12 Days of Netflix: Power Rangers Christmas specials
Josh Slater-Williams | On 13, Dec 2015
Christmas specials of television shows can vary wildly in terms of creative expenditure, depending on the genre and audience you’re dealing with. While an adult-aimed sitcom such as Community or Futurama might offer a formally or narratively inventive spin on the notion of the holiday season, shows aimed at children largely tend to favour a fairly common set of story tropes. By and large, these will often involve a character discovering the “meaning of Christmas”, with a cameo by Santa Claus usually a given. The trifecta of Power Rangers Christmas specials available on Netflix — Power Rangers: RoboKnight before Christmas, Power Rangers Super Samurai: Stuck on Christmas, and Power Rangers Samurai: Christmas Together, Friends Forever – very much run with this narrative, with only one of them forgoing a token Saint Nick appearance at the end. On another note, they are absolute garbage.
The “best” of the three, for the viewer completely unfamiliar with the latter day incarnations of the Power Rangers (wherefore art thou, Lord Zed?), is RoboKnight before Christmas, if only for the theoretically amusing fish-out-of-water scenario it offers that the other two do not. RoboKnight, from what can be gathered from the episode’s exposition, is a machine pal of the Rangers, who has only recently been brought to life and has no clue what Christmas is – he ponders why people are cutting down pine trees and using “energy wasting lights”.
One of the Rangers, in a gesture half earnest and half for his own amusement, suggests his robot buddy stands in a department store for about a day to get a sense of what Christmas is all about. RoboKnight takes this literally and is subsequently mistaken for a donated Christmas toy because of where he’s been standing, and is then shipped off in a charity crate to a village in Africa. The children of the village then ask the giant robot man to explain to them the meaning of Christmas, as they all sit round a fire.
In between the borderline racist direction this episode takes is an assortment of flashbacks to various episodes and events in the Megaforce series, none of which have anything to do with Christmas but are certainly helpful for the viewer unable to understand what’s going on (spoiler: you still won’t understand what’s going on). This is the other key recurring element these three specials share: they are all glorified clip shows. More than half the footage in each special is a flashback. In fact, Power Rangers Super Samurai: Stuck on Christmas (based on the novel Push by Sapphire) and Power Rangers Samurai: Christmas Together, Friends Forever (or, The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), since they share the same human protagonists, actually share some of the very same clips.
Adding insult to injury, they also share the exact same final scene, in which a silhouette of Santa and his reindeer is pursued by the show’s comic relief duo on a flying bike across an image of the moon (in a weird E.T. homage for… some reason). The only difference between the two? They flip the side of the screen that Santa, Bulk and Spike enter and exit from. When binge-watching these specials back-to-back, this bizarre repeat of the closing Santa cameo induces a curious state of delirium. You begin to question your perception of time and reality. You may ask yourself: “Am I right? Am I wrong?” And you may say to yourself: “My God! What have I done?!” And, most of all: “Why did I watch this?”
The Power Rangers Christmas specials are available on Netflix UK, as part of an £9.99 monthly subscription.
Power Rangers Megaforce: RoboKnight Before Christmas
Power Rangers Samurai: Christmas Together, Friends Forever
Power Rangers Super Samurai: Stuck on Christmas