox Family Channel was struggling. Saban attempted to buy out News Corp. in its share of the network, but unable to agree on a price they decided to sell Fox Family Worldwide and it was purchased by Disney on October 24. With the sale came Fox Family Channel (renamed to ABC Family), Fox Kids in Latin America and Europe, and the Saban library--including Power Rangers. Disney would have their own plans for the franchise’s direction.
|The HyperForce crew: Lim, Meadows, Cahill, Schrier, Vee, Sudarso and Camarena.|
Time Force received a sequel of sorts in 2017 with the tabletop RPG webseries Power Rangers HyperForce. Streamed live by Hyper RPG on Twitch and later posted to YouTube, the series was centered around cadets at the Time Force Academy in the year 3016. They traversed time and space to prevent a mysterious foe from unraveling the fabric of the universe. The series starred YouTube reviewer Andre “Black Nerd Comedy” Meadows as Eddie Banks, HyperForce Blue; actress Cristina Vee as Vesper Vasquez, HyperForce Black; web star Meghan “Strawburry17” Camarena as Chloe Ashford, HyperForce Pink; Ninja Steel star Peter Sudarso as Marvin Shih, HyperForce Red; long-time portrayer of reformed bully Bulk, Paul Schrier, as Jack Thomas, HyperForce Yellow; and Dino Charge star Yoshi Sudarso as Joe Shih, HyperForce Green and the Silver Time Force Ranger. Other Rangers stars made guest-appearances over the course of the season reprising their various roles, including Christopher Khayman Lee as Andros, Jason David Frank as Tommy Oliver, Karan Ashley as Aisha Campbell, Cameron Jebo as Orion, Mike Ginn as Gem, and Cahill as Jen, the HyperForce mentor. Other characters were represented by developer and game master Malika Lim-Eubank and Hyper RPG CEO and writer Zac Lim-Eubank.
|Jen explains the fracture in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers vol. 5 #26.|
As with other entries in the Power Rangers franchise, Bandai produced a line of toys and other merchandise based on the show. Three video games were published by THQ in 2001. The Game Boy Color version by Natsume was a side-scrolling platforming game where bosses were defeated by shooting a target three times with the Vortex Blaster. The Game Boy Advance version by Vicarious Visions followed the original intended plot of the series and had the Rangers follow Ransik through various eras. The PlayStation version by Climax Studios was a 3D action game that loosely followed the plot of the show and awarded players for finishing levels within a time limit. It also featured voice work by the cast. In the latter two, the Quantum Ranger could be unlocked by finding collectibles. Lucas and Trip were featured in 2007’s Power Rangers: Super Legends by Disney Interactive Studios, and Wes and Jen in 2017’s Power Rangers Legacy Wars by nWay Games. The Time Force Rangers were introduced into the BOOM! Studios comics during their “Shattered Grid” crossover event in 2018. Jen ended up separated from her team and made first contact with the Mighty Morphin Rangers to discuss the damage to the Morphin Grid, but she was later rejoined by Eric in the battles against Lord Drakkon’s forces.
|The DVD cover.|
Following the September 11th terrorist attacks, episodes of the series were heavily edited for content when they entered reruns. Instances of tall building destruction and people running in panic were removed, and a mention of an unrelated “trade center” was altered. Between 2001 and 2002, several episodes were released on VHS compilations. Fox Home Entertainment released Force from the Future including the episodes “Force from the Future”, “Something to Fight For” and “Ransik Lives”; Quantum Ranger Clash for Control had “Worlds Apart”, “The Quantum Quest” and “Clash for Control”; and Photo Finish with “Movie Madness” and “Full Exposure”; Walt Disney Home Video released Dawn of Destiny featuring “Frax’s Fury”, “Dawn of Destiny”, “Fight Against Fate” and “Destiny Defeated” and The End of Time had “A Calm Before the Storm” and “The End of Time”. Buena Vista Home released the Power Rangers Red Alert compilation featuring Red Ranger-centric episodes, which included “Beware the Knight”. In 2012, Shout! Factory released Power Rangers Legacy, which contained seasons 1-20 in a collectible Red Ranger helmet package. They later released the complete series in 2013 as part of the collection Power Rangers Seasons 8-12, and independently in 2016.
This is easily one of the best seasons of Power Rangers. I was hooked begining to end. The 3-part finale is perhaps my favourite story arc in the entire franchise. Those who struggled to get into the first few seasons of the show might have a better time with Time Force, as long as they go into it aware that it was made with the demographic of 5 - 10 y/o boys in mind.
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