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Series / Power Rangers Dino Thunder

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"Dino Thunder, Power Up!"
"White Ranger, Dino Power!"
Morphing calls, Power Rangers Dino Thunder

It's the first day of school in Reefside, and three students have already run afoul of the Sadist Teacher and are given detention. Thankfully, the new biology teacher doesn't want to be stuck with watching them, so he tells them that if they go out and bring back something prehistoric for his paleontology studies, he'll call it off. During their search, they stumble into a secret lab and decide to swipe some ancient-looking gemstones to fill the requirement.

The good news here is that the gems were infused with energies from the impact that wiped out the dinosaurs, and have already "bonded" with the students, giving them superpowers. The bad news is that a saurian Mad Scientist wants their power to start a new age of dinosaurs and is coming after the kids. The really bad news is that the gems are Loyal Phlebotinum, and taking their power requires killing the current hosts.


The really, really good news is that the new bio teacher is none other than Dr. Thomas James Oliver, known to his friends as "Tommy", and a man with a little experience with these matters.

Doug Sloan, Ann Austen, Jackie Marchand, and Jason David Frank all return in season 12 of Power Rangers, based on Bakuryuu Sentai Abaranger. The dinosaur motif apparently made everyone nostalgic and as the season also boasted the 500th episode (a clipshow episode where the show recapped each incarnation of the franchise in a condensed manner) and a rarity in the form of an episode of Abaranger, which was given a gag dub as far as being a show within a show.

The series is generally considered to be one of the strongest seasons of the Disney Era (alongside RPM) and up there with some of the most beloved seasons, with fun, strong characters and a wonderful team dynamic between them. It was far from free of problems, though: due to contract issues, Jason David Frank only really appeared in half of the season, with the character spending most of the season frozen in amber or invisible/only visible in morphed form.


But, come on, everyone knows Tommy is the most morphinomenal Ranger EVER.

Dino Thunder is the last Power Rangers season to date, and the only one of the Disney Era to have full team-ups with the preceding and succeeding seasons. Also of note is that this is the second Power Rangers season to only have one female Ranger. She more than made up for it, though, and appeared in the Milestone Celebration episode "Once A Ranger" as a representative of this season.

Succeeded by Power Rangers S.P.D.

Recurring Power Rangers tropes include:

  • Aborted Arc: Early in the season, Mesogog states that since Tommy had a part in creating the Tyrannodrones, the latter would find a way to use them against him. This never happens, and it is never brought up again.
  • Action Girl: Kira
  • Actor Allusion: In "Lost and Found in Translation," the English voice of the Japanese Blue Ranger is provided by Jorge Vargas (Blake, the Navy Thunder Ranger in Power Rangers Ninja Storm).
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Zeltrax trashes the Dino Lab
    • Also in one of the few inversions of this trope in the entire PR series: the Rangers storm Mesogog's base and are able to destroy it.
  • Animal-Motif Team: They have motifs of dinosaurs, consisting of the tyrannosaurus (The Red Ranger: Connor Mc Knight), triceratops (The Blue Ranger: Ethan James), pteradon (The Yellow Ranger: Kira Ford), brachiosaurus (The Black Ranger: Dr. Tommy Oliver) and The White Ranger, Trent Fernandez-Mercer, whose dino motif was not givennote .
  • Animal-Themed Superbeing
  • Big Bad: Mesogog is the main villain of this Power Rangers series.
  • Chest Insignia: The team dinosaur-footprint logo on the chest; the White Ranger has a version on his belt instead and the Triassic Ranger version is modified to look like a Styracosaur head.
  • City of Adventure: Reefside
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: Had a run in the UK Jetix Magazine and Power Rangers Magazine.
    • A Cine-Manga was published by Tokyopop.
  • The Dragon: Co-Dragons Elsa and Zeltrax
  • Finishing Move
  • Five-Man Band: Power Trio Plus Two version:
  • Five-Token Band: Two Caucasians, an African-American, a Native Americannote , and an Asian (Filipino).
  • Fleeting Demographic Rule: It's been 11 years since the last dinosaur-themed Rangers.
    • It's played with, however, mostly because of Tommy's return.
  • Home Base: The Dino Lab under Tommy's house
  • Humongous Mecha: As always, the Rangers have giant robotic Zords that combine to form a giant robot called a Megazord.
    • Animal Mecha: Of the prehistoric variety.
    • Combining Mecha: The main trio have the Thundersaurus Megazord, and Trent joins the Drago and Stegozords into the Dino Stegozord; both of them can then combine (with some Mezodon parts) into the Valkasaurus Megazord. The Mezodon Megazord can also team with the Expansion Pack mecha to form the Triceramax Megazord.
    • Mecha Expansion Pack: The Parasaurzord, Cephalozord, Dimetrozord, and Ankylozord (the Stegozord is also an expansion for the Thundersaurus Megazord, but mostly used as a main component for the Dino Stegozord).
    • Transforming Mecha: the Mezodon Rover
  • Law of Chromatic Superiority: The Red Ranger usually gets most of the cool toys, but Conner gets a power-up by taking power from the rest of the team (at least at first) to become the Triassic Ranger, and then the Triassic Ranger has its own Battlizer. Plus not only does his Tyrannozord form the bulk of the main Megazord, but his Triassic-mode "Mezodon" (Styracosaurus) zord forms a Megazord in itself.
    • Funnily enough, the one time an upgrade goes to someone else (Ethan's Hovercraft Cycle), you have Conner commenting that he wants one of those.
  • Limited Wardrobe: After Tommy gets the Black Ranger powers, he notes that he's going to have to go shopping for black clothing. It's the first acknowledgement of the Ranger tradition of color-coordinated civilian outfits and a massive Lampshade Hanging.
    • Interesting note: before this, we see him wearing nothing but BLACK. Also of note is that despite the themed coloring, there is variation in what outfits each ranger is wearing. Also, some of their friends like Hayley utterly subvert this.
  • Make My Monster Grow: The franchise's tradition of defeated monsters being revived as giants is done with Mesogog’s hydro-regenerator, which shoots a seed into the air, creating clouds that rain down a growth chemical.
  • Mentor Archetype: Tommy serves as the mentor of the Dino Rangers.
  • Mooks: Tyrannodronesnote ; also Triptoids a few times.
  • Motifs: Everything's Better with Dinosaurs
    • Dinosaurs Are Dragons: Trent's mecha is called the "Dragozord", despite clearly being a pterosaur (specifically, a tupuxuara).
    • Stock Dinosaurs: At least most actually were dinosaurs, unlike the last time... (note we said "most"; if you want to get technical the pterosaurs and dimetrodon aren't true dinosaurs. It's still better than a mastodon, pterodactyl, sabertooth tiger, and whatever the Dragonzord was supposed to be). The "stock" part is averted with the "Dragozord", which is a lesser-known pterosaur with a large head crest called a Tupuxuara.
    • Whateversaurus: The Thundersaurus Megazord. Kira also ad-libs "morphasaurus" when she's at a dino dig and needs an excuse to pull Tommy away.
  • Never Say "Die": For the most part, played straight as usual; however, when Anton Mercer first arrives, Tommy flat out states that he thought he was dead.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Partially subverted since the bulk of the main cast was either American or Canadian. The main culprit this time was James Napier, who seemed to slip with every other line.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: A jock, a nerd, a rocker, an artist, and their Memetic Badass teacher.
    • Cassidy herself notes this early on, wondering why the jock, the nerd and the rocker are all hanging out together.
  • Recycled IN SPACE!: Power Rangers with DINOSAURS... AGAIN!
  • Stock Footage:
    • There are the usual issues in recycling footage from an entirely different show, but this season clashed with some intended story beats and forced the creators to find workarounds: the White Ranger Clone was created to keep in step with the fact that AbareKiller remained an enemy throughout Abaranger, and plans to make the Triassic Ranger a proper Sixth Ranger had to be scrapped because it clashed with AbareMax-as-powerup footage too much.
    • Plus little things left over from Abaranger being Japanese. In "Beneath the Surface", Conner tries to justify some especially Japanese-flavored footage with "It's attacking Little Tokyo!" "A Ranger Exclusive" has a TV station control room staffed by all Asian guys. And one use of the Triassic Dimension leaves a character plummeting to Earth - over Japan.
  • Stock Superpowers
  • Super Mode: Super Dino Mode. It was available from the start in the source material, but here it was held back until later. Almost parodied with Conner, as he also has the Triassic Ranger mode and then a Battlizer on top of Triassic Ranger.
  • Thememobile:
  • Transformation Is a Free Action: Subverted in "Game On" when Conner is blasted (incidentally sending him on an inconsistent trajectory).
  • True Companions: Conner, Kira, Ethan, and Trent become this.
  • Weapon of Choice
  • Word Power
    • By the Power of Grayskull!: "Dino Thunder, Power Up!" and "White Ranger, Dino Power!"
      • The latter being a Call-Back to Tommy's White Tiger theme from Morphin'.
    • Invocation: "Tyranno power!" "Tricera power!" "Ptera power!" "Brachio power!" "Drago power!"

This subseries contains examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Kira's nightmare from "In Your Dreams" features a crocodile monster who's crazy in love with her.
  • Absentee Actor: An unusual case because Jason David Frank is absent for a number of episodes, but his voice is still present. It's explained by Tommy being unable to power down.
  • Academy of Adventure: Reefside High
  • Acid Reflux Nightmare: Tommy initially blames his nightmare in "In Your Dreams" on the calamari he had for dinner.
  • Adapted Out: The Raptor Riders weren't cut out of the show entirely like some Sentai elements have been, but they were upstaged only a few episodes after their introduction by the Raptor Cycles and only made a few minor appearances. The same goes for the Triptoids, who made a couple token appearances but were otherwise replaced by the Tyrannodrones.
  • Adventures in Comaland: "Fighting Spirit"
  • Aliens in Cardiff: The location of the Abyss of Evil was revealed to be somewhere in western Fresno County in California (which is the perfect place to put a secret ninja academy).
  • All-Natural Gem Polish: Averted, at least somewhat. All the Dino Gems are brightly colored and not dirty at all, but only the White Gem that Mesogog specially prepared is cut. Tommy obviously never bothered with the ones he found.
  • Alpha Bitch: Cassidy. Becomes a Lovable Alpha Bitch halfway through.
  • Always Someone Better: The Ninja Storm Wind Rangers have a year's greater worth of experience than the Dino Rangers, so it comes as little surprise when they end up dominating the latter in their first fight after being brainwashed by Lothor. The Dino Rangers end up on a more even playing field in their rematch, but Cam and the Thunder Rangers cut things off before they can get too destructive.
  • And Starring: Jason David Frank
  • Bad Santa: Conner's nightmare in "In Your Dreams"
  • Badass Longcoat: Mesogog
  • Badass Teacher: Tommy, who at the end of the season decides to live the quiet life teaching. Again.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: Tommy in "Fighting Spirit".
  • Beam-O-War: Tori vs. Kira, except it's water against sound.
  • Big Good: Tommy takes on this role as the mentor to the new team, and they note that without him, they would likely not survive their battle with Mesogog.
  • Black and Nerdy: Ethan
  • Bowdlerise: Jason Frank wasn't allowed to use his trademark Kiai ("Aiyah! Si-aiyah!") because Disney was convinced he was swearing.
  • Boxing Kangaroo: The Cephalozord is used as a dinosaur version. It even gives the Megazord, more or less, a superpowered punch.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy:
    • Lothor somehow has the means to do this to the Wind Rangers after he escapes from the Abyss.
    • This happens to Kira in "The Missing Bone", courtesy of a MOTW with mind control powers.
    • The finale reveals that Elsa was a case of this all along.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: At the end of one episode, Tommy thanks the Rangers for hanging in with him. Because of camera set up, he's looking directly down the camera while talking to them. His lines from memory:
    Tommy: I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for hanging in there with me. I know it's been a while. It means a lot to me.
  • Chained by Fashion: referenced in "Back In Black":
    Zeltrax: You're not getting through that portal unless you're in chains!
    Kira: I might be able to pull that look off, but these guys? No way!
  • Clark Kenting: Elsa/Principal Randall. Lampshaded:
    Conner: I can't believe we didn't work it out! They look exactly the same, except one wears glasses.
    Ethan: Hey, Clark Kent and Superman look the same, but no one ever puts that together.
  • Clingy Costume: This happened to Tommy when Jason David Frank was unavailable except for voiceovers for a while.
  • Clingy MacGuffin: Trent's Dino Gem and morpher are this when the White Ranger was his Superpowered Evil Side. The accident that broke the gem's control was implied to have fixed this problem, too.
  • Clip Show: Two: "Legacy of Power", the 500th episode that recapped every previous season; and "A Test of Trust", which recapped Trent's actions throughout the season.
  • Cool Teacher: They don't come any cooler than the man who wrote the book on being a Power Ranger. This is the man who, it has been noted, could now make an entire team of rangers just from past powers.
  • Continuity Nod: Tommy and Kira find a photograph of the original team. Kira laughs at his long hair.
    • Ninja Storm also gets a shoutout in the premiere:
      Mesogog: The citizens of Reefside will think that idiot Lothor has returned.
    • And then the Crossover episode drove that home.
    • Tommy's Dino Morpher works differently than the others. His is activated by inserting a key and turning it. You know, like the last one he used.
    • A subtle one to Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers. Zordon mentioned that two identical Pink Rangers in the same place and same time would be dangerous. When there are two White Rangers with the exact same powers existing at the same time, it begins to make one breakdown completely, forcing a battle to the death between the two.
  • Contractual Genre Blindness: Tommy, for not suggesting that the Rangers check for somebody who has started wearing white once the White Ranger shows up. Especially bad considering his Lampshade Hanging earlier in the series.
    • Like Tommy though, Trent already wore a lot of his Ranger color before he ever became a Ranger.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Anton Mercer is teased as one.
  • Cute Bruiser: Kira
  • Dark Secret: Trent, the White Drago Ranger, is the adoptive son of Anton Mercer, a.k.a. Mesogog.
  • Dating Service Disaster: "A Star Is Torn" sees Ethan sign up for a dating service site. To no troper's surprise, he's set up with Cassidy. What is surprising is that they go with it for the next few episodes, leading directly to her Character Development.
  • Death Glare: Tommy gives Trent one when the rest of the team finds out the above.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Cassidy
  • Demoted to Extra: The Big Bad of Abaranger is not only demoted to a Monster of the Week, but one that doesn't even get a name.
  • Depraved Kids' Show Host: The Funky Fisherman in "It's a Mad, Mad, Mackerel" is a G-rated version, as he's more cranky than anything else. Downplayed in that he learns to change his attitude by the end of the episode.
  • Deus ex Machina: Multiple, sometimes more than one for the same problem because the first one didn't solve it and almost always with a more logical alternative already introduced in the story.
  • E = MC Hammer: Some of Dr. O's lessons.
  • Evasive Fight-Thread Episode: The first time the Dino team fights the brainwashed Wind Rangers, it's an aversion — the Dinos lose badly. The second time (unmorphed) is a little more even, and the other Ninja Storm Rangers interrupt before they can morph.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: As above, but also used literally as a plot point: Mesogog believes this to the point where his master plan is to turn the entire human population into dinosaurs.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: The White Ranger's morphing sequence features him jumping into the air and spinning around as his costume forms around him.
  • Evil Counterpart: The Replicant Zord was the dark version of the Thundersaurus Megazord after Ugly Monster transferred itself into the robot.
  • Evil Knockoff: The White Drago Ranger clone.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Brainwashed Trent/White Ranger Clone.
  • Evil Teacher: Elsa as Principal Randall.
  • Expy: Trent is a Ranger with a chest shield and a dragon Zord who starts out evil due to being Brainwashed and Crazy but then joins the team he once fought against, much like Tommy did.
  • Fantasy Helmet Enforcement:
    • While the helmets on their suits don't count, safety helmets are used a lot to the point of Fridge Logic. There's one instance of a helmet appearing out of nowhere between shots, when Tommy has to drive a barely-conscious Elsa out of the area on an ATV. Presumably, this would've been Disney-ABC's BS&P department interfering.
    • In the very first episode, Tommy also makes a point of fastening his seat belt before driving off even though the freaking Tyrannosaur chasing him seemed to be the greater safety hazard. Lampshaded by the man himself: "Yeah, lock the door, Tommy. Real good."
    • In a jeep with the top down no less! Red Racer would be proud.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: The main trio fits this trope with their civilian powers. Ethan (The Fighter) haves the ability to generate an Instant Armor allowing to have a Super Strength in addition. Kira (The Mage) haves a Sonic Scream who is the most destructive such as the only long-ranged power among the five rangers. And Conner (The Thief) haves a Super Speed allowing to suprise his ennemies.
  • Foe Yay: Elsa and Tommy. In-Universe, the rest of the cast even picks up on it in "Beneath the Surface".
  • Follow in My Footsteps: A point of contention between Dr. Mercer and Trent, as Mercer wants to groom Trent for the business world and thinks his drawing hobby and afterschool job at Hayley's are beneath him. In Mercer's defense, some of his lines suggest that he's preparing Trent to handle being on his own in case he loses his internal battle with Mesogog.
  • Gag Dub: "Lost and Found in Translation", obviously.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Hayley.
  • Gilligan Cut: Blake gets one in the second part of the Ninja Storm crossover when they return to the Abyss of Evil to get their Ranger powers back.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Elsa has a scar running from her lower lip to the bottom of her chin, painted black with just-visible stitches. Ironically, it acts like a 'good' scar, staying hidden and not detracting from her looks, but denotes her as a villain. The marking disappears in her mid-season redesign.
  • Happily Adopted: Dr. Mercer took Trent in after his biological parents died on an archaeological dig. Their relationship may be strained most of the season, but Trent still has no problem calling him "Dad".
  • Idol Singer: Kira
  • Improbable Age: In the beginning of the franchise, Tommy was a moderately good student grades-wise that was forgetful to the point that fans claim he has Swiss cheese for a brain. Come Dino Thunder, he's managed to get a PhD in six years or less, among other things (such as the whole "mad scientist, then got teaching license" thing, plus whatever he was doing during "Forever Red").
    • Lampshaded in the Operation Overdrive episode "Once a Ranger":
      Adam: I still can't believe he's a Doctor...
  • Internal Homage: The first episode, "Day of the Dino", is a reference to the first episode of MMPR, "Day of the Dumpster."
  • Intrepid Reporter: Or so Cassidy wishes, but her general lack of common sense puts her dangerously close to being a Red Shirt Reporter. She also has shades of the School Newspaper Newshound when she actually pursues school topics.
  • Invisible Main Character: Tommy, for a while
  • Island Base: Mesogog's lab fortress
  • It's Probably Nothing: Ethan shoots this down in the first episode. "That ain't the wind. As much as we'd like it to be... it ain't."
  • Jerk Jock: Conner, at first. By a few episodes in, he's already completed the transformation to Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
  • Leitmotif: The Brachiozord. Just... the Brachiozord.
  • Last Villain Stand: After his base is destroyed and his plan to transform everyone on the planet into reptilian creatures is foiled, Mesogog appears before the rangers for a final battle and uses the energy he absorbed from the Dino Gems to take on a One-Winged Angel form. It takes all the rangers' power to destroy him once and for all.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: With the Ninja Storm Rangers. For years this was the series's only teamup episode to do this, until the Red RPM and Samurai Rangers had a brawl.
  • Literal Split Personality: After having enough of fighting Anton for the body they shared, Mesogog decided to separate himself from Mercer so he could be around 24/7. No longer attached to an innocent man, the Rangers were free to take him down.
  • Liquid Assets: One MOTW sucks youth from victims in "Diva In Distress", including Devin, Cassidy, and Kira's pop star friend.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Mesogog is the Superpowered Evil Side of Trent's foster dad.
  • Maximum Fun Chamber: Mesogog's unseen punishment chamber.
  • Medium Blending: The episode "Drawn into Danger", where the Dino Thunder Rangers were Rotoscoped to represent being trapped in a comic book.
  • "Metaphor" Is My Middle Name
  • Meaningful Name: Elsa is the name of a heroine from Wagner's operas, who was in love with a man whose face she could never see.
    • Conner's name as well—his first name is the name of an Irish king, and his last, McKnight, is Scottish-English, the name in combination essentially being 'Irish king who is also a warrior'. Ironically, Disney didn't bother playing with this in casting, and Conner acts VERY American.
    • Kira's first name means 'Sun, Light', which is appropriate given that she's the Yellow Ranger.
    • Ethan's name means 'Strong'.
    • 'Anton' is a form of Arthur, as in King Arthur, and his last name, 'Mercer', means 'son of Mercury'... or, weirdly enough, 'shopkeeper/merchant'.
  • Mind Rape: Mesogog does this to keep his subordinates in line.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: Most of Mesogog's monsters, courtesy of his Geno-Randomizer.
  • Mundane Utility: In "Disappearing Act", the Rangers use their high-tech surveillance system to watch Ethan on his date that they prepped him for; and Tommy uses his invisibility to help out.
  • Mythology Gag: Tons.
    • Tommy is usually the culprit. He keeps Sentai logos and MMPR publicity pictures on file and before suiting up as the Black Brachio Ranger, the Rangers found him suspiciously familiar with how all this stuff works. He even said at one time "If there's something I've learned by being a Power Ranger is that everything is possible."
    • The biggest gag is probably when the Power Trio spent all of "Lost And Found In Translation" watching a dubbed episode of Abaranger (bad Hong Kong translations and all!)
    • And Conner says his twin brother went to the Wind Ninja Academy. It was really funny in context.
  • Narm Charm: This is the In-Universe conclusion the Rangers come to after watching a dubbed episode of Abaranger, despite Conner initially believing it was making them out to be a complete joke.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: So Elsa, how did handing out detentions work out for you?
    • To be fair, it actually did work out for her, since it led to her ultimately being freed from Mesogog's control and able to lead a normal life.
    • Zeltrax's attempts to frame the White Ranger for trashing Mesogog's lab directly led to the evil being removed from Trent's Dino Gem.
    • See Literal Split Personality above.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: The Show Within a Show Ocean Alert from the episode of the same name is clearly the Rangerverse version of Baywatch.
  • Not Himself: All the teens have an attitude adjustment in "Leader of the Whack": Conner's the nerd and Ethan's the jock, Kira's a prissy girly-girl, Devin's a ladies' man and Cassidy's a Shrinking Violet.
  • Not Quite Dead: Mesogog shows up for one more fight at the end of the season, causing the Rangers to lose their powers.
  • Oh Crap, There Are Fanfics of Us!/Who Would Want to Watch Us?: "Lost and Found in Translation"
  • Older and Wiser: Tommy
  • Older Than They Look: Jeffrey Parazzo was 26 when he played Trent, and Jason David Frank looked a quite bit younger than his actual age (31) during filming, too.
    • Jason's (Tommy's) case is actually Lampshaded by Cassidy in the first episode when she questions whether he's old enough to be a teacher. Tommy responds by saying 'I can assure you, I'm old enough'.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Averted with Tommy... by applying it to Hayley:
    Hayley: Tommy's good with dinosaurs and fossils, but a rocket scientist? He ain't.
    Conner: And lemme guess: you are?
    Hayley: Among other things.
  • Percussive Maintenance: Played with in "Legacy of Power", as Conner accidentally kicking the computer makes it look like it crashes at first, but ultimately seems to help. Then in "Game On", Conner being thrown into another computer serves to pull Ethan and Kira out of the game world they were trapped in.
  • Phlebotinum Killed the Dinosaurs: More like "What Killed The Dinosaurs Became Phlebotinum", but eh...
  • Plot Hole:
    • The White Dino Gem is originally being described as being "fully evil". Eventually, Trent joins the good guys because the "evil coating" on the gem was destroyed.
    • The "Thunder Storm" crossover has the two teams of Rangers destroy a variety of villains sent by Lothor and Mesogog, so they knew Lothor has returned, but then they go back home and act as if their mission is over. The problem is that they know Lothor is out there, but everybody forgot to wonder if he's been taken care of. (Lucky for them, Mesogog put him away)
  • Portal Network: Mesogog's invisiportals.
  • Power Incontinence: Tommy gets encased in amber just as he's about to tell the others that Trent is the then-evil White Ranger. When the Rangers manage to free him, he can't demorph. Then when he gets out of that, he becomes invisible. Then he falls into a coma. Four Is Death, indeed (he finally gets better in "Fighting Spirit"). This was an example of Real Life Writes the Plot. Jason David Frank had other commitments in the United States during a chunk of production, so this arc was written to allow him to leave the set but still keep his character involved via voice-over.
  • Power Walk: in "Back In Black" - only the Rangers stop in their tracks when Hayley tells them about Mesogog's deadly firewall. Complete with Record Scratch to stop the music.
    Hayley: "Did I forget to mention that?"
    (the Rangers, Conner in particular, give her a look)
    Hayley (sheepishly): "I... take that as a 'yes'."
  • Precision-Guided Boomerang: the Thundersaurus Megazord's Pterarang
  • Professor Guinea Pig: Mercer. This lead to Mesogog's creation.
  • Prophecies Rhyme All the Time: "Tutenhawken's Curse"
  • Put on a Bus: Zeltrax disappears and is presumed destroyed after a climactic battle with Tommy in "A Star Is Torn". He reappears in "The Passion of Conner" and "Isn't it Lava-ly", but as he's now gone rogue from Mesogog's forces he then lies low until the finale.
  • Readings Are Off the Scale: When Tommy first detects the White Dino Gem, he explains that his power readings were so high his equipment couldn't measure it.
  • Redemption Quest: Just after Trent breaks free from his brainwashing, things are dire and Tommy takes him along to retrieve a much needed power up.
  • Red Herring: Hints keep occuring that Mercer is actually The Dragon, Zeltrax. But he's actually the Big Bad, Mesogog.
    • Alternately, the hints are that Mercer is Mesogog himself. True only in a technical sense; while they share a body, Mercer is actually good and fighting Mesogog.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: The fact that Hayley has such an intellectual ability, and yet is only the owner of an internet café (to whoever's looking from the outside, at least) is rather baffling, though when we first meet her Ethan mentions that she apparently worked for the government in some capacity before quitting.
  • Refusal of the Call: Kira in the premiere; Conner in the second episode. Neither sticks.
  • Resistance Is Futile: Zeltrax gives the line to a kidnapped actress. "Hey, I was up for that part!"
  • Rival Turned Evil: Zeltrax is actually Tommy's old colleague/friend Smitty, who is never mentioned until the episode where Zeltrax is unmasked).
  • Same Character, but Different: Tommy. A doctor of paleontology? Really?
  • Sarcastic Clapping: Ethan to a dance monster in "In Your Dreams".
  • School Forced Us Together: The series started when the three Rangers-to-be got stuck in detention with Tommy forced to watch over them.
  • Sealed Cast in a Multipack: Although the series didn't focus on them as much as other examples, it did this with the scattered Dinozords.
  • Secret Keeper: Hayley provides the team with major nerd knowledge - being an M.I.T graduate and an apparent rocket scientist. She also knows they're rangers and runs a cafe.
  • Ship Sinking: Not in the series itself but due to the fact Tommy is single, he's obviously not with Kimberly or Kat, though it's slightly subverted since as per Word of God, the ending of Zeo's Christmas Episode, featuring an older Tommy and Kat together, is still official canon. He's later with Kat romantically, apparently having a son with her, in Dimensions in Danger.
  • Ship Tease: Kira and Trent, as well as Anton and Elsa in the finale.
  • Shout-Out:
    • It's a bit of a stretch, but the Funky Fisherman, and his sidekick the giant talking fish, are nautically-themed children's characters. Only one other example springs to mind...
    • The Dino Thunder logo, designed by Tommy, is presumably awfully similar to a certain Dragonzord symbol that he once wore...
    • Dragon War, a card game that uses many similarities to both "War" and Yu-Gi-Oh!. Two notable ones are the Magic Arrow card, and the Ruby Dragon card. The former looks quite a lot like the Living Arrow card. The latter is the most powerful card, and happens to have the same coloring as Osiris/Slifer, one of the Egyptian God Cards (and just as powerful).
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Dino Thunder in general outlook is basically the first season of Mighty Morphin' pushed a bit further towards the Cynicism side.
  • Smart People Wear Glasses: Tommy Oliver's doctorate apparently came with smart-guy glasses.
    • In "Leader of the Whack", Conner, normally the unintellectual jock, gets a personality inversion from a strange meteor fragment and starts behaving like a brainiac. In the next scene he is suddenly wearing glasses. Either he normally needs glasses and doesn't wear them (or wears contacts) because glasses would spoil his athlete persona, not that there's any sign of imperfect vision in other episodes; or the glasses are cosmetic and he's wearing them because he's feeling nerdy and therefore needs to wear glasses; or they're reading glasses and he doesn't normally bother reading (he did come in with a pile of books the first time he was seen wearing them).
    • The team's actual brainiac, Ethan, doesn't wear glasses—but he's a gamer/hacker type, not a bookworm type, so it's not really an aversion.
  • Something Completely Different: Rather than adapting an Abaranger episode, "Lost And Found In Translation" is an Abaranger episode, with the U.S. Rangers as a framing device (they even use snippets of the Abaranger theme in the background!).
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Fans use both Conner and Connor. In-show, he specifically tells one person "Conner with an E-R".
  • Sssssnake Talk: Mesogog
  • Stealth Insult: During the Ninja Storm teamup, Mesogog greets Lothor with "Your reputation precedes you." (consider the above-mentioned Continuity Nod from the premiere.)
  • Storming the Castle: The Rangers, Hayley, and a Mack truck attack Mesogog's island fortress while Trent rescues Anton. It even happens at the same time as Zeltrax is trashing the Dino Lab.
  • Strapped to an Operating Table: Tommy in "Legacy of Power". Kira in the premiere. Trent, too, and even to himself (well actually, Anton Mercer) at one point. Don't forget Elsa in the finale. Mesogog really likes doing this to people.
  • Strong as They Need to Be: Trent is the strongest Ranger after he joins the good guys (as is typical for Sixth Rangers), except for the episode "Fighting Spirit" in which suddenly Tommy is stronger, just because the episode is about how awesome he is.
  • Such A Lovely Noun: Trent to Elsa in "House of Cards" after she blew her cover. She throws the fact that the other Rangers don't know that Mesogog is Anton right back at him.
  • Technicolor Science: Mesogog's lab has entire racks of specimen jars with brightly colored fluids.
  • That Man Is Dead: Zeltrax about Smitty
  • They Would Cut You Up: Before the kids learn just who Tommy is, this is the reason Ethan gives to Kira for keeping the gems a secret. Guys with super-powers often end up in labs with wires sticking out of their heads. Conner adds that even he knows that one.
  • This Is a Drill: The Thundersaurus Megazord's Dino Drill
    • The Ankylozord provides a second by replacing the right arm.
  • This Is Wrong on So Many Levels: Ethan's opinion of a life-sucking donkey monster in "Diva in Distress".
  • Those Two Guys: Aspiring news anchor Cassidy and her cameraman Devin, classmates of Conner, Kira, and Ethan and student of Tommy.
  • Thunder = Downpour: When a monster is destroyed at human-size, Mesagog activates the "Hydro-regenerators" which launch a small ball of energy. Then, we hear a thunder crack, storm clouds fill the sky, some rain-like liquid falls, and the rain causes the monster remains to combine into goo, which then turns into a megazord-sized monster, and the sky clears up, all in a few seconds.
  • Titled After the Song: Two episodes (the fifth, "Back in Black", where Tommy returns to duty, and the two-parter finale, "Thunder Struck") are named after AC/DC song titles, for some reason.
  • Triang Relations: Kinda Subtext-y, but Zeltrax has a thing for Elsa, who has a thing for Tommy, sometimes. And Elsa later has a thing with Mercer.
    • And a disturbing version of that subtext with Elsa/Mesogog. From the first episode.
  • TV Genius: Ethan.
  • Two-Teacher School: More like two teacher city. When one of the teachers was incapacitated, they had to hire a local millionaire scientist to teach his science class, rather than an, I dunno, substitute teacher or something.
    • Well, a lot of that was probably Randall's doing in favoring Mesogog's alter ego, but the point does still stand. Perhaps Anton was doing it on a discount For Science!.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: Mesogog stands out as one of the darkest villains in Power Rangers annals, being genuinely ruthless and terrifying without an ounce of comic relief to him.
  • Who's Watching the Store?: Hayley runs the Local Hangout, but it's open/closed or she's available as the plot demands.
  • Widget Series: When Hayley gets a satellite TV installed in the cafe, what is the first thing the three Rangers watch? Abaranger
  • "World of Cardboard" Speech: In "Fighting Spirit", Tommy underwent a dream sequence where he had to fight prior Ranger incarnations of himself. It was apparently a lesson that his true power was never with the morphers, but his will to survive. Of course, being Power Rangers, this metaphorical power allowed him to unlock his Super Dino Mode.
  • You, Get Me Coffee: The Funky Fisherman.
  • Your Size May Vary: The Brachiozord.


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