by Tim May
Merry Christmas, ‘shitheads! To celebrate this, the greatest of all holidays, let’s look back on the understandably overlooked “Alpha’s Magical Christmas,” one of two original direct-to-video holiday themed Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers programs.
As I’m sure most of you know, Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers was a wildly successful children’s action show in which five “teenagers with attitude” were called by the giant head in a jar Zordon to battle Japanese stock footage. It’s mostly remembered for having one of the dopest theme songs ever, but it’s perhaps the greatest camp the 1990s ever produced, and it occasionally teetered on being genuinely decent. The one element that never came close to decent, however, was Alpha 5, Zordon’s whiny, effeminate robot assistant. His shrill catchphrase, always wailed whenever there was even the slightest sign of danger, is the nails-on-chalkboard howl of “AYE YAI YAI!!!”
Saban Entertainment, the producers of Power Rangers, apparently thought Alpha didn’t get enough big storylines on the show, so he needed his own Christmas special. “Alpha’s Magical Christmas” was produced during season two, a transitional period for the show with multiple cast changes and an ever expanding scope. Here’s where this special gets into some continuity trouble. By the time the biggest cast change had occurred, in which the original red, black, and yellow rangers Jason, Zack, and Trini were sent off to a “peace conference” and replaced by Rocky, Adam, and Aisha, Tommy’s green ranger powers had been depleted in the two part episode “White Light,” in which Tommy took up the mantle of the white ranger. However, in this video, Tommy appears as the green ranger, along with all his new replacement buddies. There seems to be no reason for this whatsoever, especially since there are a few montages in which we see him as the white ranger.
With that out of the way, let’s get on to the actual content of the special. Sadly, there’s not much to say. It’s Christmas Eve and the rangers are away helping Santa Claus deliver presents, leaving Alpha lonely at the Command Center. In order to cheer him up, Zordon, sporting a completely different voice actor than the one on the show, abducts a bunch of children from around the world to sing Christmas carols with them.
Most of the video is taken up with Alpha and the choir of kidnapped children singing a variety of holiday standards, ranging from “Silent Night” to “Here We Come A-Caroling.” This is about as boring as it sounds. After they release the kids, Alpha proclaims it to be the best Christmas ever (after all, “Christmas is all about children”), but he spoke too soon! Tommy, Billy, and Kimberly (white, blue, and pink, for all the cretins out there) return from the North Pole to spend the rest of their holiday with the “people they love,” a group which apparently doesn’t include their own families. Rocky, Adam, and Aisha suck, so they fittingly only appear via viewing globe (ugh). So, the rangers join Alpha in a rendition of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” set to a montage of clips from the series. Despite the tonal clash of such a garish song being used in what is intended to be a touching, nostalgic look back, it did remind me of some of my favorite moments from the first couple seasons of MMPR, most notably Tommy and Kimberly’s first kiss, still a classic TV moment, despite the bad writing, production, and acting.
The worst thing about “Alpha’s Magical Christmas” is what a rip off it is. It probably retailed for at least $14.95, already a ridiculous cost for what amounts to one episode of television, but there is pretty much nothing of interest here for anyone, including Power Rangers die-hards. Everybody hates Alpha (aside from that one time Zack taught him how to break dance) and nobody wants to spend a half hour with him. If anything, this special, a completely original American production, shows how reliant the show was on the Japanese stock footage. At least at this point, Saban seemed incapable of doing anything more than a very basic fight scene, and “Alpha’s Magical Christmas” doesn’t even attempt that. This is literally a half hour of Alpha singing Christmas carols. Bah. This is hardly a holiday treat for Power Rangers fans. It’s more like a lump of coal (poo) from Lord Zedd.
You can watch the whole thing starting above and continuing here.