This Britoku parody of Power Rangers somehow lasted for ten years on-and-off, though it had trouble maintaining an audience due to how long it took to get episodes released. According to the creators, their delays are not the worst in history. They cited Watchmen, which also took a very long time to get made.
Emo Rangers has quite the interesting history to it, of details you may not have known (or were afraid to ask.) So today, let's have a look at the strange phenomenon that was...Mighty Moshin' Emo Rangers.
1. They were constantly losing track of props and digital files
After their surprisingly successful first season on MTV back in 2005 and 2006, the creators were encouraged to make a second season. They announced in 2007 that a new season was coming...but then ran into constant delays.
Most of this had to do with Chris Phillips and Nick Pittom finding the time for each other, as their lives got busy, to sit down and collaborate long enough to decide on what they really wanted. Chris got a girlfriend, and planned to marry her. But moving in with her meant he couldn't hit the same social scenes as before, or make awkward advances on younger women like before.
As he put it in one interview (paraphrased below):
"It's the price you have to pay if you want to have a normal life and future."
This strained his ability to work with Nick at all.
Scripts were hackneyed together, and cast members only vaguely looked at their lines and then mostly ad-libbed the rest. Cloud server services were constantly having crashes and erasing critical files. Backups were backed up to unreliable hardware. Animation files were suddenly incompatible or corrupted, and had to be re-done. It was a mess!
As a result, many of the original audio bits (for villains especially!) vanished. This led to the creators having to dub in the lines with their own voices, then pitch-alter and use voice distortion algorithms. While Power Rangers had audio issues with its production too, it was never to this extreme.
Physical props didn't fare much better. The cardboard that made up the Sweatband Morphers / Communicators was coming apart constantly and needed to be replaced, hence why the designs for season 1 and season 2 sweatband morphers look different if one pays close attention.
Ross was also issued a wig to wear for season 2 in order to stylize him as looking like a weird combination of an emo stereotype and a ska performer. However, he looked more ska than emo by "Top of the Flops," as his wig was somehow nowhere to be found. He simply didn't bother with it for the episode, and viewers were left to assume his character got a haircut for no reason. To be fair, it got in his way a lot, and even got really tangled up when battling the teddy bears in "Bearly Legal."
Luke constantly yelling "tits!" is also due to this being the only useful audio bit of his that didn't get lost or corrupted somehow for his morphed scene dubs.
2. Every villain is a Power Rangers or music culture reference joke, except Uncle Cuddles
And that extends to allies too! Uncle Cuddles was created specifically to create a Very Special Episode about online safety. It's telling, because the monster's only goal in that episode appears to be to have his way with Stef - no matter the consequences!
The Evil Empress was an obvious analog for Rita, and Colonel Crusher a fairly obvious one for Rita's general, Goldar. The Hoodie Patrol was obviously supposed to be the Putty Patrol, though they were oddly slightly more competent at their jobs.
Funky Monkey had a monkey face similar to the Power Rangers monster Primator. His name was otherwise a spoof on the naming conventions of a lot of MMPR season 1 monsters: Pudgy Pig, Chunky Chicken, Gnarly Gnome, etc. Though, his name was also a reference to "Brass Monkey" by The Beastie Boys - a punk group that long predated emo culture's relevance in the 2000s. The way he is so easily defeated, by a lone White Ranger, without the need for a Zord battle, is very reminiscent of Pursehead from MMPR season 2.
Some monsters showed up and were never assigned names. The generic evil robot that came after Funky Monkey was a testament to that. In "I'm Dreaming of a White Ranger," the Power Rangers have to save Santa to save Christmas. In "Emo Rangers vs. Santa," the Rangers have to kill Santa to save Christmas! It's...every bit as messed up as it sounds, like the writers were just being spiteful.
John's evil clone is an obvious parody of Tommy's evil clone, as "Weed Better Sober Up" offers whole plot references to "White Light" and "Return of the Green Ranger." The difference here is that the evil Chronic Stoner Ranger doesn't ever turn good in the end. However, he is never seen again after the episode ends. Yet, he is able to offer commentary to the Empress, suggesting he survived the Bong Zord being blown up - rare for a villain piloting a Zord.
Speaking of which, Colonel Crusher is the only monster to play straight the "Make My Monster Grow" trope. All the others piloted their own mechs into battle, if they had them. This is due to the fact that the Mega Emo Fight Bot is entirely CGI, and needed an adversary to fight that was also completely CGI. This makes it very much like most villains on Power Rangers SPD, who also used their own bots rather than grow themselves. (And that series also came out in 2005! Feel old yet???)
Mr. Fluffy appears to be a reference to Mr. Ticklesneezer:
But while "For Whom the Bell Trolls" and "Bearly Legal" have a lot of plot similarities, the pessimism of Emo Rangers prevails. For Vicken, there is no such cop out of "it was all just a dream," like what Trini got. She is forced to kill her favorite teddy bear to save Chelmsford.
Sold Ya' Kid was a pretty obvious reference to Soulja Boy. And in 2007, making fun of Soulja Boy made sense. (Again, feel old yet?) There was a robot clone of Avril Lavinge in that same episode. But since various delays meant that episode didn't get its final TV release on MTV until the late summer of 2010...the joke was already old hat before the episode aired. Missed opportunity!
The New Rave Pirates were an obvious reference to Divatox - the villainness from Power Rangers Turbo. Burger Clown was a mockery of the Burger King and Ronald McDonald, merged into a single character and made evil. Many YTP remixes of these restaurant mascots were popular on YouTube in 2007 - usually of them trying to murder each other. This was possibly also a reference to the 2004 film Super Size Me - which was still a hot topic of discussion in 2007. Burger Clown's suit looks a little like that of Pineapple the Clown - the disguised form of the MMPR season 1 villain Pineoctopus from "No Clowning Around."
The 2015 special brought us some new twists also. The Happy Valley High principal is a mixture of Lord Zedd, Mesagog from Dino Thunder, and Elsa from Dino Thunder. The way Mary Jane's story is told also plays out a lot like Dino Thunder. Her propensity for wearing fishnets appears to be a reference to Kira's clothing choices. Her suit's "Super Emo Mode" appears to be a reference to Super Dino Mode, and her cannons are like Conner's.
Even the Mysterious Vagrant, played by Kyle Letner, is a Power Rangers reference! He is an analog of Quagmire from "Island of Illusion," a character most of the PR fandom has probably long forgotten about! Unlike Quagmire, Vagrant's riddles don't consist of Seussian rhymes. Instead, they consist of repurposed lyrics from songs by My Chemical Romance. This is supposedly to make him come off as extra creepy.
3. Fai is pretty FashionxCore in real life
After leaving Emo Rangers behind, Fai Archer married Tim Burnett and moved on to far bigger and better things. She was a major costume and makeup artist helping out with the show, and has continued to lend her services to other TV shows since then.
She works freelance as Fai Archer Hair and Makeup. She even has an IMDB page (with some missing info and one version of it mistaking her for a man, but accurate otherwise.)
She has lent her skills at makeup and costume design to Riot on Redchurch Street and The Man in the Room.
4. There would have been an even longer film
In 2012, the Facebook page boasted of a collaboration with MTV to revamp the series - or give it a series finale. This project would have been a feature-length motion picture, made on a budget of $5M USD (about a third the price of MMPR 1995!)
However, Chris had to move for work to the US, losing contact with the original cast. Things didn't work out with having Paul Garson become the Orange Rockstar Emo Ranger either. Several key animations for Captain Emohead and Emo 5 were lost, and Nick Pittom had to rush to make replacement ones.
Making matters worse, the 2015 short film Power / Rangers by Adi Shenkar was threatened with a lawsuit by Saban, for making the Rangers a bit too gritty! This of course, did not inspire MTV to want to pick up Emo Rangers for anything again.
Independent once more, Chris could tell the stories he wanted to tell, without pressure from execs. He was also angry about marijuana laws in the UK and US, no doubt being inspired by the politics of his new Boise friends Krystal Moore and Yurek Hanson.
Therefore, to celebrate the 2015 10th Anniversary (and being unable to do a proper "Forever Red" parody,) Chris and company scraped their funds together to make a much shorter film, set in Boise with whatever local talents he could find, that turned out like this, for better or worse:
Krystal's angst as Mary Jane, and resentment of her (in-movie) mother's legalism, is actually inspired by the local-area Mormon church, and presumably her experiences with it.
5. The actors mostly fought out-of-suit, because the helmets made them blind
The helmets were made out of paint, cardboard, and papier-mache. The eye slits were extremely tiny, and barely adequate. Having plexiglass visors like the actual Power Rangers was too expensive, so they went this stylish route. Only problem is, it made the Rangers blind!!!
This affected everything from general walk stance, to fight choreography, to how often they even bothered morphing! The helmets were easy enough to put on - provided the velcro straps held. If not, actors needed assistance to ensure the strap was on correctly. The straps are seldom seen during zord fights, but are plainly visible during some ground battles in the various parks of Chelmsford.
6. A few cast members got married since filming commenced
Vicky Symes became Vicki Godby. Fai Archer became Fai Burnett. Word is really hush on the boys getting married to anyone. Stef in real life has yet to confirm anything regarding present or future marital status to anyone.
7. They employed unusual chroma key practices
In season 1, they shot characters wearing mostly black outfits against a black screen - then keyed them into mostly black backgrounds! This doesn't seem like it would make a lot of sense, yet it worked.
In season 2, all of Luke Cole's motion capture work for Captain Emohead was done against a brown screen.
The image would then be composited into the Command Center CGI footage, and the end result would be Captain Emohead looking like a really emo version of Zordon.
8. Where are they now? Pretty well off, mostly.
Krystal is a professional comedian. Exactly how funny she and her anti-Trump tirades are, and to whom, may vary. (I'll give her some benefit of the doubt that she won't ever stoop to the lows of Kathy Griffin.) On the side, she has kids now. She's overcome various hardships in life, including drug addiction. [Source]
Side note: I can't say as I agree with the poem. Money does have a point: to ensure fair transaction. "Love" is also not defined at the end of her poem. Greed and envy will always be with us in one form or another. After all: Cain killed Abel with a rock, long before currency existed!
She might argue I'm "mansplaining," or being "too pedantic." But whatever.
Ross is now an award-winning product designer.
Stef runs her own modeling operation.
Vicki is now in the education field, and is also a young mother and housewife. Safe to say, she adjusted quite well to life after the show. Possibly better than the other Rangers.
Luke is now an engineer working for the SWANN Group.
John became a water systems technician for Essex and Suffolk Water. Which seems to suggest that only his character did drugs, not the actor himself. John, you truly are an inspiration!
And let's not just assume the Rangers were the only ones who moved on to good careers! Nick Pittom, the art designer and animator, became a major design figurehead at Fire Panda LTD.
Gale Benning, who also worked with Fai on set design, became part of a Star Trek film later on. (More on that below.)
It seems the one who suffered most from the series ending, was Chris himself. Try to find decent info on what he's doing now. It's hard to find. That, and he is hard to find on Google, with all the other Chris Phillips name results that pop up.
Georgina Sapsford (credited by her maiden name of Fox), who played the AvrilBot, has her own Twitter feed. She apparently got to meet the real Avril Lavinge at one point. Little else is known about her, as she has privatized most of her profiles after getting married. She is not to be confused with a costume designer in New Zealand by the same name.
9. A teaser poster joked of them and a team-up with the Avengers
This was posted to the Facebook page. It has yet to be announced if Chris is actually serious about this or not, but it seems like a joke. Christmas must be saved - again! But with knockoff Avenger characters being relevant to the plot somehow!
10. Custom merchandise of them still exists
Sims 4 mods exist, and some toy makers might still make custom Emo Ranger action figures. Check DeviantArt for details.
11. Filming locations are readily viewable on Google Maps
This location is most likely where the traveling carnival encountered Funky Monkey. Uncle Cuddles most likely died somewhere in this park. This house was likely one of many facades sampled for creating "Emo Road" - where the Emo Rangers lived in-universe.
In one scene in the original 2005 short film, Colonel Crusher clearly walks past this intersection.
Look around the town, and you may see many familiar items. The Cash Concepts from "Bearly Legal" is also on Moulsham, though it's now permanently closed. (Probably not due to bears though.)
12. They have ties to the Star Trek fandom
Gale Benning went on to be a costume designer for the fanon series Star Trek: Phoenix.
13. They stopped using the "Z" word in season 2
Seemingly to avoid commercial liability with Saban / Disney (at the time) over using the word "zord," they instead renamed their mechs the "Emo Fight Bots."
Emo Megazord was reformatted as Mega Emo Fight Bot, likewise. The reformats seemed to loosely match season 2 of MMPR as well. Vicken's tiger / raptor thing became a full-blown Chinese dragon. Ross's bot became a more streamlined version of its former self. Luke's bot became tougher and less cute. John got a samurai for a robot. Fai got a more streamlined robot, but same theme. Stef underwent the most transformation, replacing her pterodactyl with a ladybug.
She even did a nod to Kimberly, announcing: "Nice stereo!" Only a pity Dean Israelite didn't let Naomi Scott do that! Missed opportunity!
14. All the female Rangers faced really perverted monsters
Mr. Fluffy was obsessed with his "balls." And spoke of Vicken and what he wanted to do to her in a rather disturbing way. His minions adopted this mindset. It's possible he was supposed to be actual Pedobear at one time, but that got dropped due to licensing issues. Instead, he was merely "Scare Bear."
Uncle Cuddles used his puppeteered parasitic twin, Fiddles the Kid, to seduce Stef online and lure her into a trap. While he's technically an ephebophile by definition, he is frequently misidentified as a "pedophile." Either way, the Rangers take him down with extreme prejudice. Captain Emohead contemplates calling the police on the matter, since there may have been other victims besides Stef.
Fai battles Burger Clown - who is revealed to be abducting children and killing them. (Doing other things to them too before that?) He mostly abducts emo kids too, making him a serial killer. But worse: he grinds them into burger meat, and tricks restaurant patrons into eating them! And then...they get fat! And are too fat to stop him from taking over the world!
It's understandable Fai would be genuinely horrified by this. Something indeed was off about that clown!
And the principal is an alien turning kids into Hoodie Patrol minions with altered prescription drugs - that he forces them onto for even the tiniest infractions committed on the grounds of the high school he runs like a prison. This is what compels Mary Jane to rebel, and become the new Chronic Stoner Ranger. He also has a penchant for harassment of teenage girls, for some odd reason. And his chair is usually on fire too. Subtle!
15. There were only three major female villains
Evil Empress (Rita), Rave Pirate Queen (Divatox), and the monster AvrilBot (Avril meets the Terminator?) To be fair, most monsters on Power Rangers are also male.
So...what were your favorite moments from this old British comedy series? Did you watch it and get a laugh or two? Let me know in the comments below. Until then, it's Moshin' Time!